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Graduate Academics and Degree Information

Two students working in Yun Shik-Lee's lab

Official degree requirements

Requirements for a graduate degree are prescribed in the Graduate Catalog.

This guide covers the basic and usual procedures. If you have questions or uncertainty, be sure to visit us to discuss the matter.

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Yun-Shik Lee
Physics Graduate Advisor
WNGR 415

Kelly Carter
Physics Graduate Coordinator
WNGR 301

Doctoral degree in physics

There are three key steps for successful completion of your Ph.D. degree. The first is the completion of minimum course requirements, the second is the advancement to Ph.D. candidacy and the last step is the preparation of a dissertation based on original research and final oral examination.

Ph.D. course requirements

All candidates for the Ph.D. degree are required to take the following 9 core courses (27 credits):

  • PH 562 – Mathematical Methods
  • PH 621 – Dynamics
  • PH 631, 632 – Electromagnetic Theory
  • PH 641, 642 – Statistical Thermophysics
  • PH 651, 652, 653 – Quantum Mechanics

These course requirements are to be completed in the first two or three years of the graduate student's program, depending on the advice and approval of the Core-Advising Committee. The department requires a minimum OSU GPA of 3.00 in the core courses, which will be calculated from the highest 8 grades from the 9 core classes. All candidates for the Ph.D. degree must also take a minimum of 12 credits of advanced courses in order to acquire depth in their specialty area and breadth in one or more other areas.

Master's degree in physics

We offer a thesis or non-thesis M.S. in physics that typically takes two years and may be followed by a Ph.D. with an additional three years. The M.S. degree requires 45 credits with a 3.00 grade point average (minimum) and no grades below C on the program.

Accelerated Master's Platform in Physics

AMP allows current OSU undergraduate students to take graduate classes and apply those credits to their current undergraduate degree and transfer them to a participating graduate program. With careful planning, students could complete a master’s degree within 1 year of finishing their bachelor's degree!

Explore how to enroll in AMP 

Comprehensive exam archive

Although the physics department no longer administers comprehensive exams, we provide a complete archive of our physics exams for the use of physics teachers and students who wish to use them as instructional and learning resources. They are currently accessible through a publicly accessible Box folder:

Access our archive of physics comprehensive exams