Apr 17, 2024  
Graduate Record 2015-2016 
Graduate Record 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED RECORD]


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101 Physics Building
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400714
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4714
(434) 924-3781

Degree Requirements

The Master’s Program

Three master’s-level degrees are offered in the Physics Department. The M.S. degree requires eight courses (24 credits), with an average GPA 3.0 or higher, including six core classes and two electives as described below.  In addition, at least six credits of non-topical research are required for a total of 30 credits. The M.A. degree requires ten courses (30 credits) in total, with an average GPA 3.0 or higher, including four core classes and four electives. The M.A.P.E. (Master of Arts in Physics Education) degree is designed to provide middle school physical science and high school physics teachers with a strong background in physics. Courses numbered in the 6000s are taken to satisfy the requirements for this degree. Typically M.A.P.E. students take two courses in the summer in residence at UVa and one distance learning course in the academic year, totaling ten credits each year to complete the required thirty credits in two and a half years.

The Ph.D. Program

The PhD program has two overlapping sets of course requirements that must both be satisfied. GSAS policy requires a total of 72 credits, at least 24 of which must be graded courses. Graded courses are those receiving a letter grade (A+ through F), while non-graded courses receive a mark of Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory.  Students take twelve credits each semester and generally six credits during the summer.

Separately, the department requires a total of 61 credits, including six specified core classes, five electives, 10 credits of colloquium and research classes, and 18 credits of nontopical research.

Qualifying Examination

Candidates for the Ph.D. degree must pass a qualifying examination in the subjects of theoretical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, quantum mechanics, and statistical mechanics. The material for this examination is covered in the six core courses, which should be completed by the end of the second semester. Students are expected to complete all pre-dissertation requirements, including coursework and the qualifying examination, by the conclusion of their fourth term of study. 

Research and Thesis Requirements

Ph.D. candidates must be affiliated with a research advisor and research committee after their second year of study. During their third and subsequent years of study, candidates must meet annually with their research committee to review progress. During the fourth year of study, all candidates must present a department seminar on their research topic. At the conclusion of their studies, candidates must present a dissertation on their research that is satisfactory to their research advisor. The dissertation must be defended in an oral examination.

Professional Development Courses for Teachers

Note: Courses numbered in the 6000s are offered for the professional development of K-12 teachers to improve competency in physics and to assist them in obtaining endorsement or recertification. In the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, these courses count for degree credit only for the M.A.P.E. degree.

Physics Colloquium

The faculty and graduate students meet weekly for the presentation by a visiting speaker of recent work in the physical sciences.

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