Graduate Catalog
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Physics

JINGBIAO CUI, PhD
Professor and Chair
Room 216 Manning Hall
(901)-678-3657
Email: jcui@memphis.edu 


SANJAY MISHRA, PhD
Coordinator of Graduate Studies
(901)-678-3115
E-mail: smishra@memphis.edu

www.memphis.edu/physics/index.php

I. The Department of Physics offers a major in Physics for the Master of Science degree with concentrations in General Physics, Computational Physics and Materials Science. Program objectives are: (1) development of an in-depth and specialized knowledge of physical phenomena; (2) ability to successfully demonstrate analytic cognitive knowledge in physics and communications skills through close interaction with other students and the physics faculty; and (3) preparation to continue studies in a PhD program, enter a professional school, or enter the workforce as a technical professional.

Graduate students must comply with the general requirements of the Graduate School (see Admissions Regulations, Academic Regulations, and Minimum Degree Requirements) as well as the program requirements of the degree being pursued.

II. MS Degree Program

A. Program Admission Requirements

  1. For admission to the graduate program, a Bachelor’s degree in Physics or a closely related area is required; no minimum undergraduate GPA is specified. Students are also required to present, as a prerequisite, 20 semester hours of undergraduate physics courses including upper division Mechanics, Electricity, and Magnetism, and approved Mathematics courses in Calculus and Differential Equations.
  2. The GRE general test is recommended and may enhance an applicant's likelihood of admissions. The GRE subject test is not required.
  3. Students from non-English speaking countries are required to demonstrate proficiency in English via the TOEFL examination. The minimum acceptable score is 550.

B. Program Requirements

  1. After meeting the general degree requirements for admission to The Graduate School, students selecting Physics as a major will be assigned to the Physics Department Graduate Committee, which must approve and direct their course of study.
  2. Core requirements (9 credit hours)*:
    1. PHYS 7200/8200, PHYS 7386, and PHYS 7520.
    2. Satisfactory completion of a comprehensive written examination typically taken during the second year of graduate study.
  3. Concentration Requirements (Students may elect either a thesis or non-thesis program.)

    a. General Physics Concentration, thesis option (30 credit hours)
    (Physics Program core requirement*: 9 credit hours, Concentration requirement: 6 credit hours, Thesis: 6 credit hours, Additional courses: 9 credit hours)

    1. General Physics Concentration requirement: PHYS 7100/8100, PHYS 7300.
    2. Sufficient additional courses, including 6 semester hours in PHYS 7996, Thesis, to satisfy a minimum of 30 semester hours (9 semester hours may be in a collateral field of study with course numbers 6000 or above). These courses must be approved by the graduate advisor. 21 semester hours must be taken in courses numbered 7000 or above.
    3. The student must present a research proposal to the graduate thesis committee at the end of the first semester of his/her study for the thesis approval.
    4. The student must complete a research project, submit a written thesis describing the research, orally present and defend the thesis before a faculty committee. Students should familiarize themselves with the Thesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide before beginning to write.

    b. General Physics Concentration, non-thesis option (33 credit hours)
    (Physics Program core requirement*: 9 credit hours, Concentration requirement: 6 credit hours, Additional courses: 18 credit hours)

    1. General Physics Concentration requirement (6 credit hours): PHYS 7100/8100 and PHYS 7300.
    2. Sufficient additional courses to satisfy a minimum of 33 semester hours, in which 9 may be in a collateral field of study. These courses must be approved by the graduate advisor. 23 semester hours must be taken in courses numbered 7000 or above.
    3. Complete a survey of an area of current research in fundamental or applied physics and make an oral and written presentation based on this survey before a faculty committee. The subject of this survey must be approved by the departmental graduate committee at least one semester prior to graduation.

    c. Computational Physics, thesis program (30 credit hours)
    (Physics Program core requirement*: 9 credit hours, Concentration requirement: 6 credit hours, Thesis: 6 credit hours, Additional courses: 9 credit hours)

    1. PHYS 7385, MATH 7721
    2. PHYS 7996 Thesis; must contain a strong computational physics component.  Students should familiarize themselves with the Thesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide before beginning to write.
    3. The student must present a research proposal to the graduate thesis committee at the end of the first semester of his/her study for the thesis approval.
    4. Additional courses to be taken from the following list: CHEM 6415, COMP 7721, MATH 6391, MATH 6393, MATH 7321, MATH 7393. These courses must be approved by the graduate advisor.

    d. Computational Physics, non-thesis program (33 credit hours)
    (Physics Program requirement*: 9 credit hours, Concentration requirement: 6 credit hours, Additional courses: 18 credit hours)

