Students meeting in an on-campus coffee shop

Program Requirements for Physics and Astronomy (Physics)

Applicable only to students admitted during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Physics and Astronomy

College of Letters and Science

Graduate Degrees

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) in Astronomy, the Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Astronomy, the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) in Physics, and the Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Physics.

Physics

Admissions Requirements

Master’s Degrees

Master of Science

Advising

Entering students are assigned a faculty adviser to assist them in planning their academic schedule.

Areas of Study

Students are not required to designate an area of specialization for a terminal master’s degree.

Foreign Language Requirement

None.

Course Requirements

Ten courses (36 units) are required for the M.S. degree. The following six core courses must be included to satisfy this requirement: Physics 210A-210B, 220, 221A-221B, 215A. Other courses may be substituted in special cases with approval of the Faculty Graduate Adviser.

The material in these six core courses represents the body of knowledge tested on the written comprehensive examination. Core courses must be taken during the first year of graduate study and for a letter grade (a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 is required in core courses). All first-year students must enroll in Physics 293, a weekly colloquium meeting, and are required to participate in Physics 201Q, the survey of modern physics research areas, to be counted toward the ten required courses. The remaining two courses of the minimum ten courses required may be satisfied through upper division or graduate courses in physics or a related field, which are acceptable to the department for credit toward the M.S. degree, with the restriction that no more than eight units may be chosen from Physics 596 and/or seminar courses. Physics 597 and 598 may not be applied toward course requirements for the M.S. degree.

Teaching Experience

Not required.

Field Experience

Not Required.

Capstone Plan

Students are required to pass the written comprehensive examination at the master’s level. This level is determined by the Comprehensive Examination Committee for each examination session. If students fail to pass the examination at the master’s level, they may take it a second time the next session it is given. For more detailed information, see Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations under Doctoral Degree.

Thesis Plan

Every master’s degree thesis plan requires the completion of an approved thesis that demonstrates the student’s ability to perform original, independent research.

Although the department operates under the comprehensive examination plan rather than the thesis plan, arrangements can usually be made for students to write a master’s thesis, provided they have a particularly interesting subject and provided a professor is willing to undertake the guidance of their project. In this case, students must petition the committee of graduate advisers for permission to pursue the thesis plan. If the petition is approved, the comprehensive examination is waived.

Time-to-Degree

Upon admission to graduate status, full-time students who are taking a course load which is standard for the program should complete the program in approximately four quarters.

DEGREE NORMATIVE TIME TO ATC (Quarters) NORMATIVE TTD

MAXIMUM TTD

M.S. 4 4 4

Master of Arts in Teaching

Admission

The department is not admitting students to the program at this time.

Advising

The M.A.T. adviser oversees all stages of progress toward the M.A.T. degree. Students are required to see the adviser at the beginning of each quarter through the completion of the degree.

Areas of Study

Students are not required to designate an area of specialization for the M.A.T. degree.

Foreign Language Requirement

Not required.

Course Requirements

The M.A.T. degree leads to qualification for instructional credentials at the secondary school or junior college level. A total of 12.5 courses are required for the M.A.T. degree. The program consists of at least five graduate physics courses, four of which are chosen from Physics 210A, 210B, 215A, 221A, 221B, and five professional (300-series) courses. Courses required are: (1) the five graduate physics courses; and (2) the courses necessary for completion of the preliminary State of California Single Subject Instructional Credential, K-12 (Education 312, 315, 330B, 330C, 406, 407, and Physics M370A, which is a special physics teaching laboratory).

Courses in the 500 series are not applicable toward the M.A.T. degree. Students are required to see the adviser at the beginning of each quarter through the completion of the degree.

Teaching Experience

Supervised teaching at the secondary and junior college level is required as part of the required education courses.

Field Experience

Not required.

Capstone Plan

A passing grade on the written comprehensive examination is required. Students who fail to qualify at the master’s level of achievement may repeat the examination a second time.

Thesis Plan

None.

Time-to-Degree

The average period of time-to-degree is two years (six quarters) from graduate admission to conferral of degree.

DEGREE NORMATIVE TIME TO ATC (Quarters) NORMATIVE TTD

MAXIMUM TTD

M.A.T. 6 6 6

Doctoral Degree

Advising

Entering students are assigned a faculty adviser to assist them in planning their academic schedule. Beginning in the fourth quarter and continuing until advancement to candidacy, students must see a faculty adviser every quarter for approval of their course of study.

