Graduate

Ph.D. Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy, Physics

  1. Proficiency in four core fields:
    • Classical mechanics
    • Classical electromagnetism
    • Statistical mechanics
    • Quantum mechanics


    Students can demonstrate proficiency through:

    1. passing the relevant course(s) with final grades or average final grades of A- (3.67) or better as described below:
      • An average combined final grade of A- or better in the following three courses meets the proficiency requirement for both classical mechanics and classical electromagnetism:
        • PHY 131 - Advanced Classical Mechanics
        • PHY 145 - Classical Electromagnetic Theory I
        • PHY 146 - Classical Electromagnetic Theory II
      • An average combined final grade of A- (3.67) or better in in the following three courses meets the proficiency requirement for both statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics:
        • PHY 153 - Statistical Mechanics
        • PHY 163 - Quantum Theory I
        • PHY 164 - Quantum Theory II
      • A final grade of A- or better in PHY 131 - Advanced Classical Mechanics meets the proficiency requirement for classical mechanics.
      • An average combined final grade of A- or better in PHY 145 - Classical Electromagnetic Theory I and PHY 146 - Classical Electromagnetic Theory II meets the proficiency requirement for classical electromagnetism.
      • A final grade of A- or better in PHY 153 - Statistical Mechanics meets the proficiency requirement for statistical mechanics.
      • An average combined final grade of A- or better in PHY 163 - Quantum Theory I and PHY 146 - Quantum Theory II meets the proficiency requirement for quantum mechanics.
    2. Passing a written qualifying exam in the subject(s).

    Assessment for proficiency in the core courses for first year students (policy)

  2. At least one course from any two of the following specialized fields:
    • Astronomy/astrophysics
      • AST 121 - Galactic Astronomy
      • AST 122 - Extragalactic Astronomy
    • Condensed matter physics
      • PHY 173 - Solid State Physics I
      • PHY 174 - Solid State Physics II
    • Particle physics
      • PHY 183 - Particle Physics I
      • PHY 184 - Particle Physics II
    • General relativity and cosmology
      • PHY 167 - General Relativity
      • PHY 268 - Cosmology
    • Advanced quantum mechanics
      • PHY 263 - Advanced Quantum Mechanics

  3. Oral qualifying examination
    By the end of the third year, the student must complete an oral qualifying examination in his/her chosen specialized field.

    Read more about the oral qualifying examination >

  4. Independent research
    After satisfactory performance on the oral qualifying exam, the candidate undertakes a program of independent research under the guidance of their research advisor, culminating in the preparation and defense of a doctoral dissertation. Students must register for one credit of PHY 0297 - Graduate Research and one credit of PHY 0298 - Graduate Research in their final two semesters of the program.