Top of page
Skip to main content
Main content

Preliminary & General Requirements

Preliminary Requirements

Graduate Teaching Assistant Preparation

Students attend a 2.5 day teaching training workshop to qualify as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. This workshop is given by the Graduate School in the third week of August, and is required of all Emory graduate students before they teach. Domestic students attend the workshop prior to their first academic year. International students who require English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) courses attend the workshop prior to their second year.  This fulfills part of the requirements of the TATT 600 course.

English Proficiency

English proficiency is required of all Emory Graduate Teaching Assistants. All international students are given an English Proficiency Examination before the start of their first year (late August). Based on the performance on written and oral examinations, students are exempted from further ESL training, or may be required to take up to two ESL courses in the first two semesters.

Undergraduate Preparation

It is assumed that the entering physics graduate student has completed an undergraduate program which is equivalent to that of a student who obtained the Bachelor's degree in physics at Emory. This means undergraduate work in mathematical physics, mechanics, optics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, modern physics, quantum mechanics and experimental physics.

Students who are not fully prepared in one or more of these fields will be required to take the necessary introductory courses. This situation might arise as a consequence of a more interdisciplinary undergraduate experience for certain individuals, who later decide to pursue an area in Physics for their advanced degree.

Texts indicating the required level of understanding are the following:

  • Mathematical Physics - Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences, Boas.
  • Mechanics - Classical Mechanics, Barger and Olsson.
  • Optics - Optics, Möller.
  • Electricity and Magnetism - Introduction to Electromagnetic Fields and Waves, Corson and Lorrain; Foundations of Electromagnetic Theory, Reitz, Milford, and Christy.
  • Thermodynamics - Thermal Physics, Kittel and Kroemer.
  • Modern Physics - Modern Physics, Krane.
  • Quantum Mechanics - Principles of Quantum Mechanics, Ohanian.

General Requirements

General Course Requirements

A full course load is four courses (12 hours of credit total) per semester for an entering graduate student who has no teaching or ESL responsibilities.  A full course load is three courses (9 hours total) per semester for a graduate student who is fulfilling the teaching or ESL requirement.

Courses on the 100 or 200 level may not be applied for M.S. or Ph.D. degree requirements.

Language Requirement

The Physics Department has no foreign language requirement for either the M.S. or Ph.D. degree. Students for whom English is a second language will be required to pass an English Proficiency Examination (see Section 1).

Expectations and General Advice

Personal and professional integrity, and the motivation to perform thesis research, are essential characteristics of the successful Ph.D. student. Our Graduate Program highly values each individual student. The clear mission of the Physics Graduate faculty is to develop outstanding scientists. The Emory Physics faculty are therefore extremely supportive of all graduate students who show the high level of intellectual engagement and strong work ethic that will assure their successful completion of the degree program.

The faculty meet at the end of each semester to discuss and assess the academic and professional performance of each graduate student. Students found deficient in areas relating to academic standing will be advised on how to improve their situation. In extreme cases, probation for one semester may be recommended. If performance in the area of deficiency is not corrected within the probationary time period, the student may be asked to leave the program.

Graduate students in Physics are supported by a 12-month stipend during their graduate study. A full year's commitment to the Graduate Program in Physics is therefore expected. Vacations, or time taken away from the Emory campus not associated with meetings or remote research work, should not exceed 3 weeks total, per year. Winter and summer breaks should be planned accordingly. Requests for additional time off for extenuating circumstances should be directed to the DGS. The educational and research training missions of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate Program in Physics are best served by the year-round attention of the students to their studies and their immersion in the Graduate Program on the Emory campus.