Ph.D. in Physics

From quantum dots to terahertz radiation, nanophotonics to cold plasma, Stevens' Ph.D. candidates explore the most promising areas of new research-while enjoying a uniquely collegial relationship with distinguished faculty. Here, students may work one-on-one with winners of major grant awards, internationally known researchers, and promising young professors. Most incoming candidates receive teaching assistantships, and the department consistently has one Stanley Fellow among its students at any given time. Taken together, all these strengths equip students to investigate the frontiers of physics-and, from those investigations, to build successful research careers.

Faculty Distinction

  • Professor Knut Stamnes is renowned for his advanced research in atmospheric and space physics. His areas of interest range from radiation transport in planetary media (including the coupled atmosphere-snow/ice-ocean system) to satellite remote sensing of the environment.
  • New light sources and advances in quantum computing may someday arise from the research of Assistant Professor Stefan Strauf. His groundbreaking work focuses on single photon light sources from quantum dots, as well as the correlations between photons emitted from coupled quantum dots.

Research Areas

  • Transport through semiconductor nanostructures. Several Stevens faculty explore the theory of such advanced structures as resonant tunneling diodes, quantum dots, and super lattices.
  • Semiconductor optical devices. Researchers investigate theory and conduct experiments with single photon sources, quantum dot infrared detectors, and related areas.
  • Other areas:
    • Laser spectroscopy
    • Coherent control of atomic/molecular systems
    • Atmospheric physics
    • Photonic crystals
    • THz radiation for remote sensing and communications
    • Quantum optics and cavity quantum electrodynamics
    • Bose-Einstein condensation and ultra-cold quantum degenerate atomic gases
    • Free space infrared communication systems

Degree Requirements

You must earn 84 graduate credits* to complete the doctoral program. Of these credits, 48 must be earned through course work, and at least 30 via dissertation work. You may apply up to 30 credits from a master's program toward your doctoral degree.

*If you entered the PhD program before the Fall 2012 semester, you must earn 90 credits to complete your degree. 

Completion of the following course work is required for the Ph.D. in physics:

  • PEP 642 Mechanics
  • PEP 643/644 Electricity and Magnetism I and II
  • PEP 554 Quantum Mechanics I
  • One 600-level advanced quantum mechanics course (currently PEP 621, PEP 653, or PEP 680)
  • PEP 528 Mathematical Methods of Science and Engineering II
  • PEP 555 Statistical Physics and Kinetic Theory
  • PEP 510 Modern Optics Lab (or another lab equivalent)
  • PEP 667 Statistical Mechanics
  • One 600-level quantum mechanics application course
  • Three 700-level courses chosen in consultation with an academic advisor
  • Two additional electives chosen in consultation with an academic advisor

Within two years of your admission, you must take a written qualifying examination to test your mastery of core physics topics. After passing this examination, you must take an oral examination to evaluate your ability to discuss physical problems with an examining committee of three faculty members. Upon successful completion of this oral examination, you become a doctoral candidate and start your dissertation research.

Doctoral research must be based on an original investigation, the results of which will be presented in a written dissertation. At the completion of the research, you must defend your thesis in a public presentation.