University of Houston-Clear Lake Search   Home  
University of Houston-Clear Lake  

Physics PhD Collaborative

Collaborative Program

Overview of the Collaborative Program

This program establishes a collaboration between the Physics Departments at UH and UHCL for the mutual benefit of both universities, their students, and the Clear Lake Community. This joint effort unites the Master's program at UHCL with the PhD program at UH. UH will award the PhD; UHCL supports the effort with its courses and research opportunities. Select faculty at UH and UHCL hold joint appointments. This allows them to ensure their students a smooth transition into the PhD program. All UHCL Physics students are encouraged to apply to the UH Physics program before beginning graduate level coursework in order to take advantage of this program.

UHCL Physics students pursuing a PhD can do so through the Collaborative UH/UHCL Physics PhD program. Six UHCL Physics courses and their corresponding recitations PHYS 5311/5331: Electrodynamics, PHYS 5411/5431: Classical Mechanics, PHYS 5511/5531: Mathematical Methods in Physics I, PHYS 5611/5631 and 5612/5632: Quantum Mechanics I and II, and PHYS 5711/5731: Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics will count towards PhD candidacy at UH. A candidate must earn a grade of B or better in the class and on the final exam. Students exploring this option must apply for PhD candidacy by applying and being accepted into both the UHCL and UH physics programs. This should be done before taking any graduate level physics courses in order to take advantage of this program. Students accepted into the collaborative PhD program will be subject to the same requirements as other PhD candidates in the UH Physics program. They will complete their PhD Thesis under the advisement of a UH and UHCL faculty committee.

Physics Candidacy Certificate

Students completing the candidacy requirements for the Collaborative UHCL/UH Physics Ph.D. Program  are eligible to receive a physics candidacy certificate. This certificate can be awarded to students independently of the Physics Master's Degree. A student pursuing a certificate has the option of switching to the Physics M.S. degree program at any time during his/her enrollment in the certificate program and can apply all physics coursework taken towards the certificate to the M.S. degree. Qualified students pursuing the Physics M.S. degree have the option of applying for the certificate once the candidacy requirements are satisfied. This certificate does not imply any acceptance into the UH Ph.D. program or the successful completion of all Ph.D. candidacy requirements and is used primarily at UHCL to monitor the progress of students working towards the Physics Ph.D. through our Collaborative Physics Ph.D. program.

Benefits of the program

Benefits to Students

  • The first local PhD program available to full-time and part-time students
  • Advanced training in Physics increases work-related proficiency for students
  • Increased knowledge base improves job satisfaction
  • Intellectual challenge for students  

Benefits to the Clear Lake Community

  • Accessibility of pertinent courses for JSC and petrochemical communities
  • More PhDs available to local industry and JSC
  • Connection to UH System for advanced research projects of benefit to the community
  • Local PhD opportunities helps private and public institutions retain employees 

Application to the Program

A candidate must earn a grade of "B" or better in the class and on the final exam. Students exploring this option must be accepted into the Graduate Physics program at UH for core courses to count toward candidacy. Therefore interested students should apply for admissions to both the UHCL and UH physics programs before signing up for Ph.D. candidacy courses. Students accepted into the collaborative Ph.D. program will be subject to the same requirements as other Ph.D. candidates in the UH Physics program. They will complete their Ph.D. thesis under the advisement of a UH and UHCL faculty committee.

Core Requirements at UHCL

  • PHYS 5331 Electrodynamics
  • PHYS 5311 Recitation for Electrodynamics
  • PHYS 5431 Classical Mechanics
  • PHYS 5411 Recitation for Classical Mechanics
  • PHYS 5531 Mathematical Methods I
  • PHYS 5511 Recitation for Mathematical Methods in Physics I
  • PHYS 5631 Quantum Mechanics I
  • PHYS 5611Recitation for Quantum Mechanics I
  • PHYS 5632 Quantum Mechanics II
  • PHYS 5612 Recitation for Quantum Mechanics II
  • PHYS 5731 Statistical Mechanics
  • PHYS 5711 Recitation for Statistical Mechanics

Advanced Electives

Students will select advanced UHCL and UH courses to meet their professional goals in consultation with their advisor. Many of these electives may be taken at either UH or UHCL but final approval of electives that count towards the PhD is handled by the Graduate Studies Committee.

UHCL MS Capstone

After completing the core courses and some electives, some students may choose to finish the requirements of the UHCL MS program, while others may choose to move directly into PhD level work without completing the MS. The choice of whether or not to complete the degree depends on several factors. Currently, students who complete the MS at UHCL are no longer considered degree-seeking students and are therefore ineligible for financial aid on the UHCL campus. We are working to resolve this situation.

PhD Work at UH

Students must complete all PHD level work according to the standard rules of the UH Physics Department. Visit for a full description of these requirements.

Students in the program should be continuously enrolled at either UHCL or UH each long semester until they complete their degree. After taking the core courses, all students should select a research advisor and dissertation committee. The student and advisor must jointly select the dissertation committee. The student must then submit an oral presentation and research plan to the dissertation committee. The student must also send annual progress reports to the dissertation committee. The student must present an acceptable dissertation based on original research in Physics and defend it orally before the dissertation committee. In addition, to complete the PhD, students may be required to take additional courses under the request of their thesis advisor. They may take these courses at UH or UHCL.


Students interested in this program must apply and be accepted into both the UHCL and UH physics programs separately. The application standards of this committee will be the same as those of the UH PhD admissions committee (visit for details). This process gives students access to both UHCL and UH courses, library, labs, and other resources needed to successfully complete the PhD program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Dynamically expands the answer when clicked on
  1. Why should UH-Clear Lake collaborate with UH that offers a Physics PhD?
  1. How much time is required for students in the program?
  1. How are the courses different from the current UHCL Physics MS program?
  1. I am already a UHCL Physics major; how will this change effect me?
  1. What will be the areas of advanced study?
  1. Are financial aid or assistantship available?
  1. Will the program offer distance learning?
  1. How long does it take to complete the program?
  1. If I am an UHCL master student and interested in the UH/UHCL collaborative Ph.D. program, what do I need to do to enter the program?




Last updated: 08/04/2016 UTC
UHCL footer
Accessibility | Clery Act | Compact with Texans | Emergency Information | Maps & Directions | State Website Linking and Privacy Policy
Fraud Reporting | Title IX (Sexual Misconduct) | UH System | Public Information |MySafeCampus