Application Deadlines
Fall:January 15
Contact Information: 
N-273 ESC
Program Requirements: 

The physics PhD program prepares students for professional careers in physics. These careers include faculty positions at universities and colleges and work in research laboratories and industry.  

Requirements for Degree.

  • Credit hours (54): Students must pass a minimum 36 hours in approved course work with a B– grade or better in each class and complete 18 hours of dissertation research in Phscs 699R. The required graduate seminars Phscs 691R and Phscs 696R do not count toward the approved coursework hours. The final GPA must be 3.0 or above.
  • Required courses: Students are required to enroll in Phscs 601 and 602 their first year, in Phscs 691R each semester of residence, in Phscs 696R the first two semesters of residence, and in 3 hours of Phscs 795R at or before the beginning of the dissertation.
  • Suggested courses vary by discipline –
  • Acoustics: Phscs 660, 661, 662, 721
  • Atomic, Molecular, and Atomic Physics: Phscs 641, 642, 651, 652, 731
  • Condensed Matter Physics: Phscs 581, 641, 642, 651, 652, 781, 782
  • Plasma Physics: Phscs 641, 642, 645, 651, 652, 721, 731, 745
  • Theoretical and Mathematical Physics: Phscs 641, 642, 651, 652, 721, 731
  • Additional hours from 500-, 600-, and 700-level courses, subject to departmental approval, to make a total of at least 36 hours (may include up to 3 hours of Phscs 697R).
  • Study list: In the first year of study a student must be accepted as a research student by a member of the department graduate faculty and with their guidance submit a study list which is the list of courses they will take to complete the 54 hour requirement. This list must be approved by the department graduate coordinator.
  • Qualifying examination: A department-administered written examination to demonstrate a graduate-level understanding of the physical principles on which the graduate courses build must be successfully passed within 22 months of entering the program. A student has three opportunities to pass the exam. These exams are scheduled near the beginning of fall, winter and spring semester, depending upon demand.
  • Candidacy examination: After two years each student presents a written and oral report of research accomplished at BYU to an examining committee. A passing grade is given if the committee decides that the student displays sufficient mastery of background knowledge and research acumen to successfully complete the PhD. Passing the qualifying examination, having a GPA of 3.0 over at least 5 courses on the study list with no grade lower than a B-, and passing the candidacy examination admits the student to PhD candidacy.
  • Prospectus: No later than the third year of residency, a student must submit and successfully defend before their advisory committee a prospectus detailing their proposed plan of research.
  • Dissertation:  A dissertation must be completed and successfully defended in an oral examination before the student's advisory committee.
Admission Requirements: 

Required Tests

GRE General test and GRE Physics subject test. 

Additional Requirements

Baccalaureate degree or equivalent preparation in physics

Program Outcomes: 

Foundational Skills

Each student will achieve a mastery of physics at a level required for college and university undergraduate teaching. They will choose a research project and prepare for it by completing relevant graduate-level courses and by mastering the literature that their research builds upon.

Research Skills

Each student will pursue research of significance in experimental physics, numerical computation and/or theoretical physics. They will conduct this research under the guidance of an advisor while developing the intellectual independence that typifies true scholarship.

Communication and Professional Preparation

Each student will join and participate in an appropriate professional society and communicate their research both orally and in writing to this society and other relevant local and national groups.


Each student will learn and follow the principles of ethics in science.

Program Stats

Characteristics of Students from Past Academic Year
Total Students 14
International 3
Female 0
LDS 12
Non-White 5
BYU Undergraduate 5
Three Year Average Test Scores of Admitted Student
GRE Composite Score 317.1
GRE Quantitative Score 161.0
GRE Quantitative Percentile 79.3
GRE Verbal Score 156.1
GRE Verbal Percentile 67.7
GRE Analytical Score 3.6
GRE Analytical Percentile 41.1
Five Year Average of Graduated Students
Average Years to Degree 4.5
Graduated Per Year 1.8
Five Year Average of Admitted Students
Applied Per Year 8.4
Admitted Per Year 3.6
Percent Admitted 42.86
Average GPA 3.74