The Master of Science degree is not a prerequisite for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Research is organized into small groups of faculty members, post-doctoral associates, graduate students, and undergraduate students working on closely related projects. The principal active areas include experimental and theoretical condensed matter physics, experimental and theoretical elementary particle physics, synchrotron radiation physics, structural and computational biophysics; magnetism, and electrodynamics. Classes are generally small and informal, and thesis research is carried out in close collaboration with the faculty research advisor.
In recognition of the value of teaching experience in strengthening an individual's understanding of his or her field of study and as an aid in making career decisions, the department requires full-time students to participate in instructional activities.
Each new graduate student is assigned a graduate student advisor and must obtain the approval of the advisor each semester before registering for any graduate classes.