Apr 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Physics Major, PhD

The PhD in Physics prepares students for professional careers in government, industry or academic institutions. Students learn to perform independent research in thriving areas of physics. Original research is required and the PhD dissertation must be rigorously orally defended.

Concentrations (Optional)

Atomic, Molecular, Optical, and Low Temperature Physics
Chemical Physics
Condensed Matter and Surface Physics
Elementary Particle Physics
Energy Science and Engineering
Mathematical and Computational Physics
Nuclear and Relativistic Heavy Ion Physics
Theoretical Physics

Campus Code

Knoxville Campus

UTSI Campus

Admissions Standards/Procedures

  • A student who enrolls in graduate study with the intention of attaining an advanced degree in physics will have completed an undergraduate major in physics or its equivalent.
  • These courses constitute the minimum courses prerequisite to graduate study.
    • PHYS 311-312, 321, 361 (See undergraduate catalog for more information on 300-level courses)
    • PHYS 431-PHYS 432, PHYS 421, PHYS 461, PHYS 411-PHYS 412 (See undergraduate catalog for more information on 400-level courses)
  • A student who intends to present physics as a graduate minor will have completed an undergraduate minor in physics or its equivalent.
    • Physics 311 and PHYS 431-PHYS 432 constitute the minimum course work prerequisite to a minor in physics.
  • In addition to meeting the Graduate Council’s minimum requirements, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (general and subject).

Academic Standards

  • Have at least a 3.00 GPA on the graduate core curriculum in physics

Credit Hours Required

  • 72 graduate credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree
  • 48 graduate credit hours beyond the master’s degree

Required Courses (All Concentrations)

Non-Course Requirements

  • All first-year graduate students are required, for advising purposes only, to take a diagnostic examination in undergraduate physics during the fall semester registration period.
  • Students are required to find a research advisor and form a doctoral committee before the end of the second year of study. This committee is responsible for advising the student and monitoring his/her progress toward the doctoral degree.
  • Presentation and defense of an original research proposal.