The University of Michigan is on a semester system: Fall, Winter, Spring/Summer. Physics PhD students enroll in the Fall and Winter terms only; they are expected to spend the Spring/Summer term pursuing research/internship opportunities.
Once admitted to the program, students work with the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies and a faculty mentor to develop a course plan to meet their educational and research needs. Most students will complete a series of courses in Electricity and Magnetism, Quantum Mechanics, and Statistical Mechanics. Additional specialty courses, dependent on the student's chosen area of physics, will also be taken.
In addition to these courses, during the first year in the program, students are expected to complete the following courses:
- PHYSICS 501: First-Year Mini Colloquium
- UC 415: Methods in Research for the Natural Sciences
- PHYSICS 993: Graduate Student Instructor Training Program
The full PHYSICS course list can be found on the Rackham website here. The current offerings for the department can be found on the LSA Course Guide under "Browse GRAD Subjects."
Most students complete their coursework after their second year in the program and advance to candidacy. Once advancing to candidacy, students have the option to enroll in one course a term, but otherwise enroll in an independent research course as they work on their dissertation.