The Doctor of Philosophy program in Physics and Applied Physics is designed to develop advanced competence in Physics. The Physics course of study prepares the student to carry out original and independent research in physics, while the Applied Physics Options provide training for professional work in several areas of applied physics and allied engineering disciplines.
At least 60 graduate credit hours are required, of which at least 15 and at most 24 are to be Ph.D. Dissertation Research. At most 3 credits of Physics Colloquium and seminar courses may be applied to the 60 credit requirement.
All full-time doctoral candidates are required to attend Physics Colloquium, PHYS.7010/7020, each semester.
All full-time doctoral candidates are required to take at least one physics seminar, in addition to Colloquium, each semester. After a student has presented a seminar in PHYS.7110/7120 (s)he may substitute one of the other seminars offered by the Department.
All candidates are required to demonstrate proficiency in computer programming, which may be accomplished by passing the Departmental computer language exam or by achieving a grade of at least B in courses such as FORTRAN Programming or Introduction to Pascal, or by demonstrating equivalent competence to the Physics Department.
All candidates must pass a written and oral Physics Comprehensive Examination. Students in pure Physics are expected to take this examination in their first year; those in the Applied Physics options, in their second year. The examination covers I. Classical mechanics, II. Electricity and magnetism, and III. Quantum mechanics, modern physics and statistical mechanics at the advanced undergraduate level. In addition Part I includes some elementary thermo-dynamics and Part II elementary optics. Part III is replaced by a section on radiological sciences and protection for students in that option and is based on the advanced undergraduate course requirements in Radiological Health Physics. For students in the Atmospheric Sciences Option, Part III is replaced by a section in atmospheric sciences, demonstrating a basic understanding of atmospheric structure and dynamics.
Before commencing Ph.D. dissertation research each doctoral candidate must pass two semesters of Advanced Projects in Physics PHYS.7310/7320 and defend this project in an oral examination before a committee of the Physics graduate faculty. Students who have already completed a master’s thesis in Physics or a related discipline may apply for a waiver of the Advanced Projects requirement. However, if the M.S. degree is from another institution the student must make an oral presentation of the M.S. work before a committee of the Physics Faculty in order to satisfy the Graduate Research Admission Examination requirement. Alternatively, a one-semester M.S. project may be substituted for one semester of Advanced Project on the recommendation of the student's research supervisor. The Graduate Research Admission Examination must be passed before a student may submit a Ph.D. dissertation proposal.
The dissertation is to be based upon original research performed under the supervision of a member or adjunct member of the Physics Faculty (or the Faculty of a Department participating in a joint program with the Physics Department) holding an earned doctoral degree. If a student wishes to do a dissertation under the supervision of a faculty member in another department, the student must also have a co-supervisor who is a member of the Physics Faculty. Ph.D. candidates must submit to the Department, for its approval, eleven copies of a typewritten proposal briefly describing the research to be carried out. The proposal must bear the written approval of the research supervisor. A student may not register for Ph.D. Dissertation Research, until the Comprehensive Examination and the Graduate Research Admission Examination have been passed. Furthermore, the dissertation proposal must be submitted prior to or during the first semester in which the student is registered for Ph.D. dissertation research. Students registered for Ph.D. Thesis must submit a brief progress report on the research to the Graduate Coordinator each semester unless a thesis is submitted. After completing the work, the student must submit four copies of a typewritten dissertation to the Department. The student must then pass an oral examination, administered by a Dissertation Committee appointed by the Physics Graduate Coordinator, based on, but not necessarily limited to, the dissertation work.
The Physics program includes the following areas of study:
The following courses are required:
*This requirement may be waived for students who have written a Master’s thesis in Physics or a related discipline. Electives may be chosen from the list of courses acceptable for graduate credit in Physics. Some graduate courses offered by other departments may also be acceptable for graduate credit in physics, but only with the approval of the Physics Department.
Students in Applied Physics Options may select a program of study and research in one of the following areas:
The above options are official degree program options and will be so noted on the transcript. Areas 1, 2 and 3 are interdisciplinary programs with the Department of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering, the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and the Department of Environmental, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, respectively. Area 4 is an extension of the Master of Science degree program in Radiological Sciences and Protection.
General Required Courses
Every student in an Applied Physics Ph.D. Option must satisfy the following course requirements:
In addition to the general requirements, students in this option must take
In addition to the general requirements, 12 credits of core courses and 15 credits of elective courses. One credit is for atmospheric/environmental seminar. For core and elective course descriptions, see Environmental Studies (Atmospheric Sciences Concentration).
In addition to the general requirements, students in this option must take the following courses:
Note: It is expected that the requirements for the Master of Science degree in Radiological Sciences and Protection will be met during the first four semesters if the student has not already earned an M.S. degree.