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Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree in Physics

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These regulations supplement the general requirements of the University. While some listings overlap, this document and University publications should be consulted for the full description. The Physics Graduate Committee can grant exceptions to some Physics requirements.

To maintain qualification for study toward the Ph.D. beyond the first year, the student must, no later than the end of the second semester of study, select a general thesis topic and find a research advisor.

To maintain qualification for study toward the Ph.D. beyond the second year, the student must pass the comprehensive examination and obtain at least a grade of B in each of these courses: PH661, PH663, PH669. The comprehensive examination will consist of challenge and/or conceptual problems based on the knowledge of undergraduate material in Physics. One or two problems will be composed by each member of a thesis committee.* The student will have up to 30 days to submit written solutions, and will then have to defend his/her work in an oral examination before the thesis committee.

By the end of the third year of study, to qualify for continuing in the Ph.D. program, the student is required to write a Ph.D. Research Proposal, copied to the Department files, and to defend the doctoral topic before a thesis committee.* This defense will consist of an oral presentation of the proposed thesis topic. The thesis committee members must be appointed, and receive Research Proposal copies, at least one week before the oral defense. At the conclusion of the defense, the thesis committee must be satisfied that the thesis topic is of doctoral quality and that the student’s background is adequate to carry out the proposed research.

Out of the total 90 credit hours for Ph.D., the specific Physics requirements for graduation are: Major field: at least 24 credits. Minor field: at least 9 credits. Credits outside the Department: at least 6. Seminar credits: at least 6. The courses taken in Physics must include PH661, PH663, PH664, PH669, PH670. The requirement for PH664 and PH670 (passing grade) can be fulfilled any time during the study, and the student’s advisor can approve replacement of these two courses by other advanced graduate courses in the student’s chosen research field.

Each semester of full-time study in residence at Clarkson prior to the completion of 78 credits, the student must take PH683 or PH684 (Graduate Seminar). Note also that the University requires Teaching or Research Assistants to take at least one thesis (PH699) credit per semester.

Oral presentation and defense of the written doctoral dissertation before a thesis committee,* are required. Consult the University regulations for details of submission of Ph.D. dissertations, and defense procedures.
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*The thesis committee will be composed of five members; a minimum of three will be from the Clarkson Physics Department and at least one from outside the Department. The thesis committee members must be appointed by the student’s advisor. A unanimous decision of the thesis committee is required for passing.