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Applicants who achieve a score of 800 or higher on the Physics GRE Subject Test are excused from Preliminary Exams. Students already enrolled in the PhD program will not be granted a waiver from one or more sections of the Preliminary Examination based on retaking the GRE subject test and achieving a score above 800.
After entry into the graduate program a PhD student in Physics must pass 1 section of the Preliminary Examination by the second sitting, 2 sections of the Preliminary Examination by the third sitting, and must pass all 4 sections by the fourth sitting. The PhD level of passing on each section is a grade of 60%.
After passing the Preliminary Exams at the Masters level, students are eligible to receive a MS degree "on the way" to PhD provided they fulfill the course requirements for a Masters.
For more information, see the page Preliminary Examination.
To remain in good academic standing, a graduate student must maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.0 in all courses taken for graduate credit after admission to a graduate degree program at the University of New Mexico.
A grade of B- or above is required in each core course. A PhD student must maintain progress through the five mandatory core courses (466, 505, 511, 521, and 522 or 537) at the following minimal rate:
|End of Semester 1||1 core course completed|
|End of Semester 2||2 core courses completed|
|End of Semester 3||3 core courses completed|
|End of Semester 4||4 core courses completed|
|End of Semester 5||no requirement|
|End of Semester 6||all 5 core courses completed|
Four advanced graduate courses. All regular (three-hour) 300 or 400-level courses that are available for graduate credit* for P&A students and all regular (three-hour) 500-level courses are eligible as electives, except 406, 491/492, and courses taken to satisfy the core-course requirements for the Physics PhD**. Different courses taken as Advanced Topics in Optics (569) or Advanced Topics in Physics and Astronomy (581) count as different electives. The four advanced graduate courses must be listed as a standard grade mode and not on a credit/no credit basis. Additional electives taken to fulfill credit hours may be on a credit/no credit basis.
* To receive graduate credit for eligible 300 or 400 level courses, the course must have an asterisk (one) beside the course number as depicted in the UNM Catalog at link: http://catalog.unm.edu/catalogs/2014-2015/colleges/arts-sciences/physics-astronomy/index.html Double check your transcript after the semester to be sure graduate credit was received, it should be automatically assigned as GR not UG.
NOTE: a double asterisk is available for graduate credit except for graduate majors in the department
** Science, Engineering, and Mathematics courses that are available for graduate credit may be taken as electives, with permission of the Academic Advisor.
After passing the Preliminary Examination and completing the core and elective course requirements, a PhD student's next task is to find a potential dissertation supervisor and to begin exploratory research with that faculty member. After about a year of initial exploratory research, the student is generally prepared to advance to doctoral candidacy by taking and passing the Candidacy Exam (formerly Dissertation Proposal Defense), which also serves as the Comprehensive Exam in OGS rules. The faculty member who has supervised the student's initial research is the Chair of the Candidacy Exam Committee and becomes the student's dissertation supervisor upon successful completion of the exam. Please note that the student's Academic Advisor continues to advise the student on all academic matters until the student has passed the Candidacy Exam and submitted the Program of Studies.
The Candidacy Exam is an oral examination to ensure a student's readiness to enter into research and to demonstrate his/her proficiency in graduate-level physics in his/her subdiscipline.
|Preliminary Examination||Core Courses||Candidacy Examination||Dissertation Defense|
|End of Semester 1||1 course completed|
|Beginning of Semester 2||1 section passed|
|End of Semester 2||2 courses completed|
|Beginning of Semester 3||2 sections passed|
|End of Semester 3||3 courses completed|
|Beginning of Semester 4||4 sections passed|
|End of Semester 4||4 courses completed|
|End of Semester 6||5 courses completed|
|End of Semester 7||Candidacy Exam attempted|
|End of Semester 8||Candidacy Exam passed|
|End of Semester 10-12||Suggested dissertation defense date|
|Candidacy + 5 years||OGS deadline for dissertation defense|
Graduate students wishing to take a leave of absence of a duration longer than 1 month during the academic term are required to notify the department's Academic Programs Coordinator in advance to request approval from the Graduate Committee. Failure to obtain advance written approval from the department may result in dismissal from the degree program. Approval of a leave of absence does not necessarily grant a postponement in the mandatory schedule for completion of preliminary examinations, candidacy examination, and core courses. Students holding assistantships prior to beginning leaves of absence are not guaranteed assistantships upon their return to the academic program without prior approval from the Graduate Committee.