University of Pittsburgh


Recommended Courses

The Graduate Curriculum Committee has released a list of recommended courses by research specialty: pdf.

Departmental Procedures for Cross-Registration (enrollment in classes at CMU)

Graduate Course Offerings

Undergraduate Courses Carrying Graduate Credit:


PHYS 1331      Mechanics (3cr)
PHYS 1351      Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism (3cr)
PHYS 1370      Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 1 (3cr)


PHYS 1341       Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (3cr)
PHYS 1371       Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 2 (3cr)
PHYS 1372       Electromagnetic Theory (3cr)


Core Graduate Courses:



PHYS 2373       Math Methods in Physics (3cr)
PHYS 2513       Dynamical Systems (3cr)
PHYS 2565       Non-Relativistic Quantum Mechanics 1 (3cr)



PHYS 2541       Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (3cr)
PHYS 2555       Advanced Classical Electricity and Magnetism (4cr)
PHYS 2566       Non-Relativistic Quantum Mechanics 2 (3cr)


Colloquium Course:


Fall and Spring:

PHYS 2999       Physics and Astronomy Colloquium (1cr)


Teaching Instruction Courses:



PHYS 2997            Teaching of Physics (1cr)
PHYS 2998            Teaching of Physics Practicum (1cr or 2cr)
ASTRON 2998        Teaching of Astronomy Practicum (1cr or 2cr)



PHYS 2998            Teaching of Physics Practicum (1cr or 2cr)
ASTRON 2998        Teaching of Astronomy Practicum (1cr or 2cr)


Skills Courses and Internships:



PHYS 2426      Graduate Modern Physics Lab (3cr, renamed - 1000 added to number)


Any Term: PHYS 2900      Research Internship (Experimental or Theoretical)
ASTRON 2900                  Research Internship (Observational or Theoretical)


Advanced Graduate Courses (all 3cr):

PHYS 3274 (formerly 2274)      Computational Methods (3cr)

PHYS 3542      Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics 2
PHYS 3707      Intermediate Quantum Mechanics (CMU's "Quantum Mechanics III")
PHYS 3715      Solid State Physics
PHYS 3716      Advanced Solid State Physics
PHYS 3717      Particle Physics (CMU's "Intro to Nuclear and Particle Physics")
PHYS 3718      Advanced Particle Physics (CMU's "Nuclear and Particle Physics II")
PHYS 3725      General Relativity 1
PHYS 3726      General Relativity 2
PHYS 3765      Field Theory 1 (CMU's "Quantum Mechanics IV")
PHYS 3766      Field Theory 2 (CMU's "Quantum Mechanics V")
ASTRON 2550      Stellar Structure (also PHYS 3750)
ASTRON 2551      Interstellar Medium (also PHYS 3751)
ASTRON 2580      Galactic and Extragalactic Astronomy (also PHYS 3580)
ASTRON 2701      Radiative Processes in Astrophysics (also PHYS 3701)
ASTRON 3705      Astronomical Techniques (no PHYS number)
ASTRON 3785      Cosmology (PHYS 3785)
CMU 33-777        Introductory Astrophysics
CMU 33-783        Theory of Solids I
CMU 33-791        Group Theory with Physics Applications
CMU 33-792        Special Topics in Quantum Physics: Quantum Optics
CMU 33-79x        Various Graduate Seminars


Directed Study Courses (3cr to 15cr - taken prior to signing a research agreement):

PHYS 390x         Directed Study
ASTRON 390x     Directed Study


Research/Thesis/Dissertation Courses (3cr to 15cr - taken with a research agreement after passing the comprehensive exam and until 72 required credits are earned):

PHYS 2000      Research and Thesis (MS Degree)
ASTRON 2000      Research and Thesis (MS Degree)
PHYS 3000      Research and Dissertation (PhD Degree)
ASTRON 3000      Research and Dissertation (PhD Degree)


Full-Time Dissertation Study Courses (0cr - taken with a research agreement after passing the comprehensive exam and after completion of 72 required credits):

FTDB 3999       Full-Time Dissertation Study

Special Topics Courses:

