Oct 04, 2023  
2020-2021 SDSM&T Academic Catalog 
2020-2021 SDSM&T Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics Department

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­­Contact Information

Dr. Xinhua Bai, Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Physics
Electrical Engineering/Physics 217
(605) 394-5198
E-mail: Xinhua.Bai@sdsmt.edu 


Professors Corey, Schnee, and Sobolev; Associate Professors Bai, French, Reichenbacher, and Strieder;
Assistant Professors Martinez Caicedo, Paudel, and Wang;
Lecturer Dowding; Emeritis Professors Detwiler, Foygel, Helsdon, and Petukhov.

Graduate Program in Physics

The program prepares students for a variety of career paths, including positions in academia, industry and at national labs.  Although degree candidates may pursue specialized research foci based on the research expertise of any individual faculty members, the most significant goal of the program is to focus on research areas germane to the needs and special resources of the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF).  Examples of specialized research areas connected to SURF include nuclear/particle physics and astrophysics involving neutrino detection, dark matter search, and nuclear interactions, as well as condensed matter physics concentrating on novel low background radiation materials and devices. Specific research areas of all physics faculty members are summarized in the table below.

First-year students may be teaching assistants or research assistants. Teaching responsibilities still allow an early engagement in research.

Specific Research Areas

Xinhua Bai:  Astroparticle and Cosmic Ray Physics, High-energy Muon and Neutrino Measurements, Dark Matter Search
Robert Corey:  Solid State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance 
Michael Dowding:  Physics Education
Adam French:  Atmospheric Physics, Thunderstorm Dynamics, Mesoscale Weather Systems
David Martinez Caicedo:  Neutrino Physics 
Tula Paudel: Computational Condensed Matter Physics, Materials Science
Juergen Reichenbacher:  Neutrino Physics, Dark Matter Search, Low Background Counting, and Nuclear Forensics
Richard Schnee:  Experimental Particle Astrophysics, Dark Matter Search, Low Background Counting
Vladimir Sobolev:  Condensed Matter Physics, Materials Science of Substances with Spontaneous Polarization (ferroelectrics, magnetoelectrics, and magnetic materials)
Jingbo Wang: Neutrino Physics, Experimental Nuclear Physics

Degree Options

The principal degree option in the physics graduate program is the PhD. 

There are also two MS options, one ending with a thesis, and the other a non-thesis option. In the former option, a thesis based on research is required, while the latter one substitutes additional coursework and a research paper/project for the thesis. Completion of an MS degree usually takes two academic years of full-time study.


The mission of the physics graduate program is to provide students with quality graduate instruction and research experiences preparing them for a number of career options in academia, industry, and at national labs. The outcomes for the graduate programs are:

  • Students will have deep knowledge of physics.
  • Students will be able to perform effective research in physics.
  • Students will communicate effectively.
  • PhD students will be able to play a leading role in their research.

Financial support

Most graduate students in the Physics Department receive financial assistance in the form of teaching or research assistantships. Students with a qualifying assistantship are entitled to a monthly stipend and significantly reduced tuition rate. Detailed information regarding costs (both with and without an assistantship) is available at: https://www.sdsmt.edu/Academics/Graduate-Education/Tuition-and-Related-Costs/ .

Students wishing to be considered for financial assistance should submit their application by the deadlines stated on the university Office of Graduate Education website.

Background requirements

Students entering the program are expected to have a BS or MS in physics or a related discipline.

Admission requirements

The following items are required to apply for admission:

  • Official transcripts from all universities attended, including evidence of BS degree
  • A written statement of purposeGeneral GRE score report
  • Three letters of recommendation (preferably from parent-institution instructors)
  • Completed application form
  • Physics GRE score report (recommended but not required)
  • Evidence of English proficiency (applicants from countries where English is not the language of instruction)

Applicants must have at least a 3.0 (B) grade point average in their undergraduate work.

Transfer credits

Policies for transferring credits from outside institutions can be found in the requirements and policies applied to all graduate degrees  by the university Council of Graduate Education. All transfers are subject to approval by the student’s graduate advisor and department head.

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