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Honoring the Historic Contributions of Mayer Hall to the Field of Physics
Physicists receive $12.6m from department of energy to continue exploring next-generation computing, honoring a uc san diego landmark and its lasting impact on physics.
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All courses, faculty listings, and curricular and degree requirements described herein are subject to change or deletion without notice.
For course descriptions not found in the UC San Diego General Catalog 2022–23 , please contact the department for more information.
Note: The Department of Physics will endeavor to offer as many of the courses listed below as possible; however, not all courses are offered every quarter, every year, or on a regular basis. Courses required for the major may be scheduled on the same day and/or same time. Students are strongly advised to check the Schedule of Classes or http://physics.ucsd.edu for the most up-to-date information. This is of particular importance in planning schedules to meet minimum graduation requirements in a timely fashion.
Prerequisites and department policies and protocols for enrollment are strictly enforced in all courses offered by the Department of Physics. Please visit http://physics.ucsd.edu for the most up-to-date information.
The PHYS 1 sequence is calculus based and is primarily intended for biology.
The PHYS 2 sequence is calculus based and is intended for physical science majors and engineering majors and those biological science majors with strong mathematical aptitude as it uses advanced calculus.
The PHYS 4 sequence is calculus based and provides a solid foundation for the core upper-division physics program. The PHYS 4 sequence is required for all physics majors, capped applicants, and students pursuing enrollment in core upper-division physics (i.e., courses in the PHYS 100, 105, 110, 120, 130, and 140 series).
PHYS 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 are intended for nonscience majors and can each be taken for credit in any order. PHYS 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, and 13 do not use calculus while PHYS 11 uses some calculus.
PHYS 1A. Mechanics (3)
First quarter of a three-quarter introductory physics course, geared toward life-science majors. Equilibrium and motion of particles in one and two dimensions in the framework of Newtonian mechanics, force laws (including gravity), energy, momentum, rotational motion, conservation laws, and fluids. Examples will be drawn from astronomy, biology, sports, and current events. PHYS 1A and 1AL are designed to be taken concurrently but may be taken in separate terms; taking the lecture before the lab is the best alternative to enrolling in both. Students continuing to PHYS 1B/1BL will also need MATH 10B or 20B. Prerequisites: MATH 10A or 20A. Recommended preparation: concurrent or prior enrollment in MATH 10B or 20B.
PHYS 1AL. Mechanics Laboratory (2)
Physics laboratory course to accompany PHYS 1A. Experiments in Mechanics. PHYS 1A and 1AL are designed to be taken concurrently but may be taken in separate terms; taking the lecture before the lab is the best alternative to enrolling in both. Students continuing to PHYS 1B/1BL will also need MATH 10B or 20B. Prerequisites: MATH 10A or 20A. Recommended preparation: concurrent or prior enrollment in PHYS 1A and MATH 10B or 20B.
PHYS 1B. Electricity and Magnetism (3)
Second quarter of a three-quarter introductory physics course geared toward life-science majors. Electric fields, magnetic fields, DC and AC circuitry. PHYS 1B and 1BL are designed to be taken concurrently but may be taken in separate terms; taking the lecture before the lab is the best alternative to enrolling in both. Prerequisites: PHYS 1A or 2A, and MATH 10B or 20B.
PHYS 1BL. Electricity and Magnetism Laboratory (2)
Physics laboratory course to accompany PHYS 1B. Experiments in electricity and magnetism. Program or materials fee may apply. PHYS 1B and 1BL are designed to be taken concurrently but may be taken in separate terms; taking the lecture before the lab is the best alternative to enrolling in both. Prerequisites: PHYS 1A or 2A, 1AL or 2BL, and MATH 10B or 20B. Recommended preparation: concurrent or prior enrollment in PHYS 1B.
PHYS 1C. Waves, Optics, and Modern Physics (3)
Third quarter of a three-quarter introductory physics course geared toward life-science majors. The physics of oscillations and waves, vibrating strings and sound, and the interaction of light with matter as illustrated through optics and quantum mechanics. Examples from biology, sports, medicine, and current events. PHYS 1C and 1CL are designed to be taken concurrently but may be taken in separate terms; taking the lecture before the lab is the best alternative to enrolling in both. Prerequisites: PHYS 1B or 2B, and MATH 10B or 20B.
PHYS 1CL. Waves, Optics, and Modern Physics Laboratory (2)
Physics laboratory course to accompany PHYS 1C. Experiments in waves, optics, and modern physics. Program or materials fee may apply. PHYS 1C and 1CL are designed to be taken concurrently but may be taken in separate terms; taking the lecture before the lab is the best alternative to enrolling in both. Prerequisites: PHYS 1B or 2B, 1BL or 2CL, and MATH 10B or 20B. Recommended preparation: concurrent or prior enrollment in PHYS 1C.
PHYS 2A. Physics—Mechanics (4)
A calculus-based science-engineering general physics course covering vectors, motion in one and two dimensions, Newton’s first and second laws, work and energy, conservation of energy, linear momentum, collisions, rotational kinematics, rotational dynamics, equilibrium of rigid bodies, oscillations, gravitation. Students continuing to PHYS 2B/4B will also need MATH 20B. Students will not receive credit for both PHYS 2A and PHYS 2AR. Prerequisites: MATH 10A-B or 20A or 20B or 20C or 31BH. Recommended preparation: prior or concurrent enrollment in MATH 20B.
PHYS 2AR. Physics—Mechanics (distance education) (4)
A calculus-based science-engineering general physics course covering vectors, motion in one and two dimensions, Newton’s first and second laws, work and energy, conservation of energy, linear momentum, collisions, rotational kinematics, rotational dynamics, equilibrium of rigid bodies, oscillations, gravitation. This course is a distance education course. Students continuing to PHYS 2B/4B will also need MATH 20B. Students will not receive credit for both PHYS 2AR and PHYS 2A. Prerequisites: MATH 10A-B or 20A or 20B or 20C or 31BH. Recommended preparation: prior or concurrent enrollment in MATH 20B.
PHYS 2B. Physics—Electricity and Magnetism (4)
Continuation of PHYS 2A covering charge and matter, the electric field, Gauss’s law, electric potential, capacitors and dielectrics, current and resistance, electromotive force and circuits, the magnetic field, Ampere’s law, Faraday’s law, inductance, electromagnetic oscillations, alternating currents and Maxwell’s equations. Students continuing to PHYS 2C will also need MATH 20C or 31BH. Prerequisites: PHYS 2A or 4A and MATH 20B or 20C or 31BH. Recommended preparation: prior or concurrent enrollment in MATH 20C or 31BH.
PHYS 2BL. Physics Laboratory—Mechanics (2)
Experiments include gravitational force, linear and rotational motion, conservation of energy and momentum, collisions, oscillations and springs, gyroscopes. Data reduction and error analysis are required for written laboratory reports. One hour lecture and three hours laboratory. Prerequisites: PHYS 2A or 4A. Recommended preparation: prior or concurrent enrollment in PHYS 2B or 4C.
PHYS 2C. Physics—Fluids, Waves, Thermodynamics, and Optics (4)
Continuation of PHYS 2B covering fluid mechanics, waves in elastic media, sound waves, temperature, heat and the first law of thermodynamics, kinetic theory of gases, entropy and the second law of thermodynamics, Maxwell’s equations, electromagnetic waves, geometric optics, interference and diffraction. Students continuing to PHYS 2D will need MATH 20D. Prerequisites: PHYS 2A or 4A, and MATH 20C or 31BH. Recommended preparation: prior or concurrent enrollment in MATH 20D. Prior completion of PHYS 2B is strongly recommended.
PHYS 2CL. Physics Laboratory—Electricity and Magnetism (2)
Experiments on L-R-C circuits; oscillations, resonance and damping, measurement of magnetic fields. One hour lecture and three hours laboratory. Program or materials fee may apply. Prerequisites: PHYS 2A or 4A, and 2B or 4C. Recommended preparation: prior or concurrent enrollment in PHYS 2C or 4D.
PHYS 2D. Physics—Relativity and Quantum Physics (4)
A modern physics course covering atomic view of matter, electricity and radiation, atomic models of Rutherford and Bohr, relativity, X-rays, wave and particle duality, matter waves, Schrödinger’s equation, atomic view of solids, natural radioactivity. Prerequisites: PHYS 2A or 4A, 2B, and MATH 20D. Recommended preparation: prior or concurrent enrollment in MATH 20E.
PHYS 2DL. Physics Laboratory—Modern Physics (2)
Experiments to be chosen from refraction, diffraction and interference of microwaves, Hall effect, thermal band gap, optical spectra, coherence of light, photoelectric effect, e/m ratio of particles, radioactive decays, and plasma physics. One hour lecture and three hours laboratory. Program or materials fees may apply. Prerequisites: PHYS 2BL or 2CL . Recommended preparation: prior or concurrent enrollment in PHYS 2D or 4E.
PHYS 4A. Physics for Physics Majors—Mechanics (4)
The first quarter of a five-quarter calculus-based physics sequence for physics majors and students with a serious interest in physics. The topics covered are vectors, particle kinematics and dynamics, work and energy, conservation of energy, conservation of momentum, collisions, rotational kinematics and dynamics, equilibrium of rigid bodies. Prerequisites: MATH 20A. Recommended preparation: prior or concurrent enrollment in MATH 20B and a knowledge of vectors.
PHYS 4B. Physics for Physics Majors—Fluids, Waves, Statistical and Thermal Physics (4)
Continuation of PHYS 4A covering forced and damped oscillations, fluid statics and dynamics, waves in elastic media, sound waves, heat and the first law of thermodynamics, kinetic theory of gases, Brownian motion, Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, second law of thermodynamics. Students continuing to PHYS 4C will also need MATH 18 or 20F or 31AH. Prerequisites: PHYS 4A and MATH 20A-B. Recommended preparation: prior or concurrent enrollment in MATH 20C or 31BH.
PHYS 4C. Physics for Physics Majors—Electricity and Magnetism (4)
Continuation of PHYS 4B covering charge and Coulomb’s law, electric field, Gauss’s law, electric potential, capacitors and dielectrics, current and resistance, magnetic field, Ampere’s law, Faraday’s law, inductance, AC circuits. Prerequisites: PHYS 4A-B, MATH 20A-B-C or 31BH, and 18 or 20F or 31AH. Recommended preparation: prior or concurrent enrollment in MATH 20E or 31CH.
PHYS 4D. Physics for Physics Majors—Electromagnetic Waves, Special Relativity and Optics (4)
Continuation of PHYS 4C covering electric and magnetic fields in matter, Maxwell’s equations and electromagnetic waves, special relativity and its applications to electromagnetism, optics, interference, diffraction. Prerequisites: PHYS 4A-B-C, MATH 20A-B-C or 31BH, 20E or 31CH, and 18 or 20F or 31AH. Recommended preparation: prior or concurrent enrollment in MATH 20D.
PHYS 4E. Physics for Physics Majors—Quantum Physics (4)
Continuation of PHYS 4D covering experimental basis of quantum mechanics: Schrodinger equation and simple applications; spin; identical particles, Fermi and Bose distributions, density matrix, pure and mixed states, entangled states and EPR. Prerequisites: PHYS 4A-B-C-D, MATH 20A-B-C or 31BH, 20D, 20E or 31CH, and 18 or 20F or 31AH.
PHYS 5. Stars and Black Holes (4)
An introduction to the evolution of stars, including their birth and death. Topics include constellations, the atom and light, telescopes, stellar birth, stellar evolution, white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes, and general relativity. This course uses basic algebra, proportion, radians, logs, and powers. PHYS 5, 7, 9, and 13 form a four-quarter sequence and can be taken individually in any order.
PHYS 7. Galaxies and Cosmology (4)
An introduction to galaxies and cosmology. Topics include the Milky Way, galaxy types and distances, dark matter, large scale structure, the expansion of the Universe, dark energy, and the early Universe. This course uses basic algebra, proportion, radians, logs and powers. PHYS 5, 7, 9, and 13 form a four-quarter sequence and can be taken individually in any order.
PHYS 8. Physics of Everyday Life (4)
Examines phenomena and technology encountered in daily life from a physics perspective. Topics include waves, musical instruments, telecommunication, sports, appliances, transportation, computers, and energy sources. Physics concepts will be introduced and discussed as needed employing some algebra. No prior physics knowledge is required.
PHYS 9. The Solar System (4)
An exploration of our solar system. Topics include the Sun, terrestrial and giant planets, satellites, asteroids, comets, dwarf planets and the Kuiper Belt, exoplanets, and the formation of planetary systems. This course uses basic algebra, proportion, radians, logs and powers. PHYS 5, 7, 9, and 13 form a four-quarter sequence and can be taken individually in any order.
PHYS 10. Concepts in Physics (4)
This is a one-quarter general physics course for nonscience majors. Topics covered are motion, energy, heat, waves, electric current, radiation, light, atoms and molecules, nuclear fission and fusion. This course emphasizes concepts with minimal mathematical formulation. Recommended preparation: college algebra.
PHYS 11. Survey of Physics (4)
Survey of physics for nonscience majors with strong mathematical background, including calculus. PHYS 11 describes the laws of motion, gravity, energy, momentum, and relativity. A laboratory component consists of two experiments with gravity and conservation principles. Prerequisites: MATH 10A or 20A. Corequisites: MATH 10B or 20B.
PHYS 12. Energy and the Environment (4)
A course covering energy fundamentals, energy use in an industrial society and the impact of large-scale energy consumption. It addresses topics on fossil fuel, heat engines, solar energy, nuclear energy, energy conservation, transportation, air pollution and global effects. Concepts and quantitative analysis.
PHYS 13. Life in the Universe (4)
An exploration of life in the Universe. Topics include defining life; the origin, development, and fundamental characteristics of life on Earth; searches for life elsewhere in the solar system and other planetary systems; space exploration; and identifying extraterrestrial intelligence. This course uses basic algebra, proportion, radians, logs, and powers. PHYS 5, 7, 9, and 13 form a four-quarter sequence and can be taken individually in any order.
PHYS 30. Poetry for Physicists (4)
Physicists have spoken of the beauty of equations. The poet John Keats wrote, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty...” What did they mean? Students will consider such questions while reading relevant essays and poems. Requirements include one creative exercise or presentation. Cross-listed with LTEN 30. Students cannot earn credit for both PHYS 30 and LTEN 30. Prerequisites: CAT 2 or DOC 2 or HUM 1 or MCWP 40 or MMW 12 or WARR 11A or WCWP 10A and CAT 3 or DOC 3 or HUM 2 or MCWP 50 or MMW 13 or WARR 11B or WCWP 10B.
PHYS 39. Physics Introductory Special Topics (1–5)
From time to time a member of the regular faculty or a resident visitor will give a self-contained course on an introductory topic in their special area of research or help students prepare to succeed in the physics major. Open to major codes PY26, PY28, PY29, PY30, PY31, PY32, PY33, and PY34 only. May be repeated up to six times, provided the same topic is not repeated.
PHYS 39L. Physics Introductory Special Topics Lab (1–5)
From time to time a member of the regular faculty or a resident visitor will offer a freshman-sophomore-level experimental lab in their special area of research. Open to major codes PY26, PY28, PY29, PY30, PY31, PY32, PY33, and PY34 only. May be repeated up to six times, provided the same topic is not repeated.
