### Course Recommendations by Research Specialty

**Astronomy and High-Energy Astrophysics**

The following courses are suggested for students interested in this research area. The recommendations are in addition to the departmental requirements for the various degrees.

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 also must participate in the AU (ASTR 500), 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

ASTR 570 Solar System Physics

ASTR 542 Nebular Astrophysics

ASTR 554 Astrophysics of the Sun

ASTR 555 Protostars and Planets

ASTR 565 Compact Objects

PHYS 580 Introduction to Plasma Physics

PHYS 521 Quantum Mechanics I

PHYS 561 General Relativity

Students who lack a strong foundation in thermodynamics and statistical physics should consider taking PHYS 425 (Statistical and Thermal Physics).

Other useful courses include PHYS 522 (Quantum Mechanics II), PHYS 532 (Classical Electrodynamics), PHYS 515 (Classical Dynamics) and PHYS 526 (Statistical Physics). A good course for observers and experimentalists is ASTR 450 (Experimental Space Science). 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**

The following courses are suggested for students interested in this research area. The recommendations are in addition to the departmental requirements for the various degrees.

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 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 516 Mathematical Methods

PHYS 517 Computational Physics

PHYS 537/538 Methods of Experimental Physics I and II

PHYS 563 Introduction to Solid State Physics I

PHYS 622 Quantum Field Theory

PHYS 664 Condensed Matter Theory: Many-Body Formalism

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

**Biophysics**

The following courses are suggested for students interested in this research area. The recommendations are in addition to the departmental requirements for the various degrees.

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 Introduction to Solid State Physics I

Other valuable courses are

PHYS 537/538 Methods of Experimental Physics I and II

PHYS 533/534 Nanostructure and Nanotechnology I and II

PHYS 551 Biological Physics

PHYS 552 Topics in Biological Physics

PHYS 610 Biological 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**

The following courses are suggested for students interested in this research area. The recommendations are in addition to the departmental requirements for the various degrees.

Condensed matter physics concerns systems with many degrees of freedom (e.g. metals) where many- body phenomena play an important role (e.g. superconductivity and 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.

All students pursuing research in CM or nanoscale physics must take the following courses:

PHYS 515 Classical Dynamics

PHYS 521 Quantum Mechanics I

PHYS 526 Statistical Physics

PHYS 532 Classical Electrodynamics

PHYS 563 Introduction to Solid State Physics I

Other valuable courses are

PHYS 533/534 Nanostructures and Nanotechnology I and II

PHYS 539 Characterization and Fabrication at the Nanoscale

PHYS 566 Surface Physics

PHYS 567 Quantum Materials

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.

**Nuclear and Particle Physics**

The following courses are suggested for students interested in this research area. The recommendations are in addition to the departmental requirements for the various degrees.

The courses required for research in nuclear and particle physics are:

PHYS 521 Quantum Mechanics I

PHYS 542 Introduction to Nuclear and Particle Physics

PHYS 543 Physics of Quarks and Leptons

Other valuable courses depending on student interests and focus are:

PHYS 516 Mathematical Methods

PHYS 517 Computational Physics

PHYS 526 Statistical Physics

PHYS 561 General Relativity

PHYS 522 Quantum Mechanics II

PHYS 622 Quantum Field Theory

ASTR 452 Galaxies and Cosmology.

**Space Plasma Physics**

The following courses are suggested for students interested in this research area. The recommendations are in addition to the departmental requirements for the various degrees.

Courses that are essential to space plasma physics:

ASTR 570 Solar System Physics

PHYS 580 Introduction to Plasma Physics

PHYS 532 Classical Electrodynamics

Additional courses that some 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 517 (Computational Physics) and may wish to take a course in numerical methods or programming from another department. Possibilities include CAAM 420 Computational Science I, and CAAM 520, Computational Science II.

Some advanced courses in space plasma physics are offered every two or three years. A graduate student specializing in space plasma physics will probably be advised to take some of these courses, depending on the situation.

PHYS 510 Magnetospheric Physics

PHYS 519 Plasma Kinetic Theory

ASTR 554 Astrophysics of the Sun