Course List for Astrophysical Sciences and Technology
IMPORTANT: Semester transition
RIT will transition from the quarter system to semesters, starting Fall 2013. As a
result, there will be significant changes to the curriculum and credit requirements.
The information this page will be updated to reflect these changes during Summer 2013.
In the meantime, click the links below for summaries of semester course and credit requirements:
AST Curriculum (until Spring 2013)
The core curriculum is common for the Ph.D. and M.S. programs.
Students must take Graduate Seminar I, II, III and the 6 core courses listed below (for a total of 24 quarter credit hours of coursework).
 PhD students require 36 additional credits of elective courses.
 MS students require 12 additional credits as electives.
Unless otherwise noted:
 AST courses are offered on a twoyear cycle.
 All courses earn 4 quarter credit hours.
AST Core Courses
1060701, 702, 703 Graduate Seminar I, II, III (3 research credits total)
1060710 Mathematical and Statistical Methods for Astrophysics* (course website).
1060711 Astronomical Observational Techniques and Instrumentation
1060720 Stellar Structure and Evolution I*
1060730 Radiative Processes I* (course website).
1060740 Galactic Astrophysics and the Interstellar Medium I*
1060750 Extragalactic Astrophysics I
* offered annually
AST Electives
1060712 Astronomical Systems I
1060714 Computational Methods in Astrophysics I
1060715 Computational Methods in Astrophysics II
1060721 Stellar Structure and Evolution II
1060731 Radiative Processes II
1060732 High Energy Astrophysics I
1060733 High Energy Astrophysics II
1060741 Galactic Astrophysics and the Interstellar Medium II
1060751 Extragalactic Astrophysics II
1060752 Cosmology I
1060753 Cosmology II
1060760 General Relativity I
1060761 General Relativity II
1060790 Independent Study (14 credits)
NonAST electives
Subject to approval, students may choose elective courses from many other RIT graduate programs. Some examples are listed below.
There are many more courses that may be appropriate, but which are not listed here.
Imaging Science
1051782 Digital Image Processing
1051784 Pattern Recognition
1051739 Principles of Solid State Imaging
1051728 Design & Fabrication, of a Solid State Camera
1051742 Testing Focal Plane Arrays
1051736 Geometrical Optics
1051737 Physical Optics
1051753 Fundamentals of RadiationMatter Interactions
0307834 Multivariate Statistics for Imaging Science
Mathematics
1016711 Numerical Analysis
1016712 Numerical Linear Algebra
1016713 Mathematical Methods in Scientific Computing
1016811 Numerical Methods for PDEs
1016707 Dynamical Systems
1016725 Stochastic Processes
Computer Sciences
4005750 Artificial Intelligence
4005735, 736 Parallel Computing I, II
AST Course Descriptions
1060710 Mathematical and Statistical Methods for Astrophysics (top)
This course provides an introduction to the applied mathematical and statistical tools used frequently
in astrophysics  including data reduction and analysis and computational astrophysics. Topics will
include Numerical Methods, Probability and Statistics, Frequency Domain Analysis
1060711 Astronomical Observational Techniques and Instrumentation (top)
This course will survey multiwavelength astronomical observing techniques and instrumentation.
Students will gain an understanding of how the telescopes, detectors, and instrumentation in the major
ground based and space based observatories function and how to use them. Observatories to be
studied may include the Very Large Array, GBT, ALMA, Spitzer, HST, Gemini, JWST, and Chandra.
Students will plan and carry out a multiwavelength archival program on a topic of their choice.
1060712 Astronomical Systems I (top)
This is a practical course that will teach students the requisite knowledge needed to design and
fabricate modern astronomical instrumentation systems. It would be useful for those who are
interested in either fabricating or using such instruments. The course will cover aspects of optical
design. Electronics design, mechanical design, computer control, and project management.
Knowledge of the performance of the individual components making up the system will be required as
will their interplay with each other. The specific measurement challenge will vary from year to year
but may include designing a fiberfed imaging spectrometer, a submillimeter detector system, or an
infrared camera.
1060714 Computational Methods in Astrophysics I (top)
This course surveys the different ways that scientists use computers to address problems in
astrophysics. The course will choose several common problems (timeseries analysis, Nbody
simulations, etc.); for each one, it will provide an introduction to the problem, review the literature for
recent examples, and illustrate the basic mathematical technique. In each of these segments, students
will write their own code in an appropriate language.
1060715 Computational Methods in Astrophysics II (top)
This course is the second part of a two quarter series. This course continues to explore the methods
scientists use to study problems in astrophysics which cannot be solved analytically. The first half of
the course will introduce the student to new techniques (adaptive mesh, smoothed particle
hydrodynamics, etc.) which do not appear in the first course (Computational Methods in Astrophysics
I). In the second half of the course, students will plan and execute a large software project, more
detailed and sophisticated than those small projects done in the first course.
