PhD Physics with an Astrophysics Emphasis

We offer graduate study leading to the PhD in Physics with an Astrophysics Emphasis.

Course Requirements

Must take all courses as a letter grade and receive a B or better.

Core Courses

Pass five of the six following graduate physics courses with a grade of B or better.

  • Physics 232: Stellar Structure and Evolution
  • Physics 233: The Interstellar Medium
  • Physics 234: High Energy Astrophysics
  • Physics 235: Extragalactic Astrophysics
  • Physics 236: Cosmology
  • Physics 237: Galactic Dynamics
Required Course
  • Physics 215A: Quantum Mechanics
Additional Two Course Requirements

Please select two of the following course requirements.

  • Physics 210A: Electromagnetic Theory
  • Physics 210B: Electromagnetic Theory
  • Physics 215B: Quantum Mechanics
  • Physics 219: Statistical Mechanics
Elective Requirements

Theoretical physics students must complete a minimum of four advanced graduate courses, and experimental physics students must complete a minimum of two advanced graduate courses with a grade of B or better. For theoretical physics students, at least one of these courses must be in an area clearly distinct from the student’s field of specialization – such a determination will be made by the departmental graduate advisor.

Additional Course Requirements

These courses are taken the first year of graduate school.

  • Physics 260A: Colloquium
  • Physics 260G: Graduate Seminar
  • Physics 500: Teaching Assistant Seminar (Fall only)

Course Descriptions can be viewed here.

Advancing to Candidacy

The advancement exam is taken by the end of spring quarter in the student's third year. The exam begins with a short presentation in which the student assesses the overall situation in the field, and proposes a possible line of research, justifying its potential significance. The exam committee may then ask more general background questions. The scope and content of the exam are agreed upon beforehand. If the committee fails the student, the reasons will be given in writing, and the student must retake the exam by the end of summer quarter of the third year. After advancement, the Supervising Committee will be chaired by the student’s research advisor (or co-chaired by the advisor if they are not UCSB physics ladder faculty).