Twin Cities campus
 
Twin Cities Campus

Astrophysics Minor

Astrophysics, Minnesota Institute for
College of Science and Engineering
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics, 116 Church Street S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-624-4811; fax: 612-626-2029)
Email: MIfA@umn.edu
  • Program Type: Graduate minor related to major
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2022
  • Length of program in credits (master's): 8
  • Length of program in credits (doctoral): 12
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
Astrophysics is the study of the universe and its constituent parts. The Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics conducts research in observational, theoretical, and computational astrophysics, as well as instrument development. The main research areas include minor planetary bodies, solar system properties, dynamics of normal and active galaxies, stellar evolution, interaction of stars with their environments, the interstellar medium, astrophysical magnetohydrodynamics, and galactic and cosmological structure. Observational research includes activities that cover X-ray, ultraviolet, optical, infrared, and radio wavelengths. Extensive research programs in space physics, nucleosynthesis, and the elementary particle-cosmology interface are also carried out in interdisciplinary connections with the graduate program in physics.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.50.
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
Students interested in the minor are strongly encouraged to confer with their major field advisor and director of graduate studies, and the Astrophysics director of graduate studies regarding feasibility and requirements.
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
Courses must be taken on the A-F grade basis, unless only offered S/N, with a minimum grade of C earned for each course. Approval by the advisor and director of graduate studies is required for use of 4000-level courses (with a maximum of 9 units at the 4000 level). Courses taken without prior approval by the advisor and director of graduate studies may not count toward the degree. The minimum cumulative GPA for the minor is 3.00.
Coursework Requirements 8-12 credits)
Master's students select a minimum of 8 credits, and doctoral students select a minimum of 12 credits in consultation with the Astrophysics director of graduate studies.
AST 4001 - Astrophysics I (4.0 cr)
AST 4002 - Astrophysics II (4.0 cr)
AST 4031 - Interpretation and Analysis of Astrophysical Data (4.0 cr)
AST 4041 - Computational Methods in the Physical Sciences (4.0 cr)
AST 5012 - The Interstellar Medium (4.0 cr)
AST 5022 - Relativity, Cosmology, and the Universe (4.0 cr)
AST 5201 - Methods of Experimental Astrophysics (4.0 cr)
AST 8001 - Radiative Processes in Astrophysics (4.0 cr)
AST 8011 - High Energy Astrophysics (4.0 cr)
AST 8031 - Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics (4.0 cr)
AST 8110 - Topics in Astrophysics (4.0 cr)
AST 8120 - Topics in Astrophysics (2.0-4.0 cr)
Program Sub-plans
Students are required to complete one of the following sub-plans.
Students may not complete the program with more than one sub-plan.
Masters
Doctoral
 
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AST 4001 - Astrophysics I
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Astrophysics of stars and stellar populations. Stellar formation, evolution, interiors/atmospheres. Stellar populations, galactic distribution of stars. prereq: 2001, Phys 2601
AST 4002 - Astrophysics II
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Astrophysics of galaxies and the universe. Diffuse matter, galactic structure, and evolution. Clusters of galaxies. Introductory cosmology, evolution of the universe. prereq: 2001, Phys 2601
AST 4031 - Interpretation and Analysis of Astrophysical Data
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Introduction to analysis techniques with applications to modern astrophysics. Methods to interpret/analyze large data sets from experiments. Principles/methods of analysis, with applications to current research. For senior undergraduate/graduate students in Physics/Astronomy. prereq: [Math 2243 or 2373 or equivalent[, [Math 2263 or 2374 or equivalent], Ast 2001 or instr consent
AST 4041 - Computational Methods in the Physical Sciences
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Ast 4041/Phys 4041
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Introduction to using computer programs to solve problems in physical sciences. Selected numerical methods, mapping problems onto computational algorithms. Arranged lab. Prereq: PHYS 3041
AST 5012 - The Interstellar Medium
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Survey of physical processes in the interstellar medium. Dynamic processes, excitation processes, emission and absorption by gas and dust. Hot bubbles, HII regions, molecular clouds. prereq: 2001, Phys 2601 or instr consent
AST 5022 - Relativity, Cosmology, and the Universe
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Ast 5022/Phys 5022
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Large-scale structure/history of universe. Introduction to Newtonian/relativistic world models. Physics of early universe, cosmological tests, formation of galaxies. prereq: [2001, Phys 2601] or instr consent
AST 5201 - Methods of Experimental Astrophysics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
Contemporary astronomical techniques and instrumentation. Emphasizes data reduction and analysis, including image processing. Students make astronomical observations at O'Brien Observatory and use department's computing facilities for data analysis. Image processing packages include IRAF, AIPS, IDL, MIRA. prereq: Upper div CSE or grad or instr consent
AST 8001 - Radiative Processes in Astrophysics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Introduction to classical/quantum physics of electromagnetic radiation as it applies to astro-physics. Emphasizes radiative processes (e.g., emission, absorption, scattering) in astrophysical contexts (e.g., ordinary stars, ISM, neutron stars, active galaxies). prereq: instr consent
AST 8011 - High Energy Astrophysics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Energetic phenomena in the universe. Radiative processes in high energy regimes; supernovae, pulsars, and X-ray binaries; radio galaxies, quasars, and active galactic nuclei. prereq: instr consent
AST 8031 - Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Introduction to physics of ideal/non-ideal fluids with application to problems of astrophysical interest. Steady/unsteady flows, instabilities, turbulence. Conducting fluid flows. Magnetohydrodynamics. prereq: instr consent
AST 8110 - Topics in Astrophysics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Sample topics include Understanding Supernovae, Structure Formation, and Gravitational Lensing.
AST 8120 - Topics in Astrophysics
Credits: 2.0 -4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
N/A prereq: instr consent