# Graduate Programs

### Preliminary Examination

All graduate candidates must pass a preliminary examination, within a timeline dependent upon their undergraduate preparation and the degree being sought.

Preliminary Examination Policy (pdf)

### We have a new 5 year B.S./M.S. degree in the Department

B.S. students in the first semester of their Junior year in the department should consider applying for the B.S./M.S., which can be combined with concentrations or double-majors as well. If admitted, you can start research toward an M.S. during your Senior year with us, and are eligible for TA/RA funding during the 5th year while you attain your M.S. in Physics.

New 5 year degree requirements (pdf).

### MS in Physics

All students are required to pass a preliminary exam (“prelim”) at the MS level. The prelim covers material in physics and mathematics normally included in the undergraduate physics curriculum. The department offers the exam at the beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters. Failure to pass this exam in the timeline established on entry to the program usually results in disenrollment from the graduate physics program.

The students course of study must be approved by the students advisory committee and must fulfill the general requirements for the masters degree with thesis and must include a minimum of 9 credit hours selected from: PHYS 505, 508, 513, 514, 515, 516, 526.

All students must complete PHYS 501 and 502 in their first two semesters.

PHYS 579 (1), Graduate-Faculty Seminar, must be taken for the first four semesters.

The preliminary examination will cover courses in physics and mathematics normally included in the undergraduate physics curriculum. Thesis topics will be chosen in consultation with an advisory committee.

Courses approved by the students advisor must fulfill the general requirements for the masters degree without thesis and must include the following:

- All students must complete PHYS 501 (1), and 502 (1) in their first two semesters.
- PHYS 590 (3)
- a minimum of 9 credit hours selected from: PHYS 505, 508, 513, 514, 515, 516, 526.
- PHYS 579 (1), Graduate-Faculty Seminar, must be taken for the first four semesters.

The preliminary examination will cover courses in physics and mathematics normally included in the undergraduate physics curriculum.

### MS in Physics with Specialization in Instrumentation

Students entering this M.S. program should have a bachelors degree in engineering, one of the sciences, mathematics, or computer science. Students will also be expected to complete at Tech basic undergraduate physics and electronics courses they have not had.

Given the varied backgrounds and interests of students in this specialty, the program of study is tailored to each students needs.

*Credits*

9 Graduate physics courses approved by the students advisory committee

3 EE 322, 322L (Advanced Electronics)

4 EE 451, 451L (Digital Signal Processing)

3 MATH 587 (Time Series)

6 At least two of the following:

• EE 341, 342 (Linear Systems)

• EE 443 (Control Theory)

• EE 446 (Communications Theory)

• CS 331, 432 (Computer Architecture, VLSI)

• PHYS 565 (Astronomical Techniques)

3 Graduate course approved by the advisory committee

3 PHYS 590 (Independent Study)**32 Total credit hours**

PHYS 579(1), Graduate Faculty-Seminar, must be taken for the first four semesters. In addition to the above requirements, students must satisfy the general requirements for the M.S. degree and pass a preliminary examination on undergraduate physics and electronics.

### PhD in Physics

Students of exceptional ability as demonstrated in previous courses in physics and mathematics, or in the preliminary examination, may pursue a program leading to the doctoral degree. All applicants to the physics doctoral degree program must submit GRE general and physics subject test scores.

The major doctoral programs of the Physics Department are in **astrophysics** and **atmospheric physics**. A degree in mathematical physics is offered in cooperation with the mathematics
department. Students may also work in other areas of physics in which the department
has expertise.

All doctoral students are required to pass a preliminary exam (“prelim”) at the PhD level. The prelim covers material in physics and mathematics normally included in the undergraduate physics curriculum. The department offers the exam at the beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters. Although doctoral students take the same prelim as MS students, a higher score is required of them.

Doctoral students must pass the exam at the PhD level by the timeline established on their entry into the program. A student without a Master’s degree in Physics must pass the exam at the MS level within their first year in the PhD program. Failure to pass this exam with the required scores and within the specified time usually results in disenrollment from the PhD physics program.

The following general requirements apply to all curricula: A minimum of 50 credit hours of graduate and upper-division courses approved by the students committee should be taken, of which 12 credit hours must be mathematics beyond that required of an undergraduate physics major. PHYS 501 and 502 (where required below) may be waived for those students who have completed the equivalent through an experimental masters thesis. PHYS 579, Graduate Faculty Seminar, must be taken for the first four semesters.

In addition to the general doctoral degree requirements, the following course requirements apply to all curricula:

The following courses must be completed: PHYS 501 (1), 502 (1), 505 (3), 508 (3), 513 (3), 514 (3), 515 (3), 516 (3), and 579.

In addition, 9 credit hours of graduate physics should be completed in the students field of specialization.

Current areas of research in astrophysics include quasars, pulsars, and radio galaxies, X-ray astronomy, solar and stellar activity, plasma astrophysics, and comets. New Mexico Tech operates the Magdalena Ridge Observatory (MRO) and also takes advantage of the proximity of the facilities of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). Students may pursue dissertation work not only with regular faculty but also with a number of NRAO staff who have adjunct appointments at Tech.

