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The curriculum in Applied Physics combines coursework in the fundamentals of physical theory, its applications to modern technology and practical "hands-on" training in the research laboratories.

Applied Physics is administered as an intercollegiate degree program with participating faculty in the College of Literature Science and the Arts, the College of Engineering, the Medical School, and School of Natural Resources and the School of Public Health. General admission and degree requirements are administered by the Rackham Graduate School.

The time to degree is four to six years with an emphasis on coursework during the first two years. Students are encouraged to become involved in research at the earliest opportunity and are required to complete a supervised research project in their first year. When students complete the basic academic core course requirements, have satisfied the qualification procedure (see below), have formed a Dissertation Committee, and have obtained approval for their Dissertation Prospectus, they are eligible for admission to Candidacy for the Ph.D.

Qualifying Procedure

The decision to qualify a student for Ph.D. study is based on the student's academic record, performance in a four-credit hour supervised research project and the results of an oral examination. The oral Qualifying Examination includes an introduction of the student's supervised research project followed by questions on standard undergraduate-level physics. The student is usually expected to qualify within two years of entering the graduate program.


To achieve candidacy and form a dissertation committee, seven prescribed 500-level courses must be passed with a minimum grade of B. In addition, four elective courses (chosen in consultation with the program advisor according to the student's research needs) must be completed satisfactorily. Completion of one four-credit hour course on non-thesis research is required under the supervision of a faculty member. Prior approval by the program committee must be obtained before beginning this supervised research course. All first, second, and third year students are required to enroll in the weekly seminar course (APPPHYS 514). The final step in achieving candidacy is the Preliminary Examination.

Preliminary Examination

A preliminary examination of the plans for dissertation research are formally reviewed by the student's Dissertation Committee. The examination is a presentation of the research and the objectives and proposed methods of investigation. This examination authorizes the student to proceed with the thesis research.

Students will have formed their Dissertation Committee by the end of their fifth term in graduate school. Approval of the Dissertation Prospectus is a program requirement prior to Candidacy. This should be completed during the first semester of the third year.