Timeline for Satisfactory Ph.D. Progress

This page describes the requirements for those students who enter the graduate program in 2012 or afterwards.

The following is the standard program for graduate students. Deviations from this program should only be done with the agreement of the student's academic advisor and/or the Graduate Program Director. More advanced students may, for example, request course requirement waivers, based on having completed equivalent courses elsewhere. One may also choose to take more than two 600-level core courses in a single semester, as a means to complete the requirements earlier. Finally, with approval from the Graduate Program Director, an advanced student may be allowed to take the written Qualifying Exam in the Spring semester of the first year.

First year

Fall semester: P605 Math Methods and P601 Classical Mechanics

Spring semester P614 Quantum I and P606 Classical Electrodynamics

Second year

Fall semester: P602 Statistical Mechanics and P615 Quantum Mechanics II

January - take the written part of the Qualifying Exam

Spring semester: Initiate work with a research group and take one or two research area courses.

April: If the written part of the Qualifying Exam was not passed, a second exam will be scheduled in April.

Summer: Students are required to have chosen a Chair (who typically will become the Ph.D. research advisor) for the research/oral component of the Qualifying Exam by 15 July. With the Chair the student should choose a topic and set a date for the oral exam. The name of the Chair, the chosen topic and the date of the exam should be conveyed to the Physics Graduate office (Jane Knapp), by the deadline of 15 July.

Third Year

Before 15 November: Research/oral component of the Qualifying Exam

This is a good time to take additional research area courses, to set up a Ph.D. Dissertation Committee, to plan a Ph.D. Prospectus, and, of course, to perform research.

Fourth Year

Before the end of September: Set up a Ph.D. Committee

Before the end of January: Present and submit a Ph.D. Prospectus.

During this year, it is expected that the student will take thesis credits, take research area courses, if appropriate, and continue to take courses to fulfill the Research Area Course requirement

Statute of Limitations

Students have 6 years after admissions to complete a Ph.D. - this is referred to as the Statute of Limitations. Students may be granted an extension of the Statute of Limitations by the Graduate Program Director if they are making satisfactory progress towards a Ph.D. and have a well designed plan for completing the Ph.D. requirements.

Indication of Progress

Students shall meet briefly each year with the Graduate Program Director to discuss plans, progress and deadlines. A summary of the meeting will be sent to the student and advisor.

After passing the qualifying examination, it is expected that the student will aggressively pursue joining a research group in his/her area of interest. If there are concerns about how to go about this, the student is encouraged to meet with his/her academic advisor and/or the Graduate Program Director.

Students must fulfill the Research Area Course requirement and accrue 18 thesis credits.

For Instructions

Physics Department web site: Requirements for the Ph.D.

Graduate School Website: Graduate school policies and forms, Dissertation and other information

Impact of Schedule upon Status and Financial Support

1. Assistantship forms for reappointment will only be processed for students making satisfactory progress as outlined above.

2. Before a request is made to extend a student's Statute of Limitations (SOL), a justification and confirmation of satisfactory progress must be received from the student's research advisor.