The following courses must be completed:

PHYS 501 (1), 502 (1), 505 or 526 (3), 513 (3), 514 (3), 515 (3), 516 (3), 562 (3), 563 (3), 564 (3), 565 or 566 (3), and 579.

In addition, PHYS 426 (3) must be completed unless the student has had equivalent material in previous courses.

Current areas of research in atmospheric physics are the dynamics and microphysics of clouds and mesoscale weather systems, geophysical fluid dynamics, dynamics of planetary atmospheres, thunderstorm electrification and lightning, atmospheric radioactivity, physics of the middle and upper atmosphere, precipitation mechanisms, and radar meteorology. Research facilities include an instrumented aircraft for thunderstorm penetrations, several meteorological radars, and Langmuir Laboratory, a mountaintop observing site. Also available are the observational and computer facilities of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

The following core courses must be completed: PHYS 331 (3), 332 (3), 501 (1), 502 (1), 505 or 526 (3), 508 (3), 513 (3), 514 (3), 515 (3), 516 (3), and 579.

An additional six (6) credit hours must be taken in areas pertinent to the students program. This can be achieved by taking PHYS 532, PHYS 533, PHYS 535, PHYS 536, and/or other courses approved by the students advisory committee.

The mathematical physics program is operated in cooperation with the Mathematics Department. Dissertation supervision may be obtained in either department. Students normally pursue research based on faculty interest in one or both departments.

The following courses must be completed:

- PHYS 505 (3), 513 (3), 514 (3), 515 (3), 516 (3), 579
- MATH 435 (3), 438 (3), 442 (3), 471 (3), 535 (3)

Additional approved graduate and upper-division courses, including at least six credit hours from mathematics and six credit hours from physics, should be elected to bring the total to a minimum of 51 credit hours beyond the bachelors degree. The following courses have been approved:

- MATH 410 (3), 411 (3), 511 (3), 531 (3), 532 (3), 533 (3), 536 (3), 538 (3)
- PHYS 508 (3), 526 (3), 532 (3), 533 (3), 535 (3), 536 (3), 562 (3), 563 (3), 564 (3)

Additional courses may be approved at the discretion of the candidates committee.

**PHYS 500, Directed Research, cr to be arranged**

This course may not be used to fulfill graduate degree requirements.

Research under the guidance of a faculty member.

**PHYS 501, 502, Graduate Project, 1 cr, 3 lab hrs each semester**

This course involves beginning graduate students in a modest project, usually related
to ongoing research in the department. While the work will be supervised by a faculty
member, the emphasis is on independent work by the student. Possible types of projects
include data analysis, software development, theoretical modeling, a literature survey,
and design and/or construction of research or teaching equipment.

**PHYS 505, Advanced Dynamics, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs**

Offered Fall 2009 and alternate years

Introduction to classical mechanics: Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalism, rigid body
motion, normal modes. Hamilton-Jacobi Theory, and problems in relativistic mechanics.

**PHYS 508, Statistical Mechanics, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs**

Offered Spring 2010 and alternate years

Entropy, randomness, the Boltzmann distribution, and the chemical potential. Translational,
rotational, vibrational, and electronic contributions to the partition function. Calculation
of mean energies, heat capacities, and equilibrium constants. Stability. The influence
of wave function symmetry: Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac statistics. The quantum statistical
operator. Coherence and the Pauli principle. (Same as CHEM 524)

**PHYS 513, 514, Electromagnetics I & II, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs each semest**er

Offered 2009-2010 and alternate years

The electromagnetic field equations; boundary value problems in electrostatics and
magnetostatics; plane, cylindrical, and spherical waves, wave guides; the Hertz Vectors,
retarded potentials and simple radiating systems; relativistic electrodynamics; radiation
from moving charges.

**PHYS 515, 516, Quantum Mechanics I and II, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs each semester**Offered 200809 and alternate years

Review of experiments leading to quantum theory: Schroedingers Equation, operators and eigenvalues, perturbation theory, and applications to simple physical systems. The second semester includes introduction to scattering theory, the theory of angular momentum, and Dirac Theory.

**PHYS 526, Fluid Dynamics, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs**Offered 2010 and alternate years

Basic equations, potential and viscous flow, scaling. Compressible flow including characteristics and shock waves. Magnetohydrodyamics, including MHD waves, shocks, and confinement. Fluid and MHD instabilities. Turbulence.

**PHYS 532, Atmospheric Remote Sensing, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs**Physics of remote sensing using radio, microwave, infrared, visible, and ultraviolet
instruments. Topics will include both passive and active systems for measuring atmospheric
temperature, composition, and dynamics. Shares lectures with PHYS 432, but is graded
separately and additional graduate level work is required.

