Division of Academic Affairs
Graduate Catalog 2012-13

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Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Physics

John Sutherland, Chair, C-209A Howell Science Complex
Michael Dingfelder, Assistant Chair for Graduate Studies, E-203 Howell Science Complex

MS in Physics

The Department of Physics offers the master of science in physics with concentrations in applied physics, health physics, and medical physics. Students seeking a MS degree must apply and be admitted into one of these three concentrations. A satisfactory knowledge of an acceptable computer language or of an acceptable foreign language is required. Attendance at a minimum of one-half of the regular Department of Physics seminars given during the student’s residence in the graduate program is required.

The applied physics concentration requires minimum of 34 s.h. of courses and the completion of a thesis. The health physics concentration requires a minimum of 39 s.h. of courses, and, in addition, students must complete a 10-16 week rigorous practicum in applied health physics in an industrial, university or national laboratory setting in lieu of a thesis. The medical physics concentration requires a minimum of 39 s.h. of courses that include a minimum of 6 s.h. of clinical study in lieu of a thesis.
  1. Core - 16-22 s.h.
    PHYS 5410*, 5600, 5601, 5900, 5901, 6816
    Applied physics concentration: PHYS 7000 (repeated once); minimum of 6 s.h. electives from: PHYS 6250, 6700, 6715, 6900
    Health physics concentration: EHST 5164, 5800, 5801; PHYS 6900; minimum of 3 s.h. electives from: EHST 6700, PHYS 6200, 7450
    Medical physics concentration: PHYS or RONC 6992, 6993; minimum of 3 s.h. electives from: PHYS 6300, 7992
  2. Concentration (Choose one area.) - 12-20 s.h.
    Applied physics concentration (12 s.h.): PHYS 5311, 6200, 6300, 7450
    Health physics concentration (19 s.h.): RONC 7370; HLTH 6011; PHYS 6700, 6750, 7730, 7740
    Medical physics concentration (20 s.h.): RONC 7370; PHYS 6700, 6710, 6715, 6720, 6722; PHYS or RONC 6718
*Students in the medical physics concentration who have had an undergraduate course in quantum mechanics may substitute the 3 s.h. elective, listed above, for PHYS 5410.

In addition, a student in the medical physics concentration must demonstrate a satisfactory knowledge of medical terminology through taking BIOL 2130 (preferred) or HIMA 3000.

Termination rules:
  1. A student must receive a minimum final grade of B in each of the required courses in the medical physics option.
  2. A student, because of inappropriate behavior in a clinical setting, will be immediately suspended by the instructor. A review by the Graduate Committee will determine if the student is eligible to continue in the medical physics option.

PhD in Biomedical Physics

The primary objective of the PhD program in biomedical physics is to graduate scientists who can apply the tools and concepts of physics to solve significant biological and medical problems and advance our understanding of fundamental biomedical processes. Core curricula in both applied physics and biomedical areas are designed to provide training for students with diverse backgrounds in physics, applied physics, biochemistry, and engineering. All students are required to complete a dissertation project under supervision of a faculty advisor.

Integrated PhD and MS in Physics – Medical Physics Concentration

Students admitted to this concentration need to fulfill independently all requirements for both, the MS in physics – medical physics concentration and the PhD in biomedical physics. Both degrees will be awarded concurrently.

Students are admitted either to the PhD program alone or to the integrated PhD and MS in physics – medical physics concentration.

The applicant preferably holds have a master’s degree in physics, applied physics, medical physics, or related fields. Applicants holding a baccalaureate degree in above mentioned fields showing significant potential for the PhD program may be considered for acceptance. Acceptable performance on the GRE and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in graduate work are required.

The following documents are required before final admission is approved: completed application form for admission to Graduate School, official transcripts from colleges and universities attended, official or certified copy of score reports of the GRE and TOEFL (if applicable), letters of reference from three persons who can attest to the applicant’s academic competence, and an essay describing the applicant’s career goals and research interests which are consistent with the educational opportunities offered in the PhD program.

Course and Residence Requirements
The PhD program requires a minimum of 48 s.h. of courses beyond the master’s degree with the exception of baccalaureate to PhD students who are required to complete a minimum of 76 s.h. The student will take a minimum of 6 s.h. of courses from a physics core, a minimum of 6 s.h. of courses from a biomedical core, and a minimum of 36 s.h. of dissertation research courses. Additional courses may be required by the graduate committee, depending on the individual student’s preparation. Students entering with a baccalaureate degree are further required to complete the coursework of the MS in physics – applied physics concentration without thesis.

Students must demonstrate a working knowledge of at least one high-level computer language, such as FORTRAN or C. After a majority of the courses have been completed, students must pass the doctoral candidacy examination before being admitted to candidacy for the PhD in biomedical physics. Students are required to write and successfully defend a doctoral dissertation.

Students must complete at least five consecutive semesters in residence (excluding summers). A list of physics and biomedical core courses may be found in the Graduate Student Handbook which is posted on the Department of Physics Web site: www.ecu.edu/physics.

Transfer Credits
Because of the broad interest and collaborative nature of the PhD program, the graduate committee will evaluate transfer credits on a case-by-case basis. A maximum of 6 s.h. of transfer credit may be accepted.

If a student enrolls in this program and already has the equivalent of the 12 s.h. beyond the master’s degree, he or she may petition the graduate committee for a waiver or substitution for these courses.

Other Program Expectations
Students entering the PhD program with a master's degree should complete it by the end of three years following initial enrollment. Students entering the PhD program with a baccalaureate degree should complete it by the end of five years following initial enrollment. With the endorsement of the advisory committee, a student having deficiencies in preparation may request an extension of no more than two years.