General Requirements

Individualized plan for ensuring student preparation for MS or PhD degrees in Physics. All students are eligible to immediately enroll in graduate classes.

Students who do not take the Physics GRE or score less than 650 will be required to take a diagnostic exam that consists of GRE-like questions in Classical Mechanics, E&M, Quantum Mechanics and Thermodynamics. This exam will be administered upon a student's entry into the program. Students will be made aware well-before arriving that the diagnostic is a GRE-like exam covering the four areas outlined above. A team of faculty members will combine the results of this test with the undergraduate transcript to develop an individualized assessment plan that may involve up to six undergraduate lecture courses. In consultation with this team, the student is free to decide which, if any, of these recommended courses to take in order to complete their preparation for graduate physics courses. 

Incoming students with a Physics GRE score greater than 650 will not have to take the diagnostic exam.

Following the development of the individualized plan, the score on the diagnostic will be saved in the student’s confidential folder as a means to track internally the correlation of diagnostic scores with student success. Any undergraduate courses that the student chooses to take as a result of the individualized plan must be completed within one year of entry into the program. 

A candidate for a Master's or Ph.D. degree who has not had the equivalent of 6 credit hours of advanced undergraduate laboratory course work (Junior/Senior level) is required to achieve at least a 3.0 grade in one of the three advanced laboratory courses offered in the Department.

  • PHSX 516 Physical Measurements I
  • PHSX 536 Electronic Circuits and Measurements
  • PHSX 601 Design of Physical and Electronic Systems

Communication Skills

All graduate students, after their first semester, will deliver at least one oral presentation per semester related to physics or astronomy. The talk should be at least 20 minutes long. For students not yet associated with a research group, the Graduate Seminar can serve as a venue. For more advanced students, the seminar of their research group would be a natural venue. The student does not need to be enrolled in the seminar to present a talk for this purpose. When giving presentations, students should fill out this form and have it signed by two attendees, one of whom must be a KU Physics or Astronomy faculty member and the other of whom must be a Ph.D. doing research in the department. Faculty members who sign off on the talks are expected to provide constructive feedback to the student. Off-campus venues such as collaboration meetings (when endorsed by their advisor), invited presentations, and conferences can also satisfy this requirement. For this to occur, the student must submit a copy of the agenda or speaking event with the student's presentation indicated. In this case no attendee signatures are required and the 20 minute time limit does not apply. The completed form or evidence of the off-campus presentation must be handed to the office staff. The graduate advisor will monitor student compliance with the requirement.


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