Mar 03, 2024  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog [Not Current Academic Year. Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

Physics, PhD

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Natural Sciences & Mathematics  > Department of Physics  > Physics, PhD

The Doctor of Philosophy in Physics degree signifies that the recipient has acquired a broad and in-depth knowledge of the discipline and has demonstrated research competence meeting the national standards. Students pursuing this degree typically possess a bachelor’s degree in physics or related fields. Physicists generally are recognized for their ability to experimentally investigate and theoretically model the real world in ways that further our understanding of it. These skills are highly valued by a variety of industries and graduates from the program continue in careers within the electronics, medical, financial, and energy industries, as well as academia.

For more information, please visit the Physics Graduate Programs website.

Admission Requirements

Applicants are expected to have completed, or be in their last term of completing, a bachelor’s in physics or a related field, or a master’s degree, and have acquired a working knowledge of the basic areas of physics including mechanics, thermodynamics, and electromagnetism. Applicants will need to submit scores from the General GRE examination taken in the last 5 years (verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing; advanced GRE is recommended but optional). International applicants have further documentation requirements, including proof of English language proficiency, which are described on the International Graduate Students web page. International applications require a $75 application fee.

Admission to the program is competitive within the applicant pool. The admissions committee and the department chair will evaluate the credentials of each applicant for the Ph.D. program, considering a broad range of criteria, including:

  1. Content of the undergraduate program and, if applicable, graduate program and grades earned, particularly in the areas of physics and mathematics.
  2. A cumulative GPA of 3.00 or better in the last 60 hours.
  3. Letters of recommendation from three (3) individuals (preferably faculty members), who are able to judge the candidate’s academic abilities and potential for scholarly research.
  4. GRE scores (see above).
  5. Fulfilling the university’s English Language Proficiency Requirement .
  6. Scientific, professional, technical publications and Master’s Thesis (if applicable).

Degree Requirements

Credit hours required for this degree: 54.0

To receive a Ph.D. in Physics, a student must satisfy the following three requirements:

1. Course Requirements

Successful completion of a minimum of 54 semester hours for which graduate credit is accepted by the department. These 54 hours must include courses that satisfy Core I, Core II, and Core III requirements; at least an additional 9 semester hours of elective courses at the 7000 level (courses satisfying the core not included); and successful completion of a minimum of 3 and no more than 12 credit hours of doctoral dissertation. Courses taken outside the department of Physics will require prior approval from the graduate faculty advisor.

2. Qualification for PhD Candidacy

No comprehensive examination is given by the department. Instead, students are required to pass all 6 Core I courses with a grade of B or better. (A grade of B- in these courses is considered a failing grade for candidacy purposes.)

3. Original Research Requirements

An acceptable dissertation based on original research in Physics must be presented and defended orally before the student’s doctoral dissertation committee.

Academic Policies

University of Houston Academic Policies   

Academic Policies: College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics   

Department Academic Policies

  • For full-time students, all Core I courses must be successfully completed within the first two years of graduate studies. (Part time students must pass all Core I courses within the first 36 attempted graduate hours.)
  • Core I courses that a student fails may be attempted a second time, but the student must successfully complete all of them in the first two years of graduate study.
  • Students must assemble their doctoral committee within the first semester after they pass all the Ph.D. core courses listed above, or before the end of their third academic year whichever comes first. The dissertation committee must consist of the research advisor, at least two (normally three) additional graduate faculty members from the Department of Physics, and at least one UH faculty member from outside the department. A dissertation committee must be on file with the College no later than the semester prior to the anticipated graduating semester. More details on committee composition can be found on the Graduate Degree Requirements: College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics .
  • Annual Progress Evaluation (APE): Before the end of the student’s third academic year, AND IN EACH SUBSEQUENT ACADEMIC YEAR, the student must make an oral presentation to their doctoral dissertation committee. The committee must certify that the student is making adequate progress toward completion of their Ph.D. in a timely manner.
  • All graduate students are required to attend the weekly Department of Physics Colloquium. Failure to do so without an approved proper excuse may result in a loss of financial support.

Scholastic Requirements: Graduate students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.00 in all course work to be considered in good standing. Students not in good standing cannot receive a graduate degree and can be declared ineligible for support with a graduate assistantship (IA, TA, RA/TE or RA).

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