The Chemical Physics Program is a program of study and research leading to Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees for students who wish to enter professional careers requiring an in-depth knowledge of both physics and chemistry. Students can choose research topics across many disciplines including biophysics, chemistry, physics, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, materials and nuclear engineering, mechanical engineering and meteorology.
The Chemical Physics Program is designed for students with undergraduate degrees in physics, chemistry, or engineering who are sufficiently well prepared in mathematics and the physical sciences to undertake graduate training in physics and physical chemistry. Formal course offerings in quantum mechanics,quantum chemistry, spectroscopy, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, statistical mechanics and biophysics prepare a student to explore the broad range of research topics at the University of Maryland. Research areas of the Chemical Physics faculty include: the study of single molecules as well as gases, surfaces, solids and polymers by means of laser-light, electron scattering, and nanomicroscopies; the study of dynamic phenomena from atom-molecule collisions to protein-folding and hydrodynamics; thermodynamics from phase transitions and critical phenomena to combustion; the statistical mechanical theory of phase transitions, fluid dynamics and non-equilibrium phenomena; the quantum mechanical theory of molecules and molecular dynamics; atmospheric physics and chemistry; and biophysics.
The Chemical Physics Program is sponsored by the Institute for Physical Science and Technology and seven academic departments: Chemistry and Biochemistry, Physics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Materials and Nuclear Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Meteorology. Formal arrangements with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) allow students to perform research off campus under the supervision of a government scientist associated with the program and a Chemical Physics faculty member. The Chemical Physics Committee oversees the program and is made up of representatives from the sponsoring units with the Program Director as chair. The Chemical Physics Program Office administers the program and is affiliated with the Institute for Physical Science and Technology. A booklet describing Chemical Physics at Maryland, College Park, can be obtained from the Chemical Physics office upon request.
The program is for students with undergraduate degrees in chemistry, physics or engineering. For those students with degrees in other disciplines, knowledge of calculus, differential equations, and vector algebra, as well as introductory mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and quantum mechanics is ordinarily expected.
Type of Applicant Fall Spring
Domestic Applicants; US Citizens and Permanent Residents with foreign credentials; International Applicants seeking admissions under A, E, G, H, I and L visas and immigrants
Deadline: February 1
Preferred: February 1
Deadline: June 1
Preferred: June 1
International Applicants seeking admission under F (student) or J (exchange visitor) visas
Deadline: February 1
Preferred: February 1
Deadline: June 1
Preferred: June 1
- GRE General
- GRE Subject (in Chemistry, Mathematics, or Physics)
- Three Letters of Recommendation
- Test of Spoken English (TSE), required for international applicants
Master of Science (M.S.)
Admission to the program is generally limited to Ph.D. students. Students can earn a thesis or a non-thesis M.S. degree while working towards the Ph.D. degree. In order to earn a non-thesis M.S. degree in Chemical Physics, students must pass the written Qualifying Examination at the M.S. level, maintain a B average, 30 graduate credits of which 24 must be course credits including: 1.Advanced laboratory course 2.Two credits of seminar, can be included in the non-course credits 3.Advanced course at the 600 level or above The Examining Committee consists of at least two faculty members, who will read the scholarly paper and attend the oral presentation. The paper should provide an informative review of the research topic selected by the candidate in consultation with his/her academic and research advisors. The bibliography is a particularly important part of the paper and should include the most significant references to the topic. The length of the paper is expected to be approximately 20 double space pages (12-point font) with 1-inch margins. The presentation is to last approximately one hour and can be part of regularly scheduled seminar series such as the Informal Statistical Mechanics Seminar or the Nonlinear Dynamics Seminar. Two faculty must be present and there should be sufficient time for questions and discussion. For the thesis M.S. degree, students must complete a written masters thesis, maintain a B average, complete 30 graduate credits including: 1.Six credits of CHPH799 - (M.S. thesis research) 2.24 course credits 3.Two credits of seminar, can be included in the non-course credits 4.Advanced laboratory course 5.Advanced course at the 600 level or above The Thesis Examining Committee is to consist of at least three faculty members including the research advisor. The Examination Committee will review the M.S. thesis, attend the oral presentation and participate in the defense of the thesis. The thesis is to consist of an introduction to the field of research with which the student is engaged, a clear statement of the problem under study, the objectives of the research, the approach taken, original results, interpretation, discussion, and conclusions. A concise review of the literature, and a bibliography of the most important literature should also be included. The M.S. thesis has no set length, but is typically 30 to 40 pages. The format of the thesis (font, margins, etc.) must follow the University of Maryland Thesis and Dissertation Style Guide.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Students must pass the written Qualifying Examination passed at the Ph.D. level, normally taken at the beginning of the second year. Maintain a B average, present a scholarly paper research presentation, 24 graduate course credits including: 1. Two credits of seminar, 2. Advanced laboratory course, 3. Advanced course outside of the student's main field of study at the 600 level or above. In order to advance to Ph.D. candidacy, the student must submit a scholarly paper and make an oral presentation. The paper and presentation are evaluated by a candidacy committee consisting of at least two faculty members, generally including the advisor and a member of the advisory committee. Students with a well-developed thesis topic and research results are expected to include these results together with further research plans in their paper and presentation. Students less far along with research will present background material and summaries of the research areas in which they will be working. A concise review of the literature is expected, along with a bibliography of the most important literature. The length of the paper is expected to be between approximately 20 double space pages (12-point font) with 1-inch margins. The paper is to be submitted to the candidacy committee at least two weeks before the date of the oral presentation. The presentation is to last approximately 50 minutes and can be part of regularly scheduled seminar series such as the Informal Statistical Mechanics Seminar or the Nonlinear Dynamics Seminar. Two members of the candidacy committee must be present and there should be sufficient time for questions and discussion. Within 12 to 18 months after beginning Ph.D. research, the student is to select a Ph.D. Thesis Examination Committee. 12 credits of CHPH899 (Ph.D. dissertation research, only available after advancement to Ph.D. candidacy) Written Ph.D. dissertation. The format of the dissertation (font, margins, etc.) must follow the University of Maryland Thesis and Dissertation Style Guide.
Incoming students are provided with private desk space and up to date computer facilities. There is a wide array of advanced equipment associated with the various research groups in the Program including scanning probe microscopes, high resolution spectrographs, ultra-short high-power lasers, multi-coincidence electron scattering spectrometers, and a fully equipped light-scattering laboratory.
Teaching and research assistantships are available for qualified students. There are also University and Chemical Physics Fellowships and fellowships in Biophysics (in cooperation with the National Institutes of Health) and Atomic, Molecular and Optical Science (in cooperation with the National Institute of Standards and Technology).
Requests for further information concerning the Chemical Physics Program can be obtained by writing to:
Professor Michael A. Coplan, Director
4203 Computer & Space Sciences Building
Telephone: (301) 405-4780
Fax: (301) 314-9363