PhD in Physics

For more information, contact:

Dr. Hamidreza Ramezani
Assistant Professor

UTRGV students enrolled under the UT Arlington (UTA) Cooperative Ph.D. Physics program reside at UTRGV and conduct their research under the direction of a graduate faculty member of the UTRGV Physics and Astronomy department. All requirements for the program including graduation requirements are the same as those established for the UTA Ph.D. Physics program. The program accepted new students until AY 2017-18.

Admission Requirements

See the graduate catalog and the department specific requirements. Qualified students conducting their research at UTRGV will normally be supported financially through research assistantships. Contact the Chair, UTRGV Physics department for further information on financial aid.

Program Requirements

The doctoral degree requires a minimum of 81 semester credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree. The coursework in the Program of Study includes a Core Curriculum (12 semester credit hours) and Advanced Electives (27 semester credit hours) including graduate courses offered by other departments with the approval of the student’s Graduate Advisor. Research hours, including Research Seminar (3 semester credit hours), Directed and Doctoral Research (27 semester credit hours) and Dissertation (12 semester credit hours), totaling at least 42 semester credit hours, complete the Program of Study.To remain in good standing, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Transfer of credits

Students who complete the M.S. Physics degree program at UTRGV can transfer up to a maximum of 30 credits from the following courses into the PhD program. Non-degree students who take these courses may also petition UTA for transfer of credits. (The list of courses for which credits can be transferred is provided later in this document).


A. Core Curriculum (12 semester credit hours):

PHYS 5103 Classical Mechanics I
PHYS 5203 Electrodynamics I
PHYS 5303 Statistical Mechanics
PHYS 5403 Quantum Mechanics I

B. Advanced Physics Electives (27 semester credit hours selected from the following or from graduate courses offered by other departments, e.g., Mathematics, Electrical Engineering, Chemistry, etc.):

PHYS 6103 Classical Mechanics II
PHYS 6113 Fluid Mechanics
PHYS 6123 Plasma Physics and Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
PHYS 6203 Electrodynamics II
PHYS 6303 Quantum Mechanics II
PHYS 6313 Solid State Physics
PHYS 6323 Nonlinear Optics and Lasers
PHYS 6403 Fundamentals of Space Physics
PHYS 6413 Fundamentals of Astronomy
PHYS 6503 Mathematical Physics I
PHYS 6513 Mathematical Physics II
PHYS 6523 Computational Physics
PHYS 6613 Methods of Experimental Physics
PHYS 6623 Space Physics Laboratory


Topics courses may be repeated for credit as the topics vary. The student should consult her/his Graduate Advisor if in doubt.

PHYS 7403 Topics in Biophysics and Biomedical Physics
PHYS 7503 Topics in Experimental Physics
PHYS 7603 Topics in Condensed Matter Physics
PHYS 7703 Topics in Space Physics
PHYS 7803 Topics in Theoretical Physics
PHYS 7903 Topics in Astrophysics
PHYS 7973 Special Topics in Physics

C. Doctoral Research (42 semester credit hours):

PHYS 7001-3 Directed Research (6 hours; prior to passing qualifying exam)
PHYS 7013 Research Seminar (3 hours)
PHYS 7101-3 Doctoral Research (21 hours; after successfully passing qualifying exam)
PHYS 7111-3 Doctoral Dissertation (12 hours)

Students must enroll in PHYS 7111-3 Doctoral Dissertation each semester that they receive advice and/or assistance on their dissertation. However, no more than 12 semester credit hours will count toward the Ph.D. degree. Students must attend the Research Seminar for a minimum of three (3) full semesters during their graduate studies. However, no more than 3 semester credit hours may be applied to the Ph.D. degree.


All students seeking a doctoral degree at UTA must be admitted to candidacy. One of the requirements for admission to candidacy is passing the Doctoral Qualifying Examination. Students should consult the UTA’s Doctoral Degree Regulation for the other requirements.

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination is divided into written and oral portions. The written portion will cover the four core courses. The oral portion covers the student’s proposed research program and related fundamentals, must be taken within one year after passing the written portion of the qualifying examination, and will be evaluated by the student’s Dissertation Committee. .

Comprehensive Examination

Students are eligible to take the Comprehensive Examination after giving evidence to their doctoral committees of adequate academic achievement by having completed all or most coursework requirements. The comprehensive examination is an oral presentation based on dissertation research. This examination should be taken at least one year prior to the intended date of dissertation defense so that the candidate has sufficient time to make up for any deficiencies in their research of understanding or their chosen field.


The final oral defense consists of a public presentation of the dissertation and a closed oral defense. It is administered and evaluated by the student’s Dissertation Committee and covers the dissertation and the general field of the dissertation. The Dissertation Committee must approve the dissertation.

Courses for which credits can be transferred

The list below states the courses in the UTRGV M.S. Physics program for which credits can be transferred into the UTA PhD program. A maximum of 30 credit hours constituted by these courses are transferable:

Core Curriculum (12 SCHs):

PHYS 5310 Classical Mechanics I (   )
PHYS 5320 Electrodynamics I (UTA PHY 5309)
PHYS 5330 Statistical Mechanics (UTA PHY 5310)
PHYS 5340 Quantum Mechanics I (UTA PHY 5307)

UTRGV Advanced Physics Electives (18 semester credit hours selected from the following):

PHYS 6330 Quantum Mechanics II (UTA PHY 5308)
PHYS 6320 Electrodynamics II (UTA PHY 5313)
PHYS 6331 Solid State Physics (UTA PHY 5315)
PHYS 6350 Mathematical Physics I (UTA PHY 5311)
PHYS 6351 Mathematical Physics II (UTA PHY 5312)
PHYS 6352 Computational Physics (   )
PHYS 6371 Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Biological Systems
PHYS 6373 Statistical Physics of Molecular Cell Biology
PHYS 5375 Structure and Function of Biological Molecules
PHYS 6381 Introduction of Astrophysics
PHYS 5387 Special Topics in Physics
PHYS 5392 Gravitational Wave Astronomy
PHYS 5393 Introduction to General Relativity and Gravitation
PHYS 5394 Advanced Statistical Methods for Modern Astronomy

Students conducting research at UTRGV can take some of the advanced Physics elective courses or the Topics courses in the UTRGV PhD program via distance education. The same applies for the Research Seminar course. UTRGV and UTA have a direct video link to facilitate this.