Information below is intended for prospective students who are considering a Doctoral degree in Space Science from UAH.

All questions about enrolling in our PhD program should be directed to Dr. Gang Li, Chair of the SPA Graduate Committee.

Requirements for a Ph.D. degree

  1. Complete the core coursework (18 credit hours), see Core Courses below.
  2. Complete an additional 30 credit hours of elective courses. These are chosen from the Elective Courses list.
  3. Complete SPA 796 three times (only 1 credit hour counts toward degree hours).
  4. Complete SPA 582 once. 
  5. Pass a Comprehensive Examination ("Comps"). The Comps are offered annually during the summer semester and consist of three sections: (a) Electromagnetic Theory, (b) Classical and Quantum Statistics, and (c) Plasma Physics. A passing grade of 60% or above in all three sections is required for a Ph.D. pass.
  6. Pass a Ph.D. qualifier exam. This step involves writing a dissertation proposal and forming a Ph.D. committee, that would normally consist of the student's faculty advisor and at least four other members from the UAH graduate faculty. We encourage students to invite at least one committee member external to the department.
  7. Complete 18 credit hours of dissertation units (SPA 799).
  8. Write and defend a Ph.D. dissertation.
  9. Students must have a first authored peer reviewed paper published or accepted in a major international journal before their graduation date. Examples of acceptable journals include The Astrophysical Journal, Journal of Geophysical Research, Physics of Plasmas, Geophysical Research Letters, and Physical Review.
Core Courses
SPA 522INTRODUCTION TO PLASMA PHYSICS3
SPA 610ADV MATH METHDS FOR SPA SCI3
SPA 622CLASSICAL & QUANTUM STATISTICS3
SPA 623TRANSPORT PROCESSES IN SPACE3
SPA 624SPACE PHYSICS I3
SPA 631WAVES AND FIELDS3
Required Courses
SPA 582SCIENCE CAREER PREP1
SPA 796JOURNAL CLUB 11
Elective Courses
SPA 526SPACE WEATHER3
SPA 625SPACE PHYSICS II3
SPA 627HIGH ENERGY RADIATION DET&MSRM3
SPA 628SOLAR PHYSICS3
SPA 629ASTROPHYSICAL FLUID DYNAMICS3
SPA 630WAVES IN FLUIDS3
SPA 662COMPUTATIONAL PHYSICS3
SPA 663COMPUTATIONAL FLUID DYNMC &MHD3
SPA 689SELECTED TOPICS3
SPA 741PHYSICS OF COSMIC RAYS3
SPA 742GAMMA-RAY BURSTS AND JETS3
SPA 771COMPETITIVE GRANT WRITING WKSP1
SPA 789SELECTED TOPICS3
Year 1
FallSemester Hours
SPA 522INTRODUCTION TO PLASMA PHYSICS 3
SPA 582SCIENCE CAREER PREP 1
SPA 610ADV MATH METHDS FOR SPA SCI 3
SPA 622CLASSICAL QUANTUM STATISTICS 3
 Term Semester Hours: 10
Spring
SPA 526SPACE WEATHER 3
SPA 624SPACE PHYSICS I 3
SPA 631WAVES AND FIELDS 3
SPA 796JOURNAL CLUB 11
 Term Semester Hours: 10
Year 2
Fall
SPA 625SPACE PHYSICS II 3
SPA 627HIGH ENERGY RADIATION DETMSRM 3
SPA 662COMPUTATIONAL PHYSICS 3
SPA 796JOURNAL CLUB 11
 Term Semester Hours: 10
Spring
SPA 623TRANSPORT PROCESSES IN SPACE 3
SPA 628SOLAR PHYSICS 3
SPA 629ASTROPHYSICAL FLUID DYNAMICS 3
SPA 796JOURNAL CLUB 11
 Term Semester Hours: 10
Year 3
Fall
SPA 630WAVES IN FLUIDS 3
SPA 741PHYSICS OF COSMIC RAYS 3
  or SPA 742  or GAMMA-RAY BURSTS AND JETS 
SPA 799DOCTORAL DISSERTATION 3
 Term Semester Hours: 9
Spring
SPA 663COMPUTATIONAL FLUID DYNMC MHD 3
SPA 771COMPETITIVE GRANT WRITING WKSP 1
SPA 799DOCTORAL DISSERTATION 6
 Term Semester Hours: 10
Year 4
Fall
SPA 799DOCTORAL DISSERTATION 9
 Term Semester Hours: 9
Spring
SPA 799DOCTORAL DISSERTATION 3-9
 Term Semester Hours: 3-9
 Total Semester Hours: 71-77