Course Requirements

A total of 24 semester hours of coursework is required, in addition to 6 semester hours of research. Course requirements for the M.S. in physics with astronomy specialization (with thesis) consist of 5 components:

  • Core Courses (12 semester hours)
  • Electives (6-9 semester hours)
  • Research Techniques (0-3 semester hours)
  • Seminars (3 semester hours)
  • Thesis Research – PH 599 (6 semester hours)

Advising Worksheet: A Graduate Student Advising Worksheet must be kept on file with the department office beginning the second semester of enrollment. The worksheet on file should be updated each subsequent semester, to keep current. Worksheets for each degree program and sub-area can be found on the Graduate Advising page.

Core Courses (12 Hours)

The four M.S. core courses consist of:

  • PH 501: Classical Dynamics
  • PH 531: Electromagnetic Theory
  • PH 541: Quantum Mechanics
  • AY 521: Theoretical Astrophysics OR AY 533: Observational Techniques

Electives (6-9 Hours)

Students must take at least 2 electives (6 semester hours). As many as 2 Ph.D. core courses (beyond the M.S. core) may be taken as electives. Electives should be chosen in consultation with and approved by the student’s advisor (if chosen) or a member of the Graduate Advising Committee. These electives, which must be at the graduate level, should be from the following departments: Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Biology, Geology, and departments within the College of Engineering. A maximum of 6 credit hours from outside the department can count for the M.S. degree.

Research Techniques (0-3 Hours)

Up to 3 semester hours of Research Techniques (PH 590), taken with the student’s chosen research advisor after the core courses are completed, can be counted toward the M.S. degree.

Seminar and Pass/Fail Electives (3 Hours)

For each semester in residence, full-time students are required to enroll for one hour of AY 597 (Astronomy Seminar), which are graded on a pass/fail basis. Up to 3 semester hours of seminars (AY 597) can be counted toward the M.S. degree. Thus, this requirement will typically be satisfied automatically. Note that no more than 3 semester hours of pass/fail coursework (AY 597, PH 598) can be counted toward the M.S. degree.

Thesis Research (6 Hours)

Students are required to earn at least 6 semester hours of thesis research (PH 599).

Research and Thesis

The general rules concerning research and the thesis that apply to the M.S. in physics also apply to the M.S. in physics with astronomy specialization.