University of Texas at El Paso Academic Catalog

Academic Catalog

PhD in Physics

program description

The Department of Physics offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Physics that consists of 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor's level or at least 54 hours beyond the master's level. The program puts emphasis on Quantum Science but also offers education and research opportunities in other traditional areas consistent with faculty strength. The program is designed to provide excellent education and training in computational and experimental Physics and to prepare students for academic, industrial, and government jobs.

admission requirements

The following admission requirements will be pursued:

  • Bachelor's degree in Physics or a related discipline from an accredited university in the United States. Proof of a similar degree will be required for international students. 
  • Minimum GPA of 3.3. Students with one or more years of career-related physics expertise may petition to have the minimum GPA requirement reconsidered.
  • Official transcripts of previous academic degrees
  • Official TOEFL scores as per UTEP Graduate School policy.
  • Two letters of recommendation from individuals who are qualified to comment on the potential of the applicant.
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Statement of purpose from the applicant detailing research interests, reason for application, and future career plans.

degree requirements

The PhD degree will require 72 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor's level. A student entering with a master's degree in physics may transfer up to 18 semester credit hours with the approval of the Graduate advisor and graduate committee. Students that do not meet the prerequisites for the courses may need to take leveling courses. Each case will be individually determined by the Graduate advisor.

Students entering with a bachelor's degree are required to take 42 semester credit hours of course work. This includes four core and three required courses, one prescribed elective and six free elective courses. The students will need to pass the qualifying examinations by the fourth semester.

Students entering with an MS degree can transfer up to 18 semester credit hours of credit for the lecture courses. If credit for any core course is transferred, the student will have to pass the qualifying exam for the transferred course(s) by the end of the first academic year.

In the third year, students will have to write and defend a proposal for their doctoral research. All students will have to write a dissertation based on their original research and defend it to their dissertation committee to earn the degree.

doctoral research

Doctoral students must complete at least 24 hours of original doctoral research in addition to the 42 hours of graduate courses. The student must work under the supervision of one of the graduate faculty members of the program. The student can take one or more of the graduate research courses as advised by the graduate advisor and the research advisor.

doctoral dissertation

All graduate students must complete a dissertation based on their original research. The dissertation will be supervised by the dissertation advisor, in consultation with a dissertation committee consisting of at least three members, at least one of whom must be a graduate faculty member from outside the Department of Physics. The candidate will present a dissertation proposal for approval by the dissertation committee in the third year. Upon completion of the dissertation, the student must successfully defend their work; part of the defense will be public. The dissertation committee will be responsible for administering the final oral defense and will have the responsibility of determining whether the written dissertation and its oral presentation and defense are acceptable. The student will need to take PHYS 6398 (Dissertation I) and PHYS 6399 (Dissertation II) to complete the supervised dissertation. Dissertation II will be taken until the dissertation is submitted.

Degree Plan  PhD Physics

Core Courses
PHYS 6321Mechanics3
PHYS 6341Electrodynamics I3
PHYS 6361Quantum Mechanics I3
PHYS 6365Advanced Statistical Mechanic3
Additional Required Courses:
PHYS 6195Seminar (3 semesters required)3
PHYS 6342Electrodynamics II3
PHYS 6362Quantum Mechanics II3
Prescribed Electives (Select one course)3
Mathematical Physics
Experimental Methods
Electives (Select 6 courses)18
Nuclear and Particle Physics
Atomic and Molecular Physics
Density Functional Theory A-Z
Spin Physics
Quantum Computing
Solid State Physics
Computational Biophysics
Experimental Methods (Mya be taken only if not taken as a prescribed elective)
Mathematical Physics (Maye only be taken if not taken as a prescribed elective)
Doctoral Research
Complete 24 hours:24
Doctoral Research
Doctoral research
Doctoral Research
Doctoral Dissertation
PHYS 6398Dissertation I3
PHYS 6399Dissertation II3
Total Hours72