    1. PHYS 7385, MATH 7721
    2. Sufficient additional courses numbered 6000 and above, including PHYS 7100/8100 and PHYS 7300, to satisfy a minimum of 33 semester hours. These courses can be taken in a collateral field of study. CHEM 6415, COMP 7721, MATH 6391, MATH 6393, MATH 6721, MATH 7321, MATH 7393.

    e. Materials Science Concentration, thesis program (30 credit hours)
    (Physics Program requirement*: 9 credit hours, Concentration requirement: 12 credit hours, Thesis: 6 credit hours, Additional courses: 3 credit hours)

    1. Materials Science Concentration requirement: PHYS 6610, PHYS 6810, MEC 7361/8361, PHYS 7390 and PHYS 7996.
    2. Sufficient additional courses (in a collateral field of study with course numbers 6000 or above), including 6 semester hours in PHYS 7996, Thesis, to satisfy a minimum of 30 semester hours. These courses must be approved by the graduate advisor.
    3. The student must present a research proposal to the graduate thesis committee at the end of the first semester of his/her study for the thesis approval.
    4. The student must complete a research project, submit a written thesis describing the research, orally present and defend the thesis before a faculty committee. Students should familiarize themselves with the Thesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide before beginning to write.

    f. Materials Science Concentration, non-thesis program (33 credit hours)
    (Physics Program requirement*: 9 credit hours, Concentration requirement: 12 credit hours, Additional courses: 12 credit hours)

    1. Materials Science Concentration requirement: PHYS 6610, PHYS 6810, MEC 7361/8361, and PHYS 7390.
    2. Sufficient additional courses (12 credit hours in collateral field of study with course numbers 6000 or above), to satisfy a minimum of 33 semester hours. These courses must be approved by the graduate advisor.
    3. Complete a survey of an area of current research in fundamental or applied materials physics and make an oral and written presentation based on this survey before a faculty committee. The subject of this survey must be approved by the departmental graduate committee at least one semester prior to graduation.

III. Dual Degree BS-MS Accelerated Program

Highly motivated and talented students may pursue an undergraduate degree (B.S.) in Physics followed by a graduate (M.S.) in Physics in a special five-year program. This option requires serious commitment, careful planning with the student’s advisor, and summer research work leading toward a Master’s thesis. Carefully tailored course of study allow students in this program to complete their B.S. degree while they also begin the coursework towards their M.S. Students interested in pursuing this option should contact both the undergraduate and graduate advisors in the Department of Physics early in their undergraduate career.

To apply, students should have a minimum 3.25 grade point average, and must submit two reference letters and a copy of their transcripts to the Chair of the Graduate Committee of the Physics Department. Exceptions to the minimum GPA will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Each applicant will complete an interview with the graduate coordinator in the Physics Department.

Students must apply to the Graduate School for “combination senior” status, which allows them to take graduate courses in Physics. To continue in the program past the B.S., students must apply for admission into the Graduate School.

Up to 9 hours of graduate course work may be applied to both the undergraduate and graduate programs. 


PHYSICS (PHYS)

In addition to the courses below, the department may offer the following Special Topics courses:
PHYS 6000-09. Special Topics in Physics. (3). Selected topics of current interest in physics. Topics are varied and announced in online class listings.

PHYS 7050-59. Special Topics in Advanced Physics. (3-6). Selected topics in advanced physics. Topics are varied and announced in online class listings.


PHYS 6020 - Soft Matter/Biological Physics (3)
Random walks, diffusion, entropic forces, colloidal suspensions, polymers, self-assemblies, lipid membranes, transitions in biomolecules, molecular machines in biomembranes. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 2120 and CHEM 1120.

PHYS 6021 - App Radiation Physics (3)
Applied radiation and radioactivity; types of radiation, radiation management, interaction with matter, and biological effects; radiation safety aspects emphasized. PREREQUISITES: PHYS 2120 or 2020 and MATH 1910.

PHYS 6040 - Medical Physics (3)
Physics of sensory, respiratory, and circulatory systems; physical basis of radiology and nuclear medicine. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 2120 or both PHYS 2020 and MATH 1910.

PHYS 6050 - Astrophysics I (3)
Principles of physics applied to the objects of the universe, e.g., planets, sun, stars, etc. Also includes and introduction to electromagnetic radiation and telescopes. Recommended for science and engineering majors interested in astronomy. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 2120 or PHYS 2520.