Major Fields or Subdisciplines

Doctoral degrees are based on original work, generally in one of the following fields of specialization: accelerator physics; astrophysics; condensed matter of electronic systems and of soft and biological materials; elementary particles;  nuclear physics; low-temperature/acoustics; plasma physics; and atomic, molecular and optical physics. Arrangements can also be made for students to receive a Ph.D. degree in Physics while doing research in interdisciplinary fields. The details of such a research program should be established in consultation with the graduate affairs officer.

Foreign Language Requirement

None.

Course Requirements

Students are expected to complete at least the minimum number of courses that are required for the M.S. degree. In exceptional cases, graduate students who have taken equivalent core courses elsewhere may be exempt from taking these courses. Student must make a request for this exemption with the graduate faculty adviser prior to the start of fall quarter.

From the beginning of the student’s second year and until the student passes the University Oral Qualifying Examination and advances to candidacy, the student’s program is overseen by the Committee of Graduate Advisers. Each student must see a member of this committee every term before enrolling in courses. When possible a student will be assigned to an adviser whose research field is in an area in which the student has an expressed interest. The student’s adviser provides guidance in choosing appropriate courses. The committee may require that certain courses be taken in addition to normal course requirements. The guidance may also include advice on choosing a field of specialization and help in locating research opportunities. By the end of the student’s third year, the student is expected to have made arrangements with a faculty member who agrees to be the Ph.D. research sponsor and to have completed the University Oral Qualifying Examination and been advanced to candidacy. If by the end of the third year of residence the student has not obtained a Ph.D. research sponsor, this situation is referred by the graduate affairs officer to the Committee of Graduate Advisers. The committee then makes a decision on whether the student should continue in the graduate program based on discussions with the student and other appropriate parties.

Teaching Experience

Not required.

Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations

Academic Senate regulations require all doctoral students to complete and pass university written and oral qualifying examinations prior to doctoral advancement to candidacy. Also, under Senate regulations, the University Oral Qualifying Examination is open only to the student and appointed members of the doctoral committee. In addition to university requirements, some graduate programs have other pre-candidacy examination requirements. What follows in this section is how students are required to fulfill all of these requirements for this doctoral program.

All committee nominations and reconstitutions adhere to the new Minimum Standards for Doctoral Committee Constitution.

A written comprehensive examination is required of all graduate students. This examination is administered by a departmental Comprehensive Examination Committee and is graded as follows: (1) pass at the Ph.D. level of achievement; (2) pass at the master’s level of achievement; (3) fail. This written comprehensive examination consists of two three-hour sections given on consecutive days, and its scope is defined by the graduate physics material in the six core courses (Physics 210A, 210B, 215A, 220, 221A, and 221B).

This written comprehensive examination is normally offered once a year, in the week before the beginning of classes in fall quarter. Students entering the graduate program in fall quarter are expected to take the written comprehensive examination before their fourth quarter of residence. Students who fail this examination at the desired level and want to repeat it must take and pass it the next time it is offered.

Students are expected to take the University Oral Qualifying Examination no later than their ninth quarter. In consultation with the student’s dissertation adviser, a doctoral committee is nominated, approved by the department chair, and formally appointed by the Graduate Division. The main purpose of this examination is to discuss and evaluate the student’s proposed dissertation problem. However, at the discretion of the committee, questions may be asked in regard to other material in the student’s field of specialization and related matters. The detailed scope for most of this examination should be agreed upon beforehand. The committee members guide, read, approve, and certify the dissertation. At least three members from the department and at least one outside member must serve as certifying members of the dissertation.

Advancement to Candidacy

Students are advanced to candidacy upon successful completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations.

Doctoral Dissertation

Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student’s ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study.

Final Oral Examination (Defense of Dissertation)

Required for all students in the program.

Time-to-Degree

The Ph.D. dissertation should be submitted by the end of six years or 18 quarters of residence.

Normal progress toward the Ph.D. degree has been established as follows:

(1) The written comprehensive examination should be taken by the fourth quarter in residence.

(2) A specialized course of study should begin during the second year.

(3) The oral qualifying examination (and advancement to candidacy) should be completed no later than the end of the ninth quarter.

