- General Information
- Requirements for the MS Degree in Physics and Astronomy
- Requirements for the PhD Degree in Physics and Astronomy
- Graduate Certificate in Engineering Physics
- Graduate Certificate in Atmospheric Sciences
Departmental research programs exist in the following fields: astronomy and astrophysics atomic, molecular, and chemical physics; condensed matter physics; nuclear and elementary particle physics; statistical mechanics; nanotechnology; and biophysics. Experimental research is conducted in state-of-the-art on-campus laboratories for atomic, molecular, and chemical physics, laser spectroscopy of solids, and material synthesis. Research involving the application of computer simulational techniques to condensed matter physics, material science, and stellar atmospheres is conducted at the Center for Simulational Physics. Astronomical research is conducted with the facilities of the National Radio and Optical Observatories those of NASA, and the SARA consortium.
All graduate students are strongly encouraged to attend the weekly departmental colloquia (Thursdays at 4 PM) and to attend and to participate in the many topical seminars presented each week. All graduate students in the Ph.D. program are required to earn two credits for PHYS 6000, which gives one hour of credit for attendance of weekly colloquia, as part of their program of study.
Each student is assigned an Advisory Committee upon entering the Department. The committee consists of the Graduate Coordinator (Prof. Magnani), serving as Chair of the committee, and 2 other faculty members appointed by the Graduate Coordinator. The purpose of this committee is to help in guiding the student to Ph.D. candidacy. The student will meet with this committee during his or her first semester of residency. In subsequent semesters, advisement will be done individually with the graduate coordinator but all information and advisement recommendations will be transmitted via email to the committee members by the graduate coordinator and approved before the student is advised; in special cases, it may be necessary to convene the committee. The student's major professor, when determined, will be appointed as a fourth member of the student's Advisory Committee but will not serve as Chair.
This committee will remain intact until after the oral comprehensive exam, at which time the student's major professor will take over as chair of the committee and the original committee will be disbanded. A minimum of two additional members (which may include previous members) will be selected by the major professor and student. Graduate School guidelines for composition of Advisory Committees should be followed.
For MS students, the major professor will replace the Graduate Coordinator as the committee chair as soon as the student has chosen his or her field of study (and major professor). The other two members may also be replaced if the major professor and student so choose.
Most of the Laboratory Assistantships offered by the Department of Physics and Astronomy are considered to be "4/9 time", in other words, 4/9 of a full weekly workload of 40 hours. The rest of the student's time is expected to go towards his/her studies. The time is divided between laboratory contact hours, grading of lab reports, and grading of exams and homework problems. A typical assignment might include:
- Preparation, instruction, and grading associated with 3 two-hour laboratories in introductory courses;
- Grading of exams and homework problems under the supervision of a faculty member
The Laboratory Assistant assigned to a laboratory must remain in the lab room the entire lab period in order to help the students best. Prior to meeting his or her assigned lab, each Lab Assistant must have performed the week's experiment and be thoroughly familiar with the apparatus and procedures. At the beginning of each period the Lab Assistant will explain the lab to the students and demonstrate use of the apparatus. In most cases short lab reports are handed in at the end of the lab period and the Lab Assistant grades them and returns them the following week. Special problems can be discussed with Mr. Barnello (Room 327) or Prof. Caillault (Room 237).
The responsibilities as a grader depend largely on the faculty member to whom the Lab Assistant is assigned. In most cases the Lab Assistant (i.e., the grader) grades homework problem sets and exam questions given to him or her by the faculty member. In some cases the grader will be asked to post solutions to the problems. Mr. Barnello is in charge of allocating space for posting such solutions. Immediately after being assigned grading duties, the Lab Assistant should discuss his or her assignment with the faculty member to whom he or she has been assigned.
The assignment of a Lab Assistant to laboratories and grading duties is made by Prof Caillault and Mr. Barnello during the first week of classes. Prof. Caillault is the supervisor of the Lab Assistants in all of their instructional duties. Questions, problems, and requests may be discussed with him at any time.
The performance of all Lab Assistants will be evaluated annually. If a student's performance is judged to be unsatisfactory at any time, the assistantship will be terminated.