**PHYS 533, Advanced Topics in Atmospheric Physics, 13 cr, 13 cl hrs**Specialized coursework in the students areas of interest. Advanced topics in the area
of atmospheric physics. Selection of topics changes from semester to semester. Current
faculty interests can be found at the department web site: www.physics.nmt.edu. This
course may be repeated for credit if the material covered in each instance is different.

**PHYS 535, Physics of Lightning, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs**

Offered Fall 2009 and alternate years

Theory and experimental techniques concerning cloud charging mechanisms. Remote and
in-situ sensing of lightning. Lightning phases and properties. Properties of the long
spark and leaders in the lab and in the sky. Simple numerical models of cloud charging,
lightning initiation, and propagation.

**PHYS 536, Atmospheric Convection, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs**Governing equations, turbulence, thermodynamics, and microphysics of moist convection.
Models for convection ranging from plumes and thermals through numerical simulations
are discussed, as well as interactions of convection with the atmospheric environment.

**PHYS 545, Techn of Lab Instrumentation, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs **This course provides familiarity with multiple tools used in instrumentation work,
developing some applied approaches, and learning best practices for researchers using
these tools. Tools and techniques to be covered will be adjusted based on the class
but may include: Mechanical design and Solid works, PCB layout and design, data acquisition
systems, cryogenics techniques, vacuum techniques, theory of operation of common sensors,
other topics. Offered approximately every 2 years or upon request.

**PHYS 562, Stellar Astrophysics, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs**Prerequisites: PHYS 425, 426 or equivalent or consent of the instructor.

Offered Spring 2007 and alternate years.

This course covers in-depth the physics of stars, their structure and evolution. Topics include energy generation and transport, nucleosynthesis, equations of state, stellar modelling, asteroseismology, and stellar pulsation and rotation all studied in the context of the evolution of a star. There are detailed discussions and derivations of the various stages in star formation and evolution, and the end states of stars (e.g. white dwarfs, planetary nebulae, black holes). The course stresses current refereed literature and has occasional guest speakers on various topics.

**PHYS 563, Extragalactic Astrophysics, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs**Prerequisites: PHYS 425, 426 or equivalent or consent of instructor

Offered Fall 2009 and alternate years.

The structure and dynamics of galaxies. Distribution of galaxy types. Potential and orbit theory. Spheroidal galaxies as self-gravitating systems. Instabilities in disk galaxies. Constraints on dark matter and on galaxy formation.

**PHYS 564, Relativity and Cosmology, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs**Prerequisites: PHYS 425, 426 or equivalent or consent of instructor

Offered Spring 2009 and alternate years.

General relativity with application to cosmology. Basic principles of relativity. Applications to orbits, gravitational radiation, and black holes. Relativistic cosmography and cosmology. The early universe, galaxy formation, and active galaxies.

**PHYS 565, Astronomical Techniques, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs**Offered alternate years

Optical, IR, X-ray and gamma-ray astronomical telescopes and detectors. Throughput, detector quantum efficiency, the modulation transfer function, noise and estimation error. Photometers and photometric systems, CCD imaging, slit and objective grating spectrometry, Fourier spectroscopy. Astrometry, orbit determination. Computer analysis and astronomical databases. Class work will be augmented by extensive optical observing using local facilities.

**PHYS 566, Advanced Radio Astronomy, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs**Offered Spring 2009 and alternate years

The design and operational characteristics of radio telescopes and interferometers. Properties of antennas, telescope optics, feeds, waveguides, receivers, and amplifiers. Spectrometers and spectroscopy. Sensitivity and noise. Amplitude and phase calibration, faint signal detection, astrometry, and mapping. Factors that affect radio data, including instrumental characteristics, atmospheric limitations, and propagation phenomena. The VLA and VLBA and the techniques of radio imaging by aperture synthesis. Hands-on astrophysical exercises to be solved by imaging.

**PHYS 567, Advanced Topics in Astrophysics, 23 cr, 23 cl hrs**Offered on demand

A one semester tutorial may be selected from any one of the following: our solar system, comets, solar and stellar activity, galactic structure and kinematics, active galaxies and quasars, astrophysical plasmas, accretion disks, black holes, stellar spectroscopy, stellar photometry and astrometry.

**PHYS 571, Advanced Topics in Physics, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs**Offered on demand

Study of a special topic not otherwise treated, normally one related to a field of research interest at Tech.

**PHYS 579, Graduate Faculty Seminar, 1 cr, 1 cl hr**

Offered every semester

A seminar in which current research topics are discussed by faculty, students, and
outside speakers. Graded S/U, where satisfactory performance consists of regular attendance
and participation. Credit earned may not be applied towards the 30 credits required
for the M.S. degree.

**PHYS 581, Directed Study, cr to be arranged**

Study under the guidance of a member of the graduate faculty. In general, subject
matter will supplement that available in other graduate course offerings.

**PHYS 590, Independent Study, cr to be arranged**

**PHYS 591, Thesis (masters program), cr to be arranged**

**PHYS 595, Dissertation (doctoral degree program), cr to be arranged**