Telephone: (302) 831-2661 or 831-2662
Faculty Listing: http://physics.udel.edu/research
The Department of Physics offers graduate programs leading to the MS and PhD degrees. The Department is located in Sharp Laboratory, which houses a physics library, research and teaching laboratories, a fully equipped and staffed machine shop, and an electronics shop.
The faculty of the Graduate Program are involved in a variety of experimental and theoretical research activities focused on the areas of condensed matter and materials physics, atomic and molecular physics, astronomy, astrophysics, space physics, and high energy physics. In-house experimental research laboratories are well equipped for studies of condensed and molecular matter. Off-campus research activities involve high altitude balloon flights, a worldwide network of neutron monitors, ultra-high energy cosmic ray and solar flare observatories in Antarctica, and gamma-ray telescopes in Arizona. Faculty also conduct research at national laboratories, both in the U.S. and abroad, and make frequent use of ground- and space-based astronomical observatories.
Requirements for Admission
Admission is selective and competitive, based on the number of well-qualified applicants and the limits of available faculty, facilities and financial resources. Those who meet stated minimum academic requirements are not guaranteed admission, nor are those who fail to meet those requirements necessarily precluded from admission if they offer other appropriate strengths. Applicants should have an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.2. In addition, scores for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), Verbal, Quantitative and Analytic, and the GRE Physics Subject Test and a complete official transcript or equivalent certified written record of academic work to date are required. At least three letters of reference should be sent independently by persons familiar with the applicant's academic work. Students whose first language is not English must provide a score for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). For financial support, a TOEFL score exceeding 600/250/100 is required.
Financial aid is available to graduate students in the form of teaching and research assistantships, and research fellowships. Inquiry regarding these appointments may be made when applying for admission. Please refer to Graduate Fellowships and Assistantships for additional information.
Requirements for the MS Degree
Students may choose to obtain an MS degree with or without thesis.
The MS without thesis degree requires 30 credit hours in PHYS courses, including at most 3 credits of research (PHYS 868). At least 6 credits of classroom courses must be at the PHYS 800 level. In addition, the degree candidate will survey the literature on a current topic in physics or astronomy, write a report on this topic and make a public presentation to the department, represented by three members of its faculty.
The MS with thesis requires 24 credits hours in PHYS courses, including at most 3 credits of research (PHYS 868). At least 6 credits of classroom courses must be at the PHYS 800 level. In addition 6 credits of thesis work (PHYS 869) are required. The purpose of the MS thesis is to demonstrate that the student can conduct research under supervision and communicate the results clearly in English. The thesis is defended in an oral examination administered by a committee of three members of the Department.
Requirements for the PhD Degree
Students may enter the PhD program after successfully completing an MS degree program, at the University of Delaware or elsewhere, or may be admitted directly to the PhD program directly after a Bachelors degree. To obtain a PhD, students will normally follow the course intensive regular track. Students entering the program with an MS degree in Physics or Astronomy that are particularly well prepared may choose to follow the less coursework intensive fast track.
Students on the regular track must satisfy the following course requirement:
- Taking and passing, with an average grade of 3.0 or better, 30 credits of course work within the first five semesters after entering graduate school. At least 18 of these credits must be from among 800-level PHYS courses excluding PHYS 868. Of these 18 credits at the 800 level, 12 credits (i.e., 4 courses) must come from the following group of 6 courses. These courses have to be passed with a grade of B- or better.
PHYS 809, PHYS 810, PHYS 811,
PHYS 812, PHYS 813, PHYS 815.
Students following the fast track must meet the following course requirements to remain on that track:
- Taking at least 12 credits of PHYS classroom courses at the 800-level within their first year.
PhD Candidacy Examination
The exam will be graded as a whole and will consist of 4 sections, each with 4 problems. The sections of the exam and the textbook and associated material from which that section will be based are: 1) Classical mechanics - covering all the material except chapters 4 and 14 in S. T. Thornton and J. B. Marion, "Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems," 5th edition; 2) Electricity and Magnetism - covering all material in D. J. Griffiths, "Introduction to Electrodynamics," 3rd edition; 3) Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics - covering chapters 1-9 in F. Reif, "Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics;" 4) Quantum Mechanics - covering chapters 1-8 in B. H. Brandsen and C. J. Joachain, "Quantum Mechanics," 2nd edition. Special relativity problems, if any will only appear on the Electricity and Magnetism section of the exam.
The exam will be given twice a year in late August and in late January. The exam must be passed no later than the first offering after completing 3 semesters in the graduate program (this means that Fall admits need to pass the exam given in January before the start of their 4th semester).
If a student on the fast track has not passed the written part of the exam after two semesters, the Graduate Review Committee will promptly review the student's progress and issue a determination whether the student should remain on the fast track or should shift to the regular track.
The oral candidacy examination: Within 18 months after passing the written part of the PhD candidacy exam, a PhD candidate shall make an oral presentation on the proposed thesis research to a committee consisting of the members of the PhD thesis committee and two additional members appointed by the director of the graduate program. This committee shall examine the students in matters regarding the proposed research program. A student who fails the examination has one opportunity to retake the exam. This has to take place within 6 month of the original examination.
Upon successful completion of a research program, the PhD candidate will write a dissertation showing originality of thought and scholarship, properly expressed in English. The dissertation is defended in an oral examination administered by the student's dissertation committee.
Although every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information in the Catalog,
students and others who use the Catalog should note that the policies, rules, regulations,
requirements for graduation, course offerings, and other materials reproduced in the Catalog change
from time-to-time and that these changes may alter the information contained in this Catalog.
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