Department of Physics
101 Physics Building
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400714
Charlottesville, VA 229044714
(434) 9243781
www.phys.virginia.edu
Degree Requirements
The Master’s Program Three master’slevel
degrees are offered in the Physics Department. Candidates for the M.S. degree
must pass thirty credits of courses approved by the graduate adviser, present
a thesis, and defend it in an oral examination. Offered primarily for secondary
or community college teachers, the M.A. degree requirements depend on the candidate’s
background and are developed with the departmental graduate program committee.
The M.A.P.E. (Master of Arts in Physics Education) degree is designed to provide
middle school physical science and high school physics teachers with a strong
background in physics. Courses numbered in the 600s are taken to satisfy the
requirements for this degree. Typically students take two courses in the summer
in residence at UVa and one distance learning course in the academic year totaling
ten credits each year to complete the required thirty credits in two and a half
years.
The Ph.D. Program Unless credit for advanced standing
is given by the departmental advisor, Ph.D. candidates must pass 12 departmentally
required courses (seven specified "core courses" and five electives)
in addition to six elective courses passed with a letter grade (not S or U)
and six more courses, including nontopical research.
Qualifying Examination Candidates for the Ph.D. degree
must pass a qualifying examination in the subjects of classical mechanics, electricity
and magnetism, quantum mechanics, and statistical mechanics. The material for
this examination is covered in the seven core courses, which should be completed
before the start of the fourth semester.
Research and Thesis Requirements Ph.D. candidates must
present a dissertation on their research, satisfactory to their research advisor,
and defend it in an oral examination.
The Engineering Physics Program The Department of Physics
also offers an engineering physics degree program jointly administrated with
the School of Graduate Engineering and Applied Science. The engineering physics
program offers the flexibility of pursuing an advanced degree in interdisciplinary
fields defined by the student. Students seeking the Ph.D. degree in this program
must satisfy the engineering physics degree course requirements: two each in
physics and engineering and one in mathematics. In addition, students must also
satisfy any other general requirements listed in the School of Graduate Engineering
chapter of this Record. Students must choose a research advisor and declare
a concentration in the Engineering School within the fall semester of their
first year. The qualifying examination for a Ph.D. consists of an oral examination
following a written examination of three components; students must take at least
one component in physics and one in engineering.
Course Descriptions
Note: The courses listed below are given as the needs of students require.
PHYS 519  (3) (Y)
Electronics
Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Studies practical electronics
for scientists, from resistors to microprocessors.
PHYS 521  (3) (Y)
Theoretical Mechanics I
Prerequisite: PHYS 321 and MATH 522, or instructor permission.
Studies
the statics and dynamics of particles and rigid bodies. Discusses methods of
generalized coordinates, the Lagrangian, HamiltonJacobi
equations, and actionangle variables. Relation to the quantum theory is explored.
PHYS 524  (3) (Y)
Introduction to the Theory of General Relativity
Prerequisite: Advanced calculus through partial differentiation
and multiple integration; vector analysis in three dimensions.
Reviews special
relativity and coordinate transformations. Includes the principle of equivalence;
effects of gravitation on other systems
and fields; general tensor analysis in curved spaces and gravitational field
equations; Mach’s principle, tests of gravitational theories: perihelion
precession, red shift, bending of light, gyroscopic precession, radar echo delay;
gravitational radiation; relativistic stellar structure and cosmography; and
a short survey of cosmological models.
PHYS 531  (3) (Y)
Optics
Prerequisite: Knowledge of vector calculus and previous
exposure to Maxwell’s equations.
Includes reflection and refraction at interfaces,
geometrical optics, interference phenomena, diffraction, Gaussian optics, and
polarization.
PHYS 547  (3) (IR)
Introduction to Molecular Biophysics
Prerequisite: PHYS 331 or CHEM 361, PHYS 355 or CHEM
362, MATH 521, or instructor permission.
Introduces the physics of molecular
structures and processes in living systems. Includes molecular structure analysis
by Xray (and neutron)
diffraction; electronic configuration of atoms, groups, and small molecules
of critical importance in biology; physical methods of macromolecular structure
determination, in solution and in the solid state; thermodynamic and electronic
factors underlying group interactions, proton dissociation, and charge distribution
in macromolecule; solventmacromolecule interactions; action spectroscopy; and
rate processes in series and parallel.
PHYS 551, 552  (3) (IR)
Special Topics in Classical and Modern Physics
Prerequisite: PHYS 342 or instructor permission.
Topics of current
interest in physics research and pedagogy. May be repeated.
PHYS 562  (3) (Y)
Introduction to Solid State Physics
Includes crystal structures, lattice vibrations, and electronic
properties of insulators, metals, and semiconductors; superconductivity.
PHYS 572  (3) (Y)
Introduction to Nuclear and Particle Physics
Studies subatomic structure, basic constituents and their mutual
interactions.
PHYS 593  (3) (Y)
Independent Study
Independent study supervised by a faculty member, culminating
in a written report, essay, or examination. May be repeated.
