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Curriculum

Introduction

A principal concept guiding composition of the curriculum is to provide the highest quality core graduate physics offerings in a sequence which provides for optimum training and growth of the physics graduate students.

This document is concerned with the core and normally-offered advanced courses within the graduate Physics curriculum, those being 6**, 7** and 8** level courses. It should be understood that periodically minor modifications to the existing curriculum are necessary due to:

  • the addition of new courses reflecting changing composition of the faculty and their interests;
  • elimination of specialized courses which are not applicable to current departmental research interests;
  • regularizing the schedule of offerings of required and high-demand specialty courses.

Ideally, a well-prepared entering graduate student should be able to acquire the necessary knowledge and analytical skills, within the first full year of the curriculum, to pass the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination at the beginning of their second full year of graduate study. However, it is recognized that, for many of our entering graduate students, the reality of their training does not correspond to the ideal. In those cases, a year of full-time course work at the 5** level may be required prior to commencement of the main graduate level curriculum.

Training of graduate students in physics is roughly divided into two parts: advanced course work in physics and mathematics, and an extended apprenticeship in experimental or theoretical physics.

Current Course Requirements

At present, the course requirements for the Ph.D. in Physics and Applied Physics involve courses in four categories:

  • required core courses
  • applied physics courses
  • a mathematical physics course
  • graduate applied physics seminar

Except for the one-credit applied physics seminar, all courses are three credit offerings. The core courses are:

Physics 603 Classical Mechanics
Physics 604 Electromagnetic Theory I
Physics 621 Quantum Mechanics I
Physics 704/804 Electromagnetic Theory II
Physics 707/807 Statistical Mechanics
Physics 721/821 Quantum Mechanics II
Physics 711/811 Computational Physics

In addition to these core courses, students are required to take one graduate laboratory course, normally the Applied Physics Laboratory (Physics 708/808), and six hours of courses related to their area of research specialization. All of the specialty courses are listed in the university catalog. A few of the most commonly selected (and offered) courses are listed below.

Physics 722/822 Nuclear Physics
Physics 723/823 Introduction to Particle Physics
Physics 724/824 Solid State Physics 1
Physics 727/827 Atomic Physics
Physics 841 Many-Body Physics
Physics 842 Advanced Quantum Mechanics
Physics 843 Field Theory

The mathematics requirement is three hours. The Physics Department courses in this area are:

Physics 601 Mathematical Methods of Physics I
Physics 701/801 Mathetmatical Methods of Physics II

The graduate seminar, which is part of the physics and applied physics program, consists of Physics 697, 731/831 - 732/832. This one credit course must be taken three times by all students. For students who have presented a research paper at a national or international conference, the course is normally taken only twice (in the fall, during each of the first two years of graduate study). The requirement of the third year may be waived upon justified written request of the Graduate Committee. Note that only one waiver for this purpose is granted, no matter how many talks have been presented

An Applied Physics endorsement requires in addition six hours. chosen from the following:

Physics 708/808 Applied Physics Laboratory I
Physics 709/809 Applied Physics Laboratory II
Physics 712/812 Applied Physics

Note: The following courses may not be applied toward degree credit for the M.S. in Physics or the Ph.D. in Physics or Applied Physics:

Physics 505 The Planetarium
Physics 506 Observational Astronomy
Physics 508 Astronomy for Teachers
Physics 639-640 Honors Workshop in the Physical Sciences
Physics 641-642 Contemporary Physics
Physics 739-740 Advanced Workshop in the Physical Sciences
Physics 741-742 Physical Science for Elementary Teachers