Core courses

PHY 5103 Classical Mechanics I

3 hours credit. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

Newtonian mechanics, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics, dynamics of rigid bodies, central force problem and orbital dynamics, symmetries and conservation laws, relativistic dynamics.


PHY 5203 Electrodynamics I

3 hours credit. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

Electrostatics and magnetostatics; boundary value problems, Maxwelll's equations; plane waves; wave guides diffraction; multipole radiation.


PHY 5303 Statistical Mechanics

3 hours credit. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

Thermodynamics, equilibrium statistical mechanics, Boltzmann equation and the collision operator, moments of the Boltzmann equations, the Navier-Stokes equations, introduction to nonequilibrium concepts, ensembles, classical and quantum gases, statistical physics of solids.


PHY 5403 Quantum Mechanics I

3 hours credit. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

Linear vector spaces and linear operators. Postulates. Hilbert space formulation, the Schrödinger equation and one-dimensional problems, the hydrogen atom, symmetries, rotational invariance and angular momentum, spin, system with N-degrees of freedom. (Formerly PHY 6003. Credit cannot be earned for both PHY 5403 and PHY 6003.)



Advanced Electives - Space Physics Courses

PHY 6123 Plasma Physics and Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)

3 hours credit. Prerequisite: Graduate standing, PHY 5103 and PHY 5203, or consent of instructor.

Plasma equations, magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), waves and instabilities in two-fluid model, Vlasov and Fokker-Planck equations, Landau damping, turbulence in plasmas, radiation in plasmas, quasi-linear theory, wave-particle interaction, kinetic theory in space plasmas.


PHY 6403 Fundamentals of Space Physics

3 hours credit. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

The Sun, solar models, solar and stellar winds, heliosphere and astrospheres, synthesis of elements in the Sun and stars, solar system composition and cosmic abundances, terrestrial magnetosphere, ionosphere and thermosphere, comparative planetary magnetospheres and atmospheres.


PHY 6623 Space Physics Laboratory

3 hours credit. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

Vacuum systems, detectors, charged and neutral particle instruments, magnetic and electric field instruments, imagers (optical, UV, X-ray), instrument control and on-board data processing systems, spacecraft systems, data processing and analysis.


PHY 7703 Topics in Space Physics

3 hours credit. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

May be repeated for credit as topics vary. Topics may include the following:

  • Topic 1: Heliospheric Physics. The connection between the Sun and solar wind. Formation of transient events such as Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), co-rotating interaction regions, solar energetic particles, plasma waves, pickup ions and mass loading, anomalous cosmic rays, heliospheric boundaries and interaction with the local interstellar medium, energetic neutral atoms (ENAs).
  • Topic 2: Magnetospheric Physics. Earth's bow shock, magnetopause, magnetotail, plasma sheet, ring current and plasmasphere. Current systems, reconnection, magnetospheric storms and substorms, ionospheric interactions, aurora borealis. The geocorona and ENA emissions.
  • Topic 3: Ionospheric Physics. Structure and dynamics of the mesosphere-thermosphere-ionosphere system, including formation of the ionosphere, aeronomy, magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling and aurorae. Active and passive radio and optical experimental methods, and in situ diagnostics.
  • Topic 4: Planetary Science. Planets, planetary atmospheres, and planetary magnetospheres. Planetary formation, composition, dynamics, end evolution of the solar system. Comparative planetology, interplanetary dust, comets, asteroids, and Kuiper belt objects. Extra-solar planets, astrobiology, exobiology, and the search for life beyond Earth.


Advanced Electives - Other Courses

PHY 6133 Introduction to Scientific Writing

3 hours credit. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

Methods to overcome resistance to writing and approach to become productive scientific writers. Writing methods and techniques for manuscript, dissertation, thesis preparation. Fundamentals of funding proposal writing. Critical reading and reviewing.


PHY 6413 Fundamentals of Astronomy

3 hours credit. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

Photometry, stellar models, variable stars, white dwarfs, neutron stars, supernovae, cosmic rays, galaxies and galactic structure, and introduction to cosmology.


PHY 6613 Methods of Experimental Physics

3 hours credit. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

This course is aimed at training graduate students in the basic aspects of experimental physics, such as instrumentation, data acquisition, and statistical treatment of data and error analysis, introduction to modern equipment control and data acquisition with LabVIEW, equipment design, detectors and interfaces.


PHY 6953 Independent Study

3 hours credit. Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission in writing (form available) of the instructor and the student's Graduate Advisor of Record.

Independent reading, research, discussion, and/or writing under the direction of a faculty member. For students needing specialized work not normally or not often available as part of the regular course offerings. May be repeated for credit, but not more than 6 hours, regardless of discipline, will apply to the degree.


PHY 7903 Topics in Astrophysics

3 hours credit. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

May be repeated for credit as topics vary. Topics may include the following:

  • Topic 1: Stellar Astrophysics. Advanced discussion of one or more topics from: stellar structure, physics of accretion disks, physics of star formation and the interstellar medium, structure of collapsed stars and supernova remnants, radiative transport and photoionization.
  • Topic 2: Galactic and Extragalactic Astrophysics. Density wave theory and structure of spiral galaxies. Active galaxies, clusters of galaxies, large-scale structure.
  • Topic 3: Cosmology. Basics of general relativity. The cosmological principle and Friedmann models, thermal history of the universe, structure formation, the cosmic microwave background, baryonic structures formation, dark matter and dark energy, particle physics and the early universe, inflationary cosmology.
  • Topic 4: Astrobiology. Conditions necessary for life, extra-solar planets, discovery strategies and techniques for extrasolar planets and results to date. Basic stellar evolution and nucleosynthesis impacts on development of life on Earth.
  • Topic 5: Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics. Lagrangian, Eulerian, and smooth-particle formulations, rotation, vorticity, circulations, convection, magnetohydrodynamics, shocks, stellar rotation, photon fluid dynamics, relativistic fluids, mass transfer.


Research CRedits

PHY 7003 Directed Research

3 hours credit. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

The directed research course may involve either a laboratory or a theoretical problem. Normally a written report is required. This course may be repeated for credit, but not more than 6 hours will apply to the Master’s degree, or 18 hours toward the Doctoral degree.


PHY 7013 Research Seminar

3 hours credit. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

Formal presentations of research by outside authorities, as well as current research seminars presented by faculty, visiting lecturers, and Ph.D. candidates. The grade report for this course is either "CR" (satisfactory participation in the seminar) or "NC" (unsatisfactory participation in the seminar). This course may include a written component.


PHY 7103 Doctoral Research

3 hours credit. Prerequisites: Permission of the Graduate Advisor of Record and dissertation director.

Doctoral research and preparation in the chosen area of concentration. May be repeated for credit, but not more than 21 hours will apply to the Doctoral degree.


PHY 7113 Doctoral Dissertation

3 hours credit. Prerequisites: Permission of the Graduate Advisor of Record and dissertation director.

Preparation and writing of the Doctoral dissertation. May be repeated for credit, but not more than 12 hours will apply to the Doctoral degree.