The academic requirements emphasize our research apprenticeship mode of instruction which encourages early student participation in research, A distinctive part of each student’s course work is a research apprenticeship, PHYS 303 , which introduces students to different research groups beginning in the first year of graduate studies.
The M.A. degree is awarded to students who complete their Master’s degree requirements en route to the Ph.D. degree.
Master’s degree students must satisfy the general University residence and course requirements, and pass four of the core graduate courses (PHYS 301 , PHYS 302 , PHYS 305 , PHYS 306 , PHYS 309 and PHYS 310 ) and one semester of PHYS 303 with a grade of B- or better. Master’s degree candidates also must complete a thesis based on original research.
Ph.D. degree students must fulfill residence and course requirements, pass the core graduate courses (PHYS 301 , PHYS 302 , PHYS 305 , PHYS 306 , PHYS 309 and PHYS 310 ) with a grade of B- or higher, and complete three semesters of PHYS 303 . Students must also pass four oral qualifier examinations that stress qualitative, as well as quantitative aspects of the subject matter of the core graduate courses. These four oral examinations must be passed during the first three years of residency. The first three examinations are in classical physics, quantum mechanics, and statistical physics. The fourth examination is usually in condensed matter physics, but students intending to do research in areas other than condensed matter physics may complete this exam in a topic directly related to their dissertation research. If a student initially fails to pass an oral examination, he/she may retake the examination. However, students must take at least one oral examination before the beginning of their second year of graduate work and pass a total of at least three examinations (in classical physics, quantum mechanics, and statistical physics) before the beginning of their third year. Students who fail to meet this schedule will be ineligible for financial support until these three examinations are passed and may be asked to leave the Ph.D. program. Students are required to pass an additional graduate course (approved by the graduate student adviser) in a subject that is outside the area of their dissertation concentration. The course may be in physics, the other sciences, mathematics, computer science or in another appropriate field. Ph.D. candidates also complete a dissertation based on original research. Students entering with advanced standing and transferable credit are encouraged to demonstrate proficiency in the core graduate courses through oral examinations.
Graduate students in both the M.A. and Ph.D. programs are required to gain supervised teaching experience either as teaching assistants or teaching fellows in the department, or elsewhere if approved by the department.
More information about the requirements for the Ph.D. and Master’s degrees in physics is available from the Graduate Student Handbook. Copies are available upon request from the graduate-student adviser.