PHYS 87. First-year Seminar (1)
The First-year Seminar Program is designed to provide new students with the opportunity to explore an intellectual topic with a faculty member in a small seminar setting. First-year seminars can be offered in all campus departments and undergraduate colleges, and topics vary from quarter to quarter. Students may complete up to four first-year seminars with the stipulation that none of the seminars are repeated.
PHYS 98. Directed Group Study (2)
Directed group study on a topic, or in a field not included in the regular departmental curriculum. P/NP grades only.
PHYS 99. Independent Study (2)
Independent reading or research on a topic by special arrangement with a faculty member. P/NP grading only. Prerequisites: lower-division standing. Completion of thirty units at UC San Diego undergraduate study, a minimum UC San Diego GPA of 3.0, and a completed and approved Special Studies form. Department stamp required.
PHYS 100A. Electromagnetism I (4)
Coulomb’s law, electric fields, electrostatics; conductors and dielectrics; steady currents, elements of circuit theory. Prerequisites: PHYS 4A-B-C-D; MATH 20A, 20B, 20C or 31BH, 20D, 20E or 31CH, and 18 or 20F or 31AH. Open to major codes PY26, PY28, PY29, PY30, PY31, PY32, PY33, and PY34 only.
PHYS 100B. Electromagnetism II (4)
Magnetic fields and magnetostatics, magnetic materials, induction, AC circuits, displacement currents; development of Maxwell’s equations. Prerequisites: PHYS 100A, MATH 20A, 20B, 20C or 31BH, 20D, 20E or 31CH, and 18 or 20F or 31AH. Open to major codes PY26, PY28, PY29, PY30, PY31, PY32, PY33, and PY34 only.
PHYS 100C. Electromagnetism III (4)
Electromagnetic waves, radiation theory; application to optics; motion of charged particles in electromagnetic fields; relation of electromagnetism to relativistic concepts. Prerequisites: PHYS 100B. Open to major codes PY26, PY28, PY29, PY30, PY31, PY32, PY33, and PY34 only.
PHYS 105A. Mathematical and Computational Physics I (4)
A combined analytic and mathematically based numerical approach to the solution of common applied mathematics problems in physics and engineering. Topics: Fourier series and integrals, special functions, initial and boundary value problems, Green’s functions; heat, Laplace and wave equations. Prerequisites: PHYS 4B-C-D-E, MATH 20A-B-C or 31BH, 20D, 20E or 31CH, and 18 or 20F or 31AH. Open to major codes PY26, PY28, PY29, PY30, PY31, PY32, PY33, and PY34 only.
PHYS 105B. Mathematical and Computational Physics II (4)
A continuation of PHYS 105A covering selected advanced topics in applied mathematical and numerical methods. Topics include statistics, diffusion and Monte-Carlo simulations; Laplace equation and numerical methods for nonseparable geometries; waves in inhomogeneous media, WKB analysis; nonlinear systems and chaos. Prerequisites: PHYS 105A, MATH 20A-B-C or 31BH, 20D, 20E or 31CH, and 18 or 20F or 31AH. Open to major codes PY26, PY28, PY29, PY30, PY31, PY32, PY33, and PY34 only.
PHYS 110A. Mechanics I (4)
Phase flows, bifurcations, linear oscillations, calculus of variations, Lagrangian dynamics, conservation laws, central forces, systems of particles, collisions, coupled oscillations. Prerequisites: PHYS 4A-B-C-D, MATH 20A-B-C or 31BH, 20D, 20E or 31CH, and 18 or 20F or 31AH. Open to major codes PY26, PY28, PY29, PY30, PY31, PY32, PY33, and PY34 only.
PHYS 110B. Mechanics II (4)
Noninertial reference systems, dynamics of rigid bodies, Hamilton’s equations, Liouville’s theorem, chaos, continuum mechanics, special relativity. Prerequisites: PHYS 110A, MATH 20A-B-C or 31BH, 20D, 20E or 31CH, and 18 or 20F or 31AH. Open to major codes PY26, PY28, PY29, PY30, PY31, PY32, PY33, and PY34 only.
PHYS 111. Introduction to Ocean Waves (4)
The linear theory of ocean surface waves, including group velocity, wave dispersion, ray theory, wave measurement and prediction, shoaling waves, giant waves, ship wakes, tsunamis, and the physics of the surf zone. Cross-listed with SIO 111. Students may not receive credit for SIO 111 and PHYS 111. Prerequisites: PHYS 2A-B-C or 4A-B-C, MATH 20A-B-C or 31BH, 20D, and 20E or 31CH.
PHYS 113. Quantum Information is Physical (4)
The subject of the course is physical aspects of quantum information. Following a primer on Shannon’s theory on the compression and transmission of information, emphasizing its physical nature, the theory is extended to quantum systems. This includes measures of entanglement and their operational meanings, purification, and strong subadditivity of the von Neumann entropy. Further topics may include applications to quantum many-body physics, quantum algorithms, and quantum complexity theory. May be coscheduled with PHYS 213. Prerequisites: PHYS 130A-B.
PHYS 116. Fluid Dynamics for Physicists (4)
This is a basic course in fluid dynamics for advanced students. The course consists of core fundamentals and modules on advanced applications to physical and biological phenomena. Core fundamentals include Euler and Navier-Stokes equations, potential and Stokesian flow, instabilities, boundary layers, turbulence, and shocks. Module topics include MHD, waves, and the physics of locomotion and olfaction. May be coscheduled with PHYS 216. Students with equivalent prerequisite knowledge may use the Enrollment Authorization System (EASy) to request approval to enroll. Prerequisites: PHYS 100B and 110B.
PHYS 120. Circuits and Electronics (5)
Laboratory and lecture course that covers principles of analog circuit theory and design, linear systems theory, and practical aspects of circuit realization, debugging, and characterization. Laboratory exercises include passive circuits, active filters and amplifiers with discrete and monolithic devices, nonlinear circuits, interfaces to sensors and actuators, and the digitization of analog signals. PHYS 120 was formerly numbered PHYS 120A. Program or materials fees may apply. Prerequisites: PHYS 4A-B-C, and 2CL. Open to major codes PY26, PY28, PY29, PY30, PY31, PY32, PY33, and PY34 only. Recommended preparation: PHYS 100A.
PHYS 122. Experimental Techniques (4)
Laboratory-lecture course covering practical techniques used in research laboratories. Possible topics include computer interfacing of instruments, sensors, and actuators; programming for data acquisition/analysis; electronics; measurement techniques; mechanical design/machining; mechanics of materials; thermal design/control; vacuum/cryogenic techniques; optics; particle detection. PHYS 122 was formerly numbered PHYS 121. Program or materials fees may apply. Prerequisites: PHYS 120.
PHYS 124. Laboratory Projects (4)
A laboratory-lecture-project course featuring creation of an experimental apparatus in teams of about two. Emphasis is on electronic sensing of the physical environment and actuating physical responses. The course will use a computer interface such as the Arduino. PHYS 124 was formerly numbered PHYS 120B. Program or materials fees may apply. Prerequisites: PHYS 120.
PHYS 130A. Quantum Physics I (4)
Development of quantum mechanics. Wave mechanics; measurement postulate and measurement problem. Piece-wise constant potentials, simple harmonic oscillator, central field and the hydrogen atom. Three hours lecture, one-hour discussion session. Prerequisites: PHYS 4A-B-C-D-E, 100A, 110A. Open to major codes PY26, PY28, PY29, PY30, PY31, PY32, PY33, and PY34 only.
PHYS 130B. Quantum Physics II (4)
Matrix mechanics, angular momentum, spin, and the two-state system. Approximation methods and the hydrogen spectrum. Identical particles, atomic and nuclear structures. Scattering theory. Three hours lecture, one-hour discussion session. Prerequisites: PHYS 100B and 130A. Open to major codes PY26, PY28, PY29, PY30, PY31, PY32, PY33, and PY34 only.
PHYS 130C. Quantum Physics III (4)
Quantized electromagnetic fields and introductory quantum optics. Symmetry and conservation laws. Introductory many-body physics. Density matrix, quantum coherence and dissipation. The relativistic electron. Three-hour lecture, one-hour discussion session. Prerequisites: PHYS 130B.
PHYS 133. Condensed Matter/Materials Science Laboratory (4)
A project-oriented laboratory course utilizing state-of-the-art experimental techniques in materials science. The course prepares students for research in a modern condensed matter-materials science laboratory. Under supervision, the students develop their own experimental ideas after investigating current research literature. With the use of sophisticated state-of-the-art instrumentation students conduct research, write a research paper, and make verbal presentations. Program or materials fees may apply. Prerequisites: PHYS 2CL and 2DL.
PHYS 137. String Theory (4)
Quantum mechanics and gravity. Electromagnetism from gravity and extra dimensions. Unification of forces. Quantum black holes. Properties of strings and branes. Prerequisites: PHYS 100A, 110A, and 130A.
PHYS 139. Physics Special Topics (4)
From time to time a member of the regular faculty or a resident visitor will give a self-contained short course on a topic in his or her special area of research. This course is not offered on a regular basis, but it is estimated that it will be given once each academic year. Course may be taken for credit up to two times as topics vary (the course subtitle will be different for each distinct topic). Students who repeat the same topic in PHYS 139 will have the duplicate credit removed from their academic record. Prerequisites: PHYS 2A-B-C-D or 4A-B-C-D-E, MATH 20A-B-C or 31BH, and 18 or 20F or 31AH.
PHYS 140A. Statistical and Thermal Physics I (4)
Integrated treatment of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics; statistical treatment of entropy, review of elementary probability theory, canonical distribution, partition function, free energy, phase equilibrium, introduction to ideal quantum gases. Prerequisites: PHYS 130A. Open to major codes PY26, PY28, PY29, PY30, PY31, PY32, PY33, and PY34 only.
PHYS 140B. Statistical and Thermal Physics II (4)
Applications of the theory of ideal quantum gases in condensed matter physics, nuclear physics and astrophysics; advanced thermodynamics, the third law, chemical equilibrium, low temperature physics; kinetic theory and transport in nonequilibrium systems; introduction to critical phenomena including mean field theory. Prerequisites: PHYS 130B and 140A. Open to major codes PY26, PY28, PY29, PY30, PY31, PY32, PY33, and PY34 only.
PHYS 141. Computational Physics I: Probabilistic Models and Simulations (4)
Project-based computational physics laboratory course with student’s choice of Fortran 90/95, or C/C++. Applications from materials science to the structure of the early universe are chosen from molecular dynamics, classical and quantum Monte Carlo methods, physical Langevin/Fokker-Planck processes. Prerequisites: upper-division standing.
PHYS 142. Computational Physics II: PDE and Matrix Models (4)
Project-based computational physics laboratory course for modern physics and engineering problems with student’s choice of Fortran90/95, or C/C++. Applications of finite element PDE models are chosen from quantum mechanics and nanodevices, fluid dynamics, electromagnetism, materials physics, and other modern topics. Prerequisites: upper-division standing.
PHYS 151. Elementary Plasma Physics (4)
Particle motions, plasmas as fluids, waves, diffusion, equilibrium and stability, nonlinear effects, controlled fusion. Cross-listed with MAE 117A. Students will not receive credit for both MAE 117A and PHYS 151. Prerequisites: MATH 20D.
PHYS 152A. Condensed Matter Physics (4)
Physics of the solid-state. Binding mechanisms, crystal structures and symmetries, diffraction, reciprocal space, phonons, free and nearly free electron models, energy bands, solid-state thermodynamics, kinetic theory and transport, semiconductors. Prerequisites: PHYS 130A or CHEM 130. Corequisites: PHYS 140A.
PHYS 152B. Electronic Materials (4)
Physics of electronic materials. Semiconductors: bands, donors and acceptors, devices. Metals: Fermi surface, screening, optical properties. Insulators: dia-/ferro-electrics, displacive transitions. Magnets: dia-/para-/ferro-/antiferro-magnetism, phase transitions, low temperature properties. Superconductors: pairing, Meissner effect, flux quantization, BCS theory. Prerequisites: PHYS 152A.
PHYS 154. Elementary Particle Physics (4)
The constituents of matter (quarks and leptons) and their interactions (strong, electromagnetic, and weak). Symmetries and conservation laws. Fundamental processes involving quarks and leptons. Unification of weak and electromagnetic interactions. Particle-astrophysics and the Big Bang. Prerequisites: PHYS 130B.
PHYS 160. Stellar Astrophysics (4)
Introduction to stellar astrophysics: observational properties of stars, solar physics, radiation and energy transport in stars, stellar spectroscopy, nuclear processes in stars, stellar structure and evolution, degenerate matter and compact stellar objects, supernovae and nucleosynthesis. PHYS 160, 161, 162, and 163 may be taken as a four-quarter sequence for students interested in pursuing graduate study in astrophysics or individually as topics of interest. Prerequisites: PHYS 2A-B-C-D or 4A-B-C-D-E.
PHYS 161. Black Holes (4)
An introduction to Einstein’s theory of general relativity with emphasis on the physics of black holes. Topics will include metrics and curved space-time, the Schwarzchild metric, motion around and inside black holes, rotating black holes, gravitational lensing, gravity waves, Hawking radiation, and observations of black holes. PHYS 160, 161, 162, and 163 may be taken as a four-quarter sequence for students interested in pursuing graduate study in astrophysics or individually as topics of interest. Prerequisites: PHYS 2A-B-C-D or 4A-B-C-D-E.
PHYS 162. Cosmology (4)
The expanding Universe, the Friedman-Robertson-Walker equations, dark matter, dark energy, and the formation of galaxies and large-scale structure. Topics in observational cosmology, including how to measure distances and times, and the age, density, and size of the Universe. Topics in the early Universe, including the cosmic microwave background, creation of the elements, cosmic inflation, the big bang. PHYS 160, 161, 162, and 163 may be taken as a four-quarter sequence for students interested in pursuing graduate study in astrophysics or individually as topics of interest. Prerequisites: PHYS 2A-B-C-D or 4A-B-C-D-E.
PHYS 163. Galaxies and Quasars (4)
An introduction to the structure and properties of galaxies in the universe. Topics covered include the Milky Way, the interstellar medium, properties of spiral and elliptical galaxies, rotation curves, starburst galaxies, galaxy formation and evolution, large-scale structure, and active galaxies and quasars. PHYS 160, 161, 162, and 163 may be taken as a four-quarter sequence in any order for students interested in pursuing graduate study in astrophysics or individually as topics of interest. Prerequisites: PHYS 2A-B-C-D or 4A-B-C-D-E.
PHYS 164. Observational Astrophysics Research Lab (4)
Project-based course developing tools and techniques of observational astrophysical research: photon counting, imaging, spectroscopy, astrometry; collecting data at the telescope; data reduction and analysis; probability functions; error analysis techniques; and scientific writing. Prerequisites: PHYS 2A-B-C-D or 4A-B-C-D-E. Recommended preparation: concurrent enrollment or completion of one course from PHYS 160, 161, 162, or 163 is recommended.
PHYS 170. Medical Instruments: Principles and Practice (4)
The principles and clinical applications of medical diagnostic instruments, including electromagnetic measurements, spectroscopy, microscopy; ultrasounds, X-rays, MRI, tomography, lasers in surgery, fiber optics in diagnostics. Prerequisites: PHYS 1B or 2B or 4C, and 1C or 2C or 4B.