Any graduate student who is put on academic probation will lose his/her GLA. This does not affect research assistantships or temporary awards of GLA if there is a shortage of students to teach. When the student is no longer on academic probation, he/she is eligible to apply for a GLA position; priority will be given to these students over new students (to whom a commitment has not been made) but not over any current GLA.
In addition to the Lab Assistantship funds, there are also Research Assistantship funds available from some of the faculty. These Research Assistantships are funded by Federal and/or State Research funds.
Stipends are at two levels. For the 2008-9 school year, applicants admitted into the Ph. D. program will be paid $15,000 for the academic year ($1500/month for ten months) and will be guaranteed at least $2000 in summer support. Applicants admitted into the M. S. program will receive a bit less for the academic year. In addition to the stipend, tuition is waived for students with assistantships; graduate assistants pay only fees (approximately 438
As with our Ph.D. program, all schedules must be approved by the advisory committee before the beginning of each semester. The graduate school requires all students to maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above; the Department of Physics and Astronomy imposes no additional grade requirements for MS students.
A student must take a minimum of 24 in-class hours and 6 thesis-research hours. 12 of the in-class hours must be at the 8000 level, as required by the graduate school. We require that the 3 following courses must be taken: PHYS 8011, PHY 8201, PHYS 8101; the committee will also strive to ensure exposure to all core subjects.
Of the 4 courses not required to be at the 8000-level, 3 must be physics or astronomy courses. This allows as many as 2 courses to be taken outside of physics and astronomy.
The student must file an application for admission to candidacy for the MS degree after having completed the following:
- Program of Study approved by the Advisory Committee and the Dean of the Graduate School.
- A GPA of 3.0 or better has been maintained in all graduate courses taken and in the courses in the program of study.
The application for admission to candidacy must be filed with the Dean of the Graduate School by the end of the 1st week of classes of the student's final semester in which courses on the Program of Study will be completed. Application forms may be obtained from the graduate secretary.
An application for graduation must be filed with the Registrar's Office no later than Friday of the 1st full week of classes 2 semesters prior to the anticipated graduation date. The Registrar's Office requires that an application fee of $10.00 must be paid by MS candidates.
The Written Exam will be offered two times a year, once in January (on the first Monday and Tuesday following New Year's Day) and once in August on the Monday and Tuesday preceding the first day of classes). The student will be given a total of 8 hours (4 each day) to complete the exam which will consist of 12 problems (6 each day) covering material ranging from introductory calculus-based physics to advanced topics in a typical student's undergraduate physics education (example tests are available). The exam must be taken the first time it is offered following the student's completion of one semester of residency (not including summer), however, the student has the option of taking the exam before his or her first semester of residency. If this option is taken advantage of, the student has three attempts to take the exam, otherwise only two are allowed.
There is no specific determination of passing or failing this part of the student's overall degree requirements. Rather, the student and his Advisory Committee will make a judgement regarding whether the performance on the exam suggests that the student should take it again a second (or third) time. The student's entire record (written comprehensive exam, coursework, and oral comprehensive exam) will be examined by the Advisory Committee and the faculty as a whole after completion of the oral comprehensive exam; at this time the student will either be promoted to Ph D. candidacy or advised to seek a terminal Master's degree.
Six core courses are required for the Ph.D. degree:
Classical Mechanics (PHYS 8011)
Quantum Mechanics I & II (PHYS 8101-2)
Electromagnetic Theory I & II (PHYS 8201-2)
Statistical Mechanics I (PHYS 8301)
The Department requires that a student achieve a GPA of 3.0 in these "core" courses; the Graduate School requires an overall GPA of 3.0. The Departmental probation policy is the same as the Graduate School's.
In addition, all first-year students are required to take 2 credit hours of PHYS 8990 each semester. In these courses the student will work with two different professors or groups each semester for periods of one half semester. The purpose of this requirement is to allow students to sample research areas and become acquainted with the faculty, students, and research associates and the research areas in the department.
As noted above, 2 credit hours of PHYS 6000 are required of all students. It is strongly recommended that this requirement be satisfied during the student's first year of study. In the second year, students will be expected to take the Physics Journal Club course (PHYS 8950). The department offers numerous special topics courses. In addition, many graduate courses in other departments can be valuable to a student's education. The student will have to take at least three electives by the end of his fourth year. The student's Advisory Committee may add additional specific courses to the Program of Study which both enhance the background in his/her research area and provide diversity in his/her overall program.
