Physics - PhD

The physics PhD program prepares students for professional careers in physics. These careers include faculty positions at universities and colleges and work in research laboratories and industry.  

Requirements for Degree.

  • Credit hours (54): Students must pass a minimum 36 hours in approved course work with a B– grade or better in each class and complete 18 hours of dissertation research in Phscs 699R. The required graduate seminars Phscs 691R and Phscs 696R do not count toward the approved coursework hours. The final GPA must be 3.0 or above.
  • Required courses: Students are required to enroll in Phscs 601 and 602 their first year, in Phscs 691R each semester of residence, in Phscs 696R the first two semesters of residence, and in 3 hours of Phscs 795R at or before the beginning of the dissertation.
  • Suggested courses vary by discipline –
  • Acoustics: Phscs 660, 661, 662, 721
  • Atomic, Molecular, and Atomic Physics: Phscs 641, 642, 651, 652, 731
  • Condensed Matter Physics: Phscs 581, 641, 642, 651, 652, 781, 782
  • Plasma Physics: Phscs 641, 642, 645, 651, 652, 721, 731, 745
  • Theoretical and Mathematical Physics: Phscs 641, 642, 651, 652, 721, 731
  • Additional hours from 500-, 600-, and 700-level courses, subject to departmental approval, to make a total of at least 36 hours (may include up to 3 hours of Phscs 697R).
  • Study list: In the first year of study a student must be accepted as a research student by a member of the department graduate faculty and with their guidance submit a study list which is the list of courses they will take to complete the 54 hour requirement. This list must be approved by the department graduate coordinator.
  • Qualifying examination: A department-administered written examination to demonstrate a graduate-level understanding of the physical principles on which the graduate courses build must be successfully passed within 22 months of entering the program. A student has three opportunities to pass the exam. These exams are scheduled near the beginning of fall, winter and spring semester, depending upon demand.
  • Candidacy examination: After two years each student presents a written and oral report of research accomplished at BYU to an examining committee. A passing grade is given if the committee decides that the student displays sufficient mastery of background knowledge and research acumen to successfully complete the PhD. Passing the qualifying examination, having a GPA of 3.0 over at least 5 courses on the study list with no grade lower than a B-, and passing the candidacy examination admits the student to PhD candidacy.
  • Prospectus: No later than the third year of residency, a student must submit and successfully defend before their advisory committee a prospectus detailing their proposed plan of research.
  • Dissertation:  A dissertation must be completed and successfully defended in an oral examination before the student's advisory committee.
Fall Deadline:
January 15
Winter Deadline:

Spring Deadline:

Summer Deadline:

Additional Requirements:

Baccalaureate degree or equivalent preparation in physics

Required Tests: GRE General test and GRE Physics subject test
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*New GRE Revised General Test with a two year average of scores. When applicable.

Contact Information

Phone: (801) 422-9299
Fax: (801) 422-0101
Address: N-234 ESC


The university makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the contents of this catalog, but reserves the right to make changes at any time without prior notice.
Since change is a part of university life, curriculum and program changes will likely occur during the time the current Graduate Catalog is in circulation.

Honor Code

The university expects that all students, regardless of religion, will maintain the behavioral standards of the school, including the Honor Code. These include high standards of honesty, integrity, chastity, morality, and dress and grooming, in addition to abstinence from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee, and substance abuse. The Honor Code Statement is found here.