The Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Physics

The requirements for the Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Physics Degree include the completion of 90 semester credit hours beyond the BS (60 semester credit hours beyond the MS) and the submission of an acceptable dissertation based on original and independent research. Usually, completing the Ph.D. program takes from four to six years beyond the BS degree. The detailed program for each Ph.D. candidate is determined in consultation with his or her Advisory Committee and is formalized on a Plan of Study. The following specific courses must be included on the Plan of Study, if they have not already been completed in an earlier program:


  • PHYS 5113 Statistical Thermodynamics and Kinetic Theory
  • PHYS 5213 Statistical Mechanics
  • PHYS 5313 Electromagnetic Theory
  • PHYS 5413 Classical Mechanics
  • PHYS 5453 Methods of Theoretical Physics
  • PHYS 5613 Quantum Mechanics I
  • PHYS 6313 Quantum Mechanics II


Three additional courses under the prefix PHYS at the 5000 or 6000 level, with at least one course not in the student's area of specialization, must be completed. All remaining credit hours of elective courses must be completed in physics or in allied fields. All such courses appearing on the final Plan of Study must be approved by the student's Ph.D. Advisory Committee. During progress toward the Ph.D. degree the student also takes PHYS 6000, research credit in Physics, as he/she conducts an original, independent research project under the direction of his or her research advisor.


To obtain formal admission to Ph.D. candidacy, the student (1) must receive approval from the physics faculty (acting as a committee of the whole) and (2) must pass the oral Qualifying Exam as administered by his or her Advisory Committee. The format and content of the Qualifying Exam is determined by the student's Advisory Committee.


After completing the necessary course work, being admitted to formal Ph.D. candidacy status, and preparing an original dissertation, the final requirement is the successful defense of that dissertation before the Advisory Committee.