Astrophysical Sciences and Technology Master of science degree

a7b0c065-0e7a-48d4-a56b-4afdfe94c6f0 | 85923

Overview

Explore the depths of the universe through multidisciplinary research as you dive into an area that most interests you, whether it be general relativity, theoretical astrophysics, observational or instrumentation development, or another area related to astrophysics.


Students may tailor their programs of study to emphasize Astrophysics (including Observational and Theoretical Astrophysics), Computational and Gravitational Astrophysics (including Numerical Relativity, Gravitational Wave Astronomy), and Astronomical Technology (including detector and instrumentation research and development). Students can pursue research interests in a wide range of topics, including design and development of novel detectors, multiwavelength studies of proto-stars, active galactic nuclei and galaxy clusters, gravitational wave data analysis, and theoretical and computational modeling of astrophysical systems including galaxies and compact objects such as binary black holes. Depending on research interests, students may participate in one of three research centers: the Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation (Video), the Center for Detectors or the Laboratory for Multi-wavelength Astrophysics.

The astrophysics degree focuses on the underlying physics of phenomena beyond the Earth, and on the development of the technologies, instruments, data analysis, and modeling techniques that will enable the next major strides in the field.

There has never been a more exciting time to study the universe beyond the confines of the Earth. A new generation of advanced ground-based and space-borne telescopes and enormous increases in computing power are enabling a golden age of astrophysics. The MS program in astrophysical sciences and technology focuses on the underlying physics of phenomena beyond the Earth, and on the development of the technologies, instruments, data analysis, and modeling techniques that will enable the next major strides in the field. The program's multidisciplinary emphasis sets it apart from conventional astrophysics graduate programs at traditional research universities.

Plan of study

The MS program comprises a minimum of 30 credit hours of study. The curriculum consists of four core courses, two to four elective courses, two semesters of graduate seminar, and a research project culminating in a thesis.

Master's thesis

During the first year, most students begin a research project under the guidance of a faculty research adviser. Focus on the project becomes more significant during the second year after the core courses have been completed. A thesis committee is appointed by the program director and oversees the final defense of the thesis, which consists of a public oral presentation by the student, followed by a closed-door examination by the committee.

Industries


  • Aerospace

  • Government (Local, State, Federal)

  • Scientific and Technical Consulting

  • Higher Education

  • Defense

  • Internet and Software

  • Research

  • Other Industries

Featured Work

Latest News

Curriculum

Astrophysical sciences and technology, MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
ASTP-608
Fundamentals of Astrophysics I
This course will provide a basic introduction to modern astrophysics, including the topics of radiation fields and matter, star formation and evolution, and stellar structure. This course will provide the physical background needed to interpret both observations and theoretical models in stellar astrophysics and prepare students for more advanced topics and research in astrophysics.
3
ASTP-609
Fundamentals of Astrophysics II
3
Choose one of the following:
3
  ASTP-613
   Astrophysical Obervational Techniques and Instrumentation
This course will survey multi-wavelength astronomical observing techniques and instrumentation. The design characteristics and function of telescopes, detectors, and instrumentation in use at the major ground based and space based observatories will be discussed as will common observing techniques such as imaging, photometry and spectroscopy. The principles of cosmic ray, neutrino, and gravitational wave astronomy will also be briefly reviewed.
 
 
   Elective
 
Choose one of the following:
3
  ASTP-610
   Mathematical Methods for the Astrophysical Sciences
This course is a stand-alone course on mathematical methods for astrophysics covering tensor algebra, group theory, complex analysis, differential equations, special functions, integral transforms, the calculus of variations, and chaos.
 
  
   Elective
 
ASTP-601
Graduate Seminar I
This course is the first in a two-semester sequence intended to familiarize students with research activities, practices, and ethics in the university research environment and to introduce students to commonly used research tools. As part of the course, students are expected to attend research seminars sponsored by the Astrophysical Sciences and Technology Program and participate in a weekly journal club. The course also provides training in scientific writing and presentation skills. Credits earned in this course apply to research requirements.
1
ASTP-602
Graduate Seminar II
This course is the second in a two-semester sequence intended to familiarize students with research activities, practices, and ethics in the university research environment and to introduce students to commonly used research tools. As part of the course, students are expected to attend research seminars sponsored by the Astrophysical Sciences and Technology Program and participate in a weekly journal club. The course also provides training in scientific writing and presentation skills. Credits earned in this course apply to research requirements.
1
ASTP-790
Research and Thesis
Masters-level research by the candidate on an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor.
4
Second Year
Choose one of the following:
3
  ASTP-613
   Astrophysical Obervational Techniques and Instrumentation
This course will survey multi-wavelength astronomical observing techniques and instrumentation. The design characteristics and function of telescopes, detectors, and instrumentation in use at the major ground based and space based observatories will be discussed as will common observing techniques such as imaging, photometry and spectroscopy. The principles of cosmic ray, neutrino, and gravitational wave astronomy will also be briefly reviewed.
 
 
   Elective
 
Choose one of the following:
3
  ASTP-610
   Mathematical Methods for the Astrophysical Sciences
This course is a stand-alone course on mathematical methods for astrophysics covering tensor algebra, group theory, complex analysis, differential equations, special functions, integral transforms, the calculus of variations, and chaos.
 
 
   Elective
 
ASTP-790
Research and Thesis
Masters-level research by the candidate on an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor.
6
Total Semester Credit Hours
30

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS program in astrophysical sciences and technology, a candidate must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college in the physical sciences, mathematics, computer science, or engineering.
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work.
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 (or equivalent) in course work in mathematical, science, engineering, and computing subject areas.
  • Submit scores from the GRE.
  • Submit a personal statement of educational objectives.
  • Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 79 (internet-based) is required. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required. The English language test score requirement is waived for native speakers of English or for those submitting transcripts from degrees earned at American institutions.

 

Learn about admissions and financial aid 

Additional Info

MS to Ph.D. transfer

MS students who have excelled in their course work and research project may be permitted, by program approval, to transition into the doctoral program, with the MS thesis defense serving as the Ph.D. qualifying examination. Such a transition from MS to Ph.D. is contingent on the availability of an adviser and research funding.