Graduate study and research leading to the Master of Arts, Master of Science, and the Doctor of Philosophy degrees are offered in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. The research activities of the department are broad and currently include nuclear and particle physics, condensed matter and surface physics, acoustics, biophysics and astrophysics. Both experimental and theoretical studies are in progress in these areas. Interdisciplinary and inter-departmental programs of study are also possible.
Expected Student Preparation
Students entering these degree programs are normally expected to have successfully concluded undergraduate work in mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics, and should also possess a working knowledge of mathematics including calculus, ordinary differential equations, Fourier series, vector analysis, and the elements of partial differential equations. It is recommended that applicants take the Graduate Record Examination, including the advanced test for physics. Deficiencies of undergraduate preparation should not deter a prospective student with an otherwise good record, as these may be made up during the first year of graduate study.
Participation in the weekly colloquium, PHYS 891, is required of all graduate students. Participation in one of the area-specific seminar series and in special topics course offerings is encouraged.
Requirements for the M.S. and M.A. Degree
The M.S. degree can be earned by submission of a research thesis with an oral examination and at least 20 credit hours of graduate level lecture or laboratory courses in physics and astronomy. It can also be obtained under a nonthesis option which requires satisfactory completion of a faculty-approved project (of two to six credits), and must include a core set of courses consisting of one quarter of Classical Mechanics (605), two quarters of Electrodynamics (607 and 608), two quarters of Quantum Mechanics (611 and 612), one quarter of Mathematical Methods (615), and one quarter of Statistical Mechanics (512), or their equivalents. The M.A. is an option reserved for special cases and usually involves substantial work in other fields. Candidates must follow an approved program filed with the Departmental Graduate Committee and submit a scholarly paper based on these studies for approval by at least two readers. For either the M.A. or M.S. degree, a candidate is required to earn at least 45 graduate credits in physics, astronomy, and approved electives.