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2022-2023 Course Descriptions

APPLIED PHYSICS 499 – Independent Study

To do an independent study, you will register for APP PHYS 499: Independent Study, with the independent study instructor's section number. You must first get permission from the instructor.

APPLIED PHYSICS 590 – Research

During your first eight quarters, when you are not taking at least three courses (i.e. during summers and your second year), you will register for APP PHYS 590: Research, with your advisor's section number. Register for 590 with as many units as you need to add up to a total of three units.

Course – Computational Methods of Applied Physics

Students choose a 400-level computational techniques course, with approval of the Director for Graduate Studies

Download here the list of substitutes classes for Computational Methods of Applied Physics and Experimental Methods of Applied Physics (updated July 2019).

Course – Experimental Methods of Applied Physics

Students choose a 400-level laboratory techniques course, with approval of the Director for Graduate Studies

Download here the list of substitutes classes for Computational Methods of Applied Physics and Experimental Methods of Applied Physics (updated July 2019).

GEN ENG 519 – Responsible Conduct of Research Training

Should be taken in the first year. The goal of Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training is for anyone involved in research to perform the most ethical research possible. Northwestern University has in place a number of policies that clearly demonstrate our commitment to research integrity. Collectively, these apply to all members of Northwestern's research enterprise: students/trainees, staff and faculty.

MAT SCI 401 – Chemical & Statistical Thermodynamics of Materials

The following topics in classical thermodynamics will be covered: the laws of thermodynamics; conditions for equilibrium; solutions; excess quantities; binary and ternary phase diagrams. Additionally, the following topics in statistical thermodynamics will be covered: statistical definition of entropy; ensembles and the Boltzmann and Gibbs distributions; quantum and classical ideal gasses; and the regular solution model.

MAT SCI 405 – Physics of Solids

This course provides and overview of solid state physics including free electron theory, phonons, energy bands, charge transport, semiconductors, optical properties, dielectric properties, ferroelectrics, diamagnetism, paramagnetism, and magnetic ordering.

PHYSICS 411-1 – Methods of Theoretical Physics

The topics covered will include a subset of: techniques for the solution of differential equations; approximations such as the method of steepest descent; techniques for integration; complex analysis; the special functions of mathematical physics; usage of Greens functions and eigen functions to solve differential equations; introduction to groups and group representations.

PHYSICS 412-1,2 – Quantum Mechanics

First quarter: Vector spaces and linear operators, postulates of quantum mechanics, observables and Hermitian operators, state vectors and quantum dynamics, stationary states, bound states, the harmonic oscillator, statistical interpretation and the Uncertainty Principle, symmetry and conservation laws, quantization of angular momentum, intrinsic spin, the Stern-Gerlach experiment, spherically symmetric potentials.

Second quarter: Feynman's path integral formulation, the classical limit, Schroedinger's wave equation, electromagnetic potentials, Aharonov-Bohm effects, Landau levels, Coulomb potential, approximation methods, variational principles, bound-state perturbation theory, Dirac's theory of the electron, electron spin, Dirac-Pauli equation, magnetic moment of the electron, fine structure of hydrogen, hyperfine interactions.

PHYSICS 414-1 – Electrodynamics

Electrostatics, boundary-value problems, Green's functions, multipoles, electrostatics of macroscopic media, conductors and dielectrics, magnetostatics, Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic waves and gauge transformations, conservation laws.

PHYSICS 416-0 – Introduction to Statistical Mechanics

Statistical mechanics and probability. Microstates and macrostates. Thermodynamic limit. Ensembles: microcanonical, canonical, grand canonical. Classical ideal gas: Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution. Quantum gases: Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein distributions. Thermodynamic potentials. Interacting systems. Phase diagrams and phase transitions.

PHYSICS 422-1 – Condensed-Matter Physics

Periodic potentials, crystal lattices, x-ray diffraction. Electrons in metals: Drude model, electrons in periodic potentials, semiclassical approximation, Fermi surface, band structure. Electronic and thermal transport, Boltzmann equation, electron-electron interactions, screening.

TGS 500 – Advanced Doctoral Study

Starting with your ninth quarter, and every quarter after that until you graduate, you will register for TGS 500: Advanced Doctoral Study. You can still register for regular courses as well.

For further explanation of coursework and registration, see The Graduate School's PhD Timeline.

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