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Home > Academics > Graduate Program > Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

See the Graduate Student Handbook for further details.

Entering Ph.D. students are expected to enroll in Physics 256 (Instruction in Teaching for Graduate Students) fall and winter term, which is taken in addition to three regular course credits.

A student will be admitted as a Ph.D. candidate upon:

  1. (a) Physics students: Receiving credit for seven out of the following eight core courses: Physics 76, 91, 100, 101, 103-106.

    (b) Astronomy students may receive credit for four of the eight core courses Physics 76, 91, 100, 101, 103-106, and any four of Astronomy 115-118 and Physics 114.
  2. Passing the departmental Qualifying Examination.
    Sample qualifying exam - 2006
    Sample qualifying exam - 2007
  3. Presenting a thesis proposal [Ph.D. Thesis Proposal Application] and successfully defending it before an appointed Ph.D. committee for certification.
  4. Passing a departmental review of the student's course record and preliminary research progress.
  5. Receiving credit for at least two terms of Supervised Undergraduate Teaching (Physics 257) and Physics 256.

Students must achieve thesis proposal certification by the end of the fall term of their fourth year, in order to remain in good standing. Students who successfully complete these requirements will be admitted to Ph.D. candidacy by the department.

Students are required to meet with their committee at least once per year between the time of their thesis proposal and their defense. The yearly progress report meeting can take whatever form the advisor deems appropriate (short presentation, informal discussion), but requires that the student, the advisor and the in-house members of the committee all be in attendance. It is the responsibility of the student to arrange each meeting and deliver a completed confirmation sheet within one week of the meeting. Confirmation sheets will be available from the department office and here on this website.

The candidate will receive the Ph.D. degree upon:

  1. Receiving degree credit for at least twelve graduate courses, exclusive of teaching courses. Only two of the twelve courses may be Graduate Research, both of which must be completed no later than the second summer term in residence.
  2. Receiving credit for at least two terms of Supervised Undergraduate Teaching (Physics 257).
  3. Completing a dissertation of substantial significance and publishable quality.
  4. Successfully defending the dissertation before the Ph.D. Thesis Committee in a public forum.

It is expected that most students will receive the Ph.D. degree by the end of the fifth year of graduate study.