Physics Ph.D.

All students must meet the Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree.


The Department of Physics offers research opportunities in theoretical and experimental condensed matter physics, astronomy and astrophysics, and soft condensed matter physics and biophysics.

Specific Requirements

Requirements for Admission to Graduate Studies for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Undergraduate majors in physics are considered for admission to the program. Satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination (general) are required.

Minimum Degree Requirements

75 credits, of which 15 graded coursework credits must be taken after matriculation and 9 of which must be at 6000- or 7000-level, and including:

5 Core Graduate Courses
PHYS 5125Mathematical Physics3
PHYS 5200Advanced Dynamics3
PHYS 5300Electromagnetic Theory3
PHYS 5500Quantum Mechanics II3
PHYS 5400Statistical Mechanics3
All of these courses must be completed with a grade B or better within the first 2 years of graduate study.
To accommodate the needs of the specific subfields in physics such as astrophysics, biological physics, condensed- matter physics and materials physics, 3 elective courses (9 credits) have to be chosen to fulfill the breadth requirement with a grade of B or higher. Elective courses must be completed within the first 3 years of the program, as the fourth year (and beyond if needed) should be dedicated to progress towards the Ph.D. dissertation.
A minimum of 20 credits of Doctoral Dissertation Reserach (PHYS 7491)20
A minimum of 3 credits of Teaching College Physics (PHYS 6000) 3

Comprehensive Examination

At the start of their second semester at UVM, students are  expected to sit for the written part of the Comprehensive  Exam which covers classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, electricity and magnetism, as well as thermal  physics and mathematical physics.

Students are given 2 opportunities to pass the comprehensive exam. In addition to the written portion, there is also an oral portion that consists of a Ph.D. dissertation proposal given after the start of a dissertation research project.

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Successful completion of all required courses and the comprehensive exam.