PHYS 173. Modern Physics Laboratory: Biological and Quantum Physics (4)
A selection of experiments in contemporary physics and biophysics. Students select among pulsed NMR, Mossbauer, Zeeman effect, light scattering, holography, optical trapping, voltage clamp and genetic transcription of ion channels in oocytes, fluorescent imaging, and flight control in flies. Prerequisites: PHYS 120 and BILD 1 and CHEM 7L.
PHYS 175. Biological Physics (4)
The course teaches how a few fundamental models from statistical physics provide quantitative explanatory frameworks for many seemingly unrelated problems in biology. Case studies rotate from year to year and may include ion channel gating, cooperative binding, protein-DNA interaction, gene regulation, molecular motor dynamics, cytoskeletal assembly, biological electricity, population and evolutionary dynamics. May be coscheduled with PHYS 275. Prerequisites: CHEM 126 or 131 or 132 or the combination of PHYS 100A and 110A. Recommended preparation: prior or concurrent enrollment in PHYS 140A.
PHYS 176. Quantitative Microbiology (4)
A quantitative description of bacteria from molecular interactions through cellular and population level behaviors. Topics will vary yearly, covering process including gene regulation, molecular signaling, genetic circuits, stochastic dynamics, metabolic control, cell division, cell growth control, stress response, chemotaxis, biofilm formation. May be coscheduled with PHYS 276. Prerequisites: PHYS 140A. Recommended preparation: an introductory course in statistical mechanics or equivalent; ordinary differential equations.
PHYS 177. Physics of the Cell (4)
Exploration of the physics problems that must be solved by a living cell in order to survive. Theoretical ideas from nonequilibrium statistical mechanics and dynamical systems are used to establish the physical principles that underlie biological function, focusing on the organization and behavior of eukaryotic cells. Specific topics rotate from year to year and may include genome organization and dynamics, motility, sensing, and organelle interaction. May be coscheduled with PHYS 277. Prerequisites: upper-division standing. Recommended preparation: familiarity with statistical mechanics at the level of PHYS 140A or CHEM 132.
PHYS 178. Biophysics of Neurons and Networks (4)
Information processing by nervous system through physical reasoning and mathematical analysis. A review of the biophysics of neurons and synapses and fundamental limits to signaling by nervous systems is followed by essential aspects of the dynamics of phase coupled neuronal oscillators, the dynamics and computational capabilities of recurrent neuronal networks, and the computational capability of layered networks. Prerequisites: upper-division standing. Recommended preparation: a working knowledge of calculus and linear algebra.
PHYS 191. Undergraduate Seminar on Physics (1)
Undergraduate seminars organized around the research interests of various faculty members. P/NP grades only. Prerequisites: PHYS 2A or 4A.
PHYS 192. Senior Seminar in Physics (1)
The Senior Seminar Program is designed to allow senior undergraduates to meet with faculty members in a small group setting to explore an intellectual topic in Physics (at the upper-division level). Senior Seminars may be offered in all campus departments. Topics will vary from quarter to quarter. Senior Seminars may be taken for credit up to four times, with a change in topic, and permission of the department. Enrollment is limited to twenty students, with preference given to seniors.
PHYS 198. Directed Group Study (2 or 4)
Directed group study on a topic or in a field not included in the regular departmental curriculum. (P/NP grades only.) Prerequisites: consent of instructor and departmental chair.
PHYS 199. Research for Undergraduates (2 or 4)
Independent reading or research on a problem by special arrangement with a faculty member. (P/NP grades only.) Prerequisites: consent of instructor and departmental chair.
PHYS 199H. Honors Thesis Research for Undergraduates (2–4)
Honors thesis research for seniors participating in the Honors Program. Research is conducted under the supervision of a physics faculty member. Prerequisites: admission to the Honors Program in Physics.
PHYA 200. Survey of Astronomy (4)
Introduction to astronomical concepts and phenomenology at the graduate level. Astrophysical measurement, major structures in the universe, properties of stars and galaxies, star formation and stellar processes, HR diagram, the Milky Way, galaxy formation and evolution, stellar and galactic clusters, cosmological distance scales, dark matter and energy, and cosmology. Includes order of magnitude problem-solving covering all fields of astrophysics.
PHYA 201. Radiative Processes (4)
Fundamentals of radiation field and Maxwell equations. Covariant formulation of fields and particles. Fundamentals of radiative transfer. Radiation from accelerated charges and mechanisms of continuous radiation. Line radiation. Thermal, statistical, and ionization equilibrium. Recommended preparation: completion of upper-division electricity and magnetism and thermodynamics.
PHYA 202. Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics (4)
This is a foundational course in fluid dynamics at a graduate level which is aimed at students primarily interested in astrophysical applications. Topics include the dynamics of ideal fluids, vorticity, stability, boundary layers, turbulence, compressible flows, shocks, and self-gravitating flows. Case studies will be drawn from astrophysical phenomena, including stellar accretion, solar wind, turbulence in molecular clouds, supernovae shocks, self-gravitating disks, and others.
PHYA 222. Planets and Exoplanets (4)
Graduate-level course on planetary science, with a focus on exoplanetary systems. Topics include detection and statistics of extrasolar planets, theories of planet formation, structural and dynamical evolution of planets, signatures and consequences of evolution, interior and atmospheric structure, relationship between planets and smaller bodies, habitable zones.
PHYA 223. Stellar Structure and Evolution (4)
Energy generation, flow, hydrostatic equilibrium, equation of state. Dependence of stellar parameters (central surface temperature, radius, luminosity, etc.) on stellar mass and relation to physical constants. Relationship of these parameters to the HR diagram and stellar evolution. Stellar interiors, opacity sources, radiative and convective energy flow. Nuclear reactions, neutrino processes. Polytropic models. White dwarfs and neutron stars. Renumbered from PHYS 223. Students may not receive credit for PHYA 223 and PHYS 223.
PHYA 224. Physics of the Interstellar Medium (4)
Gaseous nebulae, molecular clouds, ionized regions, and dust. Low-energy processes in neutral and ionized gases. Interaction of matter with radiation, emission and absorption processes, formation of atomic lines. Energy balance, steady state temperatures, and the physics and properties of dust. Masers and molecular line emission. Dynamics and shocks in the interstellar medium. Renumbered from PHYS 224. Students may not receive credit for PHYA 224 and PHYS 224.
PHYA 226. Galaxies and Galactic Dynamics (4)
The structure and dynamics of galaxies. Topics include potential theory, the theory of stellar orbits, self-consistent equilibria of stellar systems, stability and dynamics of stellar systems including relaxation and approach to equilibrium. Collisions between galaxies, galactic evolution, dark matter, and galaxy formation. Renumbered from PHYS 226. Students may not receive credit for PHYA 226 and PHYS 226.
PHYA 229. Astronomical Instrumentation and Observational Techniques (4)
The course will explore a variety of astrophysical instruments and techniques from detection of the shortest to the longest wavelengths of light. Topics include coordinates/time; statistics of light; basic optics; telescopes; instrument design, spectrographs; interferometry; detectors; sub-mm/radio techniques; adaptive optics; astroparticle and gravitational wave facilities. Renumbered from PHYS 229. Students may not receive credit for PHYA 229 and PHYS 229.
PHYA 230. Computational Astrophysics (4)
Graduate-level course covering both computational methods and applications to astrophysical systems. Topics include numerical analysis, numerical differentiation and integration, ordinary and partial differential equations, linear systems, Fourier transforms, data fitting, grid-based and smoothed-particle hydrodynamics, and N-body algorithms. Special topics such as Monte Carlo methods, ray tracing, visualization and parallel computing, and management of numerical experiments may also be presented.
PHYA 231. Astrophysical Kinetics (4)
This course presents a self-contained treatment of kinetics and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, with an emphasis on astrophysical applications. Topics include the Boltzmann and Vlasov equations, transport, hydrodynamic equations, radiation transport, stochastic dynamics, Fokker-Planck theory, and phase transition dynamics. Emphasis throughout is on physical motivation and relevant applications.
PHYA 232. Astrostatistics (4)
This course reviews the fundamentals of large data set analysis and machine learning methods relevant to modern astronomical survey datasets. Topics include statistical distributions, classical and Bayesian inference, Monte Carlo methods, data clustering and classification, principal component analysis, model fitting, decision trees, and time series analysis.
PHYA 233. Astrophysical Dynamics (4)
Surveys dynamical processes in astrophysical systems on scales ranging from planets to cosmology, including stability and evolution of planetary orbits, scattering processes and the few-body problem, processes in stellar clusters with smooth and cusped potentials, axisymmetric and non-axisymmetric potentials, angle-action formalism, bar and spiral structure formation, tidal streams, galactic collisions, interactions between matter and dark matter, and evolution of large-scale structure.
PHYA 234. Astrophysical Plasmas (4)
This course gives an introduction to the fundamentals of plasma physics at a graduate level, with special focus on astrophysical applications. Core topics include fluid, kinetic, and MHD plasma models. Astrophysical focus topics include magnetic reconnection, dynamos, cosmic ray acceleration and accretion, and MRI.
PHYA 238. Observational Astrophysics Lab (4)
Project-based course developing tools and techniques of observational astrophysical research: photon counting, imaging, spectroscopy, astrometry; collecting data at the telescope; data reduction and analysis; probability functions; error analysis techniques; and scientific writing. Students will complete a final paper of publishable quality in the format of a peer-reviewed journal, as well as an oral presentation. Renumbered from PHYS 238. Students may not receive credit for PHYA 238 and PHYS 238.
PHYA 296. Year Two Research in Astronomy (4)
Research studies under the direction of a faculty member in preparation for astronomy PhD program qualification. Two quarters of PHYA 296 are required for degree requirements, and must focus on a research project designed in conjunction with a faculty adviser on any suitable research topic. May be taken for credit up to three times. (S/U grade only.)
PHYA 298. Directed Study in Astronomy (1-12)
Research studies under the direction of a faculty member. May be taken for credit up to twenty-four times. (S/U grade only.)
PHYA 299. Thesis Research in Astronomy (1-12)
Directed research on dissertation topic in astronomy. May be taken for credit up to twenty-four times. (S/U grade only.)
PHYS 200A. Theoretical Mechanics I (4)
Review of Lagrangian mechanics: calculus of variations, Noether’s theorem, constraints, central forces, coupled oscillations. Continuum mechanics: strings and membranes, Sturm-Liouville theory, dispersion. Hamiltonian mechanics: equations of motion, Poisson brackets, canonical transformations, Hamilton-Jacobi theory, action-angle variables, adiabatic invariants.
PHYS 200B. Dynamics: Deterministic, Stochastic, Statistical (4)
Deterministic dynamics: nonlinear oscillators, reductive perturbation theory, canonical perturbation theory, small denominator problem, secularity removal. Stochastic dynamics: island overlap, Chirikov criterion, KAM theorem, Hamiltonian chaos, K-S entropy, calculating in chaotic regime, Hamiltonian Fokker-Planck theory. Statistical dynamics: from Liouville to Boltzmann via BBGKY, H-theorem, chaos and entropy, fluid equations, Chapman-Enskog expansion and transport, selected topics in kinetics. Prerequisites: PHYS 200A.
PHYS 201. Mathematical Methods for Physics (5)
An introduction to mathematical methods used in theoretical physics. Topics include a review of complex variable theory, applications of the Cauchy residue theorem, asymptotic series, method of steepest descent, Fourier and Laplace transforms, series solutions for ODE’s and related special functions, Sturm Liouville theory, variational principles, boundary value problems, and Green’s function techniques.
PHYS 202. Estimation and Scaling in Physics (4)
This course stresses approximate techniques in physics, both in terms of quantitative estimation and scaling relationships. A broad range of topics may include drag, aerodynamics, fluids, waves, heat transfer, mechanics of materials, sound, optical phenomena, nuclear physics, societal-scale energy, weather and climate change, human metabolic energy. Undergraduates wishing to enroll will be expected to have prior completion of PHYS 100B, PHYS 110A, PHYS 130B, and PHYS 140A.
PHYS 203A. Advanced Classical Electrodynamics I (5)
Electrostatics, symmetries of Laplace’s equation and methods for solution, boundary value problems, electrostatics in macroscopic media, magnetostatics, Maxwell’s equations, Green functions for Maxwell’s equations, plane wave solutions, plane waves in macroscopic media.
PHYS 203B. Advanced Classical Electrodynamics II (4)
Special theory of relativity, covariant formulation of electrodynamics, radiation from current distributions and accelerated charges, multipole radiation fields, waveguides and resonant cavities. Prerequisites: PHYS 203A.
PHYS 210A. Equilibrium Statistical Mechanics (5)
Statistical ensembles: microcanonical, canonical, and grand canonical formulations; principle of maximum entropy. Thermodynamics: thermodynamic potentials, phase equilibria, entropy of mixing. Quantum statistics: photon statistics; ideal Bose and Fermi gases. Interacting systems: Ising model, liquids and plasmas. Phase transitions: van der Waals system, mean field theory, Landau theory, global symmetries, fluctuations. Prerequisites: PHYS 200A, 212A-B.
PHYS 210B. Nonequilibrium Statistical Mechanics (4)
Transport phenomena; kinetic theory and the Chapman-Enskog method; hydrodynamic theory; nonlinear effects and the mode coupling method. Stochastic processes; Langevin and Fokker-Planck equation; fluctuation-dissipation relation; multiplicative processes; dynamic field theory; Martin-Siggia-Rose formalism; dynamical scaling theory. Prerequisites: PHYS 210A.
PHYS 211A. Solid-State Physics I (5)
The first of a two-quarter course in solid-state physics. Covers a range of solid-state phenomena that can be understood within an independent particle description. Topics include chemical versus band-theoretical description of solids, electronic band structure calculation, lattice dynamics, transport phenomena and electrodynamics in metals, optical properties, semiconductor physics.
PHYS 211B. Solid-State Physics II (4)
Deals with collective effects in solids arising from interactions between constituents. Topics include electron-electron and electron-phonon interactions, screening, band structure effects, Landau Fermi liquid theory. Magnetism in metals and insulators, superconductivity; occurrence, phenomenology, and microscopic theory. Prerequisites: PHYS 210A and PHYS 211A.
PHYS 212A. Quantum Mechanics I (4)
Quantum principles of state (pure, composite, entangled, mixed), observables, time evolution, and measurement postulate. Simple soluble systems: two-state, harmonic oscillator, and spherical potentials. Angular momentum and spin. Time-independent approximations.
PHYS 212B. Quantum Mechanics II (4)
Symmetry theory and conservation laws: time reversal, discrete, translation and rotational groups. Potential scattering. Time-dependent perturbation theory. Quantization of Electromagnetic fields and transition rates. Identical particles. Open systems: mixed states, dissipation, decoherence. Prerequisites: PHYS 212A.
PHYS 212C. Quantum Mechanics III (4)
Topics may include basics of many-body quantum mechanics, second quantization; basics of quantum information theory; path integrals, topological phases, and Aharonov-Bohm effect; stability of matter; atomic and molecular structure. Prerequisites: PHYS 212A-B.
