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Graduate Course Catalog 2014-2015

Graduate School


Physics (PHYS)


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This program is offered in Durham.


Degrees Offered: M.S., Ph.D.

The Department of Physics offers the degrees of master of science and the doctor of philosophy. Areas of specialization are space physics and astrophysics, experimental nuclear physics, biomedical imaging, theoretical nuclear and high-energy physics, experimental physics of solids and nano-materials, and string theory.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the master of science and doctor of philosophy programs are expected to have a bachelor's degree in science, with at least 24 credits in physics and closely allied fields. Applicants must submit current scores (within five years) from the general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Degree Requirements


M.S. Degree Requirements

The courses required for the master of science in physics are PHYS 805, 931, 939, 941, and 943. Students are also expected to take PHYS 900 and PHYS 901. Students in the M.S. program are not required to take the Ph.D. comprehensive examination. Students may select one of the following plans:


Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The courses required for a doctor of philosophy degree in physics are PHYS 805, 931, 935, 939, 941-942, and 943-944.  Four additional electives must be taken (excluding 999). Students are also expected to take two semesters of PHYS 806.

For students doing Ph.D. research in astrophysics or space physics, three of their four elective courses must be PHYS 951 and PHYS 953, and one of PHYS 954 or PHYS 987.

Admission to candidacy for the degree is based primarily on demonstrated ability in formal coursework; experience in teaching, equivalent to at least half time for one year; passing a written comprehensive examination; and passing an oral defense of a proposed thesis topic. The comprehensive examination is normally taken during the first year and must be passed by the middle of the second year. Upon completion of a dissertation, doctoral candidates will take an oral examination based on the area of their research.

Interdisciplinary Research

The department encourages research in areas related to physics or applied physics. If students desire to do research in a field related to physics, special provisions may be made. Contact the department chairperson or graduate adviser for details.