Students typically begin apprenticeships in their chosen specialization during their second year and then start seriously into their research. The research must be a significant original contribution. Students entering the program with a Master’s degree may begin their apprenticeships in their second semester. A dissertation must be approved by the candidate's Ph.D. committee, and then must be defended successfully in a public oral examination.
Advanced students undertaking Ph.D. dissertation research under the guidance of a faculty advisor should register for Physics 800, Physics Dissertation. This research is subject to an annual review.
The dissertation must be approved by a Ph.D. Dissertation Committee, which consists of at least five members, one of whom must be from outside the Physics Department. At least three members of the committee must be tenured or tenure-track members of the Physics faculty. The composition of the committee must be approved by the Director of the Graduate Studies Program and the Dean of Graduate Studies.