Grad Student Timeline

The Graduate Student Handbook, Effective Fall 2019, details the procedures and instructions for physics graduate students. This document should be read carefully.  Below is a summary of a typical timeline through completion of the Ph.D. 


Year 1
Take core courses in Mechanics (Phy 420), Mathematical Methods of Physics (Phy 428), Atomic and Molecular Structure (Phy 362), Quantum Mechanics I (Phy 369), Electricity and Magnetism (Phy 421), and Statistical Mechanics (Phy 442).

Summer 1
Research project (Phy 491) June-August.

Year 2
Fall Semester: Electricity and Magnetism (Phy 422), Quantum Mechanics II (424), and one elective course. Many students go to group meetings in the research area they are considering for their dissertation work.

At the beginning of the Spring Semester, students take the Qualifier Exam.

Spring Semester: Nuclear and Elementary Particle Physics (Phy 364), breadth and elective courses, formally choose a research advisor, start research if there is time, and attend group meetings, as appropriate.

Year 3
Take specialized courses, as appropriate, do preliminary research, and put together a Proposal for Candidacy, which includes a research proposal and general exam.

Year 4
Take specialized courses, as appropriate, and concentrate on research. An annual meeting with your dissertation committee is required.

Year 5
Complete the research, publish papers, complete and defend the dissertation.

Students who enter with a Master's Degree, or equivalent course work, take the Qualifying Exam after the first semester and choose a research advisor the next semester and start on research the next summer.