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.
Ph.D. degree students must fulfill residence and course requirements, and are expected to pass (with a grade B- or better) 6 core graduate courses which can be chosen among PHYS 301 , PHYS 302 , PHYS 305 , PHYS 306 , PHYS 309 , PHYS 310 , PHYS 319 , PHYS 351 , PHYS 327 , and PHYS 367 . Remaining units can be chosen among the core graduate courses listed above, PHYS 303 , or directed research courses (PHYS 399 , PHYS 317 , or PHYS 394 ) . Students must also pass three oral qualifier examinations that stress qualitative, as well as quantitative aspects of the subject matter of the core graduate courses. These three oral examinations must be passed during the first two years of residency. The three examinations are in (1) classical mechanics and electricity & magnetism, (2) quantum mechanics, and (3) statistical and thermal physics. The exams may be taken in any order. If a student initially fails to pass an oral examination, they may retake the examination. However, students must take at least one oral examination before the beginning of their second year of graduate work, and must pass all three area examinations before the beginning of their third year. Students who fail to meet this schedule will be dismissed from 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 the three oral examinations.
Graduate students in the Ph.D. program 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.