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Doctor of Philosophy in Physics


In the physics department, research is organized into small groups of faculty members, post-doctoral associates, graduate students and undergraduate students working closely on related projects. The principal active areas include experimental and theoretical elementary particle physics, synchrotron radiation physics, accelerator physics, structural and computational biophysics, magnetism and electrodynamics. Classes are generally small and informal, and thesis research is carried out in close collaboration with the faculty adviser.

In recognition of the value of teaching experience in strengthening an individual's understanding of his or her field of study and as an aid in making career decisions, the department requires full-time students to participate in instructional activities. Each new graduate student is assigned a graduate student adviser and must obtain the approval of the adviser each semester before registering for any graduate classes.

Program Requirements 


A minimum of 72 credit hours is required for the the Doctor of Philosophy degree in physics. Students who have received an M.S. degree from another university may petition for transfer of up to 32 credit hours applicable toward the Ph.D. degree. The requirements for the degree consist of a program of 72 credit hours approved by the faculty advisor; passing the Ph.D. qualifying and comprehensive examinations; and the completion of a research thesis supervised by a faculty member and approved by a thesis committee.

Required Courses

The required coursework includes the following:

PHYS 501 Methods of Theoretical Physics I 3 Credits
PHYS 505 Electromagnetic Theory 3 Credits
PHYS 508 Analytical Dynamics 3 Credits
PHYS 509 Quantum Theory I 3 Credits
PHYS 510 Quantum Theory II 3 Credits
PHYS 515 Statistical Mechanics 3 Credits
PHYS 585 (or 685) Physics Colloquium (4 Semesters) 0-4 Credits
PHYS 691 Ph.D. Thesis Research Credit Variable


and at least three specialized or advanced physics graduate courses chosen from the following:

PHYS 502 Methods of Theoretical Physics II 3 Credits
PHYS 537 Physics of the Solid State I 3 Credits
PHYS 538 Physics of the Solid State II 3 Credits
PHYS 545 Particle Physics I 3 Credits
PHYS 546 Particle Physics II 3 Credits
PHYS 553 Quantum Field Theory 3 Credits
PHYS 561 Radiation Biophysics 3 Credits
PHYS 570 Introduction to Synchrotron Radiation 3 Credits


The remaining course requirements may be satisfied by additional graduate or advanced undergraduate electives and research. Students are encouraged to participate in faculty research programs and seminars early in their graduate careers. Thesis work may follow from these activities. All research for the dissertation must be carried out under the direct supervision of a faculty research adviser. Students must have passed the written qualifying examination before registering for PHYS 691.