All teaching and research assistants must take 6 credits per semester (two classes) to be considered full time students; all other graduate students must take 9 credits per semester (three classes) to have full-time status.

Graduate level courses are numbered in the 900's; most of a graduate student's courses will be chosen from this group. In addition to the required lab course (805), Ph.D. students are allowed to count only two of the 800 level physics courses toward their degree. Other Physics 800 level courses may be taken to give full time status, but will not count toward degree requirements. Master's students may count an unlimited number of 800 level courses. Students may also take relevant courses in other departments (e.g. Math or Chemistry); the graduate advisor must decide if a course in another department is acceptable for graduate credit (for example, is this course part of an overall plan). Students may sign up for as many credits in Master's Thesis (899) or Doctoral Thesis (999) as necessary to make them full time. Ph.D. students must take a minimum of two semesters of 999.

Students who feel rusty or unprepared for any of the basic courses should consider taking the upper level undergraduate equivalent before proceeding to graduate work. Students should consult the professor for the course or the Graduate Advisor if they have questions about prerequisites for the graduate courses. The expected undergraduate preparation for graduate work in physics includes two semesters of quantum mechanics, two semesters of electricity and magnetism, one semester of classical mechanics, and one semester of mathematical methods of physics, all at the junior or senior level.

A grade of B - or better is required for all courses taken at the graduate level. If a student receives a lower grade in a course, the course must be retaken in order for it to count toward a degree. Students who receive three grades of C + or lower are no longer eligible to continue in the graduate program.

Students who have done graduate work at other schools should see the Graduate Advisor about waiving some courses that are required for the Ph.D. program. A catalog description of the course, course syllabus, and name of text used helps in determining if a waiver is appropriate.

In addition to courses, it is expected that all graduate students regularly attend the Physics Colloquia which are usually held Monday afternoons at 4pm. First year graduate students also take the one credit course, Introduction to Research in Physics.