University General Course Catalog 2012-2013 
    Aug 12, 2020  

Physics, Ph.D.

Advanced Degrees

The physics department offers graduate programs leading to the master of science in physics and the doctor of philosophy in physics. A master of science degree in atmospheric sciences and Ph.D. degrees in chemical physics and atmospheric sciences are also offered (see the Interdisciplinary section of this catalog). Although it is not a requirement, applicants are encouraged to complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), including the advanced physics portion. Please consult regulations of the Graduate School for general admission requirements.

Requirements for admission to graduate standing in physics are:

    A bachelor’s degree from an institution offering an approved major in physics (as defined by the American Institute of Physics).
    Completion of regular junior-senior courses in classical mechanics, magnetism, thermal and statistical physics, and quantum mechanics.
    An average grade of 3.0 or better in all physics and mathematics courses, and an overall average of 3.0 or better in all undergraduate courses.

Applicants whose records indicate a deficiency in any of the requirements listed above may be admitted on a probationary basis and may be required to take certain undergraduate courses (which do not carry graduate credit). All new graduate students are required to take a qualifying examination in general physics during the first year of graduate study. Graduate students who hold half-time assistantships are not permitted to enroll for more than 10 credits in graduate courses in any one semester.

The general requirements of the Graduate School must be followed by each student in physics working for an advanced degree.

Students wishing to pursue an advanced degree in atmospheric sciences should consult the section of this catalog on Interdisciplinary programs for admission, candidacy and degree requirements.

Candidates for the doctor of philosophy degree must satisfy all general requirements of the Graduate School. The purpose of the formal course work is twofold: to give the student a broad background in classical and modern physics, and to prepare students for the research work that will form the subject of the dissertation.

Students ordinarily are expected to have earned the master of science degree before entering the Ph.D. program. Before being accepted as a candidate, the student must have completed at least 75 percent of the required course work, and have passed a comprehensive examination on graduate level material in physics. The following courses or their equivalents must be satisfactorily completed for the doctoral degree in physics:


Total Credits (72 units)


The completion of a dissertation and a final oral examination are required. These are directed by the student’s graduate advisory committee.