PHYS 213. Quantum Information is Physical (4)
The subject of the course is physical aspects of quantum information. Following a primer on Shannon’s theory on the compression and transmission of information, emphasizing its physical nature, the theory is extended to quantum systems. This includes measures of entanglement and their operational meanings, purification, and strong subadditivity of the von Neumann entropy. Further topics may include applications to quantum many-body physics, quantum algorithms and quantum complexity theory. May be coscheduled with PHYS 113. In addition to readings, homework, and exams at the graduate level, PHYS 213 will require a review paper at the end of the course, while the undergraduate course will not.
PHYS 214. Physics of Elementary Particles (4)
Classification of particles using symmetries and invariance principles, quarks and leptons, quantum electrodynamics, weak interactions, e+p- interactions, deep-inelastic lepton-nucleon scattering, pp collisions, introduction to QCD. Prerequisites: PHYS 215A.
PHYS 215A. Quantum Fields I (4)
Introduction to field quantization for relativistic scalar, Fermion, and gauge fields. Symmetries and conservation laws. Calculation of cross sections and reaction rates via perturbation theory and Feynman diagram methods, including for tree-level processes in quantum electrodynamics. Prerequisites: PHYS 212C.
PHYS 215B. Quantum Fields II (4)
Continued introduction to quantum fields including quantum loop contributions, renormalization, and the renormalization group. Additional topics including e.g., effective field theory, consequences of unitarity, operator product expansion, Anderson Higgs mechanism (abelian case). Prerequisites: PHYS 215A.
PHYS 215C. Quantum Fields III (4)
Aspects of gauge theories. Introduction to non-Abelian global and approximate symmetries. Introduction to non-Abelian gauge theories, including canonical and path integral quantization, perturbative calculations, asymptotic freedom. Spontaneous symmetry breaking. Selected additional topics including e.g., effective field theory, anomalies, instantons, monopoles, large N methods, lattice gauge theory. Prerequisites: PHYS 215A-B.
PHYS 215D. Selected Topics in Quantum Fields (4)
Selected additional topics in quantum field theory, varying year by year depending on the instructor. Topics may include effective field theory, anomalies, instantons, monopoles, large N methods, topological terms, coherent state path integrals, field theories of condensed matter, QFT in other space-time dimensions, conformal field theories, lattice gauge theory, strong coupling methods, RG flows and constraints, phases of QFT, supersymmetry, dualities, AdS/CFT. May be taken for credit up to three times. Prerequisites: PHYS 215B.
PHYS 216. Fluid Dynamics for Physicists (4)
This is a basic course in fluid dynamics for advanced students. The course consists of core fundamentals and modules on advanced applications to physical and biological phenomena. Core fundamentals include Euler and Navier-Stokes equations, potential and Stokesian flow, instabilities, boundary layers, turbulence, and shocks. Module topics include MHD, waves, and the physics of locomotion and olfaction. May be coscheduled with PHYS 116. The performance criteria for graduate students will be to complete and pass (1) a graduate-level exam and (2) graduate-level homework problem sets. In both cases, there will be overlap with the undergraduate exam and problems, but the graduates will be expected to complete additional work at a higher level. Recommended preparation: prior coursework consistent with PHYS 100B and 110B content. Open to major codes PY75, PY76, PY77, PY78, PY79, PY80, PY81, and PY82 only. All others must use the Enrollment Authorization System (EASy) to request approval to enroll.
PHYS 217. Field Theory and the Renormalization Group (4)
Application of field theoretic and renormalization group methods to problems in condensed matter, or particle physics. Topics will vary and may include phase transition and critical phenomena; many body quantum systems; quantum chromodynamics and the electroweak model. Prerequisites: PHYS 210A.
PHYS 218A. Plasma Physics I (4)
The basic physics of plasmas is discussed for the simple case of an unmagnetized plasma. Topics include thermal equilibrium statistical properties, fluid and Landau theory of electron and ion plasma waves, velocity space instabilities, quasi-linear theory, fluctuations, scattering or radiation, Fokker-Planck equation.
PHYS 218B. Plasma Physics II (4)
This course deals with magnetized plasma. Topics include Appleton-Hartree theory of waves in cold plasma, waves in warm plasma (Bernstein waves, cyclotron damping). MHD equations, MHD waves, low frequency modes, and the adiabatic theory of particle orbits. Prerequisites: PHYS 218A.
PHYS 218C. Plasma Physics III (4)
This course deals with the physics of confined plasmas with particular relevance to controlled fusion. Topics include topology of magnetic fields, confined plasma equilibria, energy principles, ballooning and kink instabilities, resistive MHD modes (tearing, rippling and pressure-driven), gyrokinetic theory, microinstabilities and anomalous transport, and laser-plasma interactions relevant to inertial fusion. Prerequisites: PHYS 218B.
PHYS 219. Condensed Matter/Materials Science Laboratory (4)
A project-oriented laboratory course utilizing state-of-the-art experimental techniques in materials science. The course prepares students for research in a modern condensed matter-materials science laboratory. Under supervision, the students develop their own experimental ideas after investigating current research literature. With the use of sophisticated state-of-the-art instrumentation students conduct research, write a research paper, and make verbal presentations. Prerequisites: PHYS 211A.
PHYS 220. Group Theoretical Methods in Physics (4)
Study of group theoretical methods with applications to problems in high energy, atomic, and condensed matter physics. Representation theory, tensor methods, Clebsh-Gordan series. Young tableaux. The course will cover discrete groups, Lie groups and Lie algebras, with emphasis on permutation, orthogonal, and unitary groups. Prerequisites: PHYS 212C.
PHYS 221A. Nonlinear and Nonequilibrium Dynamics of Physical Systems (4)
An introduction to the modern theory of dynamical systems and applications thereof. Topics include maps and flows, bifurcation theory and normal form analysis, chaotic attractors in dissipative systems, Hamiltonian dynamics and the KAM theorem, and time series analysis. Examples from real physical systems will be stressed throughout. Prerequisites: PHYS 200B.
PHYS 222A. Experimental Methods for Particle Physics (4)
Design of detectors and experiments; searches for new phenomena; neutrino physics; non-collider physics; underground experiments. Prerequisites: PHYS 214 and PHYS 215A.
PHYS 225A-B. General Relativity (4-4)
This is a two-quarter course on gravitation and the general theory of relativity. The first quarter is intended to be offered every year and may be taken independently of the second quarter. The second quarter will be offered in alternate years. Topics covered in the first quarter include special relativity, differential geometry, the equivalence principle, the Einstein field equations, and experimental and observational tests of gravitation theories. The second quarter will focus on more advanced topics, including gravitational collapse, Schwarzschild and Kerr geometries, black holes, gravitational radiation, cosmology, and quantum gravitation.
PHYS 225C. General Relativity (4)
Advanced topics in general relativity based on the interests of the instructor. Possible topics include black hole formation, perturbations of the Schwarzschild solution, black hole quasinormal modes and ringdown, Hawking radiation, black hole thermodynamics and entropy, Hawking-Penrose singularity theorems. Prerequisites: PHYS 225A-B. Recommended preparation: PHYS 212A-B-C.
PHYS 226. Galaxies and Galactic Dynamics (4)
The structure and dynamics of galaxies. Topics include potential theory, the theory of stellar orbits, self-consistent equilibria of stellar systems, stability, and dynamics of stellar systems including relaxation and approach to equilibrium. Collisions between galaxies, galactic evolution, dark matter, and galaxy formation.
PHYS 227. Cosmology (4)
An advanced survey of topics in physical cosmology. The Friedmann models and the large-scale structure of the universe, including the observational determination of Ho (the Hubble constant) and qo (the deceleration parameter). Galaxy number counts. A systematic exposition of the physics of the early universe, including vacuum phase transitions; inflation; the generation of net baryon number, fluctuations, topological defects and textures. Primordial nucleosynthesis, both standard and nonstandard models. Growth and decay of adiabatic and isocurvature density fluctuations. Discussion of dark matter candidates and constraints from observation and experiment. Nucleocosmo-chronology and the determination of the age of the universe.
PHYS 228. High-Energy Astrophysics and Compact Objects (4)
The physics of compact objects, including the equation of state of dense matter and stellar stability theory. Maximum mass of neutron stars, white dwarfs, and supermassive objects. Black holes and accretion disks. Compact X-ray sources and transient phenomena, including X-ray and g-ray bursts. The fundamental physics of electromagnetic radiation mechanisms: synchrotron radiation, Compton scattering, thermal and nonthermal bremsstrahlung, pair production, pulsars. Particle acceleration models, neutrino production and energy loss mechanisms, supernovae, and neutron star production.
PHYS 230. Advanced Solid-State Physics (4)
Selection of advanced topics in solid-state physics; material covered may vary from year to year. Examples of topics covered: disordered systems, surface physics, strong-coupling superconductivity, quantum Hall effect, low-dimensional solids, heavy fermion systems, high-temperature superconductivity, solid and liquid helium. Prerequisites: PHYS 211B.
PHYS 232. Electronic Materials (4)
Physics of electronic materials. Semiconductors: bands, donors and acceptors, devices. Metals: Fermi surface, screening, optical properties. Insulators: dia-/ferro-electrics, displacive transitions. Magnets: dia-/para-/ferro-/antiferro-magnetism, phase transitions, low temperature properties. Superconductors: pairing, Meissner effect, flux quantization, BCS theory. Prerequisites: PHYS 211A.
PHYS 233. Collider Physics (4)
Software, simulation, computing techniques for particle physics; collider physics. Prerequisites: PHYS 214 and PHYS 215A.
PHYS 235. Nonlinear Plasma Theory (4)
This course deals with nonlinear phenomena in plasmas. Topics include orbit perturbation theory, stochasticity, Arnold diffusion, nonlinear wave-particle and wave-wave interaction, resonance broadening, basics of fluid and plasma turbulence, closure methods, models of coherent structures. Prerequisites: PHYS 218C.
PHYS 237. Introduction to the Standard Model and Beyond (4)
Classification of particles using symmetries, quarks and leptons, the gauge interactions of the standard model, the flavor structure and Yukawa interactions, the Higgs mechanism and particle. Beyond the standard model topics (as time permits) to vary, depending on the instructor. Prerequisites: PHYS 215B.
PHYS 239. Special Topics (4)
From time to time a member of the regular faculty or a resident visitor will find it possible to give a self-contained short course on an advanced topic in his or her special area of research. This course is not offered on a regular basis, but it is estimated that it will be given once each academic year. (S/U grades permitted.)
PHYS 241. Computational Physics I: Probabilistic Models and Simulations (4)
Project-based computational physics laboratory course with student’s choice of Fortran90/95 or C/C++. Applications from materials science to the structure of the early universe are chosen from molecular dynamics, classical and quantum Monte Carlo methods, physical Langevin/Fokker-Planck processes, and other modern topics.
PHYS 242. Computational Physics II: PDE and Matrix Models (4)
Project-based computational physics laboratory course for modern physics and engineering problems with student’s choice of Fortran90/95 or C/C++. Applications of finite element PDE models are chosen from quantum mechanics and nanodevices, fluid dynamics, electromagnetism, materials physics, and other modern topics.
PHYS 243. Stochastic Methods (4)
Introduction to methods of stochastic modeling and simulation. Topics include random variables; stochastic processes; Markov processes; one-step processes; the Fokker-Planck equation and Brownian motion; the Langevin approach; Monte-Carlo methods; fluctuations and the Boltzmann equation; and stochastic differential equations.
PHYS 244. Parallel Computing in Science and Engineering (4)
Introduction to basic techniques of parallel computing, the design of parallel algorithms, and their scientific and engineering applications. Topics include parallel computing platforms; message-passing model and software; design and application of parallel software packages; parallel visualization; parallel applications.
PHYS 250. Condensed Matter Physics Seminar (0–1)
Discussion of current research in physics of the solid state and of other condensed matter. (S/U grades only.)
PHYS 251. High-Energy Physics Seminar (0–1)
Discussions of current research in nuclear physics, principally in the field of elementary particles. (S/U grades only.)
PHYS 252. Plasma Physics Seminar (0–1)
Discussions of recent research in plasma physics. (S/U grades only.)
PHYS 253. Astrophysics and Space Physics Seminar (0–1)
Discussions of recent research in astrophysics and space physics. (S/U grades only.)
PHYS 254. Biophysics Seminar (1)
Presentation of current research in biological physics and quantitative biology by invited speakers from the United States and abroad. (S/U grades only.) May be taken for credit thirty times.
PHYS 255. Biophysics Research Talks (1)
Discussion of recent research in biological physics and quantitative biology by current graduate students. (S/U grades only.) May be taken for credit thirty times.
PHYS 257. High-Energy Physics Special Topics Seminar (0–1)
Discussions of current research in high-energy physics. (S/U grades only.)
PHYS 258. Astrophysics and Space Physics Special Topics Seminar (0–1)
Discussions of current research in astrophysics and space physics. (S/U grades only.)
PHYS 259A. Methods in Quantitative Biology (2)
Critical analysis of methods used to collect and analyze biological data. Topics include general aspects of experimental conditions for data collection and strategy of mathematical modeling, as well as specific methodologies in image acquisition, single cell analysis, population dynamics, and statistical data analysis. These topics will be covered through critical reading, peer discussion, problem solving on case studies selected by the instructors. (S/U grades only.)
PHYS 259B. Concepts and Methods in Quantitative Physiology (2)
This course will guide students to identify “big questions” in multicellular physiology across organisms and organ systems. Through critical reading, peer discussion, and problem solving on specific systems selected by the instructors, students will learn how to identify challenges, design experiments that can quantitatively answer the big questions, and engineer approaches to achieve a deeper understanding of organismal biology. (S/U grades only.) May be taken for credit up to two times. Prerequisites: PHYS 259A or 256.
PHYS 260. Physics Colloquium (0–1)
Discussions of recent research in physics directed to the entire physics community. (S/U grades only.)
PHYS 261. Seminar on Physics Research at UC San Diego (0–1)
Discussions of current research conducted by faculty members in the Department of Physics. (S/U grades only.)
PHYS 264. Scientific Method Seminar (1)
Discussions of the application of the scientific method in the natural sciences. (S/U grades only.) May be taken for credit twenty-five times.
PHYS 270A. Experimental Techniques for Quantitative Biology (4)
A hands-on laboratory course in which the students learn and use experimental techniques, including optics, electronics, chemistry, machining, and computer interface, to design and develop simple instruments for quantitative characterization of living systems. Lab classes will comprise five two-week modules. Prerequisites: department approval required. Recommended preparation: knowledge of electronics and optics at the level of introductory calculus, basic statistics, programming skills; knowledge of introductory biology.
PHYS 270B. Quantitative Biology Laboratory (4)
A project-oriented laboratory course in which students are guided to develop their own ideas and tools, along with using state-of-art instruments to investigate a biological problem of current interest, under the direction of a faculty member. A range of current topics in quantitative biology is available, including microbiology, molecular and cell biology, developmental biology, synthetic biology, and evolution. This course may be repeated up to ten times for credit as long as the student works on a different project. Prerequisites: PHYS 270A. Department approval required.
PHYS 273. Information Theory and Pattern Formation in Biological Systems (4)
This course discusses how living systems acquire information on their environment and exploit it to generate structures and perform functions. Biological sensing of concentrations, reaction-diffusion equations, the Turing mechanism, and applications of information theory to cellular transduction pathways and animal behavior will be presented. Recommended preparation: familiarity with probabilities at the level of undergraduate statistical mechanics and major cellular processes; basic knowledge of information theory.
