Guidelines for Physics Ph.D. Students at Wesleyan University

  1. There are 5 core graduate courses (500 level) that must be taken (or placed out of) - Electrodynamics, Quantum Mechanics, Classical Mechanics, Statistical Mechanics and Mathematical Physics.
  2. There is a set of courses that are taken each semester. They are Physics Colloquium, Chemical Physics Seminar (as required by advisor), Research Area Seminar and Advanced Topics in Physics (as required by advisor; at least 5 courses for graduation) plus Research.
  3. The written qualifier examination is normally taken during by the first semester of the second year. In preparation for this exam, during the first year, graduate students normally will take any upper level 300/500 level courses (not the 5 core graduate courses).
  4. Advancement to the initial stage of Ph.D. candidacy is based on three criteria: performance in course work at Wesleyan, performance in research, and performance on the written qualifier examination.
  5. Each graduate student will have a three-faculty committee that will include the faculty mentor. The committee will be formed immediately after advancement to the initial stage of candidacy. Each graduate student will meet at least once per academic year with his/her committee.
  6. Advancement to the final stage of Ph.D. candidacy is based on an oral presentation of research progress and plans for a coherent thesis. This presentation should take place no later than the fifth semester in the program, and will be judged by the faculty committee (with input from all faculty) and by an additional outside expert evaluator, if the committee wishes.
  7. The department has a policy of no outside employment by supported graduate students except in unusual circumstances. Any exception requires support of the student's committee and is subject to departmental approval.
  8. Contingent upon satisfactory progress, graduate students may be supported for up to 6 years.
  9. A written thesis and a final oral presentation of the thesis research are required and will be evaluated and judged by the faculty committee (with input from all faculty) and an additional outside expert, if the committee wishes.  The department does not require (and will not reimburse) a professionally printed or bound thesis.
  10. Students must provide the department with an electronic version of the approved thesis for archival purposes. A printed, bound copy of the thesis is encouraged, but the department does not provide funds for thesis publication.