Ph.D. in Applied Sciences - Physics

University of Colorado Colorado Springs

Program Description

Ph.D. in Applied Sciences - Physics

University of Colorado Colorado Springs

The Physics Department offers a program leading to a PhD in Applied Science with a specialization in Physics. For information about the graduate program, please contact Dr. Robert Camley.

Physics Research

The primary research of the department is in solid state physics/materials science and surface science. This is supported by several ultrahigh vacuum systems for deposition (molecular beam epitaxy, sputter deposition, evaporation) and characterization of thin films (X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, Auger Electron Spectroscopy, extensive magnetic and electronic characterziation facilities), an atomic force microscope, Brillouin light scattering, and good computing facilities for theoretical work. The department also has an active program and sophisticated equipment for radon studies.

Note: From August 25, 2014 - August, 2015, Dr Karen Livesey will be graduate coordinator while Dr. Camley is on sabbatical. Please contact her for information about the graduate program during this period.

Admission Requirements

All applicants must:

  • hold a baccalaureate degree in biological sciences, mathematics, physics or equivalents from an accredited college or university and have an appropriate background of undergraduate physics courses
  • have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.00 ("A" is equivalent to 4.0) provide three letters of recommendation, all past university transcripts and fill out an application form
  • promising students who do not meet all of the requirements may be considered as provisional applicants

Aditional requirements for some students:

  • students with international transcripts must take the Physics GRE exam. A minimum score for regular admission is in the range of 520-550.
  • applicants for whom English is a second language must complete the TOEFL exam with a minimum score of 560 (paper-based exam) or 83 (internet-based exam) or 220 (internet-based exam). A band score of 6.5 on the IELTS is also acceptable. If the student has successfully completed one year of full-time academic study at a U.S. institution, this requirement can be waived. An oral interview with Physics faculty may also be required as proof of English proficiency, as the department sees fit.

Transfer of Credits

Students transferring into the program with a Master's degree in an appropriate discipline also need to satisfy all the standards below for graduation. However, students may request a review of their existing credits and may have the number of credits required reduced at the discretion of the physics graduate advisor. If appropriate, the entire set of Master's degree courses can be applied to the PhD program.

Program Requirements

The student must complete a minimum of 66 hours of coursework and dissertation. This includes:

  • A minimum of 36 hours of course work with GPA above 3.0
  • 21 hours of Core courses
  • 15 hours of Specialization, Elective or Interdisciplinary courses
  • A minimum of 30 hours of dissertation work, pass the comprehensive exam, and complete and successfully defend the dissertation


There will be a comprehensive examination administered by the dissertation advisory committee to determine if the dissertation topic is appropriate, and if the student is adequately prepared for work on the dissertation. This exam will normally be given when a student has completed 9 dissertation credit hours. Students refusing to take the comprehensive exam when asked by Physics faculty member(s) may have a hold placed on their enrollment until this fulfilment is completed.

After the dissertation has been accepted by the dissertation advisor, a final oral dissertation defense examination will be conducted by the dissertation advisory committee. The dissertation committee will contain physics faculty plus one outside member of the graduate faculty (from another department or another university). The dissertation adviser will be in charge of choosing the committee.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated January 26, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
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Sept. 2016
Part time
Full time
Start date Sept. 2016
USA Colorado Springs, Colorado
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