PhD Requirements


Core classes

The following 8 core courses are required for all Ph.D. students.

Core classes (required)
PHYS 805 Experimental Physics
PHYS 931 Mathematical Methods of Physics
PHYS 935 Statistical Physics
PHYS 939 Theoretical Mechanics
PHYS 941 Electromagnetic Theory I
PHYS 942 Electromagnetic Theory II
PHYS 943 Quantum Mechanics I
PHYS 944 Quantum Mechanics II

All physics graduate students should also take two semesters of the Introduction to Physics Research & Teaching Seminar (806) during their first year in the program.


In addition, four additional 3 credit courses (not including seminar courses or Doctoral Research) are required, two of which may be at the 800 level. For possible choices, see Electives. Space Science students (those students whose Ph.D. advisor is a member of the EOS faculty) have additional constraints on their course requirements; these are discussed in the Model Curricula section.

Proficiency in teaching

All Ph.D. students are required to develop and demonstrate proficiency in lecturing. Normally this requirement is met by students satisfactorily completing one year of teaching as a Teaching Assistant. The faculty will accommodate special arrangements, by petition, to achieve and demonstrate the equivalent level of oral communication.


Graduate students in the PhD program are expected to complete the following milestones within the timeframe stated:

by end of 1st year waive any required classes
by beginning of 2nd year pass written comprehensive exam
by end of 3rd year finish core classes
by beginning of 4th year pass oral qualifying exam

There are no foreign language requirements for a Ph.D. Students who are not yet proficient in speaking or understanding English should take English As A Second Language, which is offered through the English Department.