MS with emphasis in Computational Physics and Astronomy

This degree is a subspecialty program for students with a background in physics, astronomy, computer science, mathematics, or engineering who wish to become familiar with computer-based approaches to problems in these fields. This degree is intended as a terminal MS that can be completed in two years. Minimum preparation expected includes a year's course in general physics, mathematics through differential equations, and a knowledge of python, FORTRAN, C++ or another programming language suited to scientific applications. Students pursuing this degree with an applied mathematics emphasis may wish to consider also earning a Graduate Certificate in Applied Mathematics.

Degree requirements

A total of at least 33 hours of credits including 30 hours of graduate credit is required for the degree. Courses numbered 500 or above count for graduate credit. Some of the courses listed below are undergraduate level EECS courses that do not count as graduate credit. Students entering the program may have satisfied several of these requirements but a total of 30 hours of graduate credit is still required. No more than the required six hours of PHSX 899 (Master's Research/Thesis) may be counted toward the degree.

  1. Within 12 months of entering the program the student must fulfill the requirements of the individualized plan of study for all graduate degrees to certify an undergraduate knowledge of Physics. Visit the Department's website for more information on these requirements and the process of certification.
  2. Required courses (24 credit hours):
    • PHSX/ASTR 815 Computational Physics and Astronomy (3)
    • PHSX 718 Mathematical Physics (3)
    • MATH/EECS 781 Numerical Analysis I or EECS 639 (Introduction to Scientific Computing) (3)
    • EECS - one course at the 300 level or above (in addition to MATH/EECS 781) (3) (Note: courses below the 500 level will not count towards the required 30 hours of graduate credit.)
    • EECS or MATH - one course at the 700 level or above in EECS or MATH (in addition to MATH/EECS 781 and the EECS 300+requirement) (3)
    • One additional PHSX/ASTR lecture course at the 500 level or above (3)
    • PHSX 899 Master's Research/Thesis (6)
  3. Nine (9) or more credits from at least three lecture or lab courses from the following list of courses: 
    (Note: No double counting: a course used to fulfill a requirement under 2. (e.g. EECS 448) may not also be counted under 3.) 

    * Courses below the 500 level do not count towards the required 30 hours of graduate credit. 

    • EECS 360 Signal and System Analysis (4) *
    • EECS 368 Programming Language Paradigms (3) *
    • EECS 388 Embedded Systems (4) *
    • EECS 448 Software Engineering I (4) *
    • EECS 560 Data Structures (4)
    • EECS 672 Introduction to Computer Graphics (3)
    • EECS 731 Introduction to Data Science (3)
    • EECS 738 Machine Learning (3)
    • EECS 739 Parallel Scientific Computing (3)
    • EECS 837 Data Mining (3)
    • EECS 868 Mathematical Optimization with Applications (3)
    • MATH 611 Fourier Analysis of Time Series (3)
    • MATH 647 Applied Partial Differential Equations (3)
    • MATH 650 Nonlinear Dynamical Systems (3) (can not be counted along with PHSX 721)
    • MATH 727 Probability Theory (3) or MATH 627 Probability (3)
    • MATH 728 Statistical Theory (3) or MATH 628 Mathematical Theory of Statistics (3)
    • MATH/EECS 782 Numerical Analysis II (3)
    • MATH 783 Applied Num. Methods for PDEs (3)
    • PHSX/ASTR Courses Numbered 500 and above
  4. All graduate students, after their first semester, will deliver at least one oral presentation per semester.
  5. An important component of this degree is the completion and documentation of a successful computer project. A thesis must be presented that describes the basic physics involved in the project, the method of implementing the project, and a discussion of the results. An oral defense of the thesis is required before a committee of at least three members of the graduate faculty.

An Example Schedule

(This schedule is meant only to illustrate one possible set of courses that would allow one to complete the degree in two years. Not all courses will necessarily always be offered in the semester indicated.)

  • FA Year 1
    • PHSX 718 (3)
    • MATH 781 (3)
    • EECS 731 (3)
  • SP Year 1
    • PHSX 815 (3)
    • EECS 388 (4)
    • EECS 738 (3)
  • FA Year 2
    • PHSX 711 (3)
    • MATH 727 (3)
    • PHSX 899 (3)
  • SP Year 2
    • PHSX 761 (3)
    • EECS 739 (3)
    • PHSX 899 (3)

Another Example Schedule

(This schedule is meant only to illustrate one possible set of courses that would allow one to complete the degree in two years. Not all courses will necessarily always be offered in the semester indicated.)

  • FA Year 1
    • PHSX 718 (3)
    • MATH 781 (3)
    • EECS 448 (4)
  • SP Year 1
    • PHSX 815 (3)
    • EECS 560 (4)
    • MATH 647 (3)
  • FA Year 2
    • ASTR 691 (3)
    • MATH 783 (3)
    • PHSX 899 (3)
  • SP Year 2
    • PHSX 795 (3)
    • EECS 739 (3)
    • PHSX 899 (3)

Please see the University's policy on time limits.


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