Admission to Preliminary Candidacy

To be admitted to preliminary candidacy for the Ph.D. degree, each graduate student is expected to satisfy the following Departmental requirements.

  1. Within 12 months of entering the program the student must fulfill the requirements of the individualized plan of study for all graduate degrees to certify an undergraduate knowledge of Physics. Visit the Department's website for more information on those requirements and the process of certification.
  2. Achieve a minimum core course grade point average of 3.2. The core course GPA is computed from the following five equally weighted elements:
    • grade obtained in PHSX 711 Quantum Mechanics I
    • grade obtained in PHSX 811 Quantum Mechanics II
    • grade obtained in PHSX 821 Classical Mechanics
    • grade obtained in PHSX 831 Electrodynamics I
    • average grade of two other PHSX lecture courses numbered 700 or higher, excluding PHSX 717 (graduate seminar).
  3. Students may repeat one of the four core courses (711, 811, 821, and 831) once for the purpose of improving the core GPA. In calculating the core GPA, the Department will use only the better of the two grades.
  4. The two "other PHSX lecture courses numbered 700 or higher" must be taken at KU, but students entering with graduate credit from other institutions may petition the Graduate Committee for transfer credit for any of the four named core courses. For the purposes of the core GPA, grades (of "B" or better) from the previous institution may be used for at most three of the four named courses. For the remaining course the student must obtain written certification of "B" performance or better from the instructor of the course at KU. Such certification may be obtained by taking the course, taking the final exam of the course (if there is one), or other means which may be determined by the instructor. An appropriate higher level course may also be used to obtain certification in a core course (for example 911 for 711 or 811, 931 for 831.)
  5. All graduate students must obtain preliminary candidacy by the end of their second year of enrollment, regardless of the number of undergraduate courses that they choose. Prolonged illness or extended military service might provide exceptional circumstances. Students may petition to the Graduate Committee for extension of beyond the two year period.

Decision on Preliminary Candidacy

Once requirements for Preliminary Candidacy have been met, the Graduate Committee will decide whether or not to admit the student to preliminary candidacy. This decision will be based upon the certification and on core course GPA. Once requirements for Preliminary Candidacy have been met and confirmed by the Graduate Committee, the Graduate Committee Chair will report this result to the Graduate Faculty.


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