Jul 14, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog

Physics (Applied Physics), Ph.D.

College of Arts and Sciences  
Department: Physics 
  • Medical Physics (Optional)


The Department of Physics at the University of South Florida expresses an inclusive vision of applied physics.  Some of us collaborate with engineers, others with mathematicians.  In between, we always keep in mind the applications both of physics and of the results of our research.  Applied Physics seeks both fundamental knowledge and new ideas that benefit society.  Our research strengths include (but are not limited to) materials science, solid-state and condensed-matter physics, computational physics, biophysics, spectroscopy, and optics.  Our graduates find employment in academia, national laboratories, hospitals, finance, and industry.

The Ph.D. degree program in “Applied Physics with an emphasis in medical-physics” has been accredited since 2015 by the Commission on the Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs, CAMPEP.

Admission Information

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

  • three letters of recommendation
  • a statement of purpose
  • GRE General Test scores required, GRE Physics Subject Test scores recommended.

Applicants for admission to the Ph.D. program must indicate whether they are requesting the medical-physics concentration option.


Students Entering with Prior Master’s Degrees from Other Institutions
Students entering with a prior master’s degree from an institution other than USF must complete a minimum of 45 credit hours.  The Director of Graduate Studies will evaluate coursework and may waive specific requirements with the substitution of other approved graduate coursework. However, at least six structured courses (18 credit hours) approved by the Director of Graduate Studies must be completed at USF in a discipline related to the Ph.D. Degree.

Curriculum Requirements

Total Minimum Hours: 72 credit hours post-bachelor’s

  • Core Requirements - 12 Credit Hours
  • General Option or Concentration Option - 18 Credit Hours
  • Other Courses - 18 Credit Hours
  • Dissertation - 24 Credit Hours

For students entering with a prior non-USF master’s degree:
Total Minimum hours: 45 Credit Hours post-master’s

  • Core Requirements - 12 Credit Hours
  • Additional Structured courses - 6 Credit Hours
  • Industrial Practicum or Medical Option Alternative - 3 Credit Hours
  • Dissertation Research - 24 Credit Hours

Note: students entering with a prior master’s degree may need more than 45 credit hours to satisfy all competencies.

Core Courses (12 Credit Hours)

General Option or Concentration

Students complete either the General Option or the Concentration.

General Option (18 Credit Hours)

At least an additional six (6) graduate-level classes, of which at least five (5) are in Physics graduate-level classes (excluding research and seminars) not used to fulfill other requirements. Contact the department for a current list of approved courses. Any graduate-level class intended to count towards the degree and taken outside the department requires prior approval by the graduate director.

Medical-Physics Concentration Option (18 Credit Hours)

The Concentration is administered jointly by the Department of Physics of the University of South Florida and the Medical Physics Faculty Group of the Moffitt Cancer Center.

Students in the medical-physics concentration must perform medical physics research leading to a dissertation and a minimum of two papers submitted to peer- reviewed journals before graduation.  In addition, the following courses are required:

Other Required Courses - 18 Credit Hours

All students must complete 18 credit hours of other coursework.  This includes:

Doctoral Qualifying Examination:

The Doctoral Qualifying Examination consists of two parts: The Credentials Certification and the Dissertation Proposal. Following successful completion of these two parts, the student may submit the paperwork for doctoral candidacy. The student’s presentation of the Dissertation Proposal may occur at any time after successful completion of the Credentials Certification.

  • Credentials Certification
    The Student, in consultation with his/her research advisor, will assemble a supervisory committee consistent with the rules of the Office of Graduate Studies. It is the responsibility of the supervisory committee to evaluate the student’s academic and research accomplishments and potential according to departmental standards, and if these are met, to certify that the student may proceed to the next step. Contact the Department for details.
  • Dissertation Proposal –
    To become a Ph.D. Candidate, the student must present a written dissertation proposal and successfully defend that proposal to the supervisory committee. Contact the Department for details.

Dissertation (24 Credit Hours)

  • Credit Hours: 2-12 (2-9 credits for this program)

  • The candidate will conduct original and significant research, describe that research and the results in a doctoral dissertation and defend that dissertation in an oral presentation to the supervisory committee. The defense is open to the public and must be scheduled according to the regulations of the Office of Graduate Studies.