PHYS 274. Stochastic Processes in Population Genetics (4)
The course explores genetic diversity within biological populations. Genetics fundamentals, mutation/selection equilibria, speciation, Wright-Fisher model, Kimura’s neutral theory, Luria-Delbrück test, the coalescent theory, evolutionary games and statistical methods for quantifying genetic observables such as SNPs, copy number variations, etc., will be discussed. Recommended preparation: familiarity with probabilities and PDEs at the undergraduate level; an introduction to basic evolutionary processes.
PHYS 275. Biological Physics (4)
The course teaches how a few fundamental models from statistical physics provide quantitative explanatory frameworks for many seemingly unrelated problems in biology. Case studies rotate from year to year and may include ion channel gating, cooperative binding, protein-DNA interaction, gene regulation, molecular motor dynamics, cytoskeletal assembly, biological electricity, population and evolutionary dynamics. May be coscheduled with PHYS 175. Students in PHYS 275 are expected to complete a report at the level of a research paper. Recommended preparation: an introduction to statistical mechanics, at least at the level of PHYS 140A or CHEM 132.
PHYS 276. Quantitative Microbiology (4)
A quantitative description of bacteria from molecular interactions through cellular and population level behaviors. Topics will vary yearly, covering processes including gene regulation, molecular signaling, genetic circuits, stochastic dynamics, metabolic control, cell division, cell growth control, stress response, chemotaxis, biofilm formation. May be coscheduled with PHYS 176. Recommended preparation: an introductory course in biology is helpful but not necessary.
PHYS 277. Physics of the Cell (4)
Exploration of the physics problems that must be solved by a living cell in order to survive. Theoretical ideas from nonequilibrium statistical mechanics and dynamical systems are used to establish the physical principles that underlie biological function, focusing on the organization and behavior of eukaryotic cells. Specific topics rotate from year to year and may include genome organization and dynamics, motility, sensing, and organelle interaction. May be coscheduled with PHYS 177. The graduate version will include a report at the level of a research paper. Recommended preparation: familiarity with statistical mechanics at the level of PHYS 140A or CHEM 132.
PHYS 278. Biophysical Basis of Neuronal Computation (4)
This course explores principles and design rules for the neuronal circuits that underlie animal behavior. We provide an analytical path from the dynamics of single neurons to different forms of neuronal computations. Classic and contemporary experimental studies serve as examples, and aspects of applied mathematics and experimental techniques are discussed as appropriate. Recommended preparation: a working knowledge of ordinary differential equations, linear algebra, statistical mechanics (at the level of PHYS 140A), and electrical circuits (at the level of PHYS 100B).
PHYS 279. Neurodynamics (4)
Introduction to the nonlinear dynamics of neurons and simple neural systems through nonlinear dynamics, bifurcation theory, and chaotic motions. The dynamics of single cells is considered at different levels of abstraction, e.g., biophysical and “reduced” models for analysis of regularly spiking and bursting cells, their dynamical properties, and their representation in phase space. Laboratory exercises will accompany the lectures. Duplicate credit not allowed for cross-listed courses: BGGN 260, BENG 260, PHYS 279.
PHYS 281. Extensions in Physics (1–3)
This course covers topics not traditionally taught as part of a normal physics curriculum, but nonetheless useful extensions to the classic pedagogy. Example topics may include estimation, nuclear physics, fluid mechanics, and scaling relationships.
PHYS 282. Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Biological Systems (4)
The course will introduce basic concepts of dynamical systems, from low dimensional systems to spatially extended systems, including Fisher wave, Turing instability, and excitable systems, and apply them to the study of concrete biological systems taken from a spectrum of fields including ecology and developmental biology. Recommended preparation: basic knowledge of biology and partial differential equations. A first course in partial differential equations; some basic concepts of modern biology.
PHYS 295. MS Thesis Research in Materials Physics (1–12)
Directed research on MS dissertation topic.
PHYS 297. Special Studies in Physics (1–4)
Studies of special topics in physics under the direction of a faculty member. Prerequisites: consent of instructor and departmental vice chair, education. (S/U grades permitted.)
PHYS 298. Directed Study in Physics (1–12)
Research studies under the direction of a faculty member. (S/U grades permitted.)
PHYS 299. Thesis Research in Physics (1–12)
Directed research on dissertation topic.
PHYS 500. Instruction in Physics Teaching (1–4)
This course, designed for graduate students, includes discussion of teaching, techniques and materials necessary to teach physics courses. One meeting per week with course instructors, one meeting per week in an assigned recitation section, problem session, or laboratory section. Students are required to take a total of two units of PHYS 500.
Monica Allen Principal Investigator
Ph.D in Physics, Harvard University mtallen [at] physics.ucsd.edu Office: Mayer Hall Addition 3611 Curriculum Vitae
Heather McMaster Administrative Assistant
hmcmaster [at] physics.ucsd.edu Office: Mayer Hall 3138 Phone: 858-822-2374
Jacob Ding Fund Manager
ading [at] physics.ucsd.edu
Nicolo D'Anna Visiting Research Fellow
Ph.D in Physics, ETH Zurich
Leonard Cao Graduate Researcher
B.Sc. in Physics and Math, HKU
Chen Wu Graduate Researcher
M.Sc. in Applied Physics, Stanford
Qixuan Zhang Graduate Researcher
B.Sc. in Materials Physics, USTB
Lingyuan Lyu Graduate Researcher
B.Sc. in Physics, HMC
Ruolun Zhang Undergraduate
Trevor Senaha Undergraduate
Employment opportunities we seek to build a diverse and creative team of scientists with expertise spanning physics, engineering, and materials science. inquiries for positions at all levels are welcome..
- Postdoctoral Research Associates: Please arrange for your CV and three letters of reference to be emailed to mtallen [at] physics [dot] ucsd [dot] edu. Experience with scanning probe microscopy, microwave electronics, 2D materials, or device fabrication is desirable.
- PhD Candidates: If you are interested in joining our group, please apply to the Physics PhD program at UC San Diego and mention my name in your application. Prospective and current graduate students are welcome to email me to discuss research opportunities.
- Undergraduates: Several short-term research projects are available. If interested, please send an email to mtallen [at] physics [dot] ucsd [dot] edu.
[ undergraduate program | courses | faculty ]
Graduate Student Affairs: Room 2561 Mayer Hall Addition
All courses, faculty listings, and curricular and degree requirements described herein are subject to change or deletion without notice.
The Graduate Program
The Department of Physics offers curricula leading to the following degrees:
PhD, Physics (Biophysics)
PhD, Physics, Specialization in Computational Neuroscience
PhD, Physics, Specialization in Computational Science
PhD, Physics, Specialization in Quantitative Biology
Biophysics students will receive their MS (if applicable) and CPhil degrees in physics. Only their PhD will be in physics (biophysics).
Entering graduate students are required to have a sound knowledge of undergraduate mechanics, electricity, and magnetism; to have had senior courses or their equivalent in atomic and quantum physics, nuclear physics, and thermodynamics; and to have taken upper-division laboratory work. An introductory course in solid-state physics is desirable.
Students may choose to pursue a master’s degree en route to the PhD or may choose to leave with a terminal MS Requirements for the master of science degree can be met according to Plan I (master’s thesis) or Plan II (comprehensive examination). (See “ Graduate Studies: Master’s Degrees .”) For Plan II, the comprehensive examination is an oral exam. A list of acceptable courses is available in the Department of Physics Graduate Student Affairs office.
Contiguous Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree Program in Materials Physics
The program offers a MS in physics with specialization in materials physics. It is open only to UC San Diego undergraduates, and is a Plan I program only (thesis). During the first quarter of the senior undergraduate year, students enrolled in the BS degree program with specialization in materials physics (see above) may apply for admission to the MS program. To be eligible, students must have completed the first two quarters of their junior year in residence at UC San Diego and have a GPA of at least 3.0 in both their major and overall undergraduate curriculum. It is strongly recommended that BS students who intend to apply to the MS program take MAE 160, ECE 103, and ECE 134 as restricted BS electives.
It is the responsibility of the prospective BS/MS student to select a faculty member (from the Department of Physics or, with Physics department approval, from the MAE, ECE, or Chemistry departments) who would be willing to serve as the student’s adviser and with whom the student would complete at least twelve units of S/U graded research. Research could commence as early as the undergraduate senior year; research units taken during the senior year would count only toward the MS degree and not toward the BS. The student must confirm that the selected faculty adviser will not be on off-campus sabbatical leave during any quarter of the scheduled BS/MS project.
Students are expected to meet the requirements for the MS in one year (three consecutive academic quarters) from the date of receipt of the BS. Any deviation from this plan, such as a break in enrollment for one or more quarters, may result in the student being dropped from the program.
The requirements for the MS are as follows:
- Completion of at least twelve and no more than twenty-four units of research, which may begin as early as the first quarter of the senior undergraduate year. Students accumulate units for their research by enrolling in PHYS 295 (MS Thesis Research), which may be taken repeatedly.
- Completion of MATS 201A-B-C during the fifth (graduate) year.
- Completion of two restricted electives, to be chosen from PHYS 201, 211A-B; MATS 227, 240A-B-C; ECE 231, 233 (other courses allowed by petition).
- Completion of additional courses (restricted electives and/or research) so that the total number of units (research plus required courses plus elective courses) totals no fewer than thirty-six units taken as a graduate student.
- Maintenance of a grade point average of at least 3.0 for all course work, both cumulatively and for each quarter of enrollment in the BS/MS program.
- Completion of a thesis, with an oral presentation to, and approval of, a three-member committee from the Department of Physics including the faculty adviser. If the faculty adviser is from outside the Department of Physics, the committee shall consist of the adviser and two members from the Department of Physics faculty.
- Three consecutive quarters of full-time residency as a graduate student that will commence the quarter immediately following the quarter in which the BS is awarded (not counting Summer Session).
- Although students may receive research or teaching assistantships if available, there is no guarantee of financial support associated with the MS program. Students who obtain a teaching assistantship should make sure that it does not interfere with completion of the MS degree requirements within the one-year time frame allotted.
- Teaching is not a requirement for the MS.
Suggested Schedule—MS requirements completed during the fourth and fifth (graduate) year:
Suggested schedule—ms requirements completed during the fifth (graduate) year, only:, doctoral degree program.
The department has developed a flexible PhD program that provides a broad, advanced education in physics while at the same time giving students opportunity for emphasizing their special interests. This program consists of graduate courses, apprenticeship in research, teaching experience, and thesis research.
Entering students are assigned a faculty adviser to guide them in their program. Many students spend their first year as teaching assistants or fellows and begin apprentice research in their second year. Prior to establishing a research adviser, assigned faculty advisers will conduct an annual progress review for each student. When a student’s association with a research area and research supervisor is well established, that faculty member will conduct the annual research review. After two years of graduate study, or earlier, students complete the departmental qualifying requirements and begin thesis research. Students specializing in biophysics make up deficiencies in biology and chemistry during the first two years and complete the departmental qualifying requirements by the end of their third year of graduate study. There is no foreign language requirement.
Entering students must take an entrance diagnostic exam on undergraduate physics. The exam will cover mechanics, electricity and magnetism, quantum mechanics, and statistical mechanics and mathematical methods. Students who are found to have serious weaknesses in preparation will be directed to enroll in appropriate undergraduate upper-division courses.
Requirements for the PhD
Students are required to pass core courses, advanced graduate courses, teaching requirement, PhD candidacy examination, and a final defense of the thesis as described below.
1. Core Courses and Electives for Qualification
Physics students are required to take seven core courses (PHYS 200A Theoretical Mechanics I , PHYS 201 Mathematical Methods in Physics , PHYS 203A-B Advanced Classical Electrodynamics I and II , PHYS 210A Equilibrium Statistical Mechanics , PHYS 212A-B Quantum Mechanics I and II ) with a grade of B or better and two elective courses with a grade of B+ or better. Elective courses may also count toward the department’s advanced graduate course requirement.
Students are expected to complete these courses by the end of their first year with the requisite grades but will be given up to two years to complete. A department qualification committee will review all students and recommend corrective measures for students who do not meet the course grade standards. Students who do not qualify after two years may be asked to leave the program. Biophysics PhD students will be expected to complete these courses by the end of their second year with the requisite grades but will be given an additional year if necessary.
The university requires an annual evaluation of each graduate student’s progress toward PhD candidacy and thesis defense in spring quarter. These annual spring evaluations are to be conducted by a student’s assigned adviser until a research supervisor is well established. After advancing to candidacy, spring evaluations must be conducted by at least three members of the doctoral committee.
2. Advanced Graduate Courses
Physics students are required to take five advanced graduate courses from at least three of the groups listed below no later than the end of the third year of graduate work. A 3.0 average over the five courses is required. (In lieu of the course requirement, students may petition to take an oral examination covering three areas of physics.)
- Group 1 (Plasma): PHYS 218A-B-C (Plasma); 235 (Nonlin. Plas. Th.)
- Group 2 (Condensed Matter): PHYS 211A, 211B (Solid State); 219 (C.M./Matl. SCI Lab), 230 (Adv. Solid State); 232 (Electronic Materials)
- Group 3 (Particle Physics/High Energy): PHYS 214 (Elem. Part.); 215A-B-C (Part. & Fields); 222A (Elem. Particle Phys)
- Group 4 (Mathematics): PHYS 210B (Nonequil. Stat. Mech.); 221A (Nonlinear Dyn.); 243 (Stochastic Methods); MATH 210A-B, 210C (Mathematics Physics); MATH 259A-B-C (Geom. Physics)
- Group 5 (Biophysics): PHYS 273 (Biological Info); 274 (QBio Stoch Pop Gene); 275 (Fund of Biol Physics); 276 (Quan Molec Bio); 277 (Physics of Cell); 278 (Biophys Neurons)
- Group 6 (Astrophysics): PHYS 223 (Stel. Str.); 224 (Intrstel. Med.); 226 (Gal. & Gal. Dyn.); 227 (Cosmology), 228 (HE Astro. & Comp. Obj.); 238 (Observ. Astro Lab)
- Group 7 (General): PHYS 200B (Dynamics); PHYS 202 (Estimation); PHYS 212C (Quantum Mechanics III); PHYS 216 (Fluid Dynamics); 217 (Renorm. Field Th.); 220 (Group Th.); 225A-B (Relativ.)
- Group 8 (Computational): PHYS 241 and 242 (Comp. Physics); 244 (Parallel Computing in Science and Engineering)
Students enrolled in the Biophysics PhD program select five courses from biology, biochemistry, chemistry, or physics in consultation with their adviser. At least three courses must be graduate courses. For more information, see the Biophysics section, below.
3. PhD Candidacy Examination
In order to be advanced to candidacy, students must have met the departmental requirements and obtained a faculty research supervisor. At the time of application for advancement to candidacy, a doctoral committee responsible for the remainder of the student’s graduate program is appointed by the dean of the Graduate Division. The committee conducts the PhD qualifying examination during which students must demonstrate the ability to engage in thesis research. This involves the presentation of a plan for the thesis research project. The committee may ask questions directly or indirectly related to the project and questions on general physics which it determines to be relevant. Upon successful completion of this examination, students are advanced to candidacy and are awarded the Candidate of Philosophy degree.
