Additional Requirements

The following are additional requirements for all Physics & Astronomy graduate degress.

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. This is a likely scenario for students who start their studies in the Spring semester, and so enroll in the Graduate Seminar in their second semester. For students who take the Graduate Seminar (PHSX 717) in their first semester (Fall), the seminar of their research group would be a more natural venue to give a talk. Students do not need to be enrolled in a research seminar to give a talk in that seminar. Class presentations can also satisfy the talk requirement, provided that they follow the length and signature requirements. When giving presentations, students should fill out an Oral Presentation 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 PhD 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, poster presentations (with an oral component and faculty confirmation) 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.

All graduate students will need to submit an annual report from starting after they have been enrolled in our department for one year. This is part of our departmental student progress tracking and will be overseen by the Graduate Student Evaluation committee. This committee will specify the deadlines for handing in the forms. The failure of the student to complete this progress report by these deadlines may affect their standing in the graduate program.

The exact implementation details depend on the stage of the student’s graduate career. The Departmental Graduate Advisor has the evaluation responsibilities for pre-preliminary candidacy students and for terminal Master’s degree students. In the preliminary candidacy stage, the Graduate Student Evaluation Committee or the student’s research advisor will carry out the evaluation with oversight from the Graduate Student Evaluation Committee. In the candidacy stage the student’s research advisor carries out the evaluation with oversight from the Graduate Student Evaluation Committee.

The revised procedures are as follows broken down by stage in the program.

First semester: All students will meet with the Departmental Graduate Advisor before the start of classes of their first semester. They are also required to meet with the Departmental Graduate Advisor at least once before the end of the first semester, ideally around the time of enrollment for the second semester.

Before preliminary candidacy or seeking a terminal Master’s degree: These students will submit the annual report form to the Graduate Coordinator who will forward it to the Departmental Graduate Advisor. A meeting will be initiated with the Graduate Advisor if there are concerns. The first form must be submitted between the 10th and 14th month following each student’s entry into the program. Following this, the evaluation will occur at 10-14 month intervals for the duration of the student’s tenure in our graduate program.

Between preliminary candidacy and passing the comprehensive exam: Students will submit their annual report form to the Graduate Coordinator. The form will be evaluated by either the Graduate Student Evaluation Committee or by their research advisor, if requested by the student and agreed to by the advisor. In the case that the research advisor completes the non-student portion part, the advisor will submit it to the Graduate Coordinator by the submission deadline.

After passing the comprehensive exam: Students will submit their annual report form to the Graduate Coordinator. Their research advisor will evaluate the form. The advisor will complete the non-student portion and submit it to the Graduate Coordinator by the nominal submission deadline. The Committee will read the submitted forms and the comments of the research advisor.

For preliminary candidates and candidates, the Graduate Student Evaluation Committee may, at their own discretion, initiate a meeting with the student and the student’s research advisor, should one exist, and the committee members. A meeting should be initiated if there are unsatisfactory remarks or warning signs or if the student or research advisor requests such a meeting. The goal of the meeting should be to develop a plan to address the concerns identified from the report.

Please contact the Graduate Coordinator if you wish to see a flow chart which shows who will evaluate the student reports.

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

Students will be required to attend an advising session with the Departmental Graduate Advisor. This session will include a discussion of student’s transcripts and potential course enrollment. A diagnostic exam, which includes topics in Classical Mechanics, E&M, Quantum Mechanics and Thermodynamics, will be used to help assess the student’s preparedness for the graduate curriculum. Also discussed will be the possibility of transferring graduate coursework and the suggested course schedule.

This meeting will be used to develop an individualized plan for the student to facilitate their timely completion of graduate requirements.

Following the development of the individualized plan, the advising process will continue through regular check-ins and reviews of student progress. These reviews will include looking at student grades, research progress, and general progress towards meeting departmental milestones.

All PhD students are required to have carried out a minimum of one semester of being a teaching assistant (TA) in the department prior to obtaining their PhD.

A candidate for a MS or PhD 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 B grade in one of the three advanced laboratory courses offered in the Department.

  • PHSX 536 Electronic Circuits and Measurements
  • PHSX 601 Design of Physical and Electronic Systems
  • PHSX 616 Physical Measurements I (previously 516)