Astrophysical Sciences and Technology MS

Astrophysical Sciences and Technology, MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
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. (Prerequisites: This course is restricted to students in the ASTP-MS and ASTP-PHD programs.) Seminar 2 (Fall).
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. (Prerequisites: This course is restricted to students in the ASTP-MS and ASTP-PHD programs.) Seminar 2 (Spring).
1
ASTP-608
Fundamental 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. (Prerequisites: This course is restricted to students in the ASTP-MS and ASTP-PHD programs.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
3
ASTP-609
Fundamental Astrophysics II
This course will provide a basic introduction to modern astrophysics, following on from Fundamental Astrophysics I. Topics will include basic celestial mechanics and galactic dynamics, the Milky Way and other galaxies, the interstellar medium, active galactic nuclei, galaxy formation and evolution, and an introduction to cosmology. This course will provide the physical background needed to interpret both observations and theoretical models in galactic and extragalactic astrophysics and cosmology and prepare students for more advanced topics and research in astrophysics. (Prerequisites: ASTP-608 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
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. (Prerequisites: This course is restricted to students in the ASTP-MS and ASTP-PHD programs.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
ASTP-613
Astronomical Observational 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. (Prerequisites: This course is restricted to students in the ASTP-MS and ASTP-PHD programs.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
3
ASTP-790
Research & Thesis
Masters-level research by the candidate on an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor. (Enrollment in this course requires permission from the department offering the course.) Thesis (Fall, Spring, Summer).
4
Second Year
 
Electives
6
ASTP-790
Research & Thesis
Masters-level research by the candidate on an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor. (Enrollment in this course requires permission from the department offering the course.) Thesis (Fall, Spring, Summer).
6
Total Semester Credit Hours
30