(4) The dissertation and final oral examination should be finished by the end of the 18th quarter.

DEGREE NORMATIVE TIME TO ATC (Quarters) NORMATIVE TTD

MAXIMUM TTD

Ph.D. 9 18 21

Termination of Graduate Study and Appeal of Termination

University Policy

A student who fails to meet the above requirements may be recommended for termination of graduate study. A graduate student may be disqualified from continuing in the graduate program for a variety of reasons. The most common is failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (3.00) required by the Academic Senate to remain in good standing (some programs require a higher grade point average). Other examples include failure of examinations, lack of timely progress toward the degree and poor performance in core courses. Probationary students (those with cumulative grade point averages below 3.00) are subject to immediate dismissal upon the recommendation of their department. University guidelines governing termination of graduate students, including the appeal procedure, are outlined in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA.

Special Departmental or Program Policy

A student’s record and progress is reviewed at the end of each quarter. In addition to the standard reasons outlined above, a student may be recommended for termination for dropping core courses, failure to make satisfactory progress in thesis research, including failure to find a research sponsor or failure to make normal progress toward thesis completion once a sponsor is found, or for two failures of the written comprehensive examination (under extraordinary circumstances a student may be allowed to take it a third time).

Before a recommendation for termination occurs, the department meets with the student to discuss the problems and considers whether an extension of time may be granted. If an extension of time is granted and the student has not exhibited satisfactory progress during that time, a recommendation for termination occurs.

Students meeting in an on-campus coffee shop

Program Requirements for Physics and Astronomy (Physics)

Applicable only to students admitted during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Physics and Astronomy

College of Letters and Science

Graduate Degrees

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) in Astronomy, the Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Astronomy, the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) in Physics, and the Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Physics.

Physics

Admissions Requirements

Master of Science

Advising

Entering students are assigned a faculty adviser to assist them in planning their academic schedule. Students may also consult with the Faculty Graduate Adviser and Graduate Affairs Officer.

Areas of Study

Students are not required to designate an area of specialization for a terminal master’s degree.

Foreign Language Requirement

None.

Course Requirements

For the M.S. degree, 36 units are required, being typically 9-10 courses. The following six core courses must be included to satisfy this requirement: Physics 210A, 210B, 220, 221A, 221B, and 215A. Other courses may be substituted in special cases with prior approval of the Faculty Graduate Adviser.  As described in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA, a student must have a 3.0 GPA in all courses to be applied to the graduate degree.

The material in these six core courses draws from the body of knowledge tested on the written comprehensive examination. Core courses must be taken during the first year of graduate study for a letter grade. A GPA of 3.0 is required in core courses each quarter they are taken. Furthermore, as described in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLAa student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0. In addition, the student’s GPA in each term must remain above 3.0 for any two consecutive quarters. A meeting may be held with the student by the Faculty Graduate Adviser and Graduate Affairs Officer after any quarter that the student’s GPA falls below 3.0 (either cumulatively or for the most recent term) to discuss the reasons and to serve as a reminder of this policy. If a student takes courses outside Physics, the GPA requirement will also apply to the subset of just physics courses, except by prior agreement with the Faculty Graduate Adviser.

All first-year students also enroll in the following courses for at least one quarter: Physics 293, the weekly colloquium meeting and Physics 201Q, a survey of modern physics research areas. These are counted toward the number of required courses. In addition, any students who will or might work as a Teaching Assistant need to take Physics 495, a seminar in teaching college-level physics, in the first quarter. The remaining courses may be satisfied through upper division or graduate courses in physics or a related field, which are acceptable to the department for credit toward the M.S. degree, although no more than eight units in total may be chosen from Physics 296, 596, and/or seminar courses. Physics 597, 598, and 599 may not be applied toward course requirements for the M.S. degree.

Teaching Experience

Not required.

Field Experience

Not Required.

Capstone Plan

Students are required to pass the written comprehensive examination at the master’s level. This level is determined by the Comprehensive Examination Committee for each examination session. If students fail to pass the examination at the master’s level, they may take it a second, and final, time the next session it is given. For more information, see Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations under Doctoral Degree.

Thesis Plan

Every master’s degree thesis plan requires the completion of an approved thesis that demonstrates the student’s ability to perform original, independent research.