PHYS 310x      Special Topics (recent titles below):

  • Quantum Transport (Frolov) PHYS 3102 - Spring 2013 course description
  • Phase Transitions, Critical Phenomena, and Finite Temperature Field Theory (Boyanovsky) PHYS 3102 - Fall 2012 course description
  • Quantum Computation and Quantum Information (Griffiths) PHYS 3101 Spring 2012 course description
  • Collider Physics (Han) - PHYS 3102 Spring 2012 course description
  • Oxide Nanoelectronics (Levy)
  • Particle Astrophysics from Stars to Cosmology (Boyanovsky)
  • NanoTechnology (Dutt)
  • NanoScience (D'Urso)
  • Biophysics (two different courses by Salman and Wu)
  • Bose-Einstein Condensation, Superconductors, & Superfluids (Snoke)
  • See complete historical list here
Graduate Courses in Physics
Course Number Title of Course Credits Course Description
3101 Special Topics 3
PHYS 2274 Computational Methods 3

Modern computational methods have opened up a new realm in physics, allowing the study of complex nonlinear phenomena for the first time. We will explore a number of classic examples in this course, including the logistic map, nonlinear oscillators, chaotic planetary motion, molecular dynamics, and the Ising model. Additional topics are coding basics, integration, partial differential equations, quantum scattering and bound states, quantum magnetism , and the Monte Carlo method as applied to classical and quantum systems.

PHYS 2513 Dynamical Systems Theoretical Mechanics of Particles and Continua
Graduate Courses in Astronomy
Course Number Title of Course Credits Course Description
ASTRON 3550 Stellar Structure Stars are the most common astrophysical objects. They create most of the atomic elements and most of the observable optical light in the sky. This class provides an overview of the physics of stars and the interstellar medium. Topics will include hydrostatic equilibrium, nuclear processes, radiative transfer, metallicity and opacity, convection, stellar evolution, stellar explosions, properties of the interstellar medium, and energy feedback from stars.
ASTRON 3580 Galactic and Extra-galactic Astronomy

Galaxies are the fundamental building blocks of the present Universe. This class will give an overview of galaxies, their properties, and their formation and evolution with an emphasis on current research areas. Topics will include observational properties (morphology, masses, colors, concentrations), scaling relations, evolution with redshift, stellar populations, gas and dust, dynamics and dark matter, evolution and mergers, and active galaxies.

ASTRON 3705 Astronomical Techniques This class will expose students to the basics of astronomical data analysis, with an emphasis on statistical techniques and the development of practical programming skills. Topics may include the nature of random and systematic errors, fitting and likelihood techniques, hypothesis testing, astronomical instrumentation and data reduction, and the use of large survey data sets.
ASTRON 3705 Astronomical Techniques 3
ASTRON 3785 Cosmology This class will give an overview of the standard cosmological model and the wide range of observational tests. Topics include the expansion history of the Universe, thermodynamic history, nucleosynthesis, recombination, inflation, perturbations and the microwave background, structure formation, evidence for dark matter and dark energy, and future probes of dark energy.
Core Graduate Courses
Course Number Title of Course Credits Course Description
PHYS 2373 Mathematical Methods in Physics

This course for undergraduate honors majors and some first year graduate students will prepare you for most of the mathematical techniques required in most first year physics graduate courses, at Pitt or elsewhere. The course will include: Theory and applications of analytic functions, with emphasis on contour integration and infinite series. Review of finite-dimensional linear vector spaces, leading to an introduction to Hilbert spaces. Applications to ordinary and partial differential equations, including introduction to the most commonly used special functions.

PHYS 2541 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics I This graduate core course provides the background in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics required for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. in physics or astronomy. Topics include thermodynamics, ensemble theory (microcanonical, canonical and grand canonical ensembles), classical and quantum (Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac) statistics, classical and quantum ideal gases, and other applications.

Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Pittsburgh
100 Allen Hall
3941 O'Hara St
Pittsburgh PA 15260
O: (412) 624-9000 | F: (412) 624-9163

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