Professional Development Courses for Teachers Courses
numbered in the 600s are offered for theprofessional development of K12 teachers
to improve competency in physics and to assist them in obtaining endorsement
or recertification. In the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences these courses
count for degree credit only for the MAPE degree.
PHYS 605, 606  (3) (SI)
How Things Work I, II
Prerequisite: Undergraduate degree or instructor permission.
These
courses consider objects from our daily environment and explain how they work
with emphasis on physics concepts. PHYS 605 focuses on
mechanics and heat; PHYS 606 treats objects involving electromagnetism, light,
special materials, and nuclear energy. These may be distance learning courses
intended for inservice science teachers with lectures, homework and exams conducted
via the internet.
PHYS 609  (3) (SI)
Galileo and Einstein
Prerequisite: Undergraduate degree or instructor permission.
This course
examines how new understanding of the natural world developed from the time of
Galileo to Einstein taking the two famous scientists
as case studies. This may be a distance learning course intended for inservice
science teachers with lectures, homework and exams conducted via the internet.
PHYS 611, 612  (3) (IR)
Physical Science for Teachers
Prerequisite: Undergraduate degree and presently (or
intending to be) a K8 teacher.
Laboratorybased course providing elementary
and middle school teachers handson experience in the principles and applications
of physical
science. Not suitable for physics majors; no previous college physics courses
are assumed.
PHYS 613  (13) (SI)
Topics in Physical Science
Prerequisite: Undergraduate degree or instructor permission.
Small
classes studying special topics in physical science using cooperative teaching
in a laboratory setting. Handson experiments and lecture
demonstrations allow special problems to be posed and solved. May be taken
more than once.
PHYS 620  (1) (SI)
Topical Physical Science
Prerequisite: Undergraduate degree or instructor permission.
A series
of onecredit science courses of interest to K12 teachers, as well as the general
public. These courses are offered anywhere
in the state as needed through School of Continuing and Professional Studies
regional centers. The courses are designed to meet Virginia’s SOLs and
consist of lectures, demonstrations, and many handson science activities. Current
course topics include Sound, Light & Optics, Aeronautics and Space, Electricity,
Meteorology, Magnetism, Heat & Energy, Matter, and Force & Motion.
May be taken more than once.
PHYS 631, 632, 633  (4) (SI)
Classical and Modern Physics I, II, III
Prerequisite: Undergraduate degree and instructor permission.
A comprehensive
study of physics using some calculus and emphasizing concepts, problem solving,
and pedagogy. This course series is intended for
inservice science teachers, particularly middle school physical science and
high school physics teachers. These courses can be used for crossover teachers
who wish to obtain endorsement or certification to teach high school physics.
They are required courses for the MAPE degree. The courses are typically taught
for 4 weeks in the summer with a daily twohour lecture and twohour problem
session. Problem sets continue for three months into the next semester.
 Motion, kinematics, Newton’s laws, energy and momentum conservation,
gravitation, harmonic motion, waves, sound, heat, and fluids.
 Coulomb’s law, Gauss’s law, electrostatics, electric fields,
capacitance, inductance, circuits, magnetism, and electromagnetic waves.
 Geometric and physical optics, relativity, and modern physics.
PHYS 635, 636, 637  (3) (SI)
Curriculum Enhancement I, II, III
Prerequisite: Undergraduate degree and instructor permission.
A laboratory
sequence normally taken concurrently with PHYS 631, 632, 633, respectively. It
includes experiments with sensors that are integrated
with graphing calculators and computers and other experiments using low cost
apparatus. The courses are typically held in the summer for four weeks and are
extended into the next semester creating an activity plan. The laboratories
utilize best teaching practices and handson experimentation in cooperative
learning groups.
PHYS 640  (36) (SI)
Independent Study
Prerequisite: Undergraduate degree and instructor permission.
A program
of independent study for inservice science teachers carried out under the supervision
of a faculty member culminating in a written
report. A typical project may be the creation and development of several physics
demonstrations for the classroom or a unit activity. The student may carry out
some of this work at home, school, or a site other than the University.
Advanced Graduate Courses
Courses primarily for students seeking M.A., M.S., and Ph.D.
degrees in physics.
PHYS 719  (3) (Y)
Advanced Experimental Physics
Selected experiments designed to introduce students to concepts
and techniques from a variety of fields of contemporary physics.
PHYS 725  (3) (Y)
Mathematical Methods of Physics I
Prerequisite: MATH 521 and 522 or instructor permission.
Discusses
matrices, complex analysis, Fourier series and transforms, ordinary differential
equations, special functions of mathematical physics,
partial differential equations, general vector spaces, integral equations and
operator techniques, and Green’s functions.
PHYS 742  (3) (Y)
Electricity and Magnetism I
Prerequisite: PHYS 725 or instructor permission.
A consistent mathematical
account of the phenomena of electricity and magnetism; electrostatics and magnetostatics;
macroscopic media; Maxwell
theory; and wave propagation.