1060720 Stellar Structure and Evolution I (top)
An overview of the physical principles governing the internal structures and energy generation
mechanisms of stars, as well as brief introductions to the processes of star formation and the late
stages of stellar evolution. Topics covered include: static stellar structure; stellar energy generation
and transport; simple stellar atmospheres; characteristic timescales for and stages of stellar formation
and evolution; the transition from mainsequence star to red giant and stellar remnant.
1060721 Stellar Structure and Evolution II (top)
The second of a twocourse sequence concerning the internal structures and temporal evolution of
stars. Topics covered include: stellar pulsation & mass loss; binary star systems; protostellar
contraction, accretion, and outflow; planetary nebulae and supernovae; degenerate stars. (prereq:
Stellar Structure & Evolution I)
1060730 Radiative Processes I (top)
This course will survey the emission mechanisms which which produce radiation in astrophysical
environments, including thermal bremstrahlung, synchrotron, comptonization, and pair production.
1060731 Radiative Processes II (top)
This course is the second quarter of a twoquarter sequence. This course will survey the emission
mechanisms which produce radiation in astrophysical environments, including atomic and molecular
line emission; and the process which scatter radiation, e.g., Thompson, Raleigh, and Mie scattering.
1060732 High Energy Astrophysics I (top)
This course will survey violent astrophysical phenomena including Supernovae, Xray binaries, Active
Galactic Nuclei and Gamma Ray Bursts. It will examine physical processes associated with the
emission of highenergy radiation, with the production of high energy particles, with accretion discs
around compact objects and with the production and propagation of astrophysical jets. It will review
current models for the sources of highenergy phenomena. Emphasis will be placed on current models
for Active Galactic Nuclei, which produce a wide range of highenergy phenomena.
1060733 High Energy Astrophysics II (top)
This course is the second in a two quarter sequence. This course will survey the properties Active
Galactic Nuclei (AGN) including distances, luminosities and size scales; observational classification;
the central engine. Standard black hole model; AGN accretion disks; the Eddington limit; evidence for
supermassive blackholes; continuum emission; radio sources; broad emission lines; unification
theories; lifecycles of AGN
1060740 Galactic Astrophysics and the Interstellar Medium I (top)
First course in a twocourse sequence on Galactic Astrophysics and the Interstellar Medium. This
course will cover stellar and galactic dynamics with special application to the Milky Way galaxy.
Topics will include theory of orbits; Jeans's theorem and equilibrium of stellar systems; the virial
theorem; the Jeans equations; gravitational instabilities; structure and kinematics of the Milky Way.
1060741 Galactic Astrophysics and the Interstellar Medium II (top)
Second course in a twocourse sequence on Galactic Astrophysics and the Interstellar Medium. This
course will cover structure and energetics of the interstellar medium (ISM), with special application to
the Milky Way galaxy. Topics will properties of the ISM; molecular clouds and cloud cores; HII
regions; outflows and shock waves; dust.
1060750 Extragalactic Astrophysics I (top)
First course in a twocourse sequence on extragalactic astrophysics. Topics in this first course are the
properties of galaxies, the formation and evolution of galaxies, and the intergalactic medium.
1060751 Extragalactic Astrophysics II (top)
Second course in a twocourse sequence on extragalactic astrophysics. Topics in this course are the
properties of clusters of galaxies, the formation and evolution of clusters, the intracluster medium, and
activity in galaxies.
1060752 Cosmology I (top)
First course in a twocourse sequence on Cosmology. The course will present the foundations of
Cosmology, including the Cosmological principle and its consequences, Newtonian cosmology, and
types of universes.
1060753 Cosmology II (top)
Second course in a twocourse sequence on Cosmology. This will present the studies of the Early
Universe and Inflation; Thermal Evolution of the Universe; nucleosynthesis; baryogenesis; Cosmic
Microwave Radiation; Large Scale Structure and Galaxy Formation models; Dark Matter; Current
Universe: Dark Energy and the Cosmic Acceleration.
1060760 General Relativity I (top)
Einstein's theory of General Relativity is a cornerstone of modern physics and astrophysics. It
embraces a wealth of frontier topics including curved spacetime, black holes, gravitational waves, and
cosmology. The development of this first course follows a physics first approach. The course will cover
various aspects of both Special and General Relativity theories, with applications to astrophysical
situations where strong gravitational fields play a critical role, like black holes and gravitational
radiation. A second course will address more indepth mathematical aspects of the theory and its
application to cosmology.
1060761 General Relativity II (top)
The goals of this course are: 1) to introduce the students to General Relativity using modern
geometrical techniques, including a brief introduction to relevant aspects of set theory, integration on
differential manifolds, and geometrical descriptions of tensors, 2) to introduce the students to the
techniques used (both analytical and numerical) to solve the Einstein Equations, and 3) to introduce
the students to advanced topics in General Relativity.
