The department currently admits graduate students to two degree programs:
The Ph.D. in Physics and the Master's of
Science in Physics with emphasis on Teaching.
Students in the Ph.D. Program select between the astronomy-track and the
physics-track, depending on their interests.
Ph.D. in Physics (with astronomy emphasis)
BACKGROUND. Incoming students should have a strong undergraduate
preparation in physics and mathematics. A demonstrated interest in astronomy
or physics is also essential. The program is designed for students who
wish to pursue research careers or University teaching
careers in astronomy or physics. The program emphasizes
problem solving, data processing, computational, and
hardware instrumentation skills
relevant to cutting-edge scientific research.
PROGRAM. During the first two years, students normally
take physics & astronomy courses while working with faculty members
on one or more research projects. Students participate
in our weekly research seminars and journal clubs to learn about a broad
range of current research. By the third year, Ph.D.
students begin research work in the area of their thesis.
Formal course work consists of a core of 4 physics courses
and 6-7 elective courses. Astronomy-track students will take the
Phyiscs core plus 5 or more courses from the astronomy core.
Physics-track students take the physics core plus 5 or more physics
Phyiscs Core Courses
- Methods of Theoretical Physics I & II
- Classical Electrodynamics
- Statistical Phyiscs
Astronomy Core Courses
- Galaxies and Cosmology
- Radiative Processes and Stellar Atmospheres
- Astronomical Techniques
- Interstellar Matter and the Milky Way
- Stellar Structure and Evolution
- Planetary Astronomy
- Special Topics in Astrophysics
For the Ph.D., students are required to complete at least 42 regular
course credits plus 30 thesis registration credits.
For a full description of requirements and courses available,
please see the
Physics & Astronomy Graduate Student Handbook
EXAMINATIONS. Ph.D. candidates demonstrate their competency
in basic undergraduate physics and in graduate astrophysics through a
written examination during the winter of their second year. At the
beginning of the third year, students take an oral examination based on
a research project they have completed during the first two years. At
the completion of the Ph.D. Dissertation, candidate makes a public
presentation of his or her work and the thesis committee conducts a
final examination to award the degree. A final oral exam is also held
for the M.S. degree.
FINANCIAL AID. The Physics & Astronomy Department commits to
providing first and second-year students with Teaching Assistantships
for the 9-month academic year. More advanced students are generally
supported on federal grants or fellowships, but may continue as
Teaching Assistants as long as they are making satisfactory progress
through the program. The minimum monthly stipend for
graduate assistantships (both Teaching and Research)
currently is $1556/mo ($14,004 for a 9 month appointment, or $18,672 for a
calendar year). Both
Teaching and Research Assistantships carry a full tuition waiver.
Masters of Science in Physics with Emphasis on Teaching
The Master of Science in Physics with emphasis in Teaching is designed
for graduate students preparing to teach in private secondary schools
or in community colleges. It includes a small, carefully designed
component in psychology and education, and includes 1 and one-half
years experience as a teaching assistant.
This program requires a thesis project, but the
project is based on experience in the classroom.
The requirements include 8 hours of physics credit at 5000 level,
16 additional hours selected from Astronomy, Physics, Psychology,
or Education, and an original research project.
in this program should contact the current advisor,