Typical Course of Graduate Study

The department offers a variety of courses as well as the opportunity for independent study and research. For a complete list of graduate courses, together with their descriptions, please consult the Arts & Sciences Graduate Catalog.

A faculty adviser helps each student select courses which are most suited to his or her interest and preparation. The program typically followed for the first two years of the graduate program is

1st Year

2nd Year

Fall

Fall

601 Classical Mechanics

611 Classical Electricity and Magnetism

603 Mathematical Physics

721 Field Theory & Relativistic Quantum Mechanics

621 Quantum Mechanics

650 Colloquium

650 Colloquium

695 Research or 651 Teaching Physics

651 Teaching Physics

Elective

Spring

Spring

610 Classical Electricity and Magnetism

800 DISSERTATION

630 Statistical Physics and Thermodynamics

Elective

622 Quantum Mechanics

Elective

650 Colloquium

 

652 Teaching Physics

 

Electives: At least one inside and at least one outside field of study.

Regularly taught elective courses include:

  • Nuclear and Particle Physics: 771, 772, 773, 774
  • Solid State Physics: 741, 742
  • Plasma Physics: 783, 784
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics: 761, 762
  • Advanced Mathematical Physics: 702
  • General Relativity and Cosmology: 786
  • Quantum Field Theory: 722
  • Quantum Optics:
    Also Computer Science, Applied Science or Mathematics courses.
    

On the basis of their previous experience or individual reading, some students omit one or more of these courses and go directly into advanced work. A few students with incomplete preparation, but otherwise promising records, begin their program with some advanced undergraduate courses. To broaden their experience, all students are advised to take at least two elective courses in an area of physics other than the one in which their dissertation research is performed.

Recent examples of other special topics courses (taught as needed)
  • Accelerator Physics and Beam Dynamics
  • Advanced Classical Mechanics & Catastrophe Theory
  • Chaotic Dynamics
  • Electron Scattering at Medium and High Energies: Theory and Experiment
  • The Fundamentals of Superconducting Cavities
  • Introduction to Gauge Theories
  • Modern Optics and Lasers
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
  • Optical Spectroscopy and Lasers
  • The Theory of Neoclassical Transport Processes in Plasmas
  • Tokamak Plasma Stability

There is a weekly general colloquium noted in our Events calendar. The speakers are visitors from other institutions and include distinguished physicists in a variety of fields. Numerous specialized seminars are also organized by the research groups of the department. Through listening to research presentations, reading journals, and talking to members of the department, students should choose a research area as rapidly as possible. It is very useful to start immediately to spend a few hours per week with one of the research groups, if only to develop one's interests. By the summer following the first academic year, each student should make at least a tentative choice of specialization and begin conducting research.