PHYS 6051 - Astrophysics II (3)
Principles of physics applied to star birth and death, black holes and neutron stars, galaxies and quasars, the beginning and evolution of the universe. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 3051.

PHYS 6110 - Nuclear Physics (3)
Properties of atomic nuclei; radioactive transitions; alpha, beta, and gamma decay; binding energy, nuclear forces, and nuclear models. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 3010.

PHYS 6211 - Waves and Optics (3)
Mathematical description of vibrations and waves with application to sound and electromagnetic waves; geometrical optics; interference and diffraction; holography; introduction to laser physics and photonics. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 2120 and PHYS 3011.

PHYS 6410 - Intro Quantum Theory (3)
Historical background of quantum theory, mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics, solutions of Schrodinger equation for bound and scattering states in one dimension, harmonic oscillator, angular momentum, and introduction to atomic and molecular structures. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 3010, PHYS 3011, PHYS 3211.

PHYS 6510 - Thermal and Statistical Phys (3)
Introduction to thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, includes topics such as temperature, work, heat, entropy, thermodynamic potentials, ideal gases, phase transitions, classical and quantum ensembles, and partition functions. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 2120 and PHYS 3011.

PHYS 6610 - Solid State Physics (3)
Crystal structures, crystal bonding, x-ray diffraction, lattice vibrations and phonons, free and nearly-free electron models, energy bands of insulators, metals, and semiconductors. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 4410

PHYS 6720 - Materials Physics (3)
Basic concepts in materials science emphasizing relationships between microscopic structure and properties; crystallography and symmetries, thermodynamics of material, phase equilibria, structure of ceramics and polymers, mechanical properties of material, kinetics of phase transformations in materials. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 3010.

PHYS 6820 - Materials Physics Lab (3)
Synthesis of various materials and characterizations of their structure and properties using a variety of experimental tools; relationships between structure of materials and their properties are emphasized. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 3010.

PHYS 7010 - Fund Cncpts Class Phys (3)
Basic concepts of Newtonian mechanics, heat, and sound; emphasis on increasing understanding in classical physics, providing demonstrations of physical principles suitable for classroom use, and designing and performing laboratory experiments. Credit does not apply toward a major or minor in chemistry or physics.

PHYS 7011 - Physics Practicum I (1)
Practicum or laboratory experiments, laboratory techniques, laboratory management, and supervised experience in presenting demonstrations with emphasis on concepts covered in Physics 7010. Two laboratory hours per week. COREQUISITE: PHYS 7010. Grades of A-F, or IP will be given.

PHYS 7021 - Physics Practicum II (1)
Practicum laboratory with emphasis on the concept of Electricity and Magnetism. Two laboratory hours per week. PREREQUISITE: PHYS7011. Grades of A-F, or IP will be given.

PHYS 7031 - Physics Practicum III (1)
Practicum laboratory with emphasis on the concept of Modern Physics. Two laboratory hours per week. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 7021. Grades of A-F, or IP will be given.

PHYS 7060 - Indiv Study Adv Physics (1-3)
Independent investigation of an area of advanced physics under supervision of a Physics faculty member. Written report required. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 hours credit. PREREQUISITE: permission of chair. Grades of A-F, or IP will be given.

PHYS 7080 - Teaching Skills Ga (3)
Overview of teaching techniques and classroom management for physics laboratory instructors; includes practical demonstrations in laboratory physics. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credit hours. NOTE: Physics majors may not use this course to fulfill degree requirements. PREREQUISITE: Limited to physics majors and permission of graduate coordinator. Grades of S, U, or IP will be given.

PHYS 7090 - Prof Development Wkshp (3)
Presentations by Physics faculty and students on current research topic; oral presentation required based on research performed under the supervision of a faculty member. NOTE: Physics majors may not use this course to fulfill degree requirements. PREREQUISITE: Limited to physics majors and permission of graduate coordinator. Grades of S, U, or IP will be given.

PHYS 7100 - Classical Mechanics (3)
An analytical study of mechanics of particles and rigid bodies by Lagrange's, Hamilton's and Hamilton-Jacobi methods. The special theory of relativity, canonical transformation, and Poisson brackets are among the concepts emphasized.

PHYS 7200 - Quantum Mechanics I (3)
Physical principles and mathematical formalism of quantum theory, with emphasis on applications in atomic, molecular, and solid state physics; scattering theory; and absorption and emission of electromagnetic radiation. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 6410 or equivalent.

PHYS 7201 - Quantum Mechanics II (3)
Continuation of PHYS 7200; scattering theory, quantum dynamics, spin, perturbation methods, and Hartree-Fock. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 7200.

