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Graduate School



Department Chair

Dr. Sylvio May

Graduate Coordinator

Dr. Alan Denton

Department Location

218 South Engineering

Telephone Number

(701) 231-8974

Degrees Offered

Ph.D., M.S.

Application Deadline

For U.S. students, one month before registration; for international students, March 1 for fall semester and September 1 for spring/summer semester.

Test Requirements

GRE (general and subject recommended)

English Proficiency Requirements

TOEFL ibT 79 - RA
TOEFL ibT 81 (Speaking 23, Writing 21) - TA
IELTS 7 (Speaking 6, Writing 6) - TA

Program Description

The Department of Physics offers graduate study leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Advanced work may involve specialized training in the following areas: biophysics, computational physics, condensed matter, laser applications, materials science, optics, chemical physics, soft matter, statistical mechanics, physics education and polymer physics.

Research and academic programs are tailored to meet individual needs and interests. Soon after their arrival, new students are strongly urged to visit faculty members to discuss research opportunities.

Admission Requirements

The Department of Physics graduate program is open to all qualified graduates of universities and colleges of recognized standing.

Financial Assistance

The student must apply to the Graduate School and be accepted in full or conditional status before being eligible for an assistantship in the Department of Physics.

Generally, graduate students are supported during the academic year by either teaching assistantships or research assistantships. The 2014-2015 academic year stipend is $16,000 for 9 months. Additional support during the summer is also possible. Graduate tuition (except for student activity fees) is fully waived for all teaching assistants and research assistants.

Degree Requirements

The Graduate Coordinator or Chair shall assign to each incoming graduate student a temporary advisor, who shall assist in the selection of courses.  During the first semester, the student is expected to discuss potential projects for thesis research with faculty members.  By the beginning of the second semester, the student must have a permanent research supervisor.  By the end of the second semester, the student must have filed a plan of study, selected a thesis topic, and secured two additional faculty members for the Advisory Committee.  One additional member from outside the Department of Physics will be appointed by the Graduate School.  The student and supervisor may suggest potential outside members.

Master of Science

Each student must earn at least 30 graduate credits, numbered 601-798, of which:

  • at least 10 credits are Physics courses numbered 601-689 or 700-789;
  • at least 16 credits are didactic courses numbered 601-689 or 700-789;
  • between 6 and 10 credits are Physics 798 (Master's Thesis);
  • at least one credit must be Physics 790 Graduate Seminar.

Students are required to attend all seminars and colloquia.

Doctor of Philosophy

The Ph.D. program requires the completion of at least 90 graduate credits, numbered 601-799. Credits used to satisfy the requirements for the M.S. degree may be included in the total:

  • 27 or more must be in letter-graded courses
  • 19 are the required physics courses (655, 752, 758, 761, 771, 781, and 790)
  • No more than 12 credits are in non-physics courses

Students are required to attend all seminars and colloquia.

Comprehensive Examination: By the end of their fourth semester, students

  • hand in a report that summarizes their research results so far and details a research plan for the rest of their research work
  • give a talk about their research accomplishments and plans
  • must pass an oral examination by the Advisory Committee to confirm doctoral candidacy

Students who pass the preliminary/comprehensive examination and, at the time of the exam, have completed 30 credits (16 of which are didactic) will earn a Master's degree and be eligible to participate in commencement that semester. Students should choose the Ph.D. + Master's option from the drop-down menu on the Doctoral Degree Plan of Study and on the Request to Schedule Examination. After students have passed the preliminary/comprehensive examination, they should complete the Exit Survey and the Degree Application. A link to these items will be e-mailed to them by the Graduate School.

If the student fails the comprehensive examination, she/he will be given the opportunity to repeat the examination in the next semester (this examination can be repeated only once). Alternatively, the student may elect to work for a Master's degree instead.

Students should submit their doctoral thesis for examination at the end of their fourth year.

For the comprehensive and final examinations, students must submit the appropriate forms to the Graduate School. 

