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​​The Department offers Ph. D. program in the following major areas of physics:
  • Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Nuclear Physics
Experimental or theoretical research can be pursued in any of the above areas.
The applicant must fulfill the KFUPM admission requirements set by the Deanship of Graduate Studies. The applicant should have a Masters’ degree in physics or related field from an institution of acceptable standing. The Department might ask the applicant to submit his score in GRE Subject Test in Physics. Each new student will take an entrance examination and any deficiency in his physics background must be removed within two semesters of admission into the graduate program
The Ph.D. program in physics requires the successful completion of 30 credit hours of course work, seminar, written and oral comprehensive exams, and a research dissertation with 12 credit hours.
The course work consists of core and elective courses. Core courses consist of five courses or 15 credit hours. Each of the three major areas has its own core courses that must be taken by all students specialized in the area. The core courses are as follows:
Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
PHYS 511 Quantum Optics
PHYS 551 Atomic and Molecular Physics
PHYS 608 Laser Spectroscopy
PHYS 611 Nonlinear Optics
PHYS 612 Laser Physics
Condensed Matter Physics
PHYS 532 Solid State Physics I
PHYS 536 Low Temperature Physics
PHYS 630 Phase Transitions and Critical Phenomena
PHYS 632 Quantum Theory of Solids
PHYS 636 Semiconductor Device PhysicsI
Nuclear Physics
PHYS 520 Introduction to Strong Interaction
PHYS 521 Advanced Nuclear Physics I
PHYS 522 Advanced Nuclear Physics II
PHYS 523 Nuclear Instrumentation (3-0-3)
PHYS 621 Advanced Methods of Theoretical Nuclear Physics with Applications to Nuclear Models
The remaining five courses or 15 credit hours are elective. Two of the elective courses or six credit hours must be selected from one of the other two major areas. The remaining nine credit hours should comprise other graduate physics, math, science or engineering courses. These courses must be approved in advance by the Graduate Program Committee of the Department of Physics. The student will be required to take as elective courses Phys 571: Advanced Methods of Theoretical Physics (or equivalently Math 513: Mathematical Methods for Engineers) and Phys 530: Statistical Mechanics if he did not take these or equivalent courses during his M.Sc. degree.
The written comprehensive exam will be based on four selected graduate level courses in the major or minor areas of the student. The selection of these courses and the preparation of the exam are administered by the department graduate committee. The exam must be taken before the beginning of the fourth semester from the date of the enrolment into the Ph.D. program. A student has two chances to pass the written comprehensive exam. The second attempt must be no later than two semesters after the first attempt.
After successful completion of the written comprehensive examination, the student should formally select a dissertation advisor and should write his dissertation proposal. Following this, the student will be tested orally in his field of specialty to insure his readiness for scholarly research. The oral comprehensive exam must be taken within two semesters after the student has passed the written part of the comprehensive exam.
The student must submit and successfully defend a dissertation based on original and scholarly research conducted by him and judged to be a significant contribution to his area of specialization.
Since most of the Ph.D. graduates will be working at universities where teaching is an integral part of employment, therefore, every Ph.D. student is encouraged to participate in some form of teaching activity for at least one semester.
Degree Plan for the PhD in Physics

First Semester Phys xxx Course from Major Area 3 0 3  
Phys xxx Course from Major Area 3 0 3  
​Phys xxx Course from Minor Area 3 0 3  

Second Semester
Phys xxx Course from Major Area 3 0 3 
Phys xxx Course from Major Area 3 0 3
Phys xxx Course from Minor Area 3 0 3

Third Semester
Phys xxx Course from Major Area 3 0 3
Phys xxx  
Phys xxx
Free Elective  
Free Elective  

Fourth Semester
Phys 711 Pre-PhD Dissertation 0 0 3
Phys xxx  Free Elective 3 0 3
Fifth Semester
Phys 712 PhD Dissertation 0 0 0
Phys 699 Phys Seminar 1 0 0 