PHYS 7210 - Relativist Quantum Mech (3)
Quantum mechanics of relativistic particles including the Dirac equation, relativistic covariance, solutions for free particles, particles in electromagnetic fields, particles in central fields, methods of approximation and massless particles. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 7200 or permission of instructor.

PHYS 7220 - Relativ Quantum Fields (3)
General formalism of fields, the Klein-Gordon field, second quantization of the Dirac field, quantization of electromagnetic fields, interacting fields, scattering matrix perturbation theory, dispersion relations, and renormalization. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 7210 or permission of instructor.

PHYS 7230 - Elementary Particles (3)
Introduction to elementary particles, elementary particle dynamics, relativistic kinematics, symmetries, bound states, Feynman calculus, quantum electrodynamics, electrodynamics of quarks and hadrons, quantum chromodynamics, weak interactions, and gauge theories. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 7200 or permission of instructor.

PHYS 7300 - Electrodynamics (3)
An advanced course in electricity and magnetism; topics include fields and potentials, energy methods, steady currents and magnetic materials, Maxwell's equations, and electromagnetic waves.

PHYS 7375 - Methods/Comput Physics (3)
(Same as MATH 7375). Finite dimensional vector spaces, matrices, tensors, vector fields, function spaces, differential and integral operators, transform theory, partial differential equations. PREREQUISITE: Background in ordinary differential equations and linear algebra.

PHYS 7376 - Methods Math Physics II (3)
(Same as MATH 7376, ESCI 7376). Continuation of PHYS 7375. Complex variable theory, asymptotic expansions, special functions, calculus of variations, additional topics on matrices and operators, topics in non-linear analysis. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 7375.

PHYS 7385 - Methods/Comput Physics (3)
Solution of problems in macroscopic and atomic-level problems in physics by numerical analysis and computer simulation, with emphasis on the accuracy and efficiency of large-scale computations and the physical interpretation of results.

PHYS 7386 - Method Theoretical Phys (3)
Use of orthogonal functions in solving problems of continuum mechanics, electrodynamics, and quantum mechanics; algebra of commutators applied to angular momentum; introduction to group theory and symmetry groups in physics.

PHYS 7390 - Polymer Physics (3)
This course introduces students to concepts and phenomena of polymers phase behavior and dynamics. These include single polymer chain conformations, dilute and simi-dilute polymer solutions, polyelectrolyte solutions, effect of confinement, polymer blends, diblock copolymers, kinetics of polymers in dilute and concentrated polymer solutions, and spinodal decomposition in polymer blends. PREREQUISITES: PHYS 3010 and 7520

PHYS 7520 - Statistical Mechanics (3)
Elements of kinetic theory and applications to gases, specific heats, magnetism, etc.; partition functions, introduction to Boltzmann statistics and quantum statistics.

PHYS 7710 - Adv Top Spectroscopy (3)
Advanced topics in atomic and molecular spectroscopy, including the interaction of radiation with matter, transition probabilities, hyperfine structure, applications of group theory to spectroscopic problems.

PHYS 7995 - Seminar (1-3)
Selected topics in physics research including areas of medical physics. Students required to give oral presentation based on library or original research. Grades of S, U, or IP will be given.

PHYS 7996 - Thesis (1-6)
Original investigation of an assigned problem in the area of graduate study to be carried out under the supervision of a qualified member of the staff. This investigation will furnish the material for a thesis. Scientific articles, progress reports, and special problems of interest are reviewed and discussed by the student in seminars each semester. A maximum of six semester hours credit is allowed toward a master's degree.Grades of S, U, or IP will be given.

PHYS 8100 - Classical Mechanics (3)
An analytical study of mechanics of particles and rigid bodies by Lagrange's, Hamilton's and Hamilton-Jacobi methods. The special theory of relativity, canonical transformation, and Poisson brackets are among the concepts emphasized.

PHYS 8200 - Quantum Mechanics I (3)
Physical principles and mathematical formalism of quantum theory, with emphasis on applications in atomic, molecular, and solid state physics; scattering theory; and absorption and emission of electromagnetic radiation. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 6410 or equivalent.

PHYS 8201 - Quantum Mechanics II (3)
Continuation of PHYS 7200; scattering theory, quantum dynamics, spin, perturbation methods, and Hartree-Fock. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 7200.

PHYS 8520 - Statistical Mechanics (3)
Elements of kinetic theory and applications to gases, specific heats, magnetism, etc.; partition functions, introduction to Boltzmann statistics and quantum statistics.

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