Suggested Timeline for Completion of Ph.D. Program

We have set up a suggested timeline below that details information and goals to achieve by a certain point in your five year stay at the university. Additional information regarding program requirements can be found in the department's Policies and Procedures manual.


First Year

Prior to the beginning of the semester
A student who has already taken a course elsewhere equivalent to one of our core courses may satisfy that portion of the core course requirement by achieving a grade of B or better in the relevant preliminary examination given just before the start of the fall and spring terms. Each of these courses has recently been revised to reflect the current state of the field.

Students must satisfy the following core courses during the first year.
First Semester

  • Computational Physics - Phys-GA-2000
  • Dynamics - Phys-GA-2001
  • Quantum Mechanics I - Phys-GA-2011
  • Practicum in Teaching - Phys-GA-2090 - this course is designed to prepare you for your teaching duties that will begin, most likely, in the Spring.

Second Semester

  • Electromagnetism - Phys-GA-2005
  • Quantum Mechanics II - Phys-GA-2012
  • Statistical Physics - Phys-GA-2002

Summer
Students should be prepared to carry out a research project under the guidance of a faculty member during this time. Students who conduct research projects will be eligible for support during their first summer. Planning for the selection of a thesis research area should begin in the first year.


Second Year

Prior to the beginning of the semester
You must complete all core course requirements before the beginning of your second year to be considered as making satisfactory progress toward your Ph.D. If one or more of the core courses is not satsfied, the Graduate Qualifications Committee will review your record; a result could be a dismissal from the Ph.D. program, which requires a vote of the faculty.

Course requirements beyond the core
Students are required to take at least 6 advanced courses in the Physics Department beyond the core level, not including research and reading courses or the Practicum. At least two of these courses must be outside the student's research area, as determined by the student's advisors and the DGS. Students whose research would benefit from an advanced science course outside of the physics department may propose to have this course counted toward this requirement. This request should be made in writing and should explain how the course content relates to the student's thesis topic and research. This request must be made prior to enrolling in the course.

First Semester
Students should be registered in advanced physics courses and are required to maintain full-time status of 12-credits per term. Students who are registered for less than 12 credits must conduct reading/research for credit or request full-time equivalency.
Students are required to have experience in experimental physics. This requirement may be satisfied by taking the course Phys-GA-2075 Experimental Physics. Alternatively, a student may conduct an independent Experimental Project and take an oral examination on the project. Students conducting a project are strongly encouraged to complete the project by October of their second year, and not later than December of their second year. If this deadline is not met, the student will be required to take the Experimental Physics course.

Second Semester
Students should be registered in advanced physics courses and are required to maintain full-time status of 12-credits per term. Students who are registered for less than 12 credits must conduct reading/research for credit or request full-time equivalency.

Summer
By the beginning of May of the student's second year, the student is usually expected to have arranged for thesis supervision with a member of the Physics faculty. Shortly thereafter (within a few months) a four-person Thesis Committee, chaired by the thesis advisor is set up. The membership of the Thesis Committee is proposed by the advisor in consultation with his/her student, and must be approved in writing by DGS to insure breadth and level of expertise.
Students are urged to thoroughly investigate, by speaking with individual faculty members and the Director of Graduate Studies, the opportunities for support as a Research Assistant while thesis research is being performed. A student holding a Research Assistantship during a summer will receive a stipend for that period of time. A limited number of teaching assignments are available each summer. Interested students should apply for a teaching position by contacting the Undergraduate Administrator. In general, beyond the first summer, RA or adjunct faculty assignments provide the only guaranteed departmental sources of summer support.


Third Year

First Semester

  • Students should be registered for advanced courses or reading research credit towards completing the 72-credits PhD. degree requirement. Students registered for less than 12 credits may request Full-time equivalency.
  • An Oral Qualifying Examination is administered by the Thesis Committee before January of the student's third year. This progress report includes a formal proposal for your thesis research, submitted to the thesis committee.
  • The Qualifying Examination marks the student's formal entry into dissertation research under the supervision of their thesis advisor. It takes place after the student has already embarked on preliminary research with his or her advisor, and is administered by the student's Thesis Committee. Students are expected to arrange a meeting of their thesis committee before the oral qualifying exam. The purpose of this meeting is to present the committee with an overview of the thesis topic. The Thesis Committee will then inform the student of the physics they may be questioned on in the oral exam. Generally, the range of topics questioned will by broad in scope and include knowledge from advanced course work a student has taken in their field research.

Second Semester

  • Course requirements should be completed by the second semester of a student's 3rd year.
  • The Oral Qualifying Examination must be satisfied by the end of May of a student's 3rd year.

Fourth Year

Register for additional courses or Reading/Research credits.

Maintaining Matriculation
Students who have satisfied all course requirements and have completed 72 credits toward their PhD may remain enrolled by registering for maintenance matriculation. (Note: To be considered an active student enrolled in the PhD. program, students must be registered every term.) Requests to register for maintenace matriculation must be sent to the Graduate Program Administrator.
Students maintaining matriculation, if they qualify, may be certified as "full-time" by completing a "full-time" equivalency form.

First Semester
Maintain matriculation. Thesis research continues.

Second Semester
Maintain matriculation. Thesis research continues.


Fifth Year

Prior to the beginning of the semester
This is the time to start thinking about your job search. Postdoctoral applications deadline for the following academic year are usually in November and December of this time. NYU has an office of Career Services that you should consider visiting. Their webpage is http://www.nyu.edu/careerservices. They offer a variety of programs that include help with resume writing, mock interviews and job fairs.

First Semester
Maintain matriculation. Thesis Research continues.

Second Semester
You should now be completing your Ph.D. dissertation and preparing for the Oral Thesis Defense, conducted by your Thesis Committee, augmented by one additional faculty member.


Beyond the Fifth Year

Support is sometimes available past the fifth year for students who have not finished their dissertation.

For students who have finished their dissertation, some teaching opportunities for an additional semester have been available in the past, but students should not rely on this as there is no guarantee this will continue.