Dec 05, 2021  
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2019-20 
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2019-20 [Archived Catalog]

Physics - PHD

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study by Academic Unit

Degree Title and Name:  Doctor of Philosophy in Physics

Program Name and Number:  Physics – PH3331

Department/Unit: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Delivery Mode:  Athens Campus

Terms of Entry:  Fall, Spring, Summer

Program Overview:  The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers the Doctor of Philosophy degree. This involves a combination of course work and the completion of an original, scholarly piece of research that is then presented as a Ph.D. dissertation. The research activities of the Department are broad and include astrophysics and cosmology, biophysics, condensed matter and surface sciences, and nuclear and particle physics. Experimental and theoretical studies take place in these areas. Furthermore, inter-disciplinary and inter-departmental programs are also possible.

Students taking the normal load of three courses per semester in year 1 and two courses per semester in years 2-4, usually complete the program in 5-6 years.

Program Learning Objectives:

  • Achieve a good understanding of physical laws and principles.
  • Gain experience with measurement techniques and equipment.
  • Develop analytical skills and the ability to solve problems.
  • Develop the ability to assess uncertainties and assumptions.
  • Demonstrate the ability to present the results of investigations orally and in writing.
  • Acquire facility in the use of mathematics to solve problems and test hypotheses.

Opportunities for Graduates:  The Ph.D. degree qualifies the recipient to pursue work as a professional physicist. It also readies him/her for a variety of careers involving analytical thinking, and experimental or computational skills. More than 75% of our students go on to postdoctoral research positions at other universities and/or national laboratories. These postdoctoral positions further their training and are considered an essential step towards securing a permanent academic or research position. A significant fraction of our recent graduates have used this career path to obtain a tenure-track position at universities or colleges.

Link to Program:

Graduation Requirements:

  1. Completion of the set of six core courses (or equivalent) with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
  2. Satisfactory completion of a graduate-level laboratory course, a computers-in-physics course and four courses chosen from: ASTR 5201, ASTR 5202, PHYS 5061, PHYS 5301, and non-core courses at the 6000- or 7000-level (excluding research courses PHYS 6940, PHYS 6950). At least one of these four courses must be in an area outside the student’s area of research specialization.  Courses or laboratory courses offered by other departments may substitute for a limited number of these requirements with the approval of the student’s advisor and the Graduate Chair. Course requirements may be waived with adequate evidence of equivalent work at other institutions.
  3. Minimum of 90 semester hours.
  4. Participation in the weekly departmental colloquium, PHYS 8001, is required.
  5. Satisfactory completion of the prospectus examination.
  6. Submission of approved Ph.D. dissertation and satisfactory completion of oral defense.

Culminating Experience:  The final course capstone is a Ph.D. dissertation manuscript; defense of the written dissertation is the final requirement for the Ph.D. degree.

Admission Requirements:  Students entering this program are normally expected to have successfully concluded undergraduate work in mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics. They should also possess a working knowledge of mathematics including calculus, ordinary differential equations, Fourier series, vector analysis, and basic elements of partial differential equations. The minimum grade point average (GPA) requirement is 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). The Verbal and Quantitative GRE General Tests are recommended. The Physics GRE Subject Test is optional. All non-native English speakers must demonstrate English proficiency by submitting official test scores for either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS academic). The minimum scores for TOEFL are 95 (iBT) or 590 (PBT); for the IELTS a minimum score of 7 across all bands is required. Deficiencies of undergraduate preparation should not deter a prospective student with an otherwise good record, as these may be made up during the first year of graduate study.

Application packages should be completed by January 15; offers are made by April 15. Usually students enter the physics program in the fall.   Entry during the spring or summer is possible although not generally encouraged. For all details concerning graduate programs, contact the Chair of the Graduate Admissions Committee (

International Students:  This program permits full-time enrollment in residence at Ohio University, and an I-20 may be issued based on admission to this program.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study by Academic Unit