Although the department operates under the capstone plan rather than the thesis plan, arrangements can be made for students to write a master’s thesis, provided they have a particularly interesting subject and provided a professor is willing to undertake the guidance of their project. In this case, students must petition the Faculty Graduate Adviser for permission to pursue the thesis plan. If the petition is approved, the requirement to pass comprehensive examination for the M.S. degree is waived.

Time-to-Degree

Upon admission to graduate status, full-time students who are taking a course load which is standard for the program should complete the program in approximately four quarters.

DEGREE NORMATIVE TIME TO ATC (Quarters) NORMATIVE TTD

MAXIMUM TTD

M.S. 4 4 6

Master of Arts in Teaching

Admission

The department is not admitting students to the program at this time.

Advising

The M.A.T. adviser oversees all stages of progress toward the M.A.T. degree. Students are required to see the adviser at the beginning of each quarter through the completion of the degree.

Areas of Study

Students are not required to designate an area of specialization for the M.A.T. degree.

Foreign Language Requirement

Not required.

Course Requirements

The M.A.T. degree leads to qualification for instructional credentials at the secondary school or junior college level. A total of 12.5 courses are required for the M.A.T. degree. The program consists of at least five graduate physics courses, four of which are chosen from Physics 210A, 210B, 215A, 220, 221A, 221B, and five professional (300-series) courses. Courses required are: (1) the graduate physics courses; and (2) the courses necessary for completion of the preliminary State of California Single Subject Instructional Credential, K-12 (Education 312, 315, 330B, 330C, 406, 407, and Physics M370A, which is a special physics teaching laboratory).

Courses in the 500 series are not applicable toward the M.A.T. degree. Students are required to see the adviser at the beginning of each quarter through the completion of the degree.

Teaching Experience

Supervised teaching at the secondary and junior college level is required as part of the required education courses.

Field Experience

Not required.

Capstone Plan

A passing grade at the master’s level on the written comprehensive examination is required. Students who fail to qualify at the master’s level of achievement may repeat the examination a second, and final, time.

Thesis Plan

None.

Time-to-Degree

The average period of time-to-degree is two years (six quarters) from graduate admission to conferral of degree.

DEGREE NORMATIVE TIME TO ATC (Quarters) NORMATIVE TTD

MAXIMUM TTD

M.A.T. 4 6 6

Doctoral Degree

Advising

Entering students are assigned a faculty adviser to assist them in planning their academic schedule. They and the Faculty Graduate Adviser may also give advice about interacting with the department and finding research opportunities. Beginning in the fourth quarter and continuing until advancement to candidacy, students are strongly encouraged to meet their faculty adviser every quarter for approval of their course of study.

Major Fields or Subdisciplines

Doctoral degrees are based on original work, generally in one of the following fields of specialization: accelerator physics; astrophysics; condensed matter physics of electronic systems and of soft and biological materials; elementary particle physics;  nuclear physics; low-temperature physics; acoustics; plasma physics; and atomic, molecular and optical physics. Arrangements can also be made for students to receive a Ph.D. degree in Physics while doing research in interdisciplinary fields. The details of such a research program should be established in consultation with the Faculty Graduate Adviser and Graduate Affairs Officer.

Foreign Language Requirement

None.

Course Requirements

Students must complete the same courses that are required for the M.S. degree, under the same conditions as described in the “Master of Science” section above.  The same standards on the GPA described above apply as well.

By the end of the student’s third year, the student is expected to have made arrangements with a faculty member who agrees to be the Ph.D. research sponsor and to have completed the University Oral Qualifying Examination and been advanced to candidacy. If by the end of the third year of residence the student has not obtained a Ph.D. research sponsor, the Faculty Graduate Adviser reviews the situation and determines whether the student should continue in the graduate program based on discussions with the student and other appropriate parties.

Teaching Experience

Not required.

Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations

Academic Senate regulations require all doctoral students to complete and pass university written and oral qualifying examinations prior to doctoral advancement to candidacy. Also, under Senate regulations, the University Oral Qualifying Examination is open only to the student and appointed members of the doctoral committee. In addition to university requirements, some graduate programs have other pre-candidacy examination requirements. What follows in this section is how students are required to fulfill all of these requirements for this doctoral program.

All committee nominations and reconstitutions adhere to the Minimum Standards for Doctoral Committee Constitution.

