Graduate Bulletin

Spring 2022

Requirements for the M.A. Degree in Physics
1. Satisfactory performance in a program of studies (30 graduate credits) approved by the department. Normally such a program would include graduate seminars, classical mechanics, electrodynamics, and quantum mechanics.

2. Minimum grade point average of 3.0 in all graduate courses taken at Stony Brook.

3. Either passing the graduate comprehensive examination at the master’s level or completion of a master’s project.

Requirements for the M.S. Degree with Specialization in Scientific Instrumentation (MSI)
A candidate for the master’s degree with concentration in instrumentation will be required to demonstrate a certain level of knowledge of physics (by written and/or oral examination), to take required and elective courses, and to complete both a major and minor project. The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of students learning about the design, construction, and testing of sophisticated instrument systems. The degree holder will not be a super-technician, but a professional scientist trained in both physics and measurement techniques.

A. A student shall demonstrate proficiency in undergraduate physics at the level of the courses PHY 335 (Junior Laboratory I), 405 (Advanced Quantum Physics). Students need to have demonstrated knowledge in two of the three areas Nuclear and Particle Physics (covered in PHY 431), Condensed Matter Physics (PHY 472) and Laser and Atomic Physics (PHY 452). This can be done (1) by acceptance by the Master’s in Scientific Instrumentation Committee of courses taken as an undergraduate, (2) by written examination, or (3) by passing the courses appropriate to a student’s background;

B. A course about research instrumentation (PHY 514);

C. Two semesters each of graduate lab (PHY 515) and graduate seminar (PHY 598, PHY 599);

D. Students shall work as teaching assistant in an undergraduate laboratory for at least one semester (being a TA in PHY 445 may satisfy the requirement of taking the second semester of graduate lab (PHY 515));

E. Thirty credits (minimum) of graduate courses (500 level or above), including a minor project and a master’s thesis. This thesis must describe a major piece of work in scientific instrumentation and must be in a form acceptable to the Graduate School. It need not be original research in the same sense as a Ph.D. thesis, but it should be the result of an effort consistent with a year of full-time work. The thesis should present an improvement of the state of the art in some area, the development of a sophisticated apparatus, or some other significant laboratory project, and be defended before a committee;

F. Students shall acquire those technical skills deemed necessary by their thesis supervisors. These must include, but are not limited to, machining capability and computer literacy.

Each student will be assigned an advisory committee of three faculty members and will be required to meet frequently with them. It is expected that close communication among all the faculty and students involved will foster spirit, expose problems, and generally contribute to success.

Requirements for the Professional MSI Track
The only difference with the existing MSI program is that the minor project is replaced by a minimum of 9 credits of “Plus Courses” in Stony Brook’s College of Business, the School of Journalism or similar courses from a different program (subject to approval). The advisory committee will advise the student on which “Plus Courses” to take.

For further information on this program, contact Professor Harold Metcalf.

Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree in Physics
A. Completion of the following core courses with a grade of B or better: 501, 505, 511, 512, 540. A student can skip one or more of these courses by sufficiently good performance in the corresponding parts of the placement exam (2nd year and older students need permission from the Graduate Program Director). Students who took similar courses elsewhere can satisfy  this requirement by taking advanced graduate courses (subject to approval by an Advising  Committee appointed by the Graduate Program Director);

B. Completion of required courses: Each of the courses listed below must be passed with a minimum grade of B:

1. PHY 598 and PHY 599 Graduate Seminars. These courses are normally taken during the first year of graduate study, one per semester, in either order.

2. PHY 515 Methods of Experimental Research. This course must be taken not later than the fourth semester of residence. This requirement can also be satisfied by PHY 517, Laboratory Course in Astronomical Techniques.

3. Three advanced courses, in three different areas of physics.

C. Passing of the written comprehensive examination. This is offered at the beginning of each semester. It is in four parts with exams on Classical Mechanics, Electrodynamics, Quantum Mechanics, and Statistical Mechanics. It must be passed in the student's fourth semester of study at Stony Brook or earlier. If taken as a placement exam for the core courses, it has to be passed at a higher level.

D. Passing an oral examination on a broad range of topics relevant to the student’s intended area of thesis research. The oral examination should be passed before the beginning of the fifth semester of residency.

E. Acceptance of graduate student by an advisor for thesis work;

F. Teaching experience at least equivalent to that obtained in a one-year appointment as a teaching assistant, usually carried out in the first year;

G. Advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. The department’s recommendation to the Graduate School for advancement to candidacy is based on the satisfactory completion of all requirements listed above;

H. Research, dissertation, and passing the dissertation examination.

I. At least one year of residence.

Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree in Physics with Concentration in Astronomy

The requirements are the same except for B3. Instead the student shall take three astronomy core courses (PHY 521, PHY 522, PHY 523, PHY 524) and present a thesis proposal as an oral exam. In addition, the thesis work should be in the area of Astronomy or Astrophysics. The thesis proposal will be prepared in a Special Studies Course (PHY 585) with the advisor.

Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree in Physics with Concentration in Physical Biology

A. Four Physics core course: Electrodynamics (PHY 505), Quantum Mechanics I (PHY 511), Statistical Mechanics (PHY 540) and either Classical Mechanics (PHY 501) or Quantum Mechanics II (PHY 512). Students can be exempted from these courses in the same way as in A above.

B. Two Core Courses in Physical Biology: Physical Biology (PHY 558) and Biological Dynamics and Network (PHY 559)

C. Biology For Physical Scientists (PHY 561)

D. Two semesters of Teaching (PHY 600)

E. Two semesters of Lab Rotations (PHY 584)

F. Two semester of the Laufer Center Journal Club (PHY 665)

G. Two Life Science courses form an approved list. Currently, the following courses have been approved: Biomolecular Structure and Analysis (CHE 541), Molecular Genetics (MCB 503), Structural Biology and Spectroscopy (MCB 512), Graduate Biochemistry I (MCB 520) and Cell Biology (MCB 656)

H. Passing of the Comprehensive Exam.

I. An oral exam on a topic in Physical Biology. The oral examination should be passed before the beginning of the fifth semester of residence.

J. Acceptance of the graduate student by an advisor working on the topic of Physical Biology.

K.  Advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. The department’s recommendation to the Graduate School for advancement to candidacy is based on the satisfactory completion of all requirements listed above.

L. Research, dissertation, and passing the dissertation examination.

M. At least one year of residence.

Requirements for the Advanced Graduate Certificate in Accelerator Scicnce

  1. Students must take 4 courses, one obligatory course, PHY 554, and three elective courses from an approved list, for a total of 12 credits.