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.)

 


 

Graduate Virtual Open House

 

 

Graduate Virtual Open House: October 18–28

Registration is open for the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS) Graduate Virtual Open House! The online event includes program-specific information sessions and opportunities to engage with current graduate students, faculty and our admissions team.

The Physics Department is hosting an information session for prospective graduate students on Tuesday, October 26 at 9 a.m. EDT.

 

 


Learn More 

 


Course Requirements

Note: Additional elective PHYS courses (such as PHYS 6810 Applied Statistics and Data Analysis in Physics)  can be found here.

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.

A minimum of 72 credits in graduate coursework, including at least 45 credits in required and selected courses taken at the pre-candidacy stage and at least 6 and at most 27 credits in dissertation. Up to 12 of these credits may be taken in courses offered by the other affiliated members of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. Successful completion of a general examination, satisfactory progress toward the degree (documented in the annual student reports and faculty feedback), and an oral defense of the doctoral thesis are also required.

Required *
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
Completion of 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 - Radiative Processes in Astrophysics
PHYS 6730Astrophysics II - High-Energy Astrophysics
Additional course requirements
6 additional credits in graduate-level PHYS courses.
6 credits in graduate-level courses related to the student's field(s) of study, which may be taken outside the department, subject to the advisor's approval.

 *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.

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.