Department of Physics & Astronomy

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Fast-Track to Research Program

The Fast-Track to Research Program in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M University provides students who already have a Master’s Degree the opportunity to more quickly get to advanced courses and research for their Ph.D. Students admitted to the program have the option to test out of any and all of our required Core Graduate Courses:

  • PHYS-601: Classical Mechanics

  • PHYS-603: Electrodynamics I

  • PHYS-606: Quantum Mechanics I

  • PHYS-607: Statistical Mechanics

  • PHYS-611: Electrodynamics II

  • PHYS-615: Theoretical Methods in Physics I

  • PHYS-624: Quantum Mechanics II

Details of the program are as follows:

  • Students will be admitted to the Physics, Astronomy, or Applied Physics graduate programs based on regular criteria, and those with an earned Master’s degree will be considered for participation in the “Fast Track to Research” program. Students selected for the program will be notified in their admission letters.
  • The department offers an assortment of previous exam problems and other resources that can be used in order to prepare for the exam. This includes the option to arrive early for two weeks of intense prep sessions led by a Physics and Astronomy faculty member.
  • Individual course exams will be given before the sester, with outcomes as follows:
    • Students passing all the exams can register for advanced courses and will be encouraged to engage in research as early as possible.
    • Students who do not pass all the exams, but show strong background in the relevant parts of the material, will be offered a special Directed Study course in the fall semester to gain proficiency in specific areas and hopefully pass any remaining exams in January. Many options, including advanced classes and/or active engagement in research, will also be available in the fall.
    • Students who do not pass the exams, and for whom it is evident that taking an individual course would be beneficial, will be required to register normally for the relevant core courses.
  • All students, regardless of their performance in the Fast-Track to Research program are required to fulfill the usual advanced elective course requirements specific to the Physics, Astronomy, or Applied Physics programs. All students are welcome to take any core graduate course at any time.

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