Jun 20, 2024  
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2020-21 
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2020-21 [Archived Catalog]

Physics - PHD

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Doctor of Philosophy in Physics

Physics – PH3331

Department of Physics and Astronomy
Clippinger Laboratories 251B
Ohio University
Athens, OH 45701

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: https://www.ohio.edu/cas/physics-astronomy/graduate/physics-phd

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 optional. 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 (physicsgradapps@ohio.edu).

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.

Graduation Requirements

The Ph.D. in Physics requires a minimum of 90 credit hours. The following requirements must be completed in accordance with an approved program of study. Courses of labs 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.

Computational Physics

Complete at least one course in computational physics:


All Physics & Astronomy students are expected to participate in the Departmental Colloquium each semester.

Culminating Experience

Candidates must successfully complete and orally defend a dissertation.

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