General

Program Title
Applied Physics (PhD)
Degree Type
PHD - Doctor of Philosophy
Undergraduate/Graduate
Graduate
Department(s)
Applied Physics
Program Overview

The Department of Applied Physics offers qualified students with backgrounds in physics or engineering the opportunity to do graduate course work and research in the physics relevant to technical applications and natural phenomena. These areas include accelerator physics, biophysics, condensed matter physics, nanostructured materials, quantum electronics and photonics, quantum optics and quantum information, space science and astrophysics, synchrotron radiation and applications.

Student research is supervised by the faculty members  and also by various members of other departments such as Biology, Chemistry, Electrical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Physics, the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and faculty of the Medical School who are engaged in related research fields.

Research activities are carried out in laboratories including the Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials (GLAM), the Edward L. Ginzton Laboratory (GINZTON),  the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory (HEPL), the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, the Center for Probing the Nanoscale, and the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Science (SIMES).

The number of graduate students admitted to Applied Physics is limited. Applications to the Master of Science and Ph.D. programs should be received by December 14, 2021. M.S. and PhD. students normally enter the department the following Autumn Quarter. Joint applicants for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program must submit their Knight-Hennessy Scholars application by October 6, 2021 by 1:00pm Pacific Time and Applied Physics application by December 14, 2021. The general and subject GREs are optional for both the Ph.D. and master's programs. Applicants may submit scores, but they are not required. The decision on whether to submit GRE scores is completely up to the applicant. The admissions committee will make evaluations based only on the information provided. Adverse inferences will not be drawn from an applicant’s choosing not to submit GRE scores.

Graduate Programs in Applied Physics

The Department of Applied Physics offers three types of advanced degrees:

  •     the Doctor of Philosophy

  •     the coterminal Master of Science in Applied and Engineering Physics

  •     the Master of Science in Applied Physics, either as a terminal degree or an en route degree to the Ph.D. for students already enrolled in the Applied Physics Ph.D. program.

Admission requirements for graduate work in the Master of Science and Ph.D. programs in Applied Physics include a bachelor's degree in Physics or an equivalent engineering degree. Students entering the program from an engineering curriculum should expect to spend at least an additional quarter of study acquiring the background to meet the requirements for the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Applied Physics.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Ph.D. is conferred upon candidates who have demonstrated substantial scholarship and the ability to conduct independent research and analysis in Applied Physics. Through completion of advanced course work and rigorous skills training, the doctoral program prepares students to make original contributions to the knowledge of Applied Physics and to interpret and present the results of such research.

External Credit Policies
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Degree Requirements

The University's basic requirements for the Ph.D. including residency, dissertation, and examinations are discussed in the Graduate Degrees section of this bulletin. The deadline for the 2022-23 admissions is December 14, 2021. Joint applicants for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program must submit their Knight-Hennessy Scholars application by October 6, 2021 by 1:00pm Pacific Time and Applied Physics application by December 14, 2021. The program leading to a Ph.D. in Applied Physics consists of course work, research, qualifying for Ph.D. candidacy, a research progress report, a University oral examination, and a dissertation as follows:

  1. Course Work:

Course List

UNITS

Statistical Physics

3-4

Select one of the following: *

course

Estimation and Control Methods for Applied Physics (by arrangement with the instructor)

course

Stochastic and Nonlinear Dynamics

course

Statistical Mechanics

Electrodynamics

3-4

Select one of the following: *

course

Electrons and Photons

course

Classical Electrodynamics

Quantum Mechanics

3

Select one of the following: *

course

Atoms, Fields and Photons

course

Quantum Materials

course

Applied Quantum Mechanics I

course

Applied Quantum Mechanics II

course

Graduate Quantum Mechanics I

course

Graduate Quantum Mechanics II

course

Advanced Topics in Quantum Mechanics

course

Quantum Field Theory I

course

Quantum Field Theory II

course

Quantum Field Theory III

Laboratory

3-4

Select one of the following: **

course

Laboratory Electronics

course

Laboratory Electronics

course

Principles of X-ray Scattering

course

Advanced Imaging Lab in Biophysics

course

Photonics Laboratory

course

Analytical Methods in Biotechnology

course

High-Frequency Circuit Design Laboratory

course

Integrated Circuit Fabrication Laboratory

course

Energy Materials Laboratory

course

X-Ray Diffraction Laboratory

course

Mechanical Behavior Laboratory

course

Astrophysics Laboratory

*

 Additional courses to fulfill this requirement are being reviewed by the department curriculum committee and will be added here when they have been approved.

**

Students who took APPPHYS 304 or APPPHYS 305 in previous years may also count these courses towards this requirement.

a. Courses in Physics and Mathematics to overcome deficiencies, if any, in undergraduate preparation.

b. Basic graduate courses: These requirements may be totally or partly satisfied with equivalent courses taken elsewhere, pending the approval of the graduate study committee. Letter grades required for all courses.

c. 18 units of additional advanced courses in science and/or engineering. At least one course in each of two areas other than those of the student's research specialization is required. Only 3 units at the 300 or above level may be taken on a satisfactory/no credit basis. Units from coursecourse, and any 1-unit courses do not count towards this requirement. Examples of suitable courses include:


UNITS

course

Applied Quantum Mechanics I

3

course

Applied Quantum Mechanics II

3

course

Modern Optics

3

course

Lasers

3

course

Laser Dynamics

3

course

Introduction to Nonlinear Optics

3

course

Condensed Matter Theory I

3

course

Condensed Matter Theory II

3

d. Additional units of courses as needed to meet the minimum residency requirement of 135. Directed study and research units as well as 1-unit seminar courses can be included.

e. A final average overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) is required for courses used to fulfill degree requirements.

f. Students are normally expected to complete the specified course requirements by the end of their third year of graduate study.

2. Research: may be conducted in a science/engineering field under the supervision of a member of the Applied Physics faculty or appropriate faculty from other departments. If the primary adviser is from a department other than Applied Physics, the student must appoint a co-adviser from the Applied Physics department.

3. Ph.D. Candidacy: satisfactory progress in academic and research work, together with passing the Ph.D. candidacy qualifying examination, qualifies the student to apply for Ph.D. candidacy, and must be completed before the third year of graduate registration. The examination consists of a seminar on a suitable subject delivered by the student before a committee consisting of the chair (who is from the graduate studies committee), a faculty member from outside the department chosen by the student, and the third member is from the AP faculty (courtesy appointment is okay).

4. Third Year Progress Meeting: is to discuss informally the progress toward formulation of thesis research and completion of the other degree requirements. This is not an examination and there is no recorded evaluation, must take place by the end of the Spring Quarter of the third year. The third year progress committee consists of the student's research advisor and one additional member of the faculty. This second member of the committee can be the academic advisor, or can be another Applied Physics faculty member of the student's choosing.

5. Research Progress Report: normally before the end of the Winter Quarter of the fourth year of enrollment in graduate study at Stanford, the student arranges to give an oral research progress report, which could be last up to two hours.

6. University Ph.D. Oral Examination: consists of a public seminar in defense of the dissertation, followed by private questioning of the candidate by the University examining committee.

7. Dissertation: must be approved and signed by the Ph.D. reading committee.