2021-22 Graduate Catalog

Physics, Ph.D.


Completion of the following courses with a GPA of 2.75 or better:

PHYS 60003Methods of Advanced Physics


PHYS 60303Quantum Mechanics


PHYS 60313Quantum Mechanics


PHYS 60323Advanced Analysis & Modeling


Plus 4 courses from the following:

PHYS 60203Classical Mechanics


PHYS 60403Electrodynamics


PHYS 60413Electrodynamics


PHYS 60503Solid State Physics


PHYS 60603Statistical Physics



PHYS 60970Research Problems (9 hours)


PHYS 90980Dissertation (6 hours)


PHYS 90990Dissertation (6 hours)


A minimum of 9 hours of PHYS 60970 Research Problems must be completed with an average grade of 2.75 or better.

Additional coursework may be required to ensure adequate preparation for the specified courses. Each full-time student is required to participate in departmental seminars, formally report yearly on their progress and present in a public forum at least once each academic year.

The course requirements for any course other than PHYS 60970 Research Problems may also be met by satisfactory performance on a written examination administered by the faculty over the subject matter of that course or by transfer of credit in an equivalent course from another institution.

Students are required to have completed an MA or MS degree in physics or astronomy as a requirement for the Ph.D.

There is no language requirement for the Ph.D. in Physics.

Advancement to Ph.D. Candidacy

The advancement to Ph.D. candidacy consists of completion of course work and the passing of two major exams:

  1. Physics Evaluation Examination: The physics evaluation exam will be given each semester as needed. Incoming students will take a single four-hour written exam covering topics expected from a standard undergraduate physics degree. Students must pass the exam to be eligible to continue on to their second year of graduate study. Incoming students who fail the exam are allowed to retake the exam once at the beginning of the semester following the semester they entered the program. Students who do not pass the exam will be dismissed at the completion of their second semester.
  2. Dissertation Proposal Exam: The dissertation proposal exam will be taken in the spring semester of the second year and is comprised of:
    1. A written proposal for the dissertation research, including a description of any research already completed, must be submitted to the graduate faculty of the department at least two weeks prior to the oral exam (c.). Details on the required format for the report are available from the department.
    2. An oral presentation of the dissertation proposal to the department faculty on the subject of the written report.
    3. A comprehensive oral exam administered by the graduate faculty of the department to assess a student’s readiness to carry out the dissertation research. If the graduate faculty of the department attach a condition to passing the dissertation proposal exam, (e.g. revision of the predissertation report or submission of additional material), the additional work must be completed by no later than the beginning of the semester following the presentation. The removal of the condition is subject to the approval of the graduate faculty. Students who do not pass the examination are encouraged to complete the requirements for a terminal master’s degree if they have not already done so.

The results of the competency exam, course work, the dissertation proposal, and other indications of research potential will all be considered by the departmental graduate faculty. Advancement to Ph.D. candidacy will be approved by a completion of the above requirements and a majority vote of the department graduate faculty.


Completion of a dissertation consisting of an original research project directed by a faculty member at TCU. 6 hours of PHYS 90980 Dissertation and six hours of PHYS 90990 Dissertation are required. A final oral exam in defense of the dissertation is required and at least one paper based on the dissertation research must be accepted for publication in an appropriate scientific journal.