The written examination is administered by a departmental Comprehensive Examination Committee and is graded as follows: (1) pass at the Ph.D. level of achievement; (2) pass at the master’s level of achievement; (3) fail. This written comprehensive examination consists of two sessions on consecutive days, and its scope is defined by the graduate physics material related to the six core courses (Physics 210A, 210B, 215A, 220, 221A, and 221B).

This written comprehensive examination is normally offered once a year, in the week before the beginning of classes in fall quarter. Students entering the graduate program in fall quarter are expected to take the written comprehensive examination before their fourth quarter of residence. Students who fail this examination at the desired level and want to repeat it must take and pass it the next time it is offered.

Students are expected to take the University Oral Qualifying Examination no later than their ninth quarter. In consultation with the student’s dissertation adviser, a doctoral committee is nominated, approved by the department Chair or Faculty Graduate Adviser, and formally appointed by the Graduate Division. The main purpose of this examination is to discuss and evaluate the student’s proposed dissertation problem. However, at the discretion of the committee, questions may be asked in regard to other material in the student’s field of specialization and related matters. The detailed scope for most of this examination should be agreed upon beforehand. The committee members guide, read, approve, and certify the dissertation.

Under Senate regulations, the University Oral Qualifying Examination is open only to the student and appointed members of the doctoral committee.

All committee nominations and reconstitutions adhere to the Minimum Standards for Doctoral Committee Constitution.  If there is no member from a different department, then one committee member must be from a different research area (e.g., a different area committee).

Advancement to Candidacy

Students are advanced to candidacy upon successful completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations.

Doctoral Dissertation

Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student’s ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study.

Final Oral Examination (Defense of Dissertation)

Required for all students in the program.

Time-to-Degree

The Ph.D. dissertation should be submitted by the end of six years or 18 quarters of residence.

Normal progress toward the Ph.D. degree has been established as follows:

(1) The written comprehensive examination should be taken by the fourth quarter in residence.

(2) A specialized course of study should begin during the second year.

(3) The oral qualifying examination (and advancement to candidacy) should be completed no later than the end of the ninth quarter.

(4) The dissertation and final oral examination should be finished by the end of the 18th quarter.

DEGREE NORMATIVE TIME TO ATC (Quarters) NORMATIVE TTD

MAXIMUM TTD

Ph.D. 9 18 21

Termination of Graduate Study and Appeal of Termination

University Policy

A student who fails to meet the above requirements may be recommended for termination of graduate study. A graduate student may be disqualified from continuing in the graduate program for a variety of reasons. The most common is failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (3.00) required by the Academic Senate to remain in good standing (some programs require a higher grade point average). Other examples include failure of examinations, lack of timely progress toward the degree and poor performance in core courses. Probationary students (those with cumulative grade point averages below 3.00) are subject to immediate dismissal upon the recommendation of their department. University guidelines governing termination of graduate students, including the appeal procedure, are outlined in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA.

Special Departmental or Program Policy

A student’s record and progress are reviewed at the end of each quarter. In addition to the reasons above, a student may be recommended for termination for dropping core courses in any single quarter, failure to maintain a term GPA of 3.0 for two consecutive quarters, failure to make satisfactory progress in thesis research, including failure to find a research sponsor or failure to make normal progress toward thesis completion once a sponsor is found, or for two failures of the written comprehensive examination.

On rare occasions, after two failures to achieve the Ph.D. level on the written comprehensive exam, a faculty member in the department may request on behalf of the student an exception to continue towards the Ph.D. degree. A committee consisting of the Faculty Graduate Adviser, the Comprehensive Exam Committee Chair, the Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, the Chair of the Department, and the Graduate Affairs Officer, subject to their individual availability, will consider granting the exception. An exception will be based on a complete review of the student’s record in the applicable categories of coursework, teaching, and research. Evidence of excellence in research or coursework, combined with evidence of diligence in teaching when applicable, will normally be the considerations for the rare granting of an exception. Using these data, the committee will judge if the eventual granting of a Ph.D. would likely indicate an ability to both perform scholarly research at the highest level and to teach courses at a university level. (This review replaces a previous policy of allowing a third attempt on rare occasions.)

Recommendations for termination will follow the procedures in the Graduate Division’s Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA.

X