The research tool requirements must be met by demonstrated competency in two of the following: (1) Demonstrate knowledge of basic numerical procedures frequently used in computational physics. This may be satisfied by earning a grade of 3.0 or higher in PHYS 6200 or equivalent; (2) Demonstrate knowledge of differential equations at the level of MATH 5740. Students can satisfy this requirement by earning a grade of 3.0 or higher in PHYS 6150; (3) Demonstrate knowledge of physics research in either (a) equipment and laboratory practices or (b) advanced computational techniques, with satisfactory performance in PHYS 6800, or 6810, or 6820.
The courses PHYS 6100, PHYS 6150, PHYS 6200, PHYS 6220, PHYS 6300, and PHYS 6620 normally are taken during the student’s first year. In order to continue in the Ph.D. program, a student must attain a grade point average of 3.00 or higher in PHYS 6150, PHYS 6220, PHYS 6300, and PHYS 6620.
The second year courses normally include PHYS 6630, PHYS 6230, PHYS 6240, and possible one specialty course. Upon completion of PHYS 6150, PHYS 6220, PHYS 6230, PHYS 6240, PHYS 6300, PHYS 6620, and PHYS 6630 the student will take the Comprehensive Examination. This examination covers the content of these courses and basic undergraduate material, and consists of both written and oral portions. The student is expected to take this examination upon completion of the fourth semester. The examination may be repeated once.
Upon successful completion of the Comprehensive Examination, the student will, upon counsel with the graduate advisor and with the consent of the faculty member involved, select a research advisor. The advisor must be a member of the graduate faculty. With agreement from the research advisor, the student will select a dissertation committee subject to the approval of the graduate dean. This committee will consist of the research advisor and three additional graduate faculty members, at least one of whom is from outside the Department of Physics.
Within six months of passing the Comprehensive Examination the student is expected to present a dissertation proposal to the Department of Physics members of his/her dissertation committee. A student is given a grade of satisfactory or unsatisfactory on this Dissertation Proposal Presentation (DPP). Upon receiving a satisfactory grade, the student shall continue into their dissertation research. Otherwise, the DPP may be repeated only once, and this must be done within three months’ time of the first presentation.
At the completion of the dissertation, the student will present an Oral Dissertation Defense. During this defense, the dissertation committee will ask questions concerning the dissertation and concerning the student’s research area. Members of the committee should be provided with copies of the dissertation at least one month in advance of the defense. The dissertation and the student’s knowledge of the subject areas must be deemed acceptable by the committee. The requirements and procedures for submission of a dissertation to the Graduate College can be obtained from that college.
Graduate students are required to attend the Physics Colloquium, which constitutes a program for graduate students and physics faculty, presented by members of the WMU physics faculty and visitors from other institutions on topics related to their research specialties. Graduate students are also expected to attend public lectures sponsored by the Department of Physics.