Ph.D. in Applied Sciences Physics Option
The Physics Department offers a program leading to a PhD in Applied Science with a specialization in Physics. For information about the graduate program, prospective students should contact Graduate Co-Adviser Prof. Anatoliy Pinchuk. Please refer to the physics research page for a summary of primary research interests and programs. The application process is online through Admissions. More information can also be found on the Graduate School website.
Enrolled students should contact Graduate Co-Adviser Assoc. Prof. Karen Livesey, for more information on Comprehensive Exams, Defenses and graduation paperwork.
All applicants at a minimum requirement must:
- Hold a baccalaureate degree in biological sciences, mathematics, physics or equivalents from an accredited college or university and have an appropriate background of undergraduate physics courses
- Have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.00 ("A" is equivalent to 4.0)
- Submit 1 Official Transcript of all previous graduate and undergraduate work.
- Provide three letters of recommendation, all past university transcripts and fill out an application form
- Submit 1 goal statement
- Have interests that fit with out department's research directions
Promising students who do not meet all of the requirements may be considered as provisional applicants. Provisional status may be removed when the student fulfills all the requirements set out by the Physics Department when they were admitted. Students admitted provisionally should work with the Physics graduate adviser to ensure they have all the coursework preparation needed before undertaking graduate-level classes.
Additional requirements for some students
- Students with international transcripts must take the Physics GRE exam. A minimum score for regular admission is in the range of 520-550.
- Applicants for whom English is a second language must complete the TOEFL exam with a minimum score of 560 (paper-based exam) or 83 (internet-based exam) or 220 (internet-based exam). A band score of 6.5 on the IELTS is also acceptable. If the student has successfully completed one year of full-time academic study at a U.S. institution, this requirement can be waived. An oral interview with Physics faculty may also be required as proof of English proficiency, as the department sees fit.
- Applicants who already hold a Masters degree in Physics should discuss their application with a potential faculty research adviser in advance, and mention these discussions in their goal statement.
Satisfying these minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to our program.
The graduate application forms can be found here.
Transfer of Credits
Students transferring into the program with a Master's degree in an appropriate discipline also need to satisfy all the standards below for graduation. However, students may request a review of their existing credits and may have the number of credits required reduced at the discretion of the physics graduate advisor. If appropriate, the entire set of Master's degree courses can be applied to the PhD program.
A transfer of credit form must be completed by the student and the graduate adviser, and must be approved by the graduate school, by the time the student is due to graduate from the PhD program.
The student must complete a minimum of 66 hours of coursework and dissertation. This includes:
- A minimum of 36 hours of course work with GPA above 3.0
- 21 hours of Core courses
- 15 hours of Specialization, Elective or Interdisciplinary courses
- A minimum of 30 hours of dissertation work, pass the comprehensive exam, and complete and successfully defend the dissertation
Physics Core courses (21 hours)
|PHYS 5030||Mathematical Methods in Physics||3|
|PHYS 5410||Statistical Mechanics||3|
|PHYS 6210||Theoretical Mechanics||3|
|PHYS 6250||Introduction to Quantum Mechanics||3|
|PHYS 6260||Quantum Mechanics II||3|
|PHYS 6310||Electromagnetic Theory I||3|
|PHYS 6320||Electromagnetic Theory II||3|
Primary Physics Elective courses (15 hours)
|PHYS 5150||Solid State Laboratory||2|
|PHYS 5160||Thin Films Laboratory||1|
|PHYS 5200||Computational Physics||3|
|PHYS 5420||Physics of Materials||3|
|PHYS 5460||Introduction to Solid State Physics||3|
|PHYS 5510||Modern Optics||3|
|PHYS 5480||Surface and Interface Physics||3|
|PHYS 5490||Physics of Thin Films||3|
|PHYS 5720||Stellar Structure and Evolution||3|
|PHYS 5950||Special Topics (when offered, such as Biophysics,
Nonlinear Dynamics, Magnetism, or Theoretical Physics)
Note: Courses from other departments may also be used as electives with the prior written consent of the graduate advisor.
Graduate Physics Courses Schedule
Please note that classes are offered every other year. You must plan accordingly to make sure that you take classes when they are available. The tables below show when we anticipate offering graduate courses.
The core courses should follow the schedule below unless there are exceptional circumstances. Electives are often determined only one or two semesters in advance, depending on faculty availability and student demand. However, we will try to keep close to the schedule below. This is meant as a general guide only.
Academic Year 2018-2019, 2020-21, 2022-23, etc.
|Fall (even year)||Spring (odd year)|
|Core:||5030 Mathematical Physics|
|Core:||6250 Intro to Quantum Mechanics||6260 Quantum Mechanics II|
|Elective:||5460 Intro to Solid State Physics I||5470 Solid State Physics II|
|Elective:||5960 Special Topics: Nonlinear Physics||5150 Solid State Lab|
|Elective:||5490 Physics of Thin Films||5950 Special topics: Biophysics|
|Elective||5950 Spec Topics: Particle Physics||5510 Modern Optics|
Academic Year 2019-2020, 2021-2022, 2023-24, etc.
|Fall (odd year)||Spring (even year)|
|Core:||6210 Theoretical Mechanics||5410 Statistical Mechanics|
|Core:||6310 Electromagnetic Theory I||6320 Electromagnetic Theory II|
|Elective:||5200 Computational Physics||5950 Special topics: Magnetism|
|Elective:||6950 Special topics: Nanotechnology||5480 Surface and Interface Physics|
Other courses that are not on 2 year schedule but will be included as appropriate:
- 6900 Theory of the solid state 1
- 6910 Theory of the solid state 2
- 5950 & 6950 Special topics (Nonlinear Physics, Group Theory, etc - as available)
There will be a comprehensive examination administered by the dissertation advisory committee to determine if the dissertation topic is appropriate, and if the student is adequately prepared for work on the dissertation. This exam will normally be given when a student has completed 9 dissertation credit hours. Students refusing to take the comprehensive exam when asked by Physics faculty member(s) may have a hold placed on their enrollment until this fulfilment is completed.
After the dissertation has been accepted by the dissertation advisor, a final oral dissertation defense examination will be conducted by the dissertation advisory committee. The dissertation committee will contain physics faculty plus one outside member of the graduate faculty (from another department or another university). The dissertation adviser will be in charge of choosing the committee.