2024-25 Academic Catalog

Physics and Astronomy

Department Head: Dr. Jeff Winger (Interim)
Graduate Coordinator
: Dr. Henk F. Arnoldus
125 Hilbun Hall
Box 5167
Mississippi State, MS 39762
Telephone: 662-325-2806
Fax: 662-325-8898
E-mail:  hfa1@msstate.edu
Website: http://physics.msstate.edu

Graduate study is offered in the Department of Physics and Astronomy leading to the degrees of Master of Science in Physics and to the Doctor of Philosophy in Physics. Both thesis and non-thesis options are offered for the Master of Science. An interdisciplinary program leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering with a concentration in Applied Physics is available. A specific program, depending on the research interest of the student, is established by consultation between the student and his/her advisor. The non-thesis M.S. option provides a means of enabling the Ph.D.-track student to complete graduate education in a timely manner.

Major areas of study include the following:

Computational Physics
Condensed matter physics
Experimental and theoretical nuclear physics
Experimental and theoretical optics
Experimental atomic, molecular, optical, and plasma physics
Experimental nanomaterials and nanoelectronics

Graduate research and teaching assistantships are available.

Admission Criteria

TOEFL and IELTS scores are used following the General Requirements for Admission by the University.

Provisional Admission

An applicant who has not fully met the GPA requirement stipulated by the University may be admitted on a provisional basis. The provisionally-admitted student is eligible for a change to regular status after receiving a 3.00 GPA on the first 9 hours of graduate courses at Mississippi State University (with no grade lower than a C). The first 9 hours of graduate courses must be within the student's program of study. Courses with an S grade, transfer credits, or credits earned while in Unclassified status cannot be used to satisfy this requirement. If a 3.00 is not attained, the provisional student shall be dismissed from the graduate program. Academic departments may set higher standards for students to fulfill provisional requirements; a student admitted with provisional status should contact the graduate coordinator for the program’s specific requirements. While in the provisional status, a student is not eligible to hold a graduate assistantship.

Academic Performance

A candidate for a degree must average B or higher on all graduate courses attempted after admission to the program. No grade under C will be accepted on the program of study, and no more than 8 credit hours of C grades can be earned. With the approval of the graduate coordinator and the college dean, a student may retake one course per degree, except for those approved for repeated credit (e.g. special topics, individual studies, thesis, dissertation, etc.). Both courses will remain on the permanent transcript, and both grades will be included in the GPA computation. Repeated courses must be taken at Mississippi State University. No additional program credit hours will be generated from a repeated course.

Master of Science in Physics - Thesis

Required Courses
PH 8233Methods of Theoretical Physics I3
PH 8743Quantum Mechanics I3
Select two of the following:6
Methods of Theoretical Physics II
Electromagnetic Theory
Other coursework12
Research in Physics
Total Hours30

A thesis is required.

Master of Science in Physics - Non-Thesis

Required Courses
PH 8213Mechanics3
PH 8233Methods of Theoretical Physics I3
PH 8243Methods of Theoretical Physics II3
PH 8313Electromagnetic Theory3
PH 8743Quantum Mechanics I3
PH 8753Quantum Mechanics II3
Other coursework12
Total Hours30

Students must pass the comprehensive examination as described below for Ph.D. candidates.

Doctor of Philosophy in Physics

All Ph.D. candidates are required to take a minimum of 20 credit hours of PH 9000 Research/Dissertation.The committee for an individual student may require additional courses depending on the research area and background of the student. Ph.D. candidates must pass a comprehensive examination on their proposed dissertation topic. The comprehensive examination is comprised of a written document and an oral examination and must be attempted within the first 36 months of enrolling in the Ph.D. program.

PH 6013 Selected Topics in Physics for Teachers: 3 hours.

Two hours classwork, three hours laboratory. For teachers. Basic concepts of physics. Will include discussion and clarification of material from currently adopted public school textbooks

PH 6113 Electronic Circuits for Scientists: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites: PH 1133 or PH 2223 and MA 2733). Two hours lecture and three hours laboratory. DC and AC circuits. Resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes and transistors in basic analog circuits. Topics include filters, tuned circuits, power supplies, amplifiers and oscillators

PH 6143 Intermediate Laboratory: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: Junior standing). Six hours laboratory. Data analysis. Experiments in classical and modern physics. Scientific report writing

PH 6213 Intermediate Mechanics I: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites: PH 1133 or PH 2233 and MA 2733). Three hours lecture. Plane statics and dynamics of particles and systems of particles with emphasis on both derivation and application of principles involved

PH 6223 Intermediate Mechanics II: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: PH 4213/6213). Three hours lecture. Statics and dynamics of particles in three dimensional space using vector notation; Lagrange's equations; introduction to the special theory of relativity

PH 6323 Electromagnetic Fields I: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites: PH 1133 or PH 2233 and MA 2743). Three hours lecture. Electrostatics, dielectrics, electric current, magnetostatics, electromagnetic induction, magnetic properties of matter