4. Instruction in Physics Teaching
All graduate students are required to participate in the physics undergraduate teaching program as part of their career training. The main component of this requirement is an evaluated classroom-based teaching activity. All graduate student teaching accomplishments are subject to the approval of the Vice Chair for Education. There are several ways to satisfy the teaching requirement, including: (1) leading discussions as a teaching assistant, (2) practical classroom teaching, under faculty supervision, (3) participation in an approved teaching development program offered by the Department of Physics or the campus Center for Engaged Teaching, or (4) transferred teaching credit from another institution or department. Students who satisfy the requirement by teaching at UC San Diego should enroll in PHYS 500 in the fall quarter during or prior to which they complete it.
5. Thesis Defense
When students have completed their theses, they are asked to present and defend them before their doctoral committees.
Time Limits for Progress to the PhD
In accordance with university policy, the Department of Physics has established the following time limits for progress to the PhD. A student’s research progress committee helps ensure that these time limits are met.
PhD in Physics (Biophysics)
The Department of Physics offers a graduate program which prepares students for a career in biophysics and that leads to the following degrees:
CPhil in Physics
Biophysics students will receive their MS and CPhil degrees in physics. Only their PhD will be in physics (biophysics).
The PhD program consists of graduate courses, apprenticeship in research, teaching experience, and thesis research. Research in biophysics is being actively pursued in several departments (physics, chemistry/biochemistry, and biology) that also offer courses in, or courses relevant to, biophysics.
Requirements for the PhD in Physics (Biophysics)
The specialization in biophysics requires that students complete many of the same requirements as for the physics PhD. Students must complete the core and elective courses for qualification, advanced graduate courses, PhD candidacy examination, teaching requirement, and a final defense of the thesis. However, the requirements for the core and elective courses for qualification and advanced courses differ slightly from those of the PhD.
Biophysics PhD students are required to complete the core and elective courses for qualification by the end of their second year with the requisite grades but will be given an additional year if necessary. Biophysics students are required to pass five courses from biology, chemistry, biochemistry, or physics no later than the end of the third year of graduate study. The course plan shall be determined in consultation with the adviser. At least three of these courses must be graduate courses. A 3.0 average over the five courses is required. (In lieu of the course requirement, students may petition to take an oral examination covering three areas of physics.)
PhD in Physics with Specialization in Computational Neuroscience
The Neuroscience Graduate Program, Department of Physics, and Department of Bioengineering offer a specialization in computational neuroscience. Students from these departments or program that pursue the computational neuroscience specialization are trained in the broad range of scientific and technical skills essential to understand the computational and theoretical basis of neural systems. Students in this specialization will be required to fulfill all of the academic requirements for a doctoral degree in their home department or program and must successfully complete a set of three core computational courses, any other course work as directed by the computational neuroscience committee, and successfully defend a thesis on an approved topic.
Computational Neurosciences Specialization Courses:
BGGN 260/PHYS 279/BENG 260 (Neurodynamics), PHYS 278 (Biophysical Basis of Neuronal Dynamics), and COGS 260 (Algorithms for the Analysis of Neural Data).
PhD in Physics with Specialization in Computational Science
See “ PhD in Mathematics with Specialization in Computational Science ” for more information.
The UC San Diego campus is offering a new comprehensive PhD specialization in computational science that will be available to doctoral candidates in participating academic departments at UC San Diego.
This PhD specialization is designed to allow students to obtain training in their chosen field of science, mathematics, or engineering with additional training in computational science integrated into their graduate studies. Prospective students must apply and be admitted into the PhD program in physics, and then be admitted to the CSME program.
Areas of research in the Department of Physics will include computational astrophysics and cosmology (studying star formation and the large-scale structure of the universe), computational condensed matter physics (studying nanodevices), computational quantum field theory (studying the four basic forces of nature), computational biological physics (protein folding and other biologically important complex structures), computational nonlinear dynamics, and computational plasma physics. Each faculty member works with graduate students on the listed research topics.
The specialization in computational science requires that students complete all home requirements for the physics PhD degree. Students are required to pass the core and elective courses with requisite grades for qualification, advanced course requirements, PhD candidacy examination, teaching requirement, and a final defense of the thesis. The qualifying and elective courses for the CSME program (e.g., PHYS 241-244) can be used as part of the advanced course requirement, which is the same as for the physics PhD.
Requirements for the PhD in Physics with Specialization in Computational Science:
Qualifying Requirements: In addition to the home department qualifying exam requirements, PhD students must take the final exams in three qualifying exam courses from the list below. Courses taken to satisfy the qualifying requirements will not count toward the elective requirements.
- MATH 275 or MAE 290B (Numerical PDEs)
- PHYS 244 or CSE 260 (Parallel Computing)
- One course to be selected from List A
List A: CSME Qualifying Exam Courses
- PHYS 243 (Stochastic Methods)
- MATH 270A, B, or C (Numerical Analysis)
- MATH 272A, B, or C (Advanced Numerical PDEs)
- MAE 223 (Computational Fluid Dynamics)
- MAE 232A or B (Computational Solid Mechanics)
- MAE 280A or B (Linear Systems Theory)
- To be determined by Executive Committee
Elective Requirements: To encourage PhD students to both broaden themselves in an area of science or engineering as well as to obtain more specialized training in specific areas of computational science, students will be required to take and pass three elective courses from the following approved List B (four units per course). The Executive Committee may approve the use of courses not appearing on the following list on a case-by-case basis. Courses taken to satisfy the elective requirements will not count toward the qualifying requirements.
List B: Relevant Elective Graduate Courses in Mathematics, Science, and Engineering
- MATH 270A-B-C (Numerical Analysis; not permitted for mathematics students)
- MATH 271A-B-C (Optimization)
- MATH 272A-B-C (Advanced Numerical PDEs)
- MATH 273A-B-C (Computational Mathematics Project)
- PHYS 141/241 (Computational Physics I)
- PHYS 142/242 (Computational Physics II)
- PHYS 221A-B (Nonlinear Dynamics)
- CHEM 215 (Modeling Biological Macromolecules)
- BGGN 260 (Neurodynamics)
Program Policies: The following is a list of policies for the PhD specialization with regard to proficiency, qualifying, and elective requirements:
- Proficiency in computer engineering must be demonstrated by the end of the first year.
- The qualifying exams must be passed by the end of the second year, or, on petition, by end of the third year.
- The qualifying exams can be attempted repeatedly but no more than once per quarter per subject.
- The qualifying exams in the home department and the CSME qualifying exams must all be passed before the student is permitted to take the candidacy (senate) exam.
- Two electives outside the home department must be taken.
- The two electives can be taken at any time before defending the thesis.
- One of the electives may be taken Pass/Fail; the other must be taken for a letter grade.
Recommended schedule for the PhD in physics with specialization in computational science
Phd in physics with specialization in quantitative biology.
A specialization in quantitative biology spanning four divisions—Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Jacobs School of Engineering, and Health Sciences—is available to doctoral candidates in physics. This PhD specialization is designed to train students to develop and apply quantitative theoretical and experimental approaches to studying fundamental principles of living systems. The core of this specialization comprises one year of theory courses and one year of lab courses, most of which can be counted toward satisfying physics elective requirements. For more information students should contact the Student Affairs Office.
The department offers a weekly colloquium on topics of current interest in physics and on departmental research programs. Students are expected to register and attend the colloquium.
Supplementary Course Work and Seminars
The department offers regular seminars in several areas of current interest. Students are strongly urged to enroll for credit in seminars related to their research interests and, when appropriate, to enroll in advanced graduate courses beyond the departmental requirement. To help beginning students choose a research area and a research supervisor, the department offers a special seminar (PHYS 261) that surveys physics research at UC San Diego.
Course Credit by Examination
Students have an option of obtaining credit for a physics graduate course by taking the final examination without participating in any class exercises. They must, however, officially register for the course and notify the instructor and the Department of Physics graduate student affairs office of their intention no later than the first week of the course.
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- Biochem & MolBiophysics PhD
Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics PhD
The Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics PhD Program ranks in the top 10 nationally and represents a traditional strength in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at UCSD. The goal of the program is to prepare students for careers in the biochemical sciences as researchers and educators by expanding their knowledge of structural biology, protein, RNA, and lipid biochemistry, experimental and computational biophysics, and systems biology while developing their ability for critical analysis, creativity, and independent study. A high graduation rate in an average of just over five years can be attributed to the quality of applicants admitted, the flexibility of our program of study, the opportunity for students to begin research in the first year, and the affordability of education made possible by our generous financial support policies.
Programs of study are tailored to the needs of individual students, based on their prior training and research interests. However, progress to degree is generally similar for all students. During the first year, students take courses, begin their teaching apprenticeships, choose research advisors, and embark on their thesis research; students whose native language is not English must pass an English proficiency examination. Beginning the first summer, the emphasis is on research, although courses of special interest may be taken throughout a student's residency. At the end of their first year, students choose the departmental members of their thesis committee and begin to prepare a written research proposal. During their second year, they complete their research proposal and defend it orally. In the third year, students advance to candidacy for the doctorate by defending the topic, preliminary findings, and future research plans for their dissertation. Subsequent years focus on thesis research and writing the dissertation. Most students graduate during their fifth year.
Research opportunities for graduate students are comprehensive and interdisciplinary, spanning biochemistry; biophysics; structural biology, protein, RNA, and lipid biochemistry, experimental and computational biophysics, and systems biology. Please refer to the faculty pages for full descriptions of the on-going research of faculty in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics PhD Program. State-of-the-art facilities and laboratories support these research programs.
UCSD is a thriving community that stretches across campus with opportunities for research and collaborations among a large number of faculty in the Division of Biology, the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the School of Medicine, the La Jolla Institute of Immunology, the Salk Institute, and many others.
Special Training Programs
Interdisciplinary research and collaboration at UCSD is enhanced through a variety of training grants. These programs provide financial support for exceptional graduate and postdoctoral scholars and also unite researchers from across campus and throughout the La Jolla research community in special seminars, retreats, and courses. Doctoral students usually apply for training grants in their second year.
- Molecular Biophysics Training Grant
- Contemporary Approaches to Cancer Cell Signaling and Communication
- Interfaces Graduate Training Program
- Molecular Pharmacology Training Program
Teaching apprenticeships are a vital and integral part of graduate student training, and four quarters of teaching are normally required. See the Teaching Assistants page to apply. Students can gain experience teaching both discussion and laboratory sections. Excellence in teaching is stressed, and the department provides a thorough training program covering both fundamentals and special techniques for effective instruction. Further training is provided by the Teaching and Learning Commons on campus. Performance is evaluated every quarter, and awards are bestowed quarterly for outstanding teaching performance.
Students in good academic standing receive a 12-month stipend; fees and tuition are also provided. Support packages come from a variety of sources, including teaching and research assistantships, training grants, fellowships, and awards. Special fellowships are awarded to outstanding students based on their admission files. See Ph.D. Program Support Policy for more information.
Health and Dental Plan
A primary health care program, major medical plan, and dental plan are among the benefits provided by the University's registration fee (see Graduate Student Health Insurance Program, GSHIP) . Minor illnesses and injuries can usually be treated at the Student Health Center . Counseling is provided free of charge through Counseling and Psychological Services .
Creative, bright, and motivated students from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. We admit for Fall quarter entrance only. The application deadline is in mid-December. The Admissions Committee reviews files individually and in comparison to others, and offers are made beginning mid-January. Admitted applicants are invited to visit the campus. Application information is available here . See UCSD Ph.D. Admissions FAQ page for general information.
Graduates typically obtain jobs in academia or in the biotech/pharmaceutical industry. La Jolla is home to the third largest Biotech/Pharmaceutical industry mecca. Many of our alumni stay in San Diego and obtain positions in one of the over 300 companies that are located near UCSD. During their PhD, students can take advantage of the many internships that are available at these companies. A large proportion of our graduates attain postdoctoral research positions in leading academic institutions. The Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Program provides career advising throughout the PhD. UCSD's Career Services Center and the Physical Sciences Student Success Center provides many resources for students, including the chance to videotape yourself in a mock interview!
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MAE Doctoral Program
MAE Ph.D. Degree Overview:
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is a research-oriented degree, which requires individual study and specialization in a field or the interfacing of several fields. It is not awarded solely for the fulfillment of technical requirements such as academic residence and course work. Candidates are recommended for the doctorate in recognition of having mastered in depth the subject of their discipline, and having demonstrated the ability to make original contributions through research to knowledge in their field of study. More generally, the degree constitutes an affidavit of aptitude in scholarship, imaginative enterprise in research, and proficiency in communication, including teaching.
The MAE PhD program is intended to prepare students for a variety of careers in research and teaching. Depending on the student's background and ability, research is initiated as soon as possible. All students, in consultation with their advisors, develop course programs that will prepare them for the MAE Departmental Qualifying Examination and for their dissertation research. However, these programs of study and research must be planned to meet the time limits established to advance to candidacy and to complete the requirements for the degree (see below)
Typical Timeline for PhD Students:
- Enter in Fall quarter.
- Department Qualifying Exam before the end of the 2nd year.
- Advance to Candidacy Senate Exam prior to completion of 4th year.
- Defend Dissertation usually by the end of 5th year.
Click for a list of the different Majors within Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Students can change their Major, with approval from Faculty Advisor, by submitting an online Change of Major form
A MAE PhD student is typically assigned a Faculty Advisor (also known as research advisor/faculty advisor/PI) during the admissions process. In very rare cases, students may be admitted without an assigned faculty advisor. Students are not necessarily bound to their assigned advisor for the duration of their PhD program, but very careful consideration is given to the assignments, and students must speak with the Ph.D. Graduate Coordinator prior to requesting a switch. The Graduate Affairs Committee and corresponding faculty members take this process very seriously and strenuously endeavor to ensure a good match between student and advisor.
If a student would like to change their Faculty Advisor, they must first meet with the PhD Academic Advisor to discuss their reasons for the change. Then, the student must complete this form , which must be approved by the Chair of the MAE Graduate Affairs Committee. For additional questions, please contact PhD Academic Advisor here: [email protected] .
MAE PhD Program Requirements Checklist (Students will use this checklist to plan their Doctoral program coursework and to make sure they are meeting Degree requirements)
Enroll in courses through WebReg on Tritonlink .
Some courses may require Prerequisites and you may need to place a request through Enrollment Authorization System ( EASy ). If you'd like to request to enroll in a course with Prerequisites through EASy ensure to comment: Under "Justification" that you've taken similar courses to the ones listed in "Prerequisites" and then submit your request.
To be considered a full-time registered student you must enroll in 12 units every quarter.
Incoming PhD students should take courses (9, 4-unit courses) to prepare for their Department Qualifying Exam (DQE). See the DQE guidelines below.
See Course Offerings for course schedule. MAE Graduate Course Structure
MAE 205 Graduate Seminar requirement for PhD Students:
MAE 205. Graduate Seminar (1 unit)
Graduate seminars deal with current topics in fluid mechanics, solid mechanics, applied plasma physics and fusion, chemical engineering, applied ocean sciences, energy and combustion, environmental engineering, dynamic systems, controls and materials science. Topics will vary. (S/U grades only)
All MAE PhD students who joined the program in or after Fall 2017 are required to take 3, 1-unit seminars [i.e. MAE 205]) before they Advance to Candidacy.
