Jun 15, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2007-08 
Graduate Catalog 2007-08 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Philosophy in Physics

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Dean Halderson,
Room 1135, Everett Tower

The Department of Physics offers a program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy in Physics. The main objective of this program is to prepare students for careers in teaching and/or research in colleges and universities, or for research in industry. Research is an integral part of the program and may be performed in either experimental physics or theoretical physics. The area of specialization may be astrophysics, atomic physics, condensed matter physics, or nuclear physics. Special facilities available for research include a 6 MV model EN tandem Van De Graaff accelerator. The graduate advisor in the Department of Physics will counsel the student until a research advisor is selected. Afterwards the student will plan his/her doctoral program in consultation with the graduate advisor and his/her research advisor.

Admission Requirements

Students entering this program are expected to have acquired a bachelor’s degree in physics or at least an equivalent amount of experience and training (including training in mathematics at the appropriate level). Prospective students are required to take the Graduate Record Examination General Test. Performance on this examination will be used as one measure in the determination of admission and financial support. It is also recommended that students take the Physics Subject Test part of the Graduate Record Examination. The departmental graduate advisor will provide assistance to students seeking admission to this program and will recommend ways of eliminating any deficiencies in course work.

Program Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy in Physics includes a minimum of 60 hours of graduate credit. These credits are composed of course work, supervised reading, seminars, and research. The research will be performed under the guidance of the student’s research advisor and must culminate in a dissertation suitable for publication. The required, minimum 60 hours of graduate credit shall consist of the following:

1. A core of basic courses listed below (28 credit hours).

2. Physics (15 credit hours).

3. Additional courses chosen from:

b. Courses mutually agreed upon by the student and the graduate advisor or the research advisor.

4. An overall grade point average of 3.25 in all graduate work.

Additional Requirements

The research tool requirements must be met by demonstrated competency in two of the following: (1) Programming at the level of MATH 5070 (e.g., the acquisition, analysis, modeling, or simulation of data); (2) a non-native foreign language at the level of FREN 4010, GER 4010, etc.; (3) differential equations at the level of MATH 5740; (4) or the use of physics research equipment at a level equivalent to PHYS 4660. PHYS 4660 is strongly recommended for those students who have not had an advanced laboratory course.

The courses PHYS 6150, 6220, 6300, and 6620 normally are taken during the student’s first year. Upon completion of these courses the student is required to take the Qualifying Examination. The Qualifying Examination consists of four testing sessions and will cover the contents of the four courses. This examination is a written examination; however, if deemed necessary for a more precise judgment, the student may be required to take an additional oral examination. The examination must be passed before any hours of PHYS 7300 Doctoral Dissertation or PHYS 7350 Graduate Research are taken. A student is allowed to take the Qualifying Examination only twice. It is recommended that the Qualifying Examination be taken at the end of the first year. This examination must be taken for the first time no later than the beginning of the student’s third year and must be passed before the beginning of the student’s fourth year.

The grade awarded on the Qualifying Examination is based not only on the student’s performance on the written examination, but also on his or her performance in courses. The grade represents the faculty’s judgment, based on all available evidence, on whether or not a student should become a doctoral candidate.

After successful completion of the Qualifying 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. This committee will consist of the research advisor and three additional graduate faculty members, at least one of whom is from outside the Physics Department.

As soon as possible after completion of all the core courses, the student must take the Comprehensive Examination. The Doctoral Program of Study form must be approved before this examination is taken. This examination consists of questions on the doctoral dissertation proposal and, possibly, on the core courses. A student will be given a grade of pass or fail. If a student fails the Comprehensive Examination, it may be repeated only once. At the completion of the dissertation, the student will take a Final Oral Examination. During this examination, 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 examination. 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.

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