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College of Arts & Sciences

Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree


Dr. Madappa Prakash specializes in nuclear theory.

Core Courses

Students pursuing a Ph.D. in Physics & Astronomy are required to pass the set of core courses (PHYS 5021, 5041, 6001, 6011, 6021, and 6031, see below) with a B (3.0) average. First- and second-year graduate students consult with assigned advisers to determine a program of study. Typically a student would take all the core courses in his or her first year, and would do so in the following order:


  • PHYS 5021 Quantum Mechanics 1
  • PHYS 5041 Mathematical Methods in Physics 1
  • PHYS 6001 Classical Mechanics


  • PHYS 6021 Quantum Mechanics 2
  • PHYS 6031 Electrodynamics 1
  • PHYS 6011 Statistical Mechanics 1

In addition to these core courses, Ph.D. students must take

  • A graduate-level laboratory course (ASTR 5271, PHYS 5701, PHYS 6701, PHYS 6741, or PHYS 6751)
  • A computational physics course (PHYS 5071)
  • Four courses chosen from the following list: ASTR 5201, ASTR 5202, PHYS 5061, PHYS 5301, and non-core courses at the 6000- or 7000-level (excluding research courses PHYS 6940, PHYS 6950).

At least one of these four courses must be in an area outside the student's area of research specialization. Students typically will complete the coursework requirement of the Ph.D. degree by the end of their third year in the program. This can be achieved by taking one-two of the required classes per semester throughout the second and third year of study. Details on the graduate classes available in the department can be found at the Physics & Astronomy Graduate Courses Page. See opportunities to take a special study with a faculty member focused on a specific topic here.

Courses or Labs offered by other departments may substitute for a limited number of these requirements with the approval of the student's adviser and the Graduate Chair. Course requirements may be waived with adequate evidence of equivalent work at other institutions.

General Requirements

Participation in the weekly colloquium, PHYS 8001, is required of all graduate students. Participation in one of the area-specific seminar series and in special topics courses is encouraged.

All students in our graduate program are required to be making adequate progress towards their degree in order to remain in the program. In addition, the Graduate College has a requirement that all graduate students maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.0.


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