PHYS 743  (3) (Y)
Electricity and Magnetism II
Prerequisite: PHYS 742 or instructor permission.
Development of the
theory of special relativity, relativistic electrodynamics, radiation from moving
charges, classical electron theory, and
Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of electrodynamics.
PHYS 751  (3) (Y)
Quantum Theory I
Prerequisite: Twelve credits of 300level physics courses
and MATH 521, 522, or instructor permission.
Introduces the physical basis of
quantum mechanics, the Schroedinger equation and the quantum mechanics of oneparticle
systems, and stationary state
problem.
PHYS 752  (3) (Y)
Quantum Theory II
Prerequisite: PHYS 751 or instructor permission.
Includes angular momentum
theory, techniques of timedependent perturbation theory, emission and absorption
of radiation, systems of identical
particles, second quantization, and HartreeFock equations.
PHYS 795, 796  (3) (Y)
Research
Research leading to a master’s thesis.
PHYS 797  (312) (Y)
Research
Continuation of PHYS 796.
Note: Admission to 800 and 900level PHYS courses requires the
instructor’s permission.
PHYS 822  (3) (E)
Lasers and Nonlinear Optics
Prerequisite: PHYS 531 and exposure to quantum mechanics.
Studies nonlinear
optical phenomena; the laser, sum, and difference frequency generation, optical
parametric oscillation, and modulation techniques.
PHYS 831  (3) (Y)
Statistical Mechanics
Prerequisite: PHYS 751.
Discusses thermodynamics and kinetic theory,
and the development of the microcanonical, canonical, and grand canonical ensembles.
Includes BoseEinstein
and FermiDirac distributions, techniques for handling interacting manyparticle
systems, and extensive applications to physical problems.
PHYS 832  (3) (IR)
Statistical Mechanics II
Prerequisite: PHYS 831.
Further topics in statistical mechanics.
PHYS 842  (3) (O)
Atomic Physics
Prerequisite: PHYS 752 or instructor permission.
Studies
the principles and techniques of atomic physics with application to selected
topics, including laser and microwave spectroscopy, photoionization, autoionization,
effects of external fields, and laser cooling.
PHYS 853  (3) (Y)
Introduction to Field Theory
Prerequisite: PHYS 752.
Introduces the quantization of field theories,
including those based on the Dirac and KleinGordon equations. Derives perturbation
theory in
terms of Feynman diagrams, and applies it to simple field theories with interactions.
Introduces the concept of renormalization.
PHYS 854  (3) (Y)
Modern Field Theory
Prerequisite: PHYS 853.
Applies field theory techniques to quantum
electrodynamics and to the renormalizationgroup description of phase transitions.
Introduces
the path integral description of field theory.
PHYS 861  (3) (Y)
Solid State Physics I
Prerequisite: PHYS 752 or instructor permission.
The description and
basic theory of the electronic properties of solids including band structure,
electrical conduction, optical properties,
magnetism and superconductivity.
PHYS 862  (3) (IR)
Solid State Physics II
A discussion of various topics and problems relating to the
physical properties of crystalline solids.
PHYS 871  (3) (E)
Nuclear Physics
Discusses nuclear theory and experiment. Description and interpretation
of nuclear reactions including fission, and the structure of nuclei.
PHYS 872  (3) (IR)
Nuclear Physics II
A continuation of the topics of Physics 871.
PHYS 875  (3) (IR)
Elementary Particle Physics
Discusses the various topics and problems relative to the physical
properties and interactions of elementary particles.
PHYS 876  (3) (IR)
Elementary Particle Physics II
Extension of PHYS 875. Studies topics in modern elementary
particle physics, including unified gauge theory of electroweak interactions
and introduction to QCD and lattice gauge theory.
PHYS 881, 882  (3) (IR)
Selected Topics in Modern Physics
PHYS 897  (312) (Y)
NonTopical Research, Preparation for Research
For master’s research,
taken before a thesis director has been selected.
PHYS 898  (312) (Y)
NonTopical Research
For master’s thesis, taken under the supervision
of a thesis director.
PHYS 901, 902  (3) (Y)
General Physics Research Seminar
PHYS 925, 926  (3) (IR)
Research Seminar in Theoretical Physics
PHYS 951, 952  (3) (Y)
Atomic and Molecular Seminar
PHYS 961, 962  (3) (Y)
Research Seminar in Solid State Physics
PHYS 971, 972  (3) (Y)
Research Seminar in Nuclear Physics
PHYS 981, 982  (3) (Y)
Research Seminar in Particle Physics
PHYS 997  (312) (Y)
NonTopical Research, Preparation for Doctoral Research
For doctoral research, taken before a dissertation director
has been selected.
PHYS 999  (312) (Y)
NonTopical Research
For doctoral dissertation, taken under the supervision of a
dissertation director.
Physics Colloquium The faculty and graduate students
meet weekly for the presentation by a visiting speaker of recent work in the
physical sciences.