The requirement each time a Student enrolls in MAE 205 is to attend 6 Seminars (these should be the MAE Graduate Seminars ) <-- All confirmed Seminars will be listed here, Seminar flyers will be sent periodically by email to all MAE Graduate Students (re: the time, date and content of ea. Seminar)
Currently most MAE Graduate Seminars will be held remotely instead of in person or on campus.
There are 3 PhD Exams:
Please contact your PhD Graduate Coordinator ( [email protected] ) at least 4-6 weeks in advance of the exam date, when planning to take one of your exams, to ensure you have met exam requirements and have the proper paperwork.
Submit an entry to the MAE Graduate Exam Form at least 4 Week s prior to any of the following MAE Graduate Exams:
-Department Qualifying Exam
-Senate Exam (Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy)
-Doctoral Dissertation & Final Defense
This is required so that all necessary arrangements can be made. Not notifying MAE of Exam or Defense details in time may result in delays to the award of a Student's Degree. Exams should not be scheduled for the last week of any quarter (UCSD Academic Calendar)
1. Department Qualifying Exam (DQE):
The PhD Department Qualifying Examination (DQE) is intended to determine a PhD candidate's ability to successfully pursue a research project at a level appropriate for the doctoral degree. The DQE is an oral examination administered by a committee of three faculty members, one of whom must be the student's faculty advisor; a fourth committee member from another department is optional.
3 Committee Members:
- MAE Faculty Advisor
- MAE Faculty Member
- MAE Faculty Member or Faculty Member Outside of MAE
- (Optional) MAE Faculty Member or Faculty Member Outside of MAE
A PhD student must successfully pass the DQE before the end of their second full year in the program (at the conclusion of their first six quarters in residence). The DQE is required of all PhD students , regardless of previous institution or degree level . A written or oral M.S. examination or a preexisting M.S. degree do not serve as substitutes for the DQE.
A student can take the DQE twice; if the student fails the exam after the second attempt, the student will not be permitted to continue in the PhD program.
Graduate Students must notify an MAE Graduate Coordinator of their intent to hold the DQE at least four weeks prior to the exam via the MAE Graduate Exam Form
Prior to taking the DQE, PhD students must submit the DQE Form to the PhD Graduate Coordinator with Section I completed (including student and advisor signature).
- DQE Requirements for students admitted to the PhD program prior to FA21
- DQE Requirements Effective FA21:
All PhD students must complete 36 units of coursework (9, 4-unit courses) prior to taking the DQE. Students should work with their faculty advisor and their DQE committee members to identify suitable courses that will prepare them to make meaningful research contributions. The course plan MUST be approved by the faculty advisor and the DQE committee members (via the DQE form) and all courses except for MAE 299, by rule, must be taken for a letter grade.
- 6 of the 9 courses must be 200-level MAE courses.
- 3 of the 9 courses must be 200-level or upper-division undergraduate courses in a STEM field.
Students entering the program with a Master’s Degree may:
- Satisfy course requirements with graduate-level coursework taken at other Universities if approved by the faculty advisor and the DQE committee members via the DQE form.
- Use up to 12 units of MAE 299 to replace 3 of the 9 required courses.
All PhD students must complete the DQE by the end of their second year in the program. The DQE will be based on material covered in at least 3 of the 9 courses, as agreed upon by the DQE committee. In the event that a student fails the examination, they will be allowed to retake the exam one additional time. In the event that they fail the second exam, they will not be permitted to continue in the program.
2. Advancement to Candidacy Senate Exam:
Note: You MUST have completed 3 units of MAE 205 (Graduate Seminars) with a "S" grade before you are eligible to Advance to Candidacy.
The Senate Exam (University Qualifying Exam) is the second examination required of MAE PhD students. In preparation for the Senate Exam, students must have obtained a faculty research advisor, have identified a topic for their dissertation research, have made initial progress, and have an approved doctoral committee.
Graduate Students must notify an MAE Graduate Coordinator of their intent to hold the Senate Exam at least four weeks prior to the exam via the MAE Graduate Exam Form
Upon successful completion of this examination, students are advanced to candidacy and are awarded the Candidate in Philosophy (C.Phil.) degree. The minimum residence requirement for this degree is 3 quarters of continuous academic residence at UCSD . The C. Phil. degree cannot be conferred simultaneously with or following the award of a PhD degree. Graduate Students must be enrolled in at least 6 units per quarter following their Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy in order to establish Academic Residency.
Formal advancement to candidacy requires the student to pay a candidacy fee after their Doctoral Advancement Form is approved by the UCSD Graduate Division. Currently this fee is $50. Students must maintain a GPA equivalent to 3.0 or better in upper-division and graduate course work undertaken with a total of no more than eight units of F and/or U grades in order to take the senate examination and advance to candidacy.
Note: the advancement to candidacy fee will be posted to student billing, after Graduate Division has received, and processed the advancement form.
The faculty committee conducts the Senate Exam, during which students must demonstrate the ability to engage in thesis research. This involves the presentation of a plan for the thesis research project, and progress on this project thus far.
Recommended Starting Fall 2019 Written Proposal:
A written proposal of the student's research topic must be submitted to the committee at least 2 weeks before the oral exam. This written proposal must be 5-15 pages long and must clearly outline a literature review, the critical question that is being addressed in this thesis, and a detailed plan on how this question will be answered. This should lay out the problem that the students wishes to address, accompanied by a thorough review of the literature to provide context. It is often helpful to discuss it with each committee member in advance. The committee may ask questions directly or indirectly related to the project and general questions that it determines to be relevant.
The Doctoral Faculty Committee
For the Advance to Candidacy Exam and for the Final Defense Exam the committee must be constituted, prior to taking the exams.
The student sends a list of committee member names to the PhD Graduate Coordinator (via MAE Graduate Exam Form ) The Graduate Coordinator then constitutes the committee. This committee conducts the qualifying examination, supervises the preparation of the dissertation, and administers the final examination.
The committee members should be selected by the Student and their Faculty Advisor.
Effective FA21, the committee must consist of 4 members composed of the following UCSD Senate Faculty:
- Minimum of 4 members with UC San Diego faculty appointments
- At least 1 member must have a primary appointment in a different department (not MAE)
- At least 2 members must be from MAE
- At least 1 member must be tenured or emeritus
For questions concerning the committee email the PhD Graduate Coordinator or see the Graduate Division website for Appointment of the Doctoral Committee
The preferred means to conduct the qualifying exam is when all committee members are physically present. Graduate Council, however, has determined that a doctoral committee member can participate in one of three ways: 1) physically present (meaning they are in the room), 2) telepresent (meaning they participate by live video teleconference), or 3) in advance (if they must be absent on the exam date, it is permissible to examine the candidate in advance of the exam date).
- More than half of the doctoral committee must be physically present. No more than two members may be telepresent.
- The committee chair, or one co-chair, must be physically present.
- The outside tenured member must be physically present or telepresent.
- If an emergency situation arises that affects the number of committee members present, the committee chair (or co-chairs) may decide how to proceed. There must be sufficient expertise among present members (either physically or telepresent) to examine the student.
If the committee does not issue a unanimous report on the examination, the Dean of Graduate Division shall be called upon to review and present the case for resolution to the Graduate Council, which shall determine appropriate action.
Reconstituted Doctoral Committee
For a variety of reasons a doctoral committee may need to be reconstituted. The request for reconstitution of the membership of a doctoral committee must be submitted to the PhD Graduate Coordinator. The Graduate Coordinator will prepare the official reconstitution documentation and obtain required signatures. The request must include the reason(s) for requesting the change.
Note: There should be 3 registered quarters between the Advancement to Senate Exam and the Final Defense.
3 registered quarters total, which includes the quarter the student officially advances and the quarter they file for graduation. Summer does not count, only regular academic year quarters are counted. For example, if you advance in Winter 2020, the earliest you can defend would be in Fall 2020. Again, the earliest would be Fall 2020, as long as you are registered in all three quarters.
More information about the Exam Policies can be found on the Graduate Division Website
3. Dissertation and Final Defense Examination:
Note: You MUST have at least 1 quarter of Teaching Assistant Experience before your Final Defense Exam
The Dissertation Defense is the final PhD examination. Upon completion of the dissertation research project, the student writes a dissertation that must be successfully defended in an oral examination and public presentation conducted by the doctoral committee. The final defense must be open to the public.
Graduate Students must notify an MAE Graduate Coordinator of their intent to hold the Dissertation and Final Defense at least four weeks prior to the exam via the MAE Graduate Exam Form
A complete copy of the student's dissertation must be submitted to each member of the doctoral committee approximately four weeks before the defense. It is understood that this copy of the dissertation given to committee members will not be the final copy, and that the committee members may suggest changes in the text at the time of the defense. The form of the final draft must conform to procedures outlined in the publication: Instructions for the Preparation and Submission of the Doctoral Dissertation are located at the provided link.
The final defense/degree paperwork must be signed by ALL Committee members.
The student must make two separate appointments with the Graduate Division Office.
- The first appointment will be scheduled prior to defending and will cover, in person, formatting of the dissertation, and forms required to graduate.
- The second appointment is when the candidate submits the dissertation and all final paperwork to the Graduate Division Office.
Upon approval by the Dean of Graduate Division, Graduate Division files the dissertation with the university archivist, who accepts it on behalf of the Graduate Council. Acceptance of the dissertation by the archivist, with a subsequent second approval by the Dean of Graduate Division, represents the final step in the completion by the candidate of all requirements for the doctor of philosophy degree.
Important Dates to Know:
Calendar with Registration Deadlines for the Academic Year and other Calendars with Deadlines on Triton Link.
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Astronomy & Astrophysics
Welcome to Astronomy & Astrophysics at UC San Diego! Astronomy & Astrophysics is an integral part of the
Astrophysics at UC San Diego
Center for astrophysics & space sciences (cass).
CASS is an organized research units (ORU) at UC San Diego and facilitates the interdisciplinary research of Astronomy & Astrophysics. CASS hosts faculty, researchers, postdocs, staff, and students from multiple departments, including Physics, Engineering, Chemistry, Mathematics, Computer Science, and Scripps Institute of Oceanography.
Astronomy & Astrophysics undergraduate and graduate educational programs are administered by the Physics Department. The Physics department allows the cross-disciplinary and germination of Astrophysics topics to be integrated with experimental and theoretical high-energy and particle Physics.
UC San Diego Astronomy News...
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Professor of Physics University of California, San Diego
Email: mcgreevy at physics dot ucsd dot edu Phone: please, no
I am a theoretical physicist.
A goal of my current research is to find physical applications of string theory. There are two, wildly different, ways in which this might happen. One possibility is that string theory will be useful in its capacity as a short-distance completion of models of physics which include gravity. Some areas of inquiry for which such a UV completion is useful are: • the resolution of singularities and the ability of the topology of spacetime to change; • models of cosmological inflation; • some mechanisms for supersymmetry breaking and its mediation; • and many other ideas about physics beyond the Standard Model.
The second possibility arises via holographic duality, an amazing equivalence between string theory in some backgrounds and ordinary quantum field theories, of the kind used to describe many interesting, real physical systems. Through this correspondence, there exists the exciting possibility that results of some laboratory experiments may have a useful description in terms of gravity in extra dimensions.
Nearly all my papers can be found on the arXiv, here .
Here are two that can't.
Here are slides and notes from some talks I've given.
Course materials :
MIT 8.821 Fall 2008: Applied String Theory . Open CourseWare version is here.
MIT 8.821 Fall 2007: Introduction to String Theory .
Education & Opportunities
Finding the right graduate program is a difficult and lengthy process, but it’s important that you find the right fit.
UC San Diego is recognized as one of the best places to study plasma physics in the United States. The Fusion and Astrophysical Plasma Physics Group (FAPPG) is a fusion and astrophysical plasma physics-focused research group located at the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences, UC San Diego. Graduate study through FAPPG is challenging, yet rewarding for those who bring curiosity, motivation, energy, and show persistence. Over the past 30 years, the program has been highly successful. Many graduates now hold positions as professors, researchers, and in finance and industry.
Graduate study through FAPPG provides outstanding opportunities to learn “model thinking”—how to develop models, analyze models, and extract useful ideas from models. Compared to similar PhD programs, there is more emphasis on defining problems, developing models, and multidisciplinary collaboration on experiments. There is less emphasis on large-scale simulations using existing codes.
Prof. Pat Diamond serves as the primary advisor for FAPPG graduate students. Other faculty and researchers also provide research guidance and career mentorship. Prof. Diamond’s students conduct research on a variety of topics, including turbulence flows, toroidal rotation and momentum transport, multi-scale interaction modeling, and other nonlinear plasma physics topics.
Graduate students spend a lot of time in scientific discussions, performing calculations, and writing. All students publish papers in prestigious scientific journals. They participate in seminar courses, run simulations for projects, and present their research at scientific conferences.
Prospective students are considered individually, but some relevant experience that is helpful in pursing graduate studies with FAPPG includes:
- Strong preparation in basic physics and related mathematics
- Prior research experience
- Familiarity with basic numerical analysis
- Scientific writing experience
If you’re interested in applying, contact Prof. Diamond at [email protected] . Please include a CV and a description of your research interests.
What is it like to be a graduate student of Prof. Diamond's?
Here are some ways you can learn more:
- Read descriptions of projects that Prof. Diamond's students are currently working on
- Read articles that Prof. Diamond and his students have recently published
- Email a graduate student—introduce yourself and ask questions
- Arrange a Zoom call with a graduate student and/or Prof. Diamond
Other ways to learn and gain experience:
- Read scientific papers; expand your knowledge of relevant journals
- Subscribe to news alerts on topics you're interested in
- Attend a fusion and plasma physics conference . Regional, national, and international conferences are held every year, depending on the size and scope of the conference. Seek out discounted registration rates for students and conference volunteers.
Courses Taught by Prof. Diamond at UC San Diego
PHYS 87—Freshman Seminar
PHYS 116—Fluid Dynamics for Physicists (Winter 2019 course site)
PHYS 199—Research for Undergraduates
PHYS 200A—Theoretical Mechanics I (Fall 2016 course site)
PHYS 210B—Nonequilibrium Statistical Mechanics (Fall 2020 course site)
PHYS 216—Fluid Dynamics for Physicists (Winter 2019 course site)
PHYS 218A—Plasma Physics I (Fall 2018 course site)
PHYS 218B—Plasma Physics II (Fall 2021 course site)
PHYS 218C—Plasma Physics III (Spring 2021 course site)
PHYS 221A—Nonlinear and Nonequilibrium Dynamics of Physical Systems (Spring 2017 course site)
PHYS 235—Nonlinear Plasma Theory (Spring 2022 235 course site)
PHYS 239—Disks and Dynamics (Winter 2022 239 course site)
PHYS 252—Plasma Physics Seminar (view recent speakers and subscribe to e-alerts)
PHYS 298—Directed Study in Physics
PHYS 299—Thesis Research in Physics
Prof. Diamond also teaches short courses as a visiting professor. PKU short courses
UCSD Department of Physics
Ucsd course catalog, undergraduate studies.
Interested in studying physics or a related field at UC San Diego?
Read more about admissions and financial aid.
If you’re interested in a postdoc position, contact Prof. Diamond at [email protected] . Please include a CV and a detailed summary of your research interests. A PhD in physics or applied physics is expected, but a PhD in plasma physics is not required.