Electives

Course
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. (Prerequisites: This course is restricted to students in the ASTP-MS and ASTP-PHD programs.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
ASTP-611
Statistical Methods for Astrophysics
This course provides an introduction to the statistical techniques used in astrophysics and other observational sciences, including parameter estimation, hypothesis testing, and statistical signal processing. An introduction is given to both Bayesian and frequentist approaches. (Prerequisites: This course is restricted to students in the ASTP-MS and ASTP-PHD programs.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
ASTP-720
Computational Methods for Astrophysics
This course surveys the different ways that scientists use computers to address problems in astrophysics. The course will choose several common problems in astrophysics; 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. (Prerequisites: This course is restricted to students in the ASTP-MS and ASTP-PHD programs.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
ASTP-730
Stellar Atmospheres & Evolution
An overview of the physical principles and observational phenomenology describing stellar atmospheres and stellar evolution. Topics covered include: atmospheric temperature structure and line formation; atmosphere models and spectral type determination; observational (spectral) diagnostics of stellar masses, abundances, ages and evolutionary states; and a survey of contemporary topics in star formation and pre- and post-main sequence stellar evolution, with emphasis on the physical processes governing stellar accretion, mass loss, and the effects of binary companions on these processes. (Prerequisites: ASTP-608 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
ASTP-740
Galactic Astrophysics
This course will cover stellar and galactic dynamics with special application to the Milky Way galaxy. Topics will include the theory of orbits; Jeans theorem and equilibrium of stellar systems; the virial theorem; the Jeans equations; gravitational instabilities; structure and kinematics of the Milky Way; properties of spiral and elliptical galaxies. (Prerequisites: This course is restricted to students in the ASTP-MS and ASTP-PHD programs. Co-requisites: ASTP-617 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
ASTP-750
Extragalactic Astrophysics
This course will cover objects in the universe beyond our own Milky Way galaxy, with an emphasis on the observational evidence. Topics will include properties of ordinary and active galaxies; galaxy clusters; the extragalactic distance scale; evidence for dark matter; cosmological models with and without lambda. (Prerequisites: ASTP-740 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
ASTP-760
Introduction to Relativity and Gravitation
This course is the first in a two-course sequence that introduces Einstein's theory of General Relativity as a tool in modern astrophysics. The course will cover various aspects of both Special and General Relativity, with applications to situations in which strong gravitational fields play a critical role, such as black holes and gravitational radiation. Topics include differential geometry, curved spacetime, gravitational waves, and the Schwarzschild black hole. (Prerequisites: This course is restricted to students in the ASTP-MS and ASTP-PHD programs. Co-requisites: ASTP-617 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
ASTP-831
Stellar Evolution & Environments
A survey of contemporary topics in star formation and pre- and post-main sequence stellar evolution, with emphasis on the physical processes governing stellar accretion, mass loss, and the effects of binary companions on these processes. (Prerequisites: ASTP-730 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
ASTP-835
High-Energy Astrophysics
This course will survey violent astrophysical phenomena including supernovae, compact stellar remnants, X-ray binaries, gamma ray bursts, and supermassive black holes in active galactic nuclei. It will examine physical processes associated with the emission of high-energy radiation, production of high-energy particles, accretion discs around compact objects, and production and propagation of astrophysical jets. It will review current models for the sources of high-energy phenomena. (Prerequisites: ASTP-615 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
ASTP-841
The Interstellar Medium
This course provides a detailed overview of the physical processes and properties of the interstellar medium in our Galaxy and other galaxies. The course explores the fundamental physical basis of the observed properties of low-density astrophysical gases observed throughout the universe. Topics may include HII regions, planetary nebulae, HI clouds, molecular clouds, photodissociation regions, supernova remnants, and multi-phase models of the interstellar medium. (Prerequisites: ASTP-615 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
ASTP-851
Cosmology
This course will cover the evolution of the universe from the big bang to the present, with an emphasis on the synergy between theory and observations. Topics will fall under three general headings: classical and relativistic cosmology, the early universe, and structure formation. (Prerequisites: ASTP-617 or equivalent course. Co-requisites: ASTP-750 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
ASTP-861
Advanced Relativity and Gravitation
This course is the second in a two-course sequence that introduces Einstein's theory of General Relativity as a tool in modern astrophysics. The course will cover various aspects of General Relativity, with applications to situations in which strong gravitational fields play a critical role, such as black holes and gravitational radiation. Topics include advanced differential geometry, generic black holes, energy production in black-hole physics, black-hole dynamics, introductory cosmology, and methods for solving the Einstein equations. (Prerequisites: ASTP-760 or equivalent course. Co-requisites: PHYS-612 and ASTP-610 or equivalent courses.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
IMGS-628
Design and Fabrication of Solid State Cameras
The purpose of this course is to provide the student with hands-on experience in building a CCD camera. The course provides the basics of CCD operation including an overview, CCD clocking, analog output circuitry, cooling, and evaluation criteria. (This course is restricted to students with graduate standing in the College of Science or the Kate Gleason College of Engineering or Graduate Computing and Information Sciences.) Lab 6, Lecture 1 (Fall).
IMGS-639
Principles of Solid State Imaging Arrays
This course covers the basics of solid state physics, electrical engineering, linear systems and imaging needed to understand modern focal plane array design and use. The course emphasizes knowledge of the working of CMOS and infrared arrays. (This course is restricted to students with graduate standing in the College of Science or the Kate Gleason College of Engineering or Graduate Computing and Information Sciences.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
IMGS-642
Testing of Focal Plane Arrays
This course is an introduction to the techniques used for the testing of solid state imaging detectors such as CCDs, CMOS and Infrared Arrays. Focal plane array users in industry, government and university need to ensure that key operating parameters for such devices either fall within an operating range or that the limitation to the performance is understood. This is a hands-on course where the students will measure the performance parameters of a particular camera in detail. (This course is restricted to students with graduate standing in the College of Science or the Kate Gleason College of Engineering or Graduate Computing and Information Sciences.) Lab 6, Lecture 1 (Spring).
PHYS-611
Classical Electrodynamics I
This course is a systematic treatment of electro- and magneto-statics, charges, currents, fields and potentials, dielectrics and magnetic materials, Maxwell's equations and electromagnetic waves. Field theory is treated in terms of scalar and vector potentials. Wave solutions of Maxwell's equations, the behavior of electromagnetic waves at interfaces, guided electromagnetic waves, and simple radiating systems will be covered. (Prerequisites: PHYS-412 or equivalent course or Graduate standing.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
PHYS-612
Classical Electrodynamics II
This course is an advanced treatment of electrodynamics and radiation. Classical scattering theory including Mie scattering, Rayleigh scattering, and the Born approximation will be covered. Relativistic electrodynamics will be applied to charged particles in electromagnetic fields and magnetohydrodynamics. (Prerequisites: PHYS-611 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).