Physics Doctorate


Doctoral students conduct exciting and cutting-edge research with faculty who are leaders in the field. Doctoral candidates must pass a qualifying examination, which consists of two oral examinations. The first oral examination tests mastery of a set of core physics topics, while the second oral examination tests students' ability to discuss physics problems and current research topics with an examining committee of three faculty members. Candidates have two opportunities to pass each examination. The first attempt must be made within the first two years of study at Stevens. Upon successful completion of both examinations, they become qualified Ph.D. candidates.

Within six weeks after passing the qualification examination, a Ph.D. advisory committee shall be formed for each Ph.D. student, consisting of a major advisor on the Physics department faculty, an additional Physics department faculty member, and a third Stevens faculty member from any department other than Physics. Additional committee members from Stevens or elsewhere may also be included.

Ph.D. candidates are required to have competency in using computer-based methods of calculation and analysis. Students lacking this competency are encouraged to take PEP 520 Computational Physics, or equivalent.

In addition to the core courses required in the 30-credit Master of Science in physics degree (PEP 642, PEP 643, PEP 644, PEP 554, PEP 528, PEP 555, and PEP 510 and one 600-level advanced quantum mechanics course), completion of the following coursework will be required for the Ph.D.:

  • PEP 667 Statistical Mechanics

The following course requirements must also be met:

  • One 600-level quantum mechanics application course
  • Two 700-level courses chosen in consultation with an academic advisor
  • Three Ph.D. signature credits (can be in one or multiple approved courses)

Students carry out an original research program under the supervision of the major advisor and advisory committee. The results of the research will be presented in a written dissertation. Upon approval of the advisory committee, the written dissertation will be defended by the student in an oral defense.

A minimum of 84 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree is required for the Ph.D. degree. Required coursework represents at least 18 credits. At least 12 of the remaining 66 credits must be for the Ph.D. research (PEP 960).

Applications are welcome from students who have already earned a master's degree elsewhere. Applicants with the equivalent of the Stevens Master of Science in Physics degree are eligible to take the qualifying exam immediately and become candidates without additional course requirements. Nevertheless, they have to fulfill all described requirements including doctoral coursework, research, any core courses of the Stevens Master of Science in Physics which they have not taken in the course of their previous Master's degree, and a total of 54 credits beyond the Master's degree.

Applicants with a non-physics master's degree may be required to complete sufficient coursework to meet the requirements for a physics degree in addition to the remaining doctoral requirements outlined above. The details of the makeup work are determined by the department's Graduate Academic Standards and Curriculum committee. For more information, visit the Office of Graduate Academics.

Interdisciplinary Doctorate
In addition to the Ph.D. program in Physics the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics offers an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in cooperation with other departments in Stevens Institute of Technology. This program aims to address the increasingly cross-cutting nature of doctoral research. The interdisciplinary Ph.D. program aims to take advantage of the complementary educational offerings and research opportunities in multiple areas. Any student who wishes to enter a interdisciplinary program needs to obtain the consent of the participating departments and the subsequent approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies. They will follow a study plan designed by his/her faculty advisor. In particular, the student must declare which department will be the home department (i.e. the department where the majority of courses is being taken), and arrange for written consent of advisors in both departments involved.

The student will be granted official candidacy in the program upon successful completion of a qualifying exam. For all interdisciplinary programs involving the Physics department as either home or secondary department the student is required to pass the first part of the regular Ph.D. qualifying exam of the Physics Department (general physics, based on core courses PEP 538, 542, 553, 555) as well as the corresponding qualifying exam of the other participating department.

All policies of the Office of Graduate Academics that govern the credit and thesis requirements apply to students enrolled in this interdisciplinary program. Identical to the Physics Ph.D. program the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program requires 84 credits. For students with the Physics Department as the home department, the following additional guidelines apply

  • A Master's degree comparable to the Stevens Master of Engineering Physics will be recognized and be accounted for with up to 30 credits, whereby PEP 542, PEP 554 (or equivalent) must be part of the Masters.
  • Required core courses of a interdisciplinary Ph.D. if PEP is the home department:
  • PEP 538 Introduction to Mechanics
  • PEP 555 Statistical Physics and Kinetic Theory
  • PEP 643 Electricity and Magnetism I
  • PEP 644 Electricity and Magnetism II
  • Two 600-level courses (in the PEP or secondary department)
  • One 700-level course (in the PEP or secondary department)

These requirements allow a student to obtain an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree with a designated concentration in nanotechnology and the PEP Department as home department following the requirement of the Nanotechnology Graduate Program (NGP). To qualify for the nanotechnology concentration, the student has to satisfy all the above requirements for an interdisciplinary PhD and must additionally complete the NGP common core courses (NANO 600 and NANO525/625), a minimum of five elective NANO courses, as well as regularly attend the seminar series in the Nanotechnology Curriculum (NANO 700).

Note that the requirement for five elective NANO courses are allowed to overlap with the requirements for an interdisciplinary PhD involving the PEP department, in particular, courses NANO/PEP553, NANO/PEP554, NANO/PEP555 are cross-listed with the NPG program. In addition, a Ph.D. candidate must successfully execute a doctoral dissertation in the realm of nanotechnology. Interested students should follow the normal graduate application procedures through the Dean of Graduate Studies.

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Admission Requirements

Admission into the Graduate Certificate or Master's Degree programs requires an undergraduate degree in Engineering, or in a related discipline, with a grade point average of "B" or better from an accredited college or university.

Required Documentation

All applicants must submit the following documents to be considered for admission:

  • Completed online application for admission
  • Official college transcripts from all colleges attended
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • GRE scores*
  • Application fee

Optional Documents:

  • Resume/CV

* Starting Fall 2014 GRE scores required for all applicants applying into a full-time graduate program in the School of Engineering and Sciences. (Code #2819) All scores are only valid for five years prior to the application term. GRE required for all PhD applicants.

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

TOEFL/IELTS - International students (Code #2819).  For English language proficiency requirements please click here.

Approximately two weeks following receipt of the above material, you will receive a decision letter from the Office of Graduate Admissions. If accepted you will receive an acceptance letter outlining the program to which you were accepted, as well as your assigned Academic Advisor's contact information.

For questions related to program requirements please check with the Office of Graduate Admissions at [email protected].

For more details on deadlines and how to apply please visit the Office of Graduate Admissions website at