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Graduate Program

The Department of Physics & Astronomy offers physics, astrophysics, and biophysics tracks to the Ph.D., as well as a Ph.D. with MBA option. All programs are characterized by close interactions between faculty members and students. A course of study and research is designed specifically for the background and career objectives of each student. In the National Survey of Doctoral Programs by the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students reported in October 2001, TCU’s Physics Ph.D. program was ranked 4th out of 48 physics Ph.D. programs surveyed in the overall satisfaction of its students and graduates.

Currently nine faculty members teach and direct the research of about twenty full-time and part-time Ph.D. students. Small lecture classes averaging about 4-8 students enable frequent, direct contact between graduate students and faculty members. Dissertation research involves close collaboration between a student and a professor working on a challenging research problem. Participation in research is encouraged to begin by the second semester of graduate study. Average time to the Ph.D. degree is 4.7 years, with a maximum of 5 years for full time students.

The Department has research programs in observational astronomy (galactic structures and dynamics), computational biophysics (modeling disease processes and therapies), experimental biophysics (fluorescence spectroscopy, nanophotonics plasmonics, and cancer detection), experimental molecular physics (astrophysical molecules), theoretical statistical physics (gravitational evolution, fractal geometry), theoretical atomic and molecular physics, optoelectronic and structural properties of ZnO-based devices, fluorescent nanodiamonds and silicon carbide nanowires . Each research area provides excellent opportunities for students to master a variety of useful research skills and to obtain practical experience that will prepare them for careers in industry, government or academia. Our research programs have been supported by NSF, the Department of Energy, NIH, NASA, Research Corporation, the Welch Foundation, the W.M. Keck Foundation, the Petroleum Research Fund, and companies such as Chevron, Exxon, and the Sid Richardson Carbon Black Co.

Students are encouraged to further their professional development by attending frequent seminars given by visiting physicists on current advances in physics and astronomy, by presenting papers at national and international meetings, and by publishing their research results in the leading journals in their field.

Our Ph.D. graduates have enjoyed remarkable professional success in a wide variety of careers in teaching and research at universities and colleges, in industrial and government research laboratories, and in high technology businesses.

If you are interested in a Ph.D. and think that you too could benefit from an individualized program of research and study with the close personal attention of our faculty, we invite you to apply for admission and financial support. Full, 12-month Departmental Assistantships limit teaching to only two undergraduate laboratory sessions per week in order to encourage the timely completion of course requirements and early involvement in research. Applicants who already hold a Master’s degree with completed coursework equivalent to our core Ph.D. requirements may be able to begin their dissertation research immediately, with few or no additional courses.