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Physics and Astronomy

We strive for a recognized level of national and international excellence in research and teaching in physics and to assure that students of African American descent and other underrepresented groups are given the opportunity to achieve their fullest potential in physics.
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  • Length: 6 Years
  • Tuition: $31,309
  • Total Students: 20
  • Total Alumni: 274

Admission Requirements

1. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is preferred, and a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in major course work is required. Each graduate department may have additional “special admission requirements” which are noted on this page. 

2. Completed on-line application and signature page or download the paper application. 

3. The non-refundable $45 application fee (Waivers accepted for FAMU Feeder Program and McNair Scholars) 

4. Official transcripts must be submitted directly from the Registrar’s Office from ALL colleges and universities attended 

5. GRE Scores (Only official score reports are accepted within 5 years of the test date) www.gre.org 

6. Statement of Academic and Research Interest 

7. Autobiographical Sketch (Personal biography) 

8. Resume 

9. Three letters of recommendation  

International Applicants

In addition to the requirements listed above you must meet the following: official transcripts, certificates and/or mark/grade sheets must be sent directly from the college or university to the Office of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions, and must show proof of degree(s) earned, courses taken and marks/grades received.

Also, ALL transcripts must be evaluated by World Education Services (www.wes.org) or AACRAO (www.aacrao.org) and be forwarded to Graduate Recruitment and Admissions. TOEFL Scores (Minimum computer-based score of 213 is required and only official score reports are accepted within 2 years of the test date) www.toefl.org

Statement of Financial Resources Form – A completed form that verifies proof of financial support (sufficient funds to cover expenses for one full year - $31,309 in US Dollars only) and supporting financial documentation indicating sources of funds while attending Howard University (such as a certified bank statement dated within 3 months of registration).

Degree Requirements

Masters Degree Requirements

The Master of Science degree is designed to provide graduate study opportunity to students who wish to obtain a terminal Master of Science Degree or who seek to pursue the Masterís in route to a doctoral degree. The Thesis Option is recommended for the former group of students and the Comprehensive Examination Option is recommended for the latter. Students should consult the document "Rules and Regulations for the Pursuit of Academic Degrees" concerning other general requirements for the Master of Science Degree. Such requirements involve, but are not limited to, Residency, Transfer of Credits, Course Viability, Length of Time for Completion of Degree, Enrollment in Thesis Courses, Grades for Thesis Courses, Academic Status, Foreign Language Requirements, and Admission to Candidacy for the Degree.

Master of Science Plan A

Plan A, the Thesis Option, requires a minimum of 30 credit hours, of which 24 must be spent in course work and 6 in Thesis work. Courses must include PHYS-210/211 (Classical Mechanics I&II), PHYS-214/215 (Electromagnetic Theory I&II), and PHYS-220 (Quantum Mechanics I).

Additional courses must be approved by the Department -- Mathematical Methods in Physics I&II, Advanced Laboratory I&II, Quantum Mechanics II and Statistical Mechanics I&II are recommended. The student must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 to satisfy graduation requirements. Students should consult the document "Rules and Regulations for the Pursuit of Academic Degrees" concerning grades below "B." Students following Plan A must write and defend a Masterís Thesis. See the section on M.S. Theses and Ph.D. Dissertations below.

Master of Science Plan B

Plan B, the Comprehensive Examination Option, requires a minimum of 30 hours of course work (excluding research and thesis courses) and the successful completion of a Comprehensive Examination. Courses must include:

  • PHYS-210/211 (Classical Mechanics I&II),
  • PHYS-214/215 (Electromagnetic Theory I&II),
  • PHYS-220/221 (Quantum Mechanics I&II) and
  • PHYS-222 (Statistical Mechanics I).

Students must make a grade of "B" or better in each of these courses to complete the degree under this option. Additional courses must be approved by the Department -- Mathematical Methods in Physics I & II and Advanced Laboratory I & II are recommended. The student must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 to satisfy graduation requirements. Students should consult the document "Rules and Regulations for the Pursuit of Academic Degrees" concerning grades below "B."

Projected Plan of Study

All students must have on file an approved "Projected Plan of Study." This plan will outline the courses that the student intends to take, and the semester of projected enrollment in such courses. Additionally, the plan must indicate if the student if following Degree Plan A or Degree Plan B and correspondingly the projected date for the completion of the thesis or the completion of the M.S. Comprehensive Examination. This plan, which must be signed by both the student and the Department Chairman, must be completed within the first semester of registration in the program.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

Required courses include:

  • PHYS-210/211 (Classical Mechanics I&II),
  • PHYS-214/215 (Electromagnetic Theory I&II),
  • PHYS-220/221 (Quantum Mechanics I&II) and
  • PHYS-222/223 (Statistical Mechanics I&II).

A minimum of 72 hours (inclusive of M. S. hours obtained at Howard) is required. The student is required to pass a qualifying examination.

Other advanced courses offered by the Department are strongly recommended. Students who have completed the Master of Science Degree at another Institution, prior to enrolling in the Howard University Ph. D. Physics program, should consult the Chairman of the Department concerning the transferability of courses.

Students must make a grade of "B" or better in each of the core courses required in the program. The student must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 to satisfy graduation requirements. Students should consult the document "Rules and Regulations for the Pursuit of Academic Degrees" concerning grades below "B."

Further the Student should consult "Rules and Regulations for the Pursuit of Academic Degrees" concerning other general requirements for the Ph. D. Degree. Such requirements involve, but are not limited to, Residency, Transfer of Credits, Course Viability, Length of Time for Completion of Degree, Enrollment in Dissertation Courses, Grades for Dissertation Courses, Academic Status, Expositiry Writing Requirements, Foreign Language Requirements, and Admission to Candidacy for the Degree. 

Students should consult the Department and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) for other requirements not indicated in this document. Official information for degree requirements is given in the Graduate Bulletin and the publication "GSAS - Rules and Regulations for the Pursuit of Academic Degrees"

Admission to Candidacy

Admission to Candidacy for the M.S. Degree 

Before being admitted to Candidacy for the M.S. Degree, the student must complete twelve credits in graduate courses, and if the student is following Plan A have a thesis topic approved by the department, or indicate that the he/she is following Plan B. Other requirements are described in "Rules and Regulations for the Pursuit of Academic Degrees."

Admission to Candidacy for the Ph. D. Degree

Before being admitted to Candidacy for the Ph. D. Degree, the student must complete the core courses in the department with a grade of "B" or better, pass the Ph. D. Qualifying Examination described later in this document, and have a dissertation topic approved by the department. Other requirements are described in "Rules and Regulations for the Pursuit of Academic Degrees."

Residence Requirements

Students in the Ph.D. program are required to spend at least three semesters in full-time residence, two of which must be consecutive.

Caution to Prospective Students

The Board of Trustees of Howard University on September 24, 1983, adopted the following policy statement regarding applications for admission: "Applicants seeking admission to Howard University are required to submit accurate and complete credentials and accurate and complete information requested by the University. Applicants who fail to do so shall be denied admission. Enrolled students who as applicants failed to submit accurate and complete credentials or accurate and complete information on their application for admission shall be subject to dismissal when the same is made known, regardless of classification."

All credentials must be sent to:

Howard University Graduate School 
Office of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions
4th and College Streets, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20059

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