A student who wishes to be considered for exemption of any of the core course requirements will be required to take the written comprehensive exam just prior to the student's first semester of residence (August, if matriculating in the Fall semester, January for the Spring semester). The graduate coordinator will notify the student well in advance of the exam dates.
Based on the student's performance on the written exam and the student's transcripts, the advisory committee will decide what coursework may be exempted Irrespective of how many courses are exempted, the student is still required to take a minimum of 30 hours at UGA (a graduate school minimum). The student must also maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above in his or her program of study as stipulated by the graduate school.
If the student's performance on the written exam is judged to be unsatisfactory, then he or she will have forfeited his or her rights to waiving any of the core. The student would then be considered a normal" student and be required to take the core. The student would also be given the "normal" maximum-of-two opportunities to pass the written exam, i.e., the next time the written exam is offered would be considered the student's first real" attempt.
Part or all of the requirement for PHYS 8990 may be waived by the student's Advisory Committee. Only students who have affiliated with a research group and chosen a major professor may petition for this waiver.
The oral comprehensive exam will be administered early in the semester after successful completion of the core courses (normally the Spring semester of the student's second year of residency). The exam may be taken only once. For the case of an incoming student whose physics background is such that he or she is not prepared to take the required core immediately upon enrollment in the program, the student's Advisory Committee (not the student) has the power to delay the oral exam by a maximum of one year.
Three weeks prior to the date when the oral exam is to be administered, the student's Advisory Committee will assign the student a topic that is not directly related to the student's research interests. The student will make a 20-minute presentation on this topic at the beginning of the oral exam. During and following the presentation, the committee will ask questions that test the depth of the student's understanding of the topic. This will flow into a general questioning of the student where a wide range of subjects may be covered. The Advisory Committee will make a concerted effort to formulate general questions such as to examine the breadth of the student's physics knowledge. To provide continuity in the examination, the general questions will be formulated in order to have at least loose ties with the student's presentation topic.
Following the exam the committee will discuss the student's performance. The student will not be informed immediately of the Advisory Committee assessment of his or her exam. Instead, the Advisory Committee will communicate its final report to the faculty as soon as possible. Any faculty member may ask that a full faculty meeting be called to discuss the Advisory Committee Report.If no meeting is requested, the Committee will endeavor to inform the student of its recommendations within ten days of the oral examination.
As stipulated in the section on Advisory Committee above, the student's major professor will take over as chair of the committee and the original committee will be disbanded.
Students that are not admitted to Ph.D. candidacy may choose to pursue a terminal MS degree.
A preliminary program of study, developed by the major professor and the doctoral student and approved by a majority of the advisory committee, will be submitted to the graduate coordinator by the end of the student's first year of residence. The program of study should consist of 16 or more hours of 8000- and 9000-level courses in addition to research, dissertation writing, and directed study.
The program of study for a student who bypasses the master's degree must contain 4 semester hours of University of Georgia courses open only to graduate students in addition to 16 semester hours of 8000 and 9000 level courses. Doctoral research (9000), independent study courses, and dissertation writing (9300) may not be counted in these 20 hours.
The student must file an application for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree after having completed the following:
- Program of Study approved by the Advisory Committee and the Dean of the Graduate School.
- A GPA of 3.0 or better has been maintained in all graduate courses taken and in all of the "core" courses.
- Written and oral comprehensive exams have been passed.
- The Graduate School's residency requirement has been met.
- Find a professor who agrees to become the student's research advisor.
Application forms may be obtained from the graduate secretary.
A candidate for the Ph.D. must present a dissertation to his or her major professor on a subject connected with Physics and/or Astronomy. The dissertation must represent originality in research, independent thinking, scholarly ability, and technical mastery of the chosen subject. Its conclusion must be logical, its literary form must be acceptable, and its contribution to knowledge should merit publication.
An application for graduation must be filed with the Registrar's Office no later than Friday of the 1st full week of classes 2 semesters prior to the anticipated graduation date. The Registrar's Office requires that an application fee of $25.00 must be paid by Ph.D. candidates.