Visiting Students and Scholars
Gaining experience at another research institution helps scientists to cultivate professional relationships, develop new areas of expertise, and better understand scientific culture in another place. These visits also provide insight into physics careers in academia, industry, and government.
Visitors with FAPPG hold temporary appointments that provide educational and research opportunities at the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences and UC San Diego.
Often times, Visiting Students and Visiting Scholars are invited by a UC San Diego faculty member.
If you are a prospective visiting student or scholar wanting to study and do research with FAPPG, you will need Prof. Diamond to sponsor you.
International Faculty and Scholars Office Eligibility, financial support, medical insurance, and the J-1 application process requirements
Fusion and plasma sciences are areas of research that require extensive collaboration and international communication. FAPPG members would not be able to conduct their work without the expertise and enthusiasm of many remarkable people.
Feel free to contact us with your questions or ideas regarding collaborations or outreach.
Prospective students, research in geophysics.
For an overview of the latest geophysics research at Scripps, please see the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics annual report . For a broader view of Earth Sciences research at Scripps, see the Earth Section annual report .
Faculty and Researchers in GP Curricular Group
- Yehuda Bock
- Adrian Borsa
- Kevin Brown
- Catherine Constable
- Steven Constable
- Wenyuan Fan
- Yuri Fialko
- Helen Amanda Fricker
- Alice Gabriel
- Jeffrey Gee
- Jamin Greenbaum
- Jennifer Haase
- Matti Morzfeld
- Ross Parnell-Turner
- David Sandwell
- Peter Shearer
- Dave Stegman
- Vashan Wright
Information for the Geophysics PhD and Master’s degree programs
Students in the Geophysics (GP) graduate program study Earth and other planets to advance our fundamental understanding of their origin, composition, and evolution, and explore the implications for life, for the environment, and for society.
The graduate program provides a broad education in the fundamentals of geophysics, alongside research and coursework spanning multiple specializations. Our flexible curriculum and multidisciplinary researchers enable us to welcome graduate students from a diverse range of backgrounds in science and engineering, producing graduates who are well prepared for future careers in academia, industry, or public service.
Our multidisciplinary program offers graduate students a unique hands-on, collaborative learning environment. A core academic curriculum provides the foundation for working on research projects that emphasize observational techniques and the collection of novel datasets linked to testing new theoretical and computational approaches. GP students participate extensively in field experiments, instrument development, laboratory investigations, and shipboard expeditions. Many students take advantage of the opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant at some point during the course of their degrees.
Is our Geophysics graduate program for you?
At Scripps you can enroll for either a PhD or Masters (MS) degree. Many PhD students complete an MS en route to the PhD by completing sufficient units of coursework. Join us for our annual Pre-Application Virtual Open House on November 18th at 10-11 a.m. (PST) to decide which might be best for you, and why you should choose Scripps. Please register for our Virtual Open House here .
Potential Advisors and Projects for Fall 2023 Admission
The following faculty and research scientists are interested in seeking new students for Fall 2023 intake. If you wish to find out more about their research, please email them individually. If you are not sure what specific area of research you wish to pursue, or have any questions, please email the admissions coordinators, Wenyuan Fan at [email protected] for help and guidance.
Adrian Borsa [email protected] Geodesy, remote sensing, and the water cycle. We use Earth surface deformation (GNSS and InSAR), gravity, and optical/radar imaging to understand the movement and storage of freshwater in the Earth system. Current studies target mountain watersheds in the Western USA, groundwater in California’s Central Valley, and Arctic permafrost. Other research interests include coastal erosion, shallow-water bathymetry, and policy applications of geoscience. Student who wish to do so are encouraged to collaborate with other scientists and groups. Website: aborsa.scrippsprofiles.ucsd.edu .
Steven Constable [email protected] Marine electromagnetic methods. Projects include the study of offshore groundwater, marine gas hydrate, tectonic plate boundaries, and pretty well any other geological feature found offshore. We collect and interpret our own field data, but the lab is also interested in developing algorithms and software needed for data processing and modeling/inversion of EM data. Website: marineemlab.ucsd.edu
Wenyuan Fan [email protected] Observational seismology. We focus on seismic sources and use onshore and offshore, dense array seismic observations to investigate earthquakes, slow earthquakes, subduction zone processes, environmental processes, and their interaction and triggering. Website: igppweb.ucsd.edu/~wenyuanfan
Alice Gabriel [email protected] Computational and theoretical seismology. Projects are available which use high-performance computing and physics-based modeling constrained by a multitude of observations. Application areas range from the seismic cycle in subduction zones and tsunami genesis, to strong ground motion scenarios in complicated settings, to induced seismicity. Projects may involve utilising new methods in terms of numerical discretisation, uncertainty quantification, imaging and monitoring. Website: scripps.ucsd.edu/profiles/algabriel
David Sandwell [email protected] Geodynamics, space geodesy, global seafloor mapping. We are improving the accuracy and spatial resolution of the marine gravity field using data from satellite radar altimeters. The improved marine gravity is important for exploring unknown tectonics in the deep oceans as well as revealing thousands of uncharted seamounts. In addition, we are developing methods to combine the high accuracy of point GPS time series with the high spatial resolution from radar interferometry to measure interseismic velocity along the San Andreas Fault system associated with earthquake hazard. Website: https://topex.ucsd.edu
Peter Shearer [email protected] Seismology. Peter Shearer may have funding to support a student to study earthquakes and/or Earth structure. Website: https://igppweb.ucsd.edu/~shearer/mahi/
Vashan Wright [email protected] Tectonics, granular physics, and Martian geophysics. Project topics might include but are not limited to (1) statistical physics of landslides, fault zones, and earthquakes, (2) factors controlling long-term continental erosion, (3) relationship between continental rifting, climate, and geomorphology, and (4) effects of earthquakes, seismic waves, or fluid flow on quasistatic sediment deformation. Website: stripplelab.ucsd.edu/
Requirements for Admission
In addition to the general requirements for admission to the PhD program , a major in physics, mathematics, or earth sciences is recommended. GRE scores are not required for Fall 2023 admission.
There are various application fee waiver programs offered by the UC San Diego Graduate Division . Please inquire with [email protected] .
GP Applicant evaluation Criteria
Factors which we use to evaluate applicants include, but are not limited to, (1) Academic Preparation; (2) Scholarly potential; (3) Diversity, equity, and inclusion contributions; (4) Alignment with the program; (5) Realistic self-appraisal; and (6) Long-term goals.
Applicants should ensure that they represent themselves accurately with the best possible information in all of the above areas. The admissions committee will consider all aspects of the application including the statement of purpose, transcripts, balance of coursework, letters of recommendation, and responses to optional questions about additional experiences. GRE scores may be included if you wish, and may serve as part of our holistic review, but they are not required. Please inquire with [email protected] .
For full consideration, please submit applications by December 7th . Applications submitted after the deadline may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
All PhD applicants are considered for financial support. Student support during the first year may come from a variety of sources including external or departmental fellowships and research grants. More information about funding can be found here .
- A list of current GP graduate students .
- Graduate student handbooks .
Program of Study for PhD
Students are admitted to the GP curricular group within the Geosciences of the Earth, Oceans, and Planets (GEO) Program based on their interests and the affiliations of their adviser. Each student is assigned a first year advisory committee, comprising their primary advisor and the three person GP departmental committee. Although students may change curricular groups in the course of the year, they must choose which departmental exam they will take. Departmental exams have similar structures among the curricular groups within GEO (a written exam at the end of spring quarter of their first year and an oral exam before the beginning of fall quarter of their second year).
Students are encouraged to begin a research project from the beginning and typically do not hold teaching assistant positions during their first year. Students may change advisers during their first year, but it is important for them to find an adviser by the end of the first year so that they are ready to work on research over the summer and develop a thesis proposal during their second and third years. Students are normally expected to present this proposal at their qualifying exam by the end of their third year.
No single course of study is appropriate to every student in the geophysics curricular group: instead, there is a sequence of foundational classes that each student is expected to complete successfully during the first year, together with a three-quarter seminar sequence on Geophysical Research Skills. Additional graduate class electives or research units (SIO299) under the guidance of a specific instructor provide a minimum of 12 units/quarter required for full-time study. Electives should be chosen from the broad range of available topics in consultation with the first-year guidance committee and the student’s advisor to provide breadth of expertise and to support the individual interests of the student. Some students will find it useful to take courses offered by other curricular groups across Scripps or by other departments on UCSD General campus.
The content of the foundational courses combined with the research skills acquired during the first year seminar forms the basis for the written departmental examination. A list of graduate classes offered by the GP faculty is provided below.
Students are also encouraged to attend Geophysics and Earth Section seminars for exposure to a broad range of geophysical research topics.
Program of Study for MS
The geophysics master’s degree provides a solid grounding in the fundamentals of geophysics for students intending to pursue professional positions in government, industry, or nonprofit organizations or to apply to PhD programs. Two different degree options are available:
MS Plan I—Thesis
This plan combines course work and research, culminating in the preparation of a thesis. A minimum of thirty-six units of credit is required: twenty-two units are expected from Foundational Courses (see below); and twelve units of research work (SIO299) lead to the thesis. Students should contact a thesis adviser and co-adviser prior to, or as part of, the application process. Students are rarely accepted into the program without this prior consultation. This two-member faculty committee, in consultation with the student and the Geophysics Curriculum Advisor, will select the courses and research topic to be completed in two years or less.
MS Plan II—Comprehensive Exam
This course of study is intended to be completed in a single year and requires a minimum of thirty-six credit units. Twenty-two units are expected from the Foundational Group and the remaining twelve units will be selected in consultation with the student’s faculty mentor and geophysics departmental committee. Students must pass a written comprehensive examination at the end of the spring quarter of the first year, which will cover material in the foundational course work.
- SIOG 200 A/B/C Geophysics Research Skills: Geophysics 1 st year seminar (2 units/ quarter)
- SIOG 223A Geophysical Data Analysis I (4 units)
- SIOG 223B. Geophysical Data Analysis II (4 units)
- SIOG 225. Physics of Earth Materials (4 units)
- SIOG 234. Geodynamics (4 units)
- SIOG 221. Plate Tectonics in Practice (4 units)
- SIOG 222. Introduction to Industry Reflection Seismic Methods (4 units)
- SIOG 224. Internal Constitution of the Earth (4 units)
- SIOG 227A. Introduction to Seismology (4 units)
- SIOG 227B. Structural Seismology (4 units)
- SIOG 227C. Seismological Sources (4 units)
- SIOG 228. MS Research Seminar for students in contiguous BS/MS programs
- SIOG 229. Fundamentals of Gravity and Geodesy (4 units)
- SIOG 230. Introduction to Inverse Theory (4 units)
- SIOG 231. Geomagnetism and Electromagnetism (4 units)
- SIOG 232. Ethical and Professional Science (2 units)
- SIOG 233. Introduction to Computing (4 units)
- SIOG 236. Satellite Remote Sensing (4 units)
- SIOG 238. Numerical Methods for PDEs (4 units)
- SIOG 239. Special Topics in Geophysics (4 units)
- SIOG 240. Marine Geology (4 units)
- SIOG 247. Rock Magnetism and Paleomagnetism (4 units)
Potential Upper Division UG Electives (if appropriate):
- SIO 105. Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (4 units)
- SIO 110. Introduction to GIS and GPS for Scientists (4 units)
- SIO 113. Introduction to Computational Earth Science (4 units)
- SIO 160. Introduction to Tectonics (4 units)
- SIO 161. Seismology (4 units)
- SIO 162. Structural Geology (4 units)
- SIO 182A. Environmental and Exploration Geophysics (4 units)
Ph.D. in Physics (Biophysics) The department has developed a flexible program that provides a broad, advanced education and at the same time gives students the opportunity to focus on their specialized interests. These programs consists of graduate courses, apprenticeship in research, teaching experience, and thesis research.
UC San Diego | Graduate Program Requirements Graduate Program Requirements Thank you for your interest in the graduate program in the Department of Physics at the University of California, San Diego. Application Information Application Deadline for 2023-24 is: December 7th, 2022 .
http://physics.ucsd.edu All courses, faculty listings, and curricular and degree requirements described herein are subject to change or deletion without notice. The Graduate Program The Department of Physics offers curricula leading to the following degrees: MS, Astronomy MS, Physics CPhil, Physics PhD, Astronomy PhD, Physics
Physics Graduate Student Yu-Hsuan "Eltha" Teng Awarded Prestigious Scholarship From The Government of Taiwan. ... Foresight Institute Awards 2020 Feynman Prizes in Nanotechnology to UC San Diego Physics Professor Massimiliano Di Ventra. In Memoriam - Harry Suhl (1922-2020)
A calculus-based science-engineering general physics course covering vectors, motion in one and two dimensions, Newton's first and second laws, work and energy, conservation of energy, linear momentum, collisions, rotational kinematics, rotational dynamics, equilibrium of rigid bodies, oscillations, gravitation.
Ph.D in Physics, Harvard University mtallen [at] physics.ucsd.edu Office: Mayer Hall Addition 3611 Curriculum Vitae Heather McMaster Administrative Assistant hmcmaster [at] physics.ucsd.edu Office: Mayer Hall 3138 Phone: 858-822-2374 Jacob Ding Fund Manager ading [at] physics.ucsd.edu Nicolo D'Anna Visiting Research Fellow
PhD, Physics, Specialization in Quantitative Biology Biophysics students will receive their MS (if applicable) and CPhil degrees in physics. Only their PhD will be in physics (biophysics). Entering graduate students are required to have a sound knowledge of undergraduate mechanics, electricity, and magnetism; to
The Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Program provides career advising throughout the PhD. UCSD's Career Services Center and the Physical Sciences Student Success Center provides many resources for students, including the chance to videotape yourself in a mock interview!
If nominated for admission, the official scores must be sent in to the Office of Graduate Admissions in order to receive the official admission offer. Minimum TOEFL requirements for admission are: IBT 85, paper-based 550; IELTS 7. Application: Information and forms are available from the TOEFL Services, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, NJ 08541-6151 ...
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is a research-oriented degree, which requires individual study and specialization in a field or the interfacing of several fields. It is not awarded solely for the fulfillment of technical requirements such as academic residence and course work.
Physics Department Astronomy & Astrophysics undergraduate and graduate educational programs are administered by the Physics Department. The Physics department allows the cross-disciplinary and germination of Astrophysics topics to be integrated with experimental and theoretical high-energy and particle Physics. Physics
UCSD Physics 239/139 Spring 2018, Fall 2019: Quantum information theory in many body physics. UCSD Physics 215C Spring 2019: Quantum Field Theory, part three. ... UCSD Physics 212A Fall 2015: Graduate Quantum Mechanics. UCSD Physics 130C Winter 2013, 14, 15: Quantum Mechanics.
UC San Diego is recognized as one of the best places to study plasma physics in the United States. The Fusion and Astrophysical Plasma Physics Group (FAPPG) is a fusion and astrophysical plasma physics-focused research group located at the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences, UC San Diego.
In addition to the general requirements for admission to the PhD program, a major in physics, mathematics, or earth sciences is recommended. GRE scores are not required for Fall 2023 admission. There are various application fee waiver programs offered by the UC San Diego Graduate Division. Please inquire with [email protected]