The academic requirements are flexible with emphasis on early student participation in research and informal student evaluation. 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.
M.A. 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. M.A. 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. The department does not rely on a formal written qualifying examination to evaluate student readiness for the Ph.D. Instead, students must pass four oral examinations that stress qualitative, as well as quantitative aspects of the subject matter of the core graduate courses. 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 M.A. degrees in physics is available from the Graduate Student Handbook. Copies are available upon request from the graduate-student adviser.