Oct 01, 2023  
2019-2020 SDSM&T Academic Catalog 
2019-2020 SDSM&T Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics, PhD

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Contact Information

Dr. R. Oszwaldowski, Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Physics
Electrical Engineering/Physics 119
(605) 394-2726
E-mail: Rafal.Oszwaldowski@sdsmt.edu 

PhD in Physics

The PhD in Physics is a collaborative program between the University of South Dakota and South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

Degree requirements

Distribution of credits

Core requirements: 24 credits
Research requirements: 36 credits
Elective requirements: 12 credits
Total credits: 72

Board of Regents policy states that a minimum of 36 credits of the required 72 must be taken at the 600 level or above. Students who complete the Physics core and the Research requirements (described below) will automatically fulfill this requirement.

Students may apply 24 coursework credits and 6 research credits from a previous MS degree toward the PhD requirements, subject to approval by the student’s committee.

Core requirements

Research requirements

The completion of a doctoral dissertation, approved by the student’s graduate advisory committee and the Dean of Graduate Education, is required for this degree.

  • Credits: 1 to 9 **
  • ** A minimum of 36 credit hours of PHYS 898 is required for the degree. No more than 36 credits of PHYS 898 may be counted toward the degree.

Elective requirements

All elective courses must be approved by the student’s graduate advisor. A total of 12 credit hours of elective courses is required. Courses may be chosen from the following list.


Qualifying examination

All students in the PhD program must pass the qualifying examination, typically after two years of graduate coursework. The examination problems are based on the material covered in the core courses of: Classical Mechanics, Statistical Mechanics, Electrodynamics and Quantum Mechanics.

The examination takes place typically in mid-August.

Detailed policy is given in the physics graduate handbook.

Comprehensive examination and admission to candidacy

All physics PhD students must take comprehensive examination. In these exams, students present their research plans leading to fulfillment of PhD requirements, as well as their preliminary research. Students should be able to argue for the validity of their approach, and the relevance of their project to the broader area of their research.

Detailed policy is given in the physics graduate handbook.

The comprehensive examination, and subsequent admission to candidacy, must be completed at least 12 months before the dissertation is defended.

Dissertation defense

A dissertation defense and a final oral examination are required for this degree.

Additional requirements

In addition to these degree-specific requirements, the student must also meet the requirements and policies applied to all graduate degrees  by the Council of Graduate Education.

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