Graduate Courses

These are the graduate courses offered by the Department of Astronomy.

Click on the course number to be taken to Testudo, the University's Schedule of Classes, which will show such information as the prerequisites, current status of enrollment, and waitlist sizes for each class. (Note that only a few courses are offered in any given semester.)

Click on the course title to get a brief description of the course or just scroll down to see all of the descriptions.

Graduate Course Descriptions

ASTR 601 -- Radiative Processes (3 credits)
Prerequisite: permission of department. Emission, absorption, and scattering of radiation by matter, with astrophysical applications. Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics: LTE, Boltzmann, and Saha equations; radiative transfer; atomic and molecular radiation; plasma radiation and transfer; bremsstrahlung, synchrotron emission, Compton scattering. Typically offered every year. Sample syllabus
ASTR 606 -- Stellar Structure and Evolution (3 credits)
Prerequisite: ASTR 601 or permission of department. Models of stellar atmospheres, methods of determining properties of stars, physical principles governing stellar interior processes, observational data for determining stellar evolution, nuclear processes, stellar modeling. Typically offered every two years.
ASTR 610 -- Astronomical Instrumentation and Techniques (3 credits)
Prerequisite: permission of department. Review of Maxwell's equations; designs of telescopes, spectrographs, modern detectors; basic concepts for radio detectors and telescopes; interferometry and data processing. Typically offered every two years. Sample syllabus
ASTR 615 -- Computational Astrophysics (3 credits)
Prerequisite: permission of department. Formerly ASTR688C. Introduction to computational techniques used in astrophysical research. Topics include modern high performance computer architectures, scientific visualization and data analysis, and detailed descriptions of numerical algorithms for the solution to a wide range of mathematical systems important in astrophysics. Typically offered every two years. Sample syllabus
ASTR 620 -- Galaxies (3 credits)
Prerequisite: permission of department. Galaxy classifications; Milky way: basic data, distribution of stars, gas, dust and relativistic particles, large-scale structure and rotation; Spiral galaxies: stellar dynamics and stability, density waves, star bursts, galactic center; Elliptical galaxies: stellar dynamics, cannibalism; galaxy formation. Typically offered every two years.
ASTR 622 -- Cosmology (3 credits)
Prerequisite: permission of department. Formerly ASTR688R. Large-scale structure of the universe, and the intergalactic medium. Dark matter. Cosmological models including the Standard Big Bang model -- predictions (e.g. nucleosynthesis, cosmic background radiation) versus observations. Cosmological constant. Galaxy formation and evolution. Typically offered every two years. Sample syllabus
ASTR 630 -- Planetary Science (3 credits)
Prerequisite: permission of department. Formerly ASTR688P/688R. The science of our planetary system with an emphasis on the aspects of it that help us understand the origin of the system and thus the relevance to other planetary systems. Topics will include planetary atmospheres, surfaces, and interiors and the small bodies of the solar system (asteroids, comets, Kuiper-belt objects). We will consider the dynamics of these bodies and the physics and chemistry of these bodies. Typically offered every two years. Sample syllabus
ASTR 670 -- Interstellar Medium and Gas Dynamics (3 credits)
Prerequisite: ASTR 601 or permission of department. Content of phases of the interstellar medium: physical processes in the ISM: ionization equilibrium, heating and cooling, interstellar dust; gas dynamics: fluid motions, instabilities, shock waves; magnetohydrodynamics. Typically offered every two years. Sample syllabus
ASTR 680 -- High Energy Astrophysics (3 credits)
Prerequisite: permission of department. Formerly ASTR688M. The structure, formation, and astrophysics of compact objects, such as white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes, are examined. Typically offered every two years. Sample syllabus
ASTR 688 -- Special Topics in Modern Astronomy (1-3 credits)
Prerequisite: permission of department. Special topics such as extragalactic radio sources, plasma astrophysics, the H.R. diagram, chemistry of the interstellar medium. Offered infrequently.
ASTR 690 -- Research Project I (3 credits)
ASTR 695 -- Introduction to Research (1 credit)
Provides an introduction to research programs in the Department of Astronomy and a forum to explore possible research projects. Aimed at incoming graduate students. Offered every fall. Sample syllabus
ASTR 699 -- Special Problems in Advanced Astronomy (1-6 credits)
ASTR 788 -- Selected Topics in Modern Astronomy (1-3 credits)
ASTR 799 -- Master's Thesis Research (1-6 credits)
ASTR 898 -- Pre-Candidacy Research (1-6 credits)
ASTR 899 -- Doctoral Dissertation Research (1-6 credits)