The department offers an M.S. and a Ph.D. in physics, with specializations in astrophysics, atomic and molecular physics, biophysics & soft condensed matter, computational physics, condensed matter, nonlinear optics and photonics, particle physics, string theory, and statistical physics.
Graduate students in physics at Lehigh are involved in major national and international research collaborations. These include the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory; the XSEDE national supercomputing network; collaboration with Oak Ridge and Berkeley National Lab; the NERSC and RACF computing facilities; and astrophysical facilities like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the NASA TESS mission.
The physics department has a wide range of state-of-the-art equipment and experimental facilities. These include the Physics Laser Spectroscopy Laboratory, several laser sources, providing everything from precise low-bandwidth coherent radiation to wavelength-tunable femtosecond and picosecond short pulses, and advanced spectroscopy equipment from the visible to the infrared. Other equipment includes atomic force microscopes, a Raman microscope, a near field UV optical microscope, optical tweezers, a Fourier transform spectrometer, and several other confocal optical microscopes.
Lehigh physics research uses additional university facilities including the Lehigh High-Performance Computing Center, the Center for Photonics and Nanotechnology, several Interdisciplinary Research Institutes, and diverse material analysis, fabrication, and characterization facilities.
The department offers a program of coursework and research leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics. Approximately 40 graduate students are enrolled in the Physics department, supported by research and teaching assistantships and fellowships.
Active research areas in the department include Astronomy and Astrophysics, Atomic, Molecular, & Optical Physics Experiment, Biophysics, Computational Physics, Condensed Matter Physics, High Energy Nuclear/Particle Experiment, High Energy Theory and Cosmology, Nonlinear Optics and Photonics Experiment, Plasma Physics Experiment, Soft Condensed Matter Physics, and Complex Fluids, Statistical & Thermal Physics, and Physics Education. See the Research Page for a more detailed list of research activities. Experimental, theoretical, and computational projects are underway in most areas. Active collaborations also exist with faculty in other departments and programs at Lehigh, such as Electrical Engineering, Bioengineering, and Materials Science and Engineering.
Candidates for advanced degrees normally will have completed, before beginning their graduate studies, the requirements for a bachelor’s degree with a major in physics, including advanced mathematics beyond differential and integral calculus. Students lacking the equivalent of this preparation will make up deficiencies in addition to taking the specified work for the degree sought.
At least eight semester hours of general college physics using calculus are required for admission to all 200- and 300-level courses. Additional prerequisites for individual courses are noted in the course descriptions. Admission to 400-level courses generally is predicated on satisfactory completion of corresponding courses in the 200- and 300-level groups or their equivalent.
The Ph.D. program includes a set of core courses, including some at the advanced graduate level that provides a broad background in physics that is so important in the long run, specialized courses relevant to the research area of the student, and the research for the Ph.D. dissertation. Students entering with graduate-level work at other institutions may include relevant courses taken at the other institutions in their proposal for candidacy, which includes all their course preparation as well as the research proposal for the dissertation.