Ph.D. Guidelines

All PhD students are strongly encouraged to dual enroll in the MS program, and receive a non-thesis MS in Physics along the way. The Graduate Committee has at least four Physics graduate faculty with the major professor as chair. In addition, in the Physics PhD program, an external graduate faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences must be included, and for the Engineering PhD program a graduate faculty from the Bagley College of Engineering must be included.

Students are required to attempt all four written preliminary examinations within two and a half years after entering the program. If a student does not pass the four written preliminary examinations, she/he will be encouraged to complete the MS-Thesis-Option program. For this scenario, it would be advantageous to be dual-enrolled at the time of the failing of the exams. For Engineering PhD students, her/his Graduate Committee may require a written Engineering preliminary examination.

Within 12 months after passing the written preliminary examination (the pass date is the date of passing the fourth exam) the student has to take the oral preliminary examination. During this exam, the student gives a presentation to the Graduate Committee of the proposed PhD research project. A summary of this presentation should be given to the members of the Graduate Committee at least two weeks prior to the exam. A student may attempt the oral preliminary exam at most twice. After passing the exam, the student will be admitted to candidacy.
Students must take the oral preliminary examination before:

    June 1 for December graduation,
    November 1 for May graduation,
    February 1 for August graduation.

The student must graduate within 5 years after passing the oral preliminary exam (hard rule by the Graduate School).

Required forms for the oral preliminary examination:

  • Committee Request
  • Graduate Program of Study
  • Graduate Program of Study-Attachment Sheet
  • Declaration of Examination/Defense
  • Report of Examination Results
  • Admission to Candidacy
  • Physics PhD Comprehensive Examination Evaluation Form (Physics PhD only)
  • Comprehensive Examination Evaluation Form (Engineering PhD only)

After completion of the dissertation, the student defends the dissertation to her/his Graduate Committee. This includes a presentation of the research results by the student.

Required forms for the dissertation defense:

  • Declaration of Examination/Defense
  • Report of Examination Results
  • Physics PhD Dissertation Defense Evaluation Form (Physics PhD only)
  • Dissertation Defense Evaluation Form (Engineering PhD only)

In addition, two copies of the signature page must be signed.