Jan 18, 2022  
Graduate Catalog 2015-2016 
Graduate Catalog 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Philosophy in Physics

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Doctor of Philosophy

Hunter College offers Doctor of Philosophy in Physics jointly with the Graduate Center. Students may be accepted into this Program with the approval of the Admissions Committee of the Doctoral Program in Physics at the Graduate Center.   

Students enrolled in the Hunter College MA program who achieve satisfactory records and pass CUNY’s first PhD examination may be admitted to the PhD program subject to the approval of the Admissions Committee of  the Graduate Center. Courses taken in the Hunter MA program may be counted as part of the course work required for the PhD. Thesis research toward the doctorate may also be carried out at Hunter College.

Courses of Study

The student’s course of study must have the approval of an adviser. Of the 60 credits of graduate work required for the degree, no more than 9 credits may be in first-level courses; with special permission, up to 18 credits may be taken in subjects other than physics. After students pass the First Examination, they are encouraged to choose a thesis field and adviser; these decisions should normally be made within the first year of study. Doctoral students are expected to attend the regularly held colloquia.

First Examination

The student must pass the First Examination, which includes quantum mechanics, analytic dynamics, electromagnetic theory, and general physics, which covers topics selected from the fields of atomic and nuclear physics, solid state, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics and optics. For students specializing in fluid-geophysics, an examination in that area may be substituted for the quantum mechanics part of the First Examination.

Second Examination

The Second Examination tests the student’s knowledge of the general areas of physics bearing on his or her field of research as well as the student’s readiness to undertake a specific piece of research. Detailed information concerning the examination is available from the Executive Officer.


The student is required to prepare the dissertation under the guidance of a thesis adviser. Upon completion, the dissertation will be submitted to the guidance committee appointed for the student. The degree is recommended upon approval of the dissertation by the committee and upon successful completion of an oral defense of the dissertation before the committee. The dissertation must be of such a caliber as to be acceptable for publication in a standard journal when suitably condensed.

College Teaching

Each student is required to participate in some teaching of undergraduate physics courses. Specific requirements are determined for each student in consultation with the Executive Officer and the Department Chairman. In special cases research may be substituted for this requirement.


Every student admitted for doctoral study in Physics will have financial support for five full years of study, as long as they remain in good academic standing and progress on schedule in their doctoral research. The five-year CUNY Science Scholarship includes a full tuition waiver, annual health insurance coverage and $24,000/year financial support.

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