Welcome to the Graduate Program in Physics at the University of Missouri! The Department’s expectations of graduate students are simple – progress toward your degree goal. Your goals are best met by close cooperation between you, your adviser, and the rest of the faculty. We hope that your graduate years are productive and successful!
The detailed requirements for obtaining an M.S. or Ph.D. degree in Physics are given here. More details and useful information can be found in the Graduate Studies Handbook. The requirements include:
- a residency requirement (i.e., a specific number of course hours completed within a given period of time),
- specific required courses,
- passage of evaluation examinations,
- completion of research and a thesis based on research, as well as
- filing various application forms with signatures of departmental advisers and other faculty.
While this process sounds intimidating, it actually is not: with proper attention to details, your graduate work will go smoothly, and you will proceed quickly to your desired goal.
Because the Physics and Astronomy Department is relatively small, graduate students are better able to maintain a close relationship with the faculty. Our facilities include various laboratories within the Physics Building as well as the Research Reactor. In certain cases, a student’s work may be done in collaboration with other Departments in Science and Engineering. A major interdisciplinary program under development and strongly supported by the Department is that of Materials Science.
The largest research area is in experimental and theoretical condensed-matter physics. Graduates in these fields have been very successful in continuing their careers in industry and academics. Other research programs in which thesis work may be accomplished are biological physics and astronomy/astrophysics.
Overseeing the progress of all graduate students in the Department is the Graduate Studies Committee and the Director of Graduate Studies, who have the responsibility to advise all newly incoming students. On the basis of the student’s background and interests, they determine what courses are necessary to meet the needs of the student and the departmental requirements. In some cases, it may be decided that various 4000 level (upper division undergraduate) courses are desirable before enrollment in 7000/8000 level (graduate) courses proceeds. A student may refuse to accept the advice to take suggested undergraduate courses, but will be asked to sign a written agreement to accept full responsibility for her/his performance on the Qualifying Examination.
In due course (within 6 months of passing the Qualifying Examination), a research adviser must be selected to supervise a student’s research program leading to a Master’s or Doctoral Degree. The research adviser becomes the permanent adviser who assesses the individual student’s needs and helps set up a program of courses that makes each student’s progress through the graduate program as smooth as possible. The adviser, together with the student’s thesis committee, has the responsibility of overseeing the student’s progress in preparing for advancement to degree candidacy and completion of research requirements for the degree.
Participation and Assessment
Our graduate students are expected to take a full and active part in departmental activities. Participation in research programs, departmental lectures and colloquium are considered an integral part of a graduate program.
Students are required to document their activities using the Graduate Student Progress System. The Graduate Student Progress System is designed to facilitate the collection of information necessary to properly assess the progress of graduate students. The system can also initiate a feedback loop between student and adviser, allow academic programs to generate aggregate reports on their student’s achievements, and create a curriculum vita for a student.