Research Equipment

The following equipment is available for research: Laser scanning confocal microscope (LSCM), atomic force microscope (AFM), sensitive optical spectrometer, several research-quality light microscopes, ultracentrifuge, supercomputing resources at the NDSU Center for Computationally-Assisted Science and Technology, access to scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM, TEM), access to low- and high-field NMR, materials processing lasers, and a full complement of materials characterization equipment through the NDSU Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

Click here for course descriptions.


Landon Bladow, Ph.D.
North Dakota State University, 2009
Research Interests: Theoretical Chemical Reaction Dynamics, Quantum Chemistry

Warren Christensen, Ph.D.
Iowa State University, 2007
Research Interests: Physics Education Research, Student Content Understanding, Curriculum Development 

Andrew Croll, Ph.D.
McMaster University, 2009
Research Interests: Polymers, Diblock Copolymers, Thin Films, Pattern Formation, Mechanics 

Alan R. Denton, Ph.D.
Cornell University, 1991
Postdoctoral: University of Guelph, 1991-94; Technical University of Vienna, 1994-95, Research Center Julich, 1996-98
Research Interests: Soft Condensed Matter Theory, Computational Physics 

Eric Hobbie, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota, 1990
Research Interests: Nanotechology, Nanoparticles, Polymers, Optics and Rheology 

Thomas Ihle, Ph.D.
Technical University, Aachen, 1996
Postdoctoral: University of Paris, 1995-96; Grenoble 1997; University of Minnesota 1998-2000
Research Interests: Theory and Simulation of Complex Fluids Kinetic Theory, Pattern Formation 

Andrei Kryjevski, Ph.D.
University of Washington, 2004
Research Interests: First-Principles Description of Electronic Properties of Nanomaterials, Nuclear Theory, First-Principles Numerical Techniques for Fermi Systems

Mila Kryjevskaia, Ph.D.
University of Washington, 2008
Research Interests: Physics Education 

Sylvio May, Ph.D.
Friedrich-Schiller University, 1996
Research Interests: Physics of Lipid Membranes, Biophysics 

Orven Swenson, Ph.D.
Air Force Institute of Technology, 1982
Research Interests: Laser materials processing, optics education 

Alexander J. Wagner, Ph.D.
University of Oxford, 1997
Postdoctoral: MIT, 1998-2000, Edinburgh, 2000-2002
Research Interests: Computational Soft Matter, Phase Separation, Diffusion, Interfaces Physics 


Ghazi Q. Hassoun, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota, 1963
Postdoctoral: University of Michigan, 1963-65
Research Interests: Foundations of Quantum Mechanics 

Daniel M Kroll, Ph.D.
University of Chicago, 1973
Research Interests: Theoretical and Computational Modeling of Complex Fluids and Biomembranes

Charles A. Sawicki, Ph.D.
Cornell University, 1975
Postdoctoral: Cornell University, 1975-79
Research Interests: Acoustics, Biophysics, Geophysics 

Mahendra K. Sinha, Ph.D.
Pennsylvania State University, 1961
Postdoctoral: National Research Council (Ottawa), 1964-66
Research Interests: Field Emission and Field-Ion Microscopy 


Stuart Croll, Ph.D.
University of Leeds, UK, 1974
Research Interests: weathering durability, film formation, internal stresses in films, modern art conservation, and history of paint technology 

Kenneth Lepper, Ph.D.
Oklahoma State University, 2001
Research Interests: Applied Solid state physics (geologic materials) and materials characterization 

Konstantin Pokhodnya, Ph.D.
Morcow Institute of Science and Technology, 1977
Research Interests: materials, thin film fabrication, spintronics 

Gary D. Withnell, Ph.D.
North Dakota State University, 1980
Research Interests: Biophysics

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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NDSU Graduate School
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7033
Campus address:  106 Putnam Hall
Physical/delivery address:  NDSU Graduate School/106 Putnam Hall/1349 12th Avenue Northwest/Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address:  NDSU Dept. 2820/PO Box 6050/Fargo, ND 58108
Page manager: NDSU Graduate School

Last Updated: Friday, April 04, 2014 9:05:37 AM