Doctoral Degree in Astronomy (NEW): Requirements
The UCR Department of Physics and Astronomy expects to offer a PhD program in Astronomy starting Fall 2023. The degree is designed to provide a broad background in observational, theoretical, and computational astrophysics through a combination of courses and research. Requirements for the program are described below.
Courses will include a set of core courses taken in the first year, followed by electives (see below). The program emphasizes an early start to research, with students will beginning research project at least as early as the Winter quarter of their first year. It is expected that students in the PhD program will be associated with a thesis research advisor by the end of the spring quarter of their first year. A special seminar class PHYS288 is designed to familiarize the student with research activities of the faculty.
A student is recommended for advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree in Physics upon completion of the following requirements:
Satisfactory completion of the courses listed below. Each course must be passed with a grade of B- or better and the student must maintain an average for all courses of B or better.
Ph.D. students must pass a comprehensive exam. The exam will have two parts administered in the summer of the first year. The first part will consist of an oral report on the research undertaken during the two graded research classes (PHYS 297). The oral report will focus on the background, motivation, and methods of the research study. (By comparison, the Candidacy Exam will focus more on preliminary results and plans for future work that will lead to a thesis, as described below.) The second part of the comprehensive exam will be a written test on topics in Astronomy related to the Core courses listed below.
The following Core Courses will be taken in the first year:
|Radiative Processes in Astrophysics
|Astrophysics of the Interstellar Medium
|Techniques of Observational Astrophysics
|Dynamics & Evolution of Galaxies
|Stellar Structure & Evolution
|Cosmology & Galaxy Formation
|Directed Research (two quarters)
|Professional Development in Physics and Astronomy
|Summer Research in Physics and Astronomy
In addition, at least two elective graduate lecture courses must be completed from the list below. Other courses, including those outside the Department, may also count as electives with the approval of the Astronomy Graduate Advisory Committee.
|Advanced Galaxy Formation and Cosmology
|Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics
|Fundamentals of Astrophysics
|Cosmology (Advanced Topics)
|Theory of Dark Matter Halos and Galaxies
|Introduction to Applied Data Science
|Special Topics in Astrophysics
Qualifying Oral Examination
Ph.D. students must complete an oral qualifying exam in the general area of the student's proposed dissertation research. The oral presentation should provide background and motivation for the dissertation research, preliminary results from this research, and a clear plan for completion of the thesis including a timeline for the acquisition of data (if relevant), analysis, other key milestones, and papers to be submitted to journals. The exam committee will be composed of the student’s research advisor, at least two other departmental faculty, and one faculty member from outside the department. The exam must be taken before the end of the student’s third year in the program. At the discretion of the committee, a student may be permitted to take it a second time.
The student is recommended for the Ph.D. degree following their advancement to candidacy and completion of the following requirements:
Doctoral candidates must complete a satisfactory written thesis that presents a review of existing knowledge relevant to the candidate's original research, an outline of specific problems addressed by the candidate’s work, and a detailed description of the strategies, analysis techniques and results of the candidate's original research. The research must be of sufficiently high quality to constitute a contribution to knowledge in the subject area.
Final Oral Examination
Doctoral candidates must perform satisfactorily in a final oral defense of their thesis before the candidate's thesis committee.
Normative Time to Degree: If the student is full-time with no deficiencies, the normative length of time pre-candidacy (before the Qualifying Exam) is not more than three (3) years. The normative time between Candidacy and Defense/Ph.D. completion is three (3) years. Overall, the normative time from enrollment in the program to Ph.D. degree is expected to be six (6) years.