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  Sep 19, 2017
 
 
    
2017-2018 General Catalog

Physics, Ph.D.


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The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Department of Physics in the College of Science and Technology offers a program of study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree. The primary objective of the doctorate program in Physics is to provide talented graduate students with a rigorous academic environment in which to conduct research and to develop the analytical, empirical, and leadership skills required for mathematical, scientific and technological careers. The Department is comprised of fifteen faculty members committed to excellence in research. The faculty conducts experimental research in the areas of:

  • Axion and astrophysical particle detection
  • Laser ablation
  • Laser interactions with matter
  • Nanomaterial growth and properties
  • Plasma physics and theoretical research
  • Atomic and molecular scattering
  • Electronic and structural properties of carbon nanomaterials
  • Numerical algorithms and optimization methods
  • Quantum theory on manifolds

The facilities include four on-campus laboratories in the Frederick S. Humphries Research Building, where research is done on detector physics, laser based electron acceleration, and computational atomic, molecular, and condensed matter physics. There is also an off-campus facility at Innovation Research Park which houses the Center for Plasma Science and Technology (CePaST) comprising four large laboratory spaces, in which laser interactions with matter, nanomaterial growth, X-pinch fusion research, and spheromak physics are investigated.

Admission

Admission to the Doctorate of Philosophy in Physics program is granted in conformity with the uniform requirements established by the School of Graduate Studies and Research as described in other sections of this catalog. These include: (1) the possession of a Bachelor and/or Master of Science in Physics degree from an accredited institution of higher education (official academic transcripts are required); (2) a GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 covering the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate preparation; (3) have received two strong letters of support from undergraduate or graduate faculty who are familiar with the applicant’s academic ability and work experience. Foreign students whose native language is not English must make a score of at least 550 on the TOEFL.

In addition, other factors such as motivation, attitude, and potential for successful graduate work will be considered. These factors will be judged from letters of recommendation submitted by the student’s undergraduate instructors and/or personal interviews. Conditional acceptance into the graduate program may be granted; however, a student may not remain in the program for more than one semester with a conditional acceptance. The doctorate must be completed in seven years from the time of admission to the program.

Admission with a Bachelor of Science Degree

Upon entering the program with a B.S. degree in physics:

  1. The student, in the first year post admission, will take the six core courses indicated below in the Academic Requirements section.
  2. The student will take a written qualifying exam by the end of second year.
  3. The student will take the remaining core courses and additional elective courses to expand his/her knowledge in chosen specialty in the second year.
  4. The student will be required to successfully complete the Ph.D. candidacy or “A” exam after completing courses with a GPA of 3.00 or higher.
  5. The student, upon successful completion of research, will then be required to take the “B” exam on his or her written dissertation.
  6. The oral defense will be conducted by a committee of three physics faculty: the research advisor and two faculty chosen after consultation with the thesis advisor.
  7. Recommendation to either pass or fail a candidate will then be forwarded to the School of Graduate Studies and Research, which will award the Ph.D. in physics degree.

Admission with a Master of Science Degree

  1. The student will be given the option of either writing the qualifying exam immediately upon entering the program or spending a year taking supplementary course work.
  2. The student will then join the Ph.D. program after passing the qualifying exam, at the second-year level.
  3. Each student, after passing the “A” exam, will then begin thesis research supervised by a faculty member.
  4. The student, upon successful completion of research, will then be required to take the “B” exam on his or her written dissertation.
  5. The oral defense will be conducted by a committee of three physics faculty: the research advisor and two faculty chosen after consultation with the thesis advisor.
  6. Recommendation to either pass or fail a candidate will then be forwarded to the School of Graduate Studies and Research, which will award the Ph.D. in physics degree.

Further details concerning matriculation through the program can be found in the Department’s Graduate Manual, available by contacting the Department Chair.

Academic Requirements

A student must register for 9 credit hours each semester to be considered a full time graduate student. That number generally comprises three courses and/or supervised research. 36 hours of course work (in-class lecture content) at the graduate level must be completed. Ideally, this requirement can be met by the end of the second year in the program. Below is the typical load for the first two years. Ninety credit hours or 72 hours for the minimum FAMU residence requirement and 18 hours of dissertation research activities are required for the Ph.D. in Physics.

First year


Second year


Fall Semester


Note:


The department offers a wide range of electives. You may choose as you see fit, but it will be to your advantage to take those courses that are related to your area of research. If you are unsure as to which classes you should take, you should speak to someone familiar with your interests when choosing your classes. The Physics Department encourages you to continue to enroll in formal classes in your third and fourth years of your Ph.D. degree, and the faculty will attempt to be responsive to students making requests for a specific course or specific courses.

Graduate student support, including tuition support, is available for qualified students.

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