Graduate Studies

Graduate Studies

The graduate program is not accepting new students.

Advancement in scientific understanding is often achieved along narrowly defined lines of specialization. In contrast, the field of applied science coalesces discoveries in exotic channels of explor ation and provides a conduit through which knowledge from often widely divergent fields can respond to human needs. The Program in Applied Science (PAS) was established to provide interdisciplinary training and research resources for scientists who are as intrigued by innovative application of knowledge as they are by contributions in pure science. At PAS, you can make a contribution using the finest research tools on the planet.

Administered within the College of Engineering at the University of California, Davis, the Program in Applied Science has teaching and research in two locations: the campus in Davis, and its satellite site adjacent to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Sandia National Laboratory in Livermore. In addition, a number of professors in the program have strong ties with and research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), which is about 40 miles from LLNL. Sandia, LLNL and LBNL contain many of the nation’s largest and most sophisticated facilities for the advancement of knowledge in atomic physics, astrophysics, mathematical methods for physics, biomedical sciences, computational physics, applied mathematics, computing, fusion technology, laser physics, nonlinear optics, materials science, plasma physics, and combustion research.

Within the program, there is a wide range of expertise within the faculty, which leads to a wide range of choices when it comes to graduate research. These choices include Atomic and Molecular Physics, Applied Bioscience and Biotechnology, Computational Science and Engineering, Laser Physics and Optical Science, Material Science and Condensed Matter Physics, Microwave and Millimeter Wave Electronics, and Plasma Science and Fusion Engineering. All of these areas are described in further detail on the following pages. It is important to note that all areas of emphasis include a core subject area in mathematical physics and at least two other areas. You can contact the graduate adviser for more detailed information on core subject areas and requirements.

An incoming student decides which courses to take in the first year as well as an oral preliminary exam in selected subject areas. Courses and exam areas match the student’s general research interest and their choices are made in consultation with the Graduate Adviser or thesis adviser. In most cases the student will choose overlapping courses and exam areas in order to prepare fully for the preliminary examinations. It is important to note that all students will take preliminary examinations in mathematical physics, as math is a core component of all Applied Science degree programs.

Degree Programs

The Program in Applied Science offers graduate programs leading to Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Holders of a bachelor’s degree with a major in mathematics, physics, chemistry, materials science, bioscience, or engineering, and a minimum GPA of 3.0, may apply for admission to these programs.

Master of Science

The Master of Science I degree program provides a broad background in the physical sciences. Students pursuing a Master of Science degree can follow the Master of Science I or II program.

The Master’s of Science I requirements include 30 units of credit in graduate and upper-division undergraduate courses, selection of a research director and a three-member committee, three quarters of academic residence, and completion of a thesis. The Master of Science II requirements include 36 units of credit in graduate and upper-division undergraduate courses, a comprehensive examination, and three quarters of academic residence. The comprehensive written examination also serves as a preliminary examination for the Ph.D. degree.

“The Doctor of Philosophy degree is not granted by the University of California merely for the fulfillment of technical requirements, such as a residence or completion of fundamental courses. The Doctor of Philosophy degree, as granted at the University of California, means that the recipient possess knowledge of a broad field of learning and has given evidence of distinguished attainment in that field; it is a warrant of critical ability and powers of imagination and synthesis. It means, too, that the candidate has presented a dissertation containing an original contribution to the knowledge of the chosen field of study.”

Graduate Studies

Doctor of Philosophy

The doctoral program provides specialized training in a particular area of the physical sciences or computer science. It consists of both formal course work and independent study and research. Each student specializes in an area that best suits the student’s own interests and abilities. The student also selects a faculty supervisor, who will be a research adviser and guide for study within the chosen area of specialization. Although each doctoral program is tailored for the individual student, the area of specialization is generally taken from one a program area of emphasis (see focus areas)

Following the completion of advanced course work in a chosen area of specialization, the student takes an oral qualifying examination in their thesis research. Research leading to an acceptable dissertation completes the requirements for a Ph.D. degree. For doctoral research, some students can make extensive use of the exceptional facilities at LLNL.

The Program in Applied Science also participates in the Computer Science program. This program does not require a broad background in physical and chemical science. Computer science is concerned primarily with computer architecture, computer languages and operating systems, computer graphics and scientific visualization, and software engineering methodologies. The program has a special interest in supercomputing and parallel-distributed architectures, such as artificial neural nets.

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