Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics


Program Description

132454_ScreenShot2020-03-07at10.20.49PM.pngphoto courtesy of Pavol Jozef Safarik University Faculty of Science

Ph.D. program description

The Ph.D. program in Theoretical Physics covers the research of physical properties of solid-state systems, phase transitions and critical phenomena in diverse magnetic systems, theoretical investigation of skyrmions, ab initio study of electron structures of new functional materials, investigation of developed turbulence, percolation phenomena and chemical interactions, applications of statistical mechanics in geostatistics and data reconstruction. All of the above-mentioned subjects are studied using current methods of quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, computational physics, equilibrium, and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics. The ongoing and past research projects and published results provide evidence of our know-how and its scientific relevance.

The students are involved in the research projects since the beginning of the study, actively contributing to the publication of the results in collaboration with members of the research team thus actively learning the art of excellent research. They work in a diverse research team of senior researchers, post-docs and other Ph.D. students. Students are encouraged to actively participate in international conferences, networking events and undertake part of the study abroad, for example, via the ERASMUS+ program.

Admission requirements

All applicants to a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD.) program at the Faculty of Science must meet the admissions requirements for entry. We welcome graduates of a master’s level university degree in physics whose educational curriculum involved standard university courses in Theoretical Physics, such as Theoretical mechanics, Theory of electromagnetic field, Quantum mechanics, Thermodynamics, Statistical mechanics, Special theory of relativity, and Quantum field theory. Practical skills in software programming are highly recommended.

Personal contact with a potential supervisor is advisable to consult the focus of the thesis. A specific topic can be negotiated but it is subject to the focus of the current research project at the Institute.

The focus of the thesis can be modified during the study to more accurately reflect the content of the thesis. The number of new doctoral positions is limited to 2-4 places per year.

Applicants must provide the following materials to be considered for the Ph.D. graduate program:

  • Complete online application form
  • Transcripts
  • Motivation Letter
  • Resume/CV
  • Application Fee
  • Letters of Recommendation (optional)

All qualified applicants will be invited for the admission committee hearing (late June).

The applicants can ask for a Skype call instead. During the approximately 30-minute meeting, the applicant introduces himself/herself (education, experience, results) and presents his/her preliminary research plan based on the abstract of the Ph.D. theme published in the admission call and his/her current knowledge of the research problem.

The applicant's basic knowledge of theoretical physics is also examined during the interview.

Our selection criteria:

  1. Personal skills, knowledge, motivation, and ability to work on the topic. (40%)
  2. Study results and other activities such as participation in science fairs, scientific competitions, publications, conferences. (40%)
  3. The Institute priorities such as ongoing and planned projects, number of Ph.D. students of the selected supervisor, etc. (20%)

Admission Fees and Funding

Application forms need to be submitted either by post or online.  The application fee for doctoral study programs is 50 EUR (by post) or 30 EUR (online).

The doctoral study is financially supported by providing funding (stipend) for students. Each year the University allocates a certain number of Ph.D. positions for each doctoral study program. These positions are eligible for funding of ca. 10,000 EUR annually per student. More doctoral students than this number of funded positions can be admitted only as self-payers. Such a study is subject to a tuition fee of 5,000 EUR per academic year (2,500 EUR per semester) and no state funding is applicable. The study is taught in Slovak or English with no impact on tuition fees at the Faculty of Science.

We also welcome students within mobility exchange schemes such as Erasmus+, Ceepus, SAIA, Cotutelle, and others following the conditions of the schemes and the candidates should contact the International Relations and Scientific Research Office before sending an application.

How is the study organized?

The standard duration of the doctoral study in Theoretical physics is four years. Normally, submissions are due by June and the study commences in September.

The doctoral degree is based on coursework and research that leads to a dissertation. The coursework includes compulsory and selective compulsory courses. The compulsory courses are aimed at expanding the knowledge of the theory and methodology in theoretical physics and developing special skills required for the research work. The selective compulsory courses allow for the specialization of the student according to his or her thesis.

In the scientific part of the study, the student is guided by his or her supervisor to perform high-quality research work The successful finish of the doctoral study expects acquiring skills and scientific expertise to achieve original scientific results and publish them in peer-reviewed research journals. The student must publish at least two research papers in leading international peer-reviewed journals to successfully complete the study, thus confirming his/her ability to publish research results and lead a research team. Students will learn these skills in the process of supervision and communication with other colleagues at the Institute. Students meet with their supervisors on a regular basis and they are required to report their progress annually.

Both components of the study start since the first year of study and, typically, the study part is finished within the second year. By the end of the second year of the program, the student has to pass a written and oral state examination focusing on his research topic demonstrating the ability to conduct research independently. Writing the dissertation expects to detail the results of a substantial and original research project. The study ends with a public defense of the dissertation thesis, typically, in the fourth year of the study.

Ph.D. graduate profile

Graduates of the Ph.D. program in Theoretical Physics gain a broad command of mathematical apparatus and computational methods to solve the most complex problems in nature and space. The use of these methods, in conjunction with computer simulations, is not limited to physical systems, but it is also applicable in all areas of human activity which structure and properties can be very complex requiring high-level theoretical abstraction.

Career Prospects

The Ph.D. graduate in Theoretical Physics is highly relevant on the job market in all public and private institutions performing advanced basic and applied research in physics, material science, engineering, geosciences, biology, computer and data science.

Last updated Jan 2021

About the School

Founded in 1963, the Faculty of Science, has educated over 6 000 graduates of both, joint and single degree study. Currently, over 350 Bachelor’s, Masters’s, and Doctoral students graduate each year i ... Read More

Founded in 1963, the Faculty of Science, has educated over 6 000 graduates of both, joint and single degree study. Currently, over 350 Bachelor’s, Masters’s, and Doctoral students graduate each year in disciplines that impact lives today and will shape our future. Read less