Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree in the field of Applied Physics

Program Learning Outcomes for the MS and PhD Degrees in the field of Applied Physics

Upon completing the MS and PhD degrees in the field of Applied Physics, students will be able to:

  1. Acquire and demonstrate advanced knowledge in the foundational applications of physics including familiarity with past and current scientific literature in their chosen specialization.
  2. Develop the ability to conduct independent applied physics research including the aptitude to identify, formulate, and overcome challenging scientific and engineering problems in this endeavor.
  3. Make an original and significant technical contribution in their chosen specialization area.

Requirements for the MS and PhD Degrees in the field of Applied Physics

The Applied Physics Program (APP) offers a PhD degree. For general university requirements, please see Doctoral Degrees. The MS degree is a thesis master’s degree. For general university requirements, please see Thesis Master’s Degrees. For additional requirements, regulations, and procedures for all graduate programs, please see All Graduate Students.

The program does not offer a stand-alone thesis MS degree, although students admitted to the program are required to earn the MS within the program before proceeding to the PhD. For each degree, students must fulfill the university requirements set forth in the General Announcements under which they entered. The semester hour requirements may be fulfilled both by classroom hours and research hours. A total of nine one-semester, 3-credit hour per course minimum, graduate level courses is required for the master’s degree in applied physics, ordinarily a requirement for advancement to candidacy in the PhD program. Four of these are core courses required of all students, and five are elective courses chosen according to individual research goals. The Applied Physics Curriculum Committee (APCC) may waive some course requirements for students who demonstrate a thorough knowledge of material in one or more core/elective course(s). Full requirements are available on the Applied Physics website.

By the end of the third year in the program, all APP students should have completed the university requirements for the master’s degree, fulfilled the course requirements of the APP, and defended a master’s thesis in a public oral examination by a committee approved by the Program Chair and Graduate Studies. The examination covers the work reported in the thesis as well as the entire field in which the student intends to work toward their PhD. The examining committee votes separately on awarding the master’s degree and on admission to candidacy for the PhD. The student may be required to fulfill teaching/grading requirements set by the host department. Fulfillment of all university degree requirements and successful defense of a PhD thesis in a public examination by a university approved committee is necessary for the PhD.

Summary

Total Credit Hours Required for the PhD in the field of Applied Physics90

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements 1
Select 4 courses from the following, depending on area of research (see below for suggested Areas of Specialization):12
PHYSICAL BIOLOGY
FLUID MECHANICS AND TRANSPORT PROCESSES
PHYSICO-CHEMICAL HYDRODYNAMICS
ADVANCED TOPICS-THERMODYNAMICS
CLASSICAL DYNAMICS
MATHEMATICAL METHODS
QUANTUM MECHANICS I 3
QUANTUM CHEMISTRY
QUANTUM MECHANICS II
ADVANCED QUANTUM CHEMISTRY
STATISTICAL PHYSICS 2
CLASSICAL AND STATISTICAL THERMODYNAMICS
CLASSICAL ELECTRODYNAMICS
INTRODUCTION TO SOLID STATE PHYSICS I
Elective Requirements
Select 5 elective courses (see below for suggested Areas of Specialization): 315
Additional Requirements as Defined by Department63
Total Credit Hours90

Footnotes and Additional Information 

Course Lists to Satisfy Requirements

Areas of Specialization

Some examples of areas of specialization that students may choose are listed below. The lists are only suggested lists and are by no means a full list of possible courses for the area of specialization.

Nanomaterials and Nanodevices

Suggested Core Courses
PHYS 521QUANTUM MECHANICS I3
PHYS 526STATISTICAL PHYSICS3
PHYS 532CLASSICAL ELECTRODYNAMICS3
PHYS 563INTRODUCTION TO SOLID STATE PHYSICS I3
Suggested Elective Courses
CHEM 533NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY I3
CHEM 557NANOCARBONS1.5
CHEM 558NANOCRYSTALS3
ELEC 566NANOPHOTONICS AND METAMATERIALS3
ELEC 567NANO-OPTICS3
ELEC 571IMAGING AT THE NANOSCALE3
ELEC 680NANO-NEUROTECHNOLOGY3
MSNE 650NANOMATERIALS AND NANOMECHANICS3
PHYS 539CHARACTERIZATION AND FABRICATION AT THE NANOSCALE3

