** **

**Astronomy and High-Energy Astrophysics**A wide variety of research topics are available within these
two groups. Hence, the best courses for each student will vary on a case
by case basis, taking into account the background of the student and
the recommendations of the adviser. In many astronomy departments it is
not unusual for students to take as many as 12 graduate courses in
physics and astronomy.

**Core courses required for all research in astrophysics are** ASTR 451 Sun and Stars and

ASTR 452 Galaxies and Cosmology.

**Most research projects require** PHYS 541 Radiative Processes.

Students must participate in the AU, a weekly astronomy seminar given by faculty, students, and outside speakers in order to gain experience presenting talks.

**In addition, students typically take several of the following**

PHYS 521 Quantum Mechanics I

ASTR 542 Nebular Astrophysics

ASTR 555 Protostars and Planets

ASTR 565 Compact Objects

PHYS 580 Introduction to Plasmas

PHYS 561 General Relativity

ASTR 600 Special Topics

ASTR 570 Solar System Physics.

**Other useful courses include** PHYS
522 (Quantum Mechanics II), PHYS 526 (Statistical Physics), PHYS 532
(E&M), and PHYS 515 (Classical Dynamics) for theorists. Useful courses for observers
and experimentalists include ASTR 450
(Experimental Space Science) and ASTR 554 (Astrophysics of the Sun).
Students who want to specialize in numerical simulations will probably
want to take PHYS 516 (Mathematical Methods) and advanced computation
courses in the Computational and Applied Mathematics Department.

** **

**Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) Physics**

AMO physics studies simple systems that reveal the behavior of matter and light at a fundamental level. While the phenomena can be complex, physical intuition stems from a strong grounding in the classical areas. Further study introduces students to the terminology, concepts, and techniques of the field. The department currently only has experimental AMO research groups, so a strong emphasis is placed on practical learning.

**The core courses required for research in AMO physics are** PHYS 521 Quantum Mechanics I

PHYS 526 Statistical Physics

PHYS 532 Classical Electrodynamics

PHYS 515 Classical Dynamics

**Students also typically take** PHYS 522 Quantum Mechanics II

PHYS 571 Modern Atomic Physics

PHYS 572 Fundamentals of Quantum Optics

**Other valuable courses are**

PHYS 537/538 Methods of Experimental Physics I and II

PHYS 516 Mathematical Methods

PHYS 600 Advanced Topics in Physics: Cold Atoms in Atomic Physics

CHEM 630 Molecular Spectroscopy and Group Theory

During the first year, interested students are encouraged to discuss course selection with professors doing research in AMO physics.

**Biophysics**

Biophysicists study the physical principles underlying the complex processes of living systems at all levels.Experimental and theoretical approaches to biophysical research require a strong background in fundamental physics.Due to the highly multidisciplinary nature of biophysics, additional coursework is determined by the area of specialization.Current research in the department focuses on molecular biophysics.

**The core courses required for Biophysics are** PHYS 521 Quantum Mechanics I

PHYS 526 Statistical Physics

PHYS 532 Classical Electrodynamics

PHYS 515 Classical Dynamics

**Students also typically take** PHYS 522 Quantum Mechanics II

PHYS 563 Solid State I

**Other valuable courses are** PHYS 537/538 Methods of Experimental Physics I and II

PHYS 533/534 Nanostructures and Nanotechnology I and II

PHYS 600 Advanced Topics in Physics: Molecular Biophysics

PHYS 610 Bilogical and Molecular Simulation

During the first year, interested students are encouraged to discuss course selection with professors doing research in Biophysics.

**Condensed Matter and Nanoscale Physics**

Condensed matter physics concerns systems with many degrees of freedom (e.g. metals) where many-body phenomena play an important role (e.g. superconductivity, magnetism).Nanoscale physics examines the evolution of these properties as the system size approaches the atomic scale. Graduate level proficiency in the fundamental concepts is an essential prerequisite, while further coursework focuses on specific phenomena and techniques of the field.The department sponsors both theoretical and experimental research in these areas.

**The core courses required for research in CM and nanoscale physics are** PHYS 521 Quantum Mechanics I

PHYS 526 Statistical Physics

PHYS 532 Classical Electrodynamics

PHYS 515 Classical Dynamics

**Most students also take** PHYS 563 Solid State I

PHYS 564 Solid State II

**Courses with an emphasis on theory include** PHYS 663 Condensed Matter Theory:Applications

PHYS 664 Condensed Matter Theory:Many-body Formalism

**Other valuable courses are** PHYS 533/534 Nanostructures and Nanotechnology I and II

PHYS 539 Characterization and Fabrication at the nm Scale

PHYS 566 Surface Physics

PHYS 600 Advanced Topics in Physics: Nanoscale Science and Technology

PHYS 516 Mathematical Methods

PHYS 537/538 Methods of Experimental Physics I and II

During the first year, interested students are
encouraged to discuss course selection with professors doing research in
CM and nanoscale physics.

**Particle Physics**

**The basic courses required for research in particle physics are:** PHYS 521 Quantum Mechanics I

PHYS 522 Quantum Mechanics II

PHYS 532 Classical Electrodynamics

PHYS 542 Introduction to Elementary Particle Physics

PHYS 543 Quarks and Leptons

**and one of** PHYS 515 Classical Dynamics

PHYS 516 Mathematical Methods

**Depending on their interests, most students are also advised to take some of the following:** PHYS 526 Statistical Physics

PHYS 544 Special Topics in Nuclear and Particle Physics

PHYS 561 General Relativity

PHYS 622 Quantum Field Theory

**Space Physics**

**Courses from the basic group that are essential to space plasma physics**:

ASTR 570 Solar System Physics

PHYS 580 Introduction to Plasma Physics

PHYS 532 Classical Electrodynamics

**Additional courses from the basic group that most space physics faculty advise their students to take:**

ASTR 451 Sun and Stars

PHYS 521 Quantum Mechanics I

**Relevant Math Courses:**PHYS 516 (Mathematical Methods) deals mostly with the classic
theoretical methods of physics and is recommended for people who wish to
use a lot of analytic theory in their research or who need some
brushing up in that type of work. People who wish to do computer
simulations in their research should take PHYS 416 (Computational
Physics) and may wish to take a course in numerical methods or
programming from another department. Possibilities include CAAM 420
(High-level languages), CAAM 421 (Vector and parallel computing), MECH
525 (Parallel computing), and MECH 676 (Finite difference methods).

PHYS 510 Magnetospheric Physics

PHYS 512 Ionospheric Physics

PHYS 519 Plasma Kinetic Theory

PHYS 520 Nonlinear Plasma Dynamics

ASTR 554 Astrophysics of the Sun