*M. W. Peters, PhD (Chair)—elementary particles, experiment
Affiliate Graduate Faculty
A. Barger, PhD—cosmology, observational
Degrees Offered: BA (including minor) in physics, BS in physics, MS in physics, PhD in physics
The Academic Program
Physics (PHYS) is the study of matter and energy and how they interact at the most basic levels. Areas include mechanics, optics and lasers, thermodynamics, electricity, magnetism, nuclear phenomena, condensed matter, and elementary particles. Physics is widely regarded as the most basic of all the sciences. UH Manoa offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in physics. Faculty members who teach physics courses are at the forefront of research in physics both in experiment and in theory. In the field of elementary particles, faculty members currently perform experiments in Hawai‘i, in Japan and in Antarctica to study neutrinos and high-energy gamma rays coming from the stars. Others are involved in experiments at the BES accelerator in China and at the KEK accelerator in Japan, studying particle production and decay and the violation of particle/anti-particle symmetry. In condensed-matter physics, they investigate nano-materials and use a scanning tunneling microscope to take pictures of individual atoms. Two free electron lasers are being installed in the physics department. These devices will allow faculty to carry out forefront spectroscopic research in chemistry, material science, fundamental physics and medicine. Often, undergraduate physics majors work on these projects along with graduate students and the faculty.
Academic advising is mandatory for all undergraduate physics majors. Contact the department office for assignment to an adviser. Note that in order to complete the program in 4 years, a physics student must begin the study of calculus in either the first or the second semester of the freshman year.
Students must complete 40 credit hours in physics courses, including:
Upon approval of a physics department adviser and chair, the PHYS 170 through 272L requirements may be satisfied by PHYS 151 through 152L.
Students must complete 43 credit hours in physics courses, including:
Upon approval of a physics department adviser and chair, the PHYS 170 through 272L requirements may be satisfied by PHYS 151 through 152L; and requirements for PHYS 450, 480L, 481 (or 440 or 490), and 481L may be modified so as to accommodate special emphasis or interdisciplinary programs for which the major in physics is appropriate.
Upon recommendation of a physics department adviser and chair, requirements for PHYS 310, 350, and 480 may be modified if an equivalent course is taken in another department.
This program offers opportunities for study and research leading to the MS and PhD degrees in physics. The staff and facilities are especially aimed toward experimental and theoretical work in elementary particle physics, nanophysics and free electron laser physics and applications.
Intended candidates for the MS or PhD in physics must present a minimum of 35 undergraduate credit hours in physics, including atomic and nuclear physics, electromagnetism, mechanics, quantum mechanics, and thermodynamics. Courses in general chemistry and differential equations are also required. Official scores of the GRE General Test and the subject test in physics must be submitted prior to admission.
At least one year of experience as a teaching assistant is required of all MS or PhD candidates. All graduate students are required to attend the weekly departmental seminar.
Students wishing to terminate their formal education with the MS degree generally select Plan A (thesis) so as to gain some research experience, as well as formal class work. These students are prepared to enter teaching positions at the community college level or industrial and civil service positions at the junior scientist and engineer level.
Students planning advanced graduate work generally complete the Plan B (non-thesis) or Plan C (examination) requirements for the MS degree. At this point most of their formal class work has been completed and further work consists mainly of seminars, directed research, and the dissertation.
For the MS Plan A, students must complete 30 credit hours of course work, including (a) a minimum of 18 credit hours of physics courses numbered 600 to 798, including PHYS 610, 650, 670, and 690; (b) minimum of 6 credit hours of thesis; and (c) approved electives, which may be selected from PHYS 699 for a maximum of 2 credit hours and courses in mathematics, chemistry, meteorology, engineering, and philosophy. Other courses can be included on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the department chair. A final oral examination covers the thesis and related areas and completes the Plan A requirements.
For the MS Plan B, students must complete 30 credit hours of course work, including (a) a minimum of 18 credit hours of physics courses numbered 600 to 798, including PHYS 610, 650, 670, and 690; and (b) approved electives, as in Plan A.
A written qualifying examination completes the Plan B requirements.
For the MS Plan C, there is no credit hour requirement but a minimum residency requirement must be satisfied. MS Plan C is intended for students who had completed equivalent course requirements at another institution. Admission to Plan C requires the approval of the physics graduate program advisory committee. A written qualifying examination and a final oral examination complete the requirements for Plan C.
The PhD degree is essentially a research degree. Students complete an original and significant piece of research and are at the forefront of one area of physics. Students are expected to enter the academic world in a teaching and research capacity or industrial and government research laboratories as senior scientists.
To be admitted to the PhD program, students must perform satisfactorily on a written qualifying examination followed by an advancement to candidacy oral examination. A student is allowed two attempts to pass the written qualifying examination within the student’s first six semesters as a regular classified graduate student. The student’s first attempt must be within the student’s first four semesters as a regular classified graduate student. Students who fail twice cannot continue in the graduate program.
In addition to the courses required for the MS degree, students are responsible for the material covered in PHYS 651 and 671. A scholarly dissertation must be written, and a final oral examination in defense of the dissertation completes the requirements for the PhD.
Please note: This Catalog was prepared to provide information and does not constitute a contract. The University reserves the right to change or delete, supplement or otherwise amend at any time and without prior notice the information, requirements and policies contained in this Catalog.
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