The doctoral degree in physics is awarded to a student who has demonstrated mastery in the field of physics and a distinct and superior ability to make substantial contributions to the field. The quality of work and the resourcefulness of the student must be such that the faculty can expect a continuing effort toward the advancement of knowledge and significant achievement in research and related activities. Publication of research in peer-reviewed journals is expected. The doctoral degree in physics prepares students to enter research careers in academic, government and industrial settings. Non-research careers in a variety of areas including public policy, science communication, intellectual property law, and science education are also possible. The degree provides a foundation in either one of the following areas of expertise: astronomy and astrophysics, photovoltaics and condensed-matter physics consisting of theory and experiment, atomic and molecular physics, medical physics, biophysics, photonics. A strong training maybe expected in research methodologies and practices, rigorous hypothesis-driven scientific investigation, and the dissemination of research results and ideas through scholarly article publication, presentation at conferences, other universities and research settings. In general, work for the Ph.D. takes five years of study beyond the bachelor’s degree. A substantial portion of this time is spent in independent research leading to a dissertation. Normally 90 credit hours of study beyond the bachelor’s degree are required for the Ph.D. Students may opt to get a M.S. degree during their Ph.D. program.
Requirements for the Doctoral Program
For the doctor of philosophy degree, a student must complete a total of 90 hours of graduate credit including the following:
|PHYS 7220||Classical Mechanics||3|
|PHYS 7250||Classical Electrodynamics I||3|
|PHYS 7320||Quantum Mechanics I||3|
|PHYS 7450||Statistical Mechanics||3|
|PHYS 8040||Physics and Astronomy Professional Development Seminar||1|
|Select at least 18 additional hours of credit in physics in courses numbered higher than 6100 approved by the student's committee||18|
|Dissertation research 1||30-60|
30 to 60 hours allowed for the dissertation research depending on the nature of the research and the needs of the student.
The doctoral degree requirements include a Ph.D. qualifying examination, a comprehensive examination, and a final oral examination. Passing the qualifying examination is a prerequisite for status as a Ph.D. candidate in physics. After passing the qualifying examination, the doctoral student must select a field of specialization. A faculty committee is formed, chaired by the research adviser, to evaluate the student’s progress and to establish an appropriate program of course work. This committee administers the oral comprehensive examination, after which only the dissertation research requirement remains. The graduate program ends with the student presenting the dissertation and defending it satisfactorily in an oral examination.
Ph.D. in Physics with Concentration in Astrophysics
The Ph.D. in physics with concentration in astrophysics satisfies all the requirements for the Ph.D. in physics while preparing students for a career in astronomy and astrophysics.
To fulfill the requirement of 18 hours of credit in physics courses numbered above 6100, the concentration requires:
|PHYS 6810/7810||Stellar Astrophysics I||3|
|PHYS 6820/7820||Stellar Astrophysics II||3|
|PHYS 6830/7830||Galactic Astronomy I||3|
|PHYS 6840/7840||Galactic Astronomy II||3|
|Select two related elective courses:||6|
|Atomic & Molecular Spectroscopy|
Other appropriate courses
|Select one of the following:||3|
|Special Topics (on an astrophysics-related topic)|
|A satisfactory dissertation in astronomy or astrophysics with a supervisor who is a member of the Ritter Astrophysical Research Center.|
Ph.D. in Physics with Concentration in Materials Science
The Ph.D. in physics with concentration in materials science satisfies all the requirements for the Ph.D. in physics while preparing students for a career in materials science.
In addition, the concentration requires:
- Two core courses in the fundamentals of materials science:
Course List Code Title Hours PHYS 8540 Structure, Defects And Diffusion 4 PHYS 8550 Thermodynamics And Phase Transformations In Condensed Systems 4 Total Hours 8
- Two additional elective courses in materials science and engineering chosen from a list of courses approved by the faculty of the Center for Materials Science and Engineering; and
- A dissertation in a materials-related field with a supervisor who is a member of the Center for Materials Science and Engineering.
Ph.D. in Physics with Concentration in Medical Physics
The Ph.D. in physics with concentration in medical physics satisfies all of the requirements for a Ph.D. in physics degree while preparing students for a career in medical physics. The medical physics-related courses, which total at least 27 credit hours, are provided by the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. The student’s faculty advisory committee will consist of faculty members from the department of physics and astronomy and the medical physics fields. The committee may also include other members appropriate for this degree. A dissertation research project is chosen that will have relevance to both physics and medical physics. The Ph.D. requirement of 18 additional credit hours outside the core courses will be satisfied by the specified additional graduate courses in physics and in medical physics.