Sixth Semester
Phys 712 PhD Dissertation… cont'd. 0 0 9

Total Credit Hours

Course Description
PHYS 511 Quantum Optics          (3-0-3)
Partial coherence; photon statistics; stochastic processes; Markoffian processes; statistical states in quantum theory; equation of motion of the electromagnetic field; coherent state representation of the electromagnetic field; quantum theory of optical correlation; theoretical laser models; nonlinear optical phenomena.
Prerequisites: PHYS 411, PHYS 501
PHYS 520 Introduction to Strong Interactions          (3-0-3)
Topics of borderline between Nuclear and Particle Physics will be emphasized e.g., Isospin and charge dependent effects in nuclear forces; Meson exchange effects in nuclear physics; Structure of nucleon and nuclei by electron scatter­ing; Quarks in nuclei.
Prerequisite: PHYS 501
PHYS 521 Advanced Nuclear Physics I (Nuclear Structure)          (3-0-3)
Generalities; Nuclear sizes, forces, binding energies, moments; Nuclear models: Fermi-gas model, liquid drop model (fission), collective models (rotational/vi-brational spectra), Electromagnetic transitions: multipole expansion, decay rates, selection rules; Simple theory of Beta decay.
Prerequisite: PHYS 422, PHYS 501
PHYS 522 Advanced Nuclear Physics II (Nuclear Reactions)          (3-0-3)
Two body system and nuclear forces; nuclear reactions; scattering matrix, reso­nance optical model; compound nucleus; direct reactions; fission, heavy ion nuclear reactions; photo-nuclear reactions.
Prerequisites: PHYS 422, PHYS 501
PHYS 523 Nuclear Instrumentation          (3-0-3)
Nuclear radiation detectors; basic pulse circuits, pulse shaping methods for nu­clear spectroscopy, resolution in nuclear spectroscopy systems, amplifiers; pulse height and shape discriminators; timing circuits; multi-channel pulse height analyzers; multi-parameter and computer analysis.
Prerequisites: PHYS 403, PHYS 422
PHYS 532 Solid State Physics I          (3-0-3)
Review of free electron gas. Bravais lattice and crystal structure, reciprocal lattice and Brillouin zones, crystal binding, electron states in periodic poten­tial, energy band structure and application to metals, semiconductors and insu­lators, Fermi surface, surface effects, lattice dynamics and lattice specific heat, electron-photon and effective electron-electron interactions, and dielectric properties and applications.
Prerequisites: PHYS 306, PHYS 432
PHYS 536       Low Temperature Physics          (3-0-3)
Production of low temperatures; the cryogenic fluids; superfluidity; helium I and II; He 3; type I and II super-conductivity; BCS theory; applications of super­conductivity.
Prerequisite: PHYS 401
PHYS 551 Atomic and Molecular Physics          (3-0-3)
Energy levels and wave functions of atoms and molecules; microwave, infrared, visible and UV spectroscopies; lasers and masers; LS and j j coupling; Thomas-Fermi and Hartree-Fock approximations; relativistic effects; group theoretical considerations; collisions.
Prerequisite: PHYS 501
PHYS 608 Laser Spectroscopy          (3-0-3)
Conventional spectroscopic techniques; resonant and multiphoton laser absorption processes; fluorescence and phosphorescence; ionization, dissociation, ejected electron spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy; time-of-flight spectroscopy; photo-acoustic spectroscopy ; analysis and interpretation of spectra from gases, liquids, and solids; collisions and other perturbations; configuration interaction; multichannel quantum defect theory and analysis; supersonic jet molecular spectroscopy; polarization spectroscopy; stimulated Raman scattering, coherent effects, laser cooling and Bose-Einstein condensation.
Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor
PHYS 611 Nonlinear Optics          (3-0-3)
Nonlinear optical susceptibility; wave equation description of nonlinear optical interactions; quantum mechanical description; harmonic generation; intensity-dependent refractive index; optical Bloch equations; nonlinear wave mixing; optical phase conjugation, self focusing, optical bistability; pulse propagation and optical solutions; acoustic-optic and electro-optic effects; simulated scattering processes; photorefractive effect.
Prerequisite: Graduate Standing
PHYS 612 Laser Physics          (3-0-3)
Radiative and non-radiative transitions; line broadening; optical wave-guides and resonators; resonator modes; oscillation and amplification; gain coefficient; rate equation analysis; semi-classical laser theory; density matrix formalism; lasing without population inversion; Q-switching, mode-locking and pulse compression; spectral narrowing.
Prerequisite: PHYS 501
PHYS 621 Advanced Methods of Theoretical Nuclear Physics, with Applications to Nuclear Models          (3-0-3)
The topics covered: Racah algebra, 6-j, 9-j symbols, second quantization, graphology, evaluation of two-and many-body nuclear matrix elements, Moshinsky transformation, collective models, microscopic models, Nilssen levels, interplay of collective and microscopic models, large-amplitude collective motion, super-heavy elements, high-spin states.
Prerequisite: PHYS 521
PHYS 630 Phase Transitions and Critical Phenomena          (3-0-3)
Theoretical study of phase transitions and critical phenomena: Topics covered include: Introduction to the main characteristics of phase transition phenomena; Simple models (Ising, Gaussian and spherical models); real space renormalization; mean field theory, Landau-Ginzburg model; diagrammatic perturbation theory and Feynman rules in wave vector space; renormalization group theory; applications.
Prerequisites: PHYS 530
PHYS 632 Quantum Theory of Solids          (3-0-3)
Second quantization; elementary excitations, phonons, magnons, plasmons; Fermion fields and the Hartree-Fock approximation; dielectric response; many-body techniques, electron-phonon interaction, superconductivity.
Prerequisite: PHYS 532
PHYS 636 Semiconductor Device Physics I          (3-0-3)
Quantum mechanical foundation for modern semiconductor devices: band structure, carrier concentration at thermal equilibrium and non-equilibrium, optical, thermal and high electric field properties, band-gap engineering, metal-semiconductor contacts, semiconductor hetrojunction; Schottky and ohmic contacts; MESFET, MOSFET and MOS capacitors; photovoltaic.
Prerequisite: Graduate Standing