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University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 23, 2024
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog

Physics, PhD

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Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy

The PhD program in physics, described in more detail in the referenced documents, aims to assure that graduates are well versed in the fundamentals of their fields, have a broad knowledge of contemporary developments, and are experts in the techniques and current state of the subject area of their research. Students are required to complete the six core courses (PHYS 2373 , PHYS 2513 , PHYS 2541 , PHYS 2555 , PHYS 2565 , PHYS 2566 ) within the first two years of their program. Students that are already familiar with the material of one or several core courses may directly take the course exam(s) at the start of the term. Students entering with a Masters degree from another institution are encouraged to review Section A.5 of the departmental requirements document. At least four classes numbered above 3000 are also required for the degree. Teaching practice, presentation and attendance of seminars, and writing and an oral presentation of a dissertation give candidates broad experience in the effective communication of their work.

A minimum of 72 graduate credits are required for the PhD degree.

The PhD preliminary evaluation, which also serves as the comprehensive examination for the MS, is based on final examination scores in the core graduate and/or advanced undergraduate subjects. All students are required to pass the preliminary examination by the end of the first year.

PhD students are also required to complete the PhD comprehensive examination, which is based on final examination scores in the core graduate courses. This examination should be passed within the first two years of residency. Students who were exempted from a particular core course are required to take the final examination in that course.

The PhD dissertation research, a major part of the PhD program, must contribute significantly to the advancement of knowledge in physics or astronomy. Students will be required to meet annually with their thesis committee and successfully defend their dissertation before this committee and the University community.

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