Skip to content

Degree requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is not granted by the University of California merely for the fulfillment of technical requirements, such as residence or the completion of fundamental courses. The recipient of a Ph.D. degree is understood to possess thorough knowledge of a broad field of learning and to have given evidence of distinguished accomplishment in that field; the degree is a warrant of critical ability and powers of imaginative synthesis. The degree also signifies that the recipient has presented a doctoral dissertation containing an original contribution to knowledge in his or her chosen field of study.

To complete a Ph.D. in Physics at UC Merced students are required to:

  • Complete at least four semesters of full-time academic residence (12 units minimum) at UC Merced;
  • Complete the required courses with a letter grade of at least "B" in each course ("S" in seminar courses graded S/U);
  • Serve as a teaching assistant for at least one semester;
  • Pass the review course PHYS 202: Foundations of Physics which now replaces the preliminary examination;
  • Pass the oral Ph.D. qualifying examination;
  • Present and successfully defend a doctoral dissertation containing an original contribution to knowledge in the field.

Recommended timeline for the Physics PhD degree: 2024 Roadmap

Details can be found in the Policies and Procedures: Fall 2024 Policies and Procedures

Older versions: (The student follows the P&P in effect when the student enters the program)

See also the Graduate Division's handbook, which governs all graduate programs at UC Merced. The version for the current year applies to everyone, unlike for the Policies and Procedures.