Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy - University of Houston
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Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy

To receive the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Physics, a student must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. Course Requirements:
    1. Successful completion of a minimum of 54 semester hours for which graduate credit is accepted by the Physics Department. These 54 hours must include courses that satisfy Core I, Core II, and Core III requirements, and at least 9 additional semester hours of advanced elective courses at the 7000 level.
    2. Core I requirements: All of the following courses:
      1. Physics 6303 (Methods of Mathematical Physics I)
      2. Physics 6309 (Advanced Mechanics I)
      3. Physics 6315 (Quantum Mechanics I)
      4. Physics 6316 (Quantum Mechanics II)
      5. Physics 6321 (Electrodynamics I)
      6. Physics 6327 (Statistical Physics I)
    3. Core II requirements: Two of the following options:
      1. Physics 6304 (Methods of Mathematical Physics II)
      2. Physics 6313 (Graduate Laboratory)
      3. Physics 6328 (Advanced Statistical Mechanics)
      4. Physics 6350 (Computational Physics)
    4. Core III requirements: One of the following options:
      1. Physics 7315 (Quantum Many Body Theory)
      2. Physics 7316 (Quantum Field Theory)
    5. Prior to and after achieving Ph.D. Candidacy all full-time students are required to register for at least 9 hours each semester.
    6. Selection and sequencing of courses MUST be discussed in meetings at least once each semester with a graduate advisor. If a thesis advisor has been selected, they will serve as the student's advisor. If no thesis advisor has been chosen, the Chairman of the Graduate Studies Committee shall serve as the student's advisor.
    7. Taking any courses outside the Physics Department requires prior approval of the student’s thesis advisor or the Chairman of the Graduate Studies Committee, and the Chairman of the Physics Department.
      h. Any requests for deviation from these requirements must be made in writing to the Graduate Studies Committee.
  2. Qualification for Ph.D. Candidacy:
    1. Full-time students must advance to candidacy no later than 2 years after entry into the PhD program (for part-time students, the equivalent requirement is within the first 36 hours of graduate coursework). No comprehensive examination is given by the Physics Department. Instead, to advance to candidacy, a student must (i) take all six Core I courses and earn a grade of B or better in each one, and (ii) earn such a grade at the first attempt in at least four (4) of the six Core I courses. A student who earns less than a B grade in three (3) or more Core I courses at the first attempt will be dismissed from the program due to failure to advance to candidacy. If the failure is due to extenuating circumstances, the student can appeal the decision to the Graduate Studies Committee.
    2. With approval of the Graduate Studies Committee, students who feel that they possess an adequate knowledge of a Core I course may simply take, and pass, the final exam of the course. However, if they fail the final exam, then it is counted as one attempt at passing the course.
    3. Any requests for deviation from these requirements must be made in writing to the Graduate Studies Committee.
  3. Original Research Requirements:
    1. An acceptable dissertation based on original research in Physics must be presented and defended orally before the student’s doctoral dissertation committee. Copies of the final draft of the dissertation must be given to the members of the committee prior to the deadline published in the Graduate Studies Bulletin. The student must provide copies of the final draft to the committee at least two weeks (preferably one month) prior to the defense. Written announcement of the dissertation defense must be sent to the Physics graduate faculty at least one week prior to the date of the defense.
    2. Students should select a research advisor (thesis advisor), ideally before the second semester of graduate work has been completed, but absolutely before the beginning of the student’s third academic year. Shortly after a research advisor has been selected, a dissertation committee must be selected. The student and the advisor should jointly select the committee. The dissertation committee must consist of the research advisor, at least two (normally three) additional graduate faculty members from the Physics Department, and at least one UH faculty member from outside the department. A list of the committee members must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Committee for approval and for subsequent approval by the Dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
    3. Students must assemble their doctoral committee within the first semester after they pass all of the PhD. core courses listed above, or before the end of their third academic year whichever comes first. A dissertation committee must be on file with the College no later than the semester prior to the anticipated graduating semester.
    4. 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.
    5. Any requests for deviation from these requirements, or any special considerations, must be made in writing to the Graduate Studies Committee.
  4. Additional Requirements:
    1. A student who is working on a thesis is required to be continuously registered for Physics 8X99 for a minimum of 6 semester hours per year (12 months). Registration in Physics 8X99 is required in the semester in which the student plans to graduate.
    2. The original copy of the dissertation with the signature page must be given to the Graduate Office of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
    3. Other requirements may be mandated by the College of Natural Science and Mathematics and/or the University.
  5. Colloquium:
    1. All graduate students are required to attend the weekly Physics Department Colloquium. Failure to do so without an approved proper excuse may result in a loss of financial support.