Physics (Ph.D.)

Admission Requirements

Admission to this program is contingent upon admission to the Graduate School. In addition, applicants must satisfy the following criteria.

Prerequisite preparation should include:

A minimum of general college physics with laboratory equivalent to:
(PS) University Physics for Scientists I
University Physics for Scientists II
Introductory Modern Physics
Fifteen credits in intermediate physics courses, for example, those equivalent to the following:
Methods of Theoretical Physics I
Classical Mechanics I
Classical Mechanics II
Quantum Physics I
Quantum Physics II
Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics
Electromagnetic Fields I
Electromagnetic Fields II
(WI) Modern Physics Laboratory
Mathematics eqivalent to mathematics prerequisites reguired in those physics courses
A minimum of general college chemistry with laboratory equivalent to:
(PS) General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Laboratory (or equivalent courses)

The Graduate Record Examination, both the General section and the Physics subject test, is strongly recommended as a counseling aid in preparing the student’s plan of study.

Academic Scholarship: All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


Candidates for the doctoral degree must complete ninety credits beyond the baccalaureate, including thirty credits of dissertation research. Students must demonstrate proficiency in the fields of: mechanics, electromagnetic theory, quantum physics,  and thermodynamics and statistical mechanics.

Course work:

The following courses or their equivalent will be required of all candidates:
Methods of Theoretical Physics II
Quantum Mechanics I
Statistical Mechanics
One of the following:3
Survey of Condensed Matter Physics
Survey of Elementary Particle Physics
Survey of Nuclear Physics
Two of the following:
Advanced Mechanics
Quantum Mechanics II
Electromagnetic Theory I
Electromagnetic Theory II

In general, it is recommended that students take all the advanced courses in their specialty. Students specializing in any branch of theoretical physics are encouraged to take the quantum theory of fields, or a  related directed study. On petition of the student and his/her dissertation advisor, the Departmental Graduate Committee may waive any of the above course requirements.

Ph.D. Qualifying Examination: This will normally be taken after the student has completed approximately one year of graduate course work. Its purpose is to investigate the student’s knowledge of physics and capacity for creative thought. This is a written examination. The student must submit a Plan of Work prior to taking this examination.

Physics Colloquium (PHY 8995): It is required that all full-time graduate students register for and attend the Departmental Physics Colloquium each semester they are in residence.

Dissertation:  An approved dissertation is required. The thirty credit dissertation registration requirement is fulfilled by registering for the courses PHY 9991, PHY 9992, PHY 9993, and PHY 9994 (Doctoral Dissertation Research and Direction I, II, III, and IV, respectively), in consecutive academic year semesters. 

Academic Scholarship: All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.