University General Course Catalog 2022-2023 
    Mar 02, 2024  

Chemical Physics, Ph.D.

The Ph.D. degree in chemical physics provides an interdisciplinary curriculum for those students whose primary research interests are in atomic and molecular physics and physical chemistry. While requiring the student to complete a rigorous selection of courses that outline the foundations of modern chemical physics, the program also offers extreme flexibility in the choice of dissertation topic as the student may choose any of the affiliated faculty in either the Department of Physics or the Department of Chemistry to serve as a research adviser. The program is offered by the College of Science.

Contact Information

Dr. Sergey Varganov, Director of the Chemical Physics Program
(775) 784-1406
Graduate Handbook *

Program Objectives/Student Learning Outcomes

  • Theoretical knowledge
  • Research methods, planning, and experiment design
  • Literature research and communication skills
  • Scientific creativity and independence

Admission Requirements

Students who are admitted to the program must satisfy the Ph.D. admission requirements of either the chemistry or physics department, as well as the general admission requirements of the Graduate School.

I. Program Requirements

Candidates for the doctor of philosophy degree must satisfy the Graduate School requirements and complete a minimum of 72 credits, which include the following: 15 credits of core curriculum, 24 credits of research and dissertation, 2 credits of seminar, and 31 credit of elective courses (12 of these credits may be in independent study and 3 credits may be dissertation and 1 credit is for comprehensive examination. The 1 credit comprehensive examination does not count toward the 30 credits of required 700- level course work). Acceptable elective courses include any course approved by the student’s graduate advisory committee.

A. Doctor of Philosophy Core Curriculum

C. Additional Requirements

i) Comprehensive written and oral exam

All students enrolled in the program will be required to pass a comprehensive written and oral examination, based on material covered in the core courses listed above. The written portion of the comprehensive exam must be taken within one year of the student’s completion of the core curriculum (typically by the end of the second year). The oral portion of the comprehensive exam will be taken within one week of the written exam. Students who do not achieve satisfactory scores on the first comprehensive examination may retake both parts of the exam within six months of the first testing date.

ii) Research

Once the comprehensive exam has been satisfactorily completed, students are expected to pursue a vigorous research program under the direction of one of the affiliated chemical physics faculty. Research areas supported by the faculty span a broad range of both experimental and theoretical chemical physics topics. Students complete their research programs by writing a dissertation, which must be approved by the graduate advisory committee before a degree is conferred.

II. Total Units (72 units)


Graduate Handbook
* Curriculum requirements in the catalog supersede the Graduate handbook.