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It always seems impossible until it's done. —Nelson Mandela

Engineering Physics—PhD

Fast Facts

  • All physics and engineering physics graduate students are financially supported
  • The ratio of graduate students to research faculty is approximately 3:1
  • The highest energy cosmic rays are investigated via the Auger Observatory, the largest observatory in the world. Collaborations are under way with several government laboratories, including Argonne National Lab, the Army Research Lab, the Naval Research Lab, and Oak Ridge National Lab.
  • A recent $2.5-million renovation provided major upgrades in physics classroom technology and lab space

Learn more about the Engineering Physics program.

Graduate Program in Engineering Physics

The PhD degree in Engineering Physics closely parallels the physics PhD program. However, students focus more intensely on applying the principles of physics to engineering problems, in collaboration with physics and engineering faculty. The PhD in Engineering Physics prepares graduates for careers in both industry and academia.

From astronomy to molecular physics, research in physics spans vast orders of magnitude in space, time, and energy. Atomic properties of rare earth elements, spin polarization, carbon and boron nitride nanotubes, atomic clusters, photonics and waveguides, protein folding, dislocations, atmospheric and cloud processes, and astrophysics are all studied.

Gamma ray bursts—high-energy pulses observed from billions of light years away and dating from the early universe—are researched here. The highest energy cosmic rays are investigated via the Auger Observatory, the largest observatory in the world. The department is home to at least fifteen active research faculty, as well as adjunct faculty, visitors, postdocs, and more than thirty graduate students. Physics hosts several labs, is involved in the operation of three observatories, and provides a machine shop and advanced research computing workstations and clusters. Researchers also have easy access to scanning electron microscopy labs and other advanced characterization and fabrication facilities.

Learn more about the Engineering Physics program.

PhD Requirements

To complete a doctoral degree, students must complete the following milestones:

  • Complete all course work and research credits (see credit requirements below)
  • Pass Qualifying Examination
  • Pass Research Proposal Examination
  • Prepare and Submit Approved Dissertation
  • Pass Final Oral Defense

The minimum credit requirements are as follows:

Total Credit Requirements 
MS–PhD (minimum)30 credits
BS–PhD (minimum)60 credits


Individual programs may have higher standards and students are expected to know their program's requirements. See the Doctor of Philosophy Requirements website for more information about PhD milestones and related timelines.