PhD in Physics


Professor of Physics Harald Griesshammer (left) point at a white board while talking to a female student (right)


The PhD in Physics program prepares students for teaching and research-based positions in physics. Working alongside our renowned faculty mentors, PhD students become experts in their field. 

Doctoral students delve into a research specialty chosen from the departmental core areas: nuclear physics, biophysics or astrophysics. They join a research lab corresponding to their interests and often work as teaching assistants, research assistants or fellows during their studies. 

Application Deadlines

Fall Semester: January 15
Spring Semester: October 1 (Note: Spring admission is not always offered to PhD applicants.)



Course Requirements 

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Programs.

The requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Program.

Students must pass a general examination and an oral defense of the doctoral research program.

PHYS 6110Mathematical Methods of Theoretical Physics
PHYS 6120Advanced Mechanics
PHYS 6210Electrodynamics and Classical Field Theory
PHYS 6220Quantum Mechanics I
PHYS 6310Statistical Mechanics
PHYS 6320Quantum Mechanics II
PHYS 6130Computational Physics I
PHYS 6230Computational Physics II
PHYS 6330Computational Physics III
PHYS 6510Communications in Physics
One of the following options:
Option A
PHYS 6610Nuclear and Particle Physics I
PHYS 6710Nuclear and Particle Physics II
Option B
PHYS 6620Biophysics I
PHYS 6720Biophysics II
Option C
PHYS 6630Astrophysics I
PHYS 6730Astrophysics II

 Specific course requirements can be waived on a case-by-case basis upon approval of the department’s graduate advisor.

Research fields

  • Nuclear physics—experimental and theoretical studies on the structure, electromagnetic, weak and strong interactions, and scattering of few-body systems at low and intermediate energies;
  • Biophysics and condensed-matter physics—experimental, theoretical, and computational studies of structures and functions of cells, biological networks and biomolecules, deciphering information encoded in genome; 
  • Theoretical and observational astrophysics—high-energy astrophysics, multi-wavelength studies of extreme energy-density environments and huge energy releases in astrophysical objects;
  • Interdisciplinary physics, including energy research and physics education research.