Frequently Asked Questions for Current Students
This listing has been made to address the questions that are most often asked by graduate students in our program. The answers to these questions are described in detail in the other materials that are distributed or available, but sometimes it is helpful to have them summarized in one place. From time to time, the rules and regulations change, so this document is to be used only as a guide. The official answer to the questions may still be found in the latest rules of the University of Florida, the Graduate School, and the Department of Physics. Naturally, if you have any questions or if you would like further clarification, please meet with the Graduate Coordinator or one of the Program Assistants in the Office of Student Services, NPB 1210.

FAQs are provided in the following subjects:

   [Definitions]    [Appointments]    [PhD Program]    [MS Program]    [Research]

                          [General Advice]    [Qualifying and Final Exams]


When am I expected to take the Preliminary Examination (Prelim Exam)?
You are expected to take the Prelim Exam at your first possible opportunity, typically a few days before classes begin in August. You are expected to take this Exam even if you do not feel prepared as it provides one of many pieces of information that are used to help formulate your academic program.

When do I have to pass the Preliminary Examination?
The Prelim Exam must be passed before the end of your second year in our program.

What Core Courses do I have to take?
The Core Courses consist of 2 semesters of quantum mechanics, 2 semesters of electromagnetism, 1 semester of classical mechanics, and 1 semester of statistical mechanics.

When do the Core Courses have to be completed?
The Core Courses have to be completed by the end of the second year. A GPA in these courses must be equal to, or greater than, 3.30 for a student to continue to a PhD degree. A GPA in these courses must be equal to, or greater than, 3.00 for a student to receive a MS without thesis degree or a MS with thesis degree.

What is the Distribution Requirement?
In summary, the Distribution Requirement is an obligation for the student to successfully complete 3 additional physics graduate courses beyond the Core Courses. A grade of B or higher is required, and each of the 3 additional courses should be from a different subfield of physics.

When does the Distribution Requirement have to be completed?
In most cases, this requirement is completed during the second year of study. In some cases, it is finished in the third year.

Should I get a MS degree if I am working toward a PhD degree?
Only you can answer this question. Some students like to obtain a MS degree without thesis while on their road to a PhD degree. A few other students seek to obtain a MST degree on their path to a PhD degree. Some other students are not interested in filing for a MS degree while they pursue their PhD degree. The answer to this question is one of personal choice.

I heard that there are different kinds of MS degrees. What are they?
The Department awards the Master of Science (MS) degree with or without thesis and the Master of Science in Teaching (MST) degree.