Specific requirements for each of the graduate degrees are described below. Any further questions can be answered by the graduate secretary or graduate coordinator.

General Requirements

Both MS and PhD candidates must do the following:

  1. Register for Fall and Winter semesters and usually either Spring or Summer terms for a minimum of 6 hours during each academic year. Otherwise he or she will automatically be dropped from the program and must apply for readmission.
  2. Register for a minimum of 2 credit hours during the semester in which he or she defends their thesis or dissertation or else pay for the equivalent of two credit hours in advance of the defense. It is strongly advised that 2 credit hours of 699R be reserved to be taken in the semester of graduation to fill this requirement.
  3. If from a foreign country here on a student visa, register for 9 credit hours of course work every Fall and Winter semester until all course work is finished. After completion he or she may register for fewer hours each semester, but no less than 2 and only after the graduate coordinator has been notified and the Department has sent verification of course work completion to International Services.
  4. If working as a teaching or research assistant, take a minimum of 6 and preferably 9 credit hours Fall and Winter semesters until their major course work is completed.

PhD Requirements

All candidates must do the following to receive a PhD:

  1. Complete 54 credit hours of course work. Of these, a minimum of 36 hours must be in approved courses leaving the remaiing 18 hours for dissertation work (699R). A student may complete more dissertation hours than this but only 18 will count toward their program.

    Students with an MS degree may apply up to 18 credit hours of course work from that degree toward the 36 required credit hours of approved courses.
  2. Create, with the help of their advisor and committee, the list of approved courses they will take. This study list includes the following:
  3. Physics 601, 602, and the appropriate list above comprise the "core courses" of each subdiscipline.

  4. Complete Physics 696R during each of their two initial semesters. This does not count toward the minimum of 36 hours of approved course work.
  5. Complete Physics 691R every semester of residence. This does not count toward the required credits.
  6. Maintain an appropriate GPA
    • Each course on the study list must be passed with a grade of B- or better.
    • The overall GPA for courses on the study list must be 3.0 or better.

  7. Complete all course work within 8 years of their admittance date.
  8. Register for at least two consecutive 6-hour semesters on the BYU campus.
  9. Pass the qualifying, prospectus, and candidacy examinations.
  10. Complete and defend a dissertation within 8 years of their admittance date.

Masters Degree Requirements

All candidates must do the following to receive a Masters Degree:

  1. Take the qualifying examination their first semester. A passing grade is not required.
  2. Complete 30 credit hours of course work. This includes a minimum of 24 hours in approved courses, and 6 hours of thesis work (699R). (A student may complete more thesis hours than this but only 6 will count toward their program.)

  3. Create, with the help of their advisor and committee, the list of approved courses they will take and submit them to the university as their study list. Regarding the minimum 24 credit hours of course work:
    • At least 18 hours must come from graduate courses (500 level or higher, but not including Physics 691R, 696R, 697R, 699R or 795R).
    • Up to 6 hours can come from Physics 697R.
    • Up to 6 hours can come from BYU undergraduate courses (300 level or higher). If included, these courses must be approved by both the Advisory Committee and the graduate coordinator.

  4. Complete Physics 696R during each of their two initial semesters. This does not count toward the minimum of 24 hours of approved course work.
  5. Complete Physics 691R every semester of residence. This does not count toward the required credits.
  6. Maintain an appropriate GPA
    • Each course on the study list must be passed with a grade of C- or better.
    • The overall GPA for courses on the study list must be 3.0 or better.

  7. Complete all course work within 5 years of their admittance date.
  8. Pass the prospectus examination.
  9. Complete and defend a thesis within 5 years of their admittance date.

Scientific Achievement as a Graduate Student

The requirements list in the university graduate catalog and on this website are minimum requirements for receiving your graduate degree. But in reading these requirements it may not be clear to you what scientific achievement as a graduate student looks like. Your goals for success should include the following.

  1. Attend scientific meetings where you have successful work to present. A regional meeting will probably come first, but attendance and presentation at national and international meetings are very important. Prepare these presentations well enough that they make you look good to fellow scientists.

  2. Submit for publication the results you presented at the meetings you attended. Write well enough that the reviewers, the editors, and your readers will be impressed with your work. Work through the peer-review process and have your articles appear in print.

  3. Use success in items 1 and 2 as a springboard to employment by talking with scientific employers at national and/or international meetings. When you interview with potential employers you will be expected to give presentations based on your graduate work. Prepare these presentations well enough that they make you look good to potential employers.

Your graduate committee will expect to see success in items 1 and 2 before your thesis or dissertation defense. They may properly delay final approval of your graduate degree until success in these areas has been achieved.