Neuroengineering and Biotechnology

Suggested Core Courses
BIOS 505PHYSICAL BIOLOGY3
CHBE 501FLUID MECHANICS AND TRANSPORT PROCESSES3
PHYS 515CLASSICAL DYNAMICS3
PHYS 526STATISTICAL PHYSICS3
Suggested Elective Courses
BIOE 512BIOPHOTONICS INSTRUMENTATION AND APPLICATIONS3
BIOE 587OPTICAL IMAGING AND NANOBIOPHOTONICS3
BIOE 592SENSORY NEUROENGINEERING3
BIOS 524MICROBIOLOGY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY3
BIOS 551MOLECULAR BIOPHYSICS3
ELEC 587INTRODUCTION TO NEUROENGINEERING: MEASURING AND MANIPULATING NEURAL ACTIVITY3
ELEC 680NANO-NEUROTECHNOLOGY3
PHYS 551BIOLOGICAL PHYSICS3
PHYS 552TOPICS IN BIOLOGICAL PHYSICS3

Photonics and Plasmonics

Suggested Core Courses
PHYS 521QUANTUM MECHANICS I3
PHYS 526STATISTICAL PHYSICS3
PHYS 532CLASSICAL ELECTRODYNAMICS3
PHYS 563INTRODUCTION TO SOLID STATE PHYSICS I3
Suggested Elective Courses
BIOE 587OPTICAL IMAGING AND NANOBIOPHOTONICS3
CHEM 559SPECTROSCOPY AT THE SINGLE MOLECULE/PARTICLE LIMIT3
ELEC 562OPTOELECTRONIC DEVICES3
ELEC 566NANOPHOTONICS AND METAMATERIALS3
ELEC 567NANO-OPTICS3
ELEC 568LASER SPECTROSCOPY3
ELEC 569ULTRAFAST OPTICAL PHENOMENA3
ELEC 571IMAGING AT THE NANOSCALE3
PHYS 572FUNDAMENTALS OF QUANTUM OPTICS3

Quantum and Ultracold Matter

Suggested Core Courses
PHYS 521QUANTUM MECHANICS I3
PHYS 522QUANTUM MECHANICS II3
PHYS 526STATISTICAL PHYSICS3
PHYS 563INTRODUCTION TO SOLID STATE PHYSICS I3
Suggested Elective Courses
ELEC 562OPTOELECTRONIC DEVICES3
ELEC 568LASER SPECTROSCOPY3
ELEC 569ULTRAFAST OPTICAL PHENOMENA3
PHYS 532CLASSICAL ELECTRODYNAMICS3
PHYS 533NANOSTRUCTURE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY I3
PHYS 537METHODS OF EXPERIMENTAL PHYSICS I4
PHYS 567QUANTUM MATERIALS3
PHYS 568QUANTUM PHASE TRANSITIONS3
PHYS 571MODERN ATOMIC PHYSICS3
PHYS 580INTRODUCTION TO PLASMA PHYSICS3

Theory and Computation

Suggested Core Courses
PHYS 516MATHEMATICAL METHODS3
PHYS 521QUANTUM MECHANICS I3
PHYS 526STATISTICAL PHYSICS3
PHYS 563 / ELEC 563INTRODUCTION TO SOLID STATE PHYSICS I3
Suggested Elective Courses
BIOE 589COMPUTATIONAL MOLECULAR BIOENGINEERING/BIOPHYSICS3
CAAM 519COMPUTATIONAL SCIENCE I3
CAAM 615THEORETICAL NEUROSCIENCE I: BIOPHYSICAL MODELING OF CELLS AND CIRCUITS3
CHEM 530QUANTUM CHEMISTRY3
ELEC 546INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER VISION3
ELEC 548MACHINE LEARNING AND SIGNAL PROCESSING FOR NEURO ENGINEERING3
ELEC 605COMPUTATIONAL ELECTRODYNAMICS AND NANOPHOTONICS3
MSNE 533COMPUTATIONAL MATERIALS MODELING3
MSNE 538COMPUATIONAL NANOSCIENCE FOR GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE3
PHYS 517COMPUTATIONAL PHYSICS3

Policies for the PhD Degree in the field of Applied Physics 

Applied Physics Graduate Program Handbook

The General Announcements (GA) is the official Rice curriculum. As an additional resource for students, Applied Physics publishes a graduate program handbook, which can be found here: https://gradhandbooks.rice.edu/2021_22/Applied_Physics_Graduate_Handbook.pdf

Transfer Credit 

For Rice University’s policy regarding transfer credit, see Transfer Credit. Some departments and programs have additional restrictions on transfer credit. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic program’s advisor when considering transfer credit possibilities.

Program Transfer Credit Guidelines

Students pursuing the PhD degree in the field of Applied Physics should be aware of the following program-specific transfer credit guidelines:

  • Requests for transfer credit will be considered by the program director on an individual case-by-case basis. 

Additional Information 

For additional information, please see the Applied Physics website: https://appliedphysics.rice.edu/

Opportunities for the PhD Degree in the field of Applied Physics 

Students who have completed the PhD program in Applied Physics establish careers in industry, government laboratories, and academia. 

Additional Information 

For additional information, please see the Applied Physics website: https://appliedphysics.rice.edu/