Oct 04, 2022  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
2022-2023 Academic Catalog

Physics, PhD

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Contact Information

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

Department Website

Students are responsible for checking with their advisors for any program modifications that may occur after the publication of this catalog.

PhD in Physics

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

Except for Topics and Independent Study courses, graduate courses are offered on a rotational basis. The course schedule is available at www.phy.sdsmt.edu/~bai/GraduateProgramInfo/CourseSchedule.html. Contact department for other questions on course offerings.

Degree requirements

Distribution of credits

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

South Dakota 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 research requirements (described below) will automatically fulfill this requirement.

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 **
  • ** Thirty-six (36) credits of PHYS 898D are required for the degree. Additional credits of PHYS 898D may be needed to complete the dissertation but will not 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 completing two years of graduate coursework. The examination problems are based on the material covered by the core courses, including Classical Mechanics, Statistical Mechanics, Electrodynamics, and Quantum Mechanics (including Nuclear and Particle Physics).

The examination takes place typically in mid-August each year. Detailed policy and procedures can be found in the Physics Graduate Program Handbook available from the Physics Graduate Education webpage.

Comprehensive examination and admission to candidacy

All physics PhD students must pass a comprehensive examination before admission to PhD candidacy. 

The comprehensive examination, and subsequent admission to candidacy, must be completed at least 12 months before the dissertation is defended. Detailed requirements and procedures are described in the Physics Graduate Program Handbook available from the Physics Graduate Education webpage.


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 university requirements and policies applied to all graduate degrees  by the Council of Graduate Education.

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