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The Department of Physics serves American University’s undergraduates in many ways. As a foundational science, two semesters of physics are required of all AU undergraduate students. The Department takes pride in offering numerous flavors of Physics I and Physics II to accommodate the diverse learning styles of American University students. We deploy many of our best teachers to work with non-physics majors in these subjects.
For those who enjoy physics beyond the Institute requirements, we offer three distinct options leading to a Bachelor of Science in Physics. These are explained in more depth within this section. Those interested in majoring in physics are welcome to explore the curriculum, the activities of the Society of Physics, and the opportunities afforded by our faculty and staff.
Believing strongly in the value of research for both undergraduate and graduate students, the Department participates with enthusiasm in the UROP program. Undergraduate students are encouraged to actively participate in labs and research groups. This gives students the opportunity to learn fundamental skills that will be valuable in a variety of research settings.
8.03      Physics III
8.033     Relativity
8.04      Quantum Physics I
8.044    Statistical Physics I
8.05      Quantum Physics II
8.06       Quantum Physics III
8.07       Electromagnetism II
8.08       Statistical Physics II
8.09       Classical Mechanics II
8.13        Experimental Physics I
8.14        Experimental Physics II
8.18        Special Problems in Undergraduate Physics
8.19         Readings in Physics
8.20         Introduction to Special Relativity
8.224       Exploring Black Holes: General Relativity and Astrophysics
8.225J     Einstein, Oppenheimer, Feynman: Physics in the 20th Century
8.231       Physics of Solids I
8.242       Quantum Electronics and Laser Spectroscopy
8.251       String Theory for Undergraduates
8.261J     Intro to Computational Neuroscience
8.276       Nuclear and Particle Physics
8.282J      Introduction to Astrophysics and Astronomy
8.284       Modern Astrophysics
8.286      The Early Universe
8.287      Observational Techniques of Optical Astronomy
8.289       Techniques of Radio Astronomy
8.292J     Fluid Physics
8.298       Selected Topics in Physics
8.299       Physics Teaching
8.UR        Undergraduate Research
8.THU      Undergraduate Physics Thesis




Graduate students in physics are actively engaged in research at the forefront of physics, in collaboration with faculty who are acknowledged leaders in their respective fields. Learning takes place in both formal and informal settings with a broad spectrum of colleagues, including faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, research scientists, and graduate student peers.
Most graduate students are interested in one or two sub-fields in physics and apply in that sub-field. Students may narrow their focus, or change their sub-field, once they begin their studies. The Department encourages this student flexibility with modest course requirements and ample faculty advising resources.
The first year or so of graduate study is usually filled with course work in basic subject areas, including quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and electricity and magnetism. Formal requirements include courses for breadth distribution, but most students find that solid course coverage is to their advantage. Basic courses may be followed by more specialized and advanced theoretical courses, as well as by courses in other departments. Formal Ph.D. degree requirements include two written examinations and one oral comprehensive examination. The most important step in the doctoral pursuit, however, is finding a thesis supervisor; students are advised to begin this search early in their graduate career.
A large number of seminars at American University and neighboring institutions provide an intellectual backdrop throughout the stay at AU. A number of activities such as faculty-student roundtable discussions on issues of concern to graduate students, the women in physics program, and the graduate-student poster session on research activities round out graduate student life. Other activities for graduate students include social hours and barbeques.
8.311                          Electromagnetic Theory
8.312                          Electromagnetic Theory
8.321                          Quantum Theory I
8.322                          Quantum Theory II
8.323                          Relativistic Quantum Field Theory I
8.324                          Relativistic Quantum Field Theory II
8.325                          Relativistic Quantum Field Theory III
8.333                          Statistical Mechanics I
8.334                          Statistical Mechanics II
8.351J                        Variational Mechanics:
A Computational Approach
8.361                           Quantum Theory of Many-Particle Systems
8.371J                         Quantum Information Science
8.381, 8.382                Selected Topics in Theoretical Physics
8.391, 8.392                Special Problems in Graduate Physics
8.395J                         Teaching College-Level Science
8.398                           Selected Topics in Graduate Physics
8.399                           Physics Teaching
8.421                           Atomic and Optical Physics I
8.422                            Atomic and Optical Physics II
8.431J                          Nonlinear Optics
8.481, 8.482                 Selected Topics in Physics of Atoms and Radiation
8.511                            Theory of Solids I
8.512                            Theory of Solids II
8.513                             Many-Body Techniques in Condensed Matter Physics
8.514                             Strongly Correlated Systems in CM Physics
8.532J                           Modern Topics in Solid State Physics
8.562                             Correlations and Critical Behavior in Condensed Matter
8.575J                           Statistical Thermodynamics of Complex Liquids
8.581, 8.582                  Selected Topics in Condensed Matter Physics
8.591J                           Quantitative Biology
8.592                             Statistical Physics in Biology
8.593J                           Biological Physics
8.594J                           Introduction to Neural Networks
8.613J                           Introduction to Plasma Physics I
8.614J                           Introduction to Plasma Physics II
8.624                             Plasma Waves
8.641                             Physics of High-Energy Plasmas I
8.642                             Physics of High-Energy Plasmas II
8.681, 8.682                  Selected Topics in Fluid and Plasma Physics
8.701                             Intro to Nuclear and Particle Physics
8.711                             Nuclear Physics
8.712                             Advanced Topics in Nuclear Physics
8.731                              Nuclear Physics Seminar
8.781, 8.782                   Selected Topics in Nuclear Physics
8.811                             Particle Physics II
8.821                             String Theory
8.831                             Supersymmetry
8.841                             Electroweak Interactions
8.851                              Strong Interactions/QCD
8.861                              Advanced Topics in Superfluidity
8.871, 8.872                   Selected Topics in Theoretical Particle Physics
8.881, 8.882                   Selected Topics in Experimental Particle Physics
8.896J                            Supersymmetric Quantum Field Theories
8.901                              Astrophysics I
8.902                              Astrophysics II
8.913                               Plasma Astrophysics I
8.914                              Plasma Astrophysics II
8.921                              Stellar Structure and Evolution
8.942                              Cosmology
8.952                               Particle Physics of the Early Universe
8.962                               General Relativity
8.971, 8.972                     Astrophysics Seminar
8.981, 8.982                     Selected Topics in Astrophysics
8.THG                              Graduate Physics Thesis
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Phone: 1-954-271-6002 
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