PH 6333 Electromagnetic Fields II: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: PH 4323/6323). Three hours lecture. Maxwell's equations, propagation of electromagnetic waves in free space and in matter, reflection and refraction, radiation

PH 6413 Thermal Physics: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites: PH 3613 and MA 2743). Three hours lecture. Thermodynamics, kinetic theory, classical and quantum statistical mechanics. Applications to low temperature physics, solid-state physics and plasma physics

PH 6433 Computational Physics: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: MA 3253, Co-requisite: PH 3613). Three hours lecture. An Introduction to modern methods of computational physics including topics such as solution of differential equations, numerical matrix methods, and Monte Carlo simulation

PH 6513 Intermediate Optics: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites: PH 1123 or PH 2233 and MA 2733). Three hours lecture. Geometrical optics and physical optics

PH 6613 Nuclear and Particle Physics: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: PH 3613). Three hours lecture. Special theory of relativity; nuclear structure; radioactivity; nuclear reactions; nuclear forces; fission; fusion; high energy particle and astrophysics. Experimental apparatuses and techniques

PH 6713 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites: PH 3613 and MA 3253). Three hours lecture. Principles of quantum mechanics, Heisenberg uncertainty principle, angular momentum; the Schrodinger wave equation in one and three dimensions; the one-electron atom

PH 6723 Applications of Quantum Mechanics: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: PH 4713/6713). Three hours lecture. Introduction to perturbation theory and quantum statistics. Topics selected from multi-electron atoms, diatomic molecules, solid state and nuclear physics

PH 6813 Introduction to Solid State Physics: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: PH 3613). Three hours lecture. Crystal structure, crystal diffraction and the reciprocal lattice, crystal binding, free electron gas, energy bands, and semiconductors

PH 6990 Special Topics in Physics and Astronomy: 1-9 hours.

Credit and title to be arranged. This course is to be used on a limited basis to offer developing subject matter areas not covered in existing courses. (Courses limited to two offerings under one title within two academic years)

PH 7000 Directed Individual Study in Physics and Astronomy: 1-6 hours.

Hours and credits to be arranged

PH 8111 Seminars and Colloquia: 1 hour.

(Prerequisite: Graduate standing). One hour lecture. Course is focused on presentations of original research studies related to various research areas in the department. It is given by experts in their fields and required to be completed in each semester that the graduate student is in residence at MSU

PH 8213 Mechanics: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: A good undergraduate training in physics and mathematics consent of instructor). Coordinate systems and transformations, tensors, and matrices. Particle dynamics, variational principles, Lagrange's and Hamilton's equations, rigid body motion, special relativity in mechanics

PH 8233 Methods of Theoretical Physics I: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: Consent of instructor). Topics will vary, but may include linear vector spaces, tensor analysis, group theory, function space and orthogonal polynomials

PH 8243 Methods of Theoretical Physics II: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: PH 8233). Topics will vary but may include analytic functions, Fourier analysis, Green's functions, integral transforms, partial differential equations and integral equations

PH 8313 Electromagnetic Theory: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: PH 4333 or equivalent). Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism. Boundary value problems in electrostatics, static multipole moments, theory of dielectrics, magnetostatics, plane electromagnetic waves, simple radiating systems. (Same as ECE 8313)

PH 8323 Electromagnetic Theory II: 3 hours.

Three hours lecture. Maxwwell's theory of electromagnetism: Electromagnetic waves,time-dependent multipole, expansions, radiation, waveguides, scattering diffraction, and specialty relativity . (Same as ECE 8323 )

PH 8513 Statistical Mechanics: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites: PH 4713 and PH 4413 ). Classical and quantum statistical mechanics and statistical interpretation of thermodynamic quantities

PH 8613 Nuclear Physics I: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: PH 4723). Nuclear two-body problem and nuclear forces. Interpretation of experimental data through a study of nuclear models. Nuclear reactions and spectroscopy

PH 8743 Quantum Mechanics I: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites: PH 4723 and MA 3313). Schrodinger theory, spherically symmetric systems, matrix mechanics, angular momentum and spin, time-independent perturbation theory

PH 8753 Quantum Mechanics II: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: PH 8743). Time dependent perturbation theory, identical particles, theory of scattering, quantum-statistical mechanics, introduction of relativistic quantum mechanics, quantum electrodynamics

PH 8803 Molecular Structure: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites: PH 8743). Theory of rotational, vibrational and electronic spectra of molecules. Molecular structure and determination of molecular constants

PH 8883 Many Body Theory: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: PH 8753) Three hours lecture. Boson and Fermion Green functions at zero and finite temperature, electron conductivity, interacting electron gas, magnetism, electron-phonon interaction and superconductivity

PH 8990 Special Topics in Physics and Astronomy: 1-9 hours.

Credit and title to be arranged. This course is to be used on a limited basis to offer developing subject matter areas not covered in existing courses. (Courses limited to two offerings under one title within two academic years)

PH 9000 Research in Physics: 1-13 hours.

Hours and credits to be arranged