Ph.D. in Engineering Physics
Engineering Physics Program offers Timely Space-Specific Ph.D. Curriculum
The objective of this Ph.D. program is to provide advanced education and research opportunities to exceptional students, by providing a research environment which fosters collaboration, creative thinking and publishing of findings in nationally recognized journals. Areas of research emphasis build upon existing research in the Physical Sciences Department. These include the measurement, theory and modeling of the near-space and space neutral and plasma environment, studies of the Sun and stellar activity, robotics, dynamics and control of aerospace systems, engineering related to spacecraft instrumentation and remote sensing measurement and the design and implementation of electro-optical and radar systems.
Ph.D. Program Information
The minimum entry requirement to the program is a Bachelor's or Master's degree in physics, engineering or a suitably related field. A minimum CGPA of 3.2 / 4.0 is required for both the Bachelor's and Master's degrees completed. The program also requires a minimum GRE (verbal plus quantitative) score of 1200 in the old scale and 310 in the new scale, obtained within the previous two years of the application. Moreover, applicants are required to submit statements of goals (two to five pages), to include reasons for wishing to pursue doctoral studies- incorporating interests and background - and three letters of recommendation. All applicants whose native language is not English, or who were educated at schools where English was not the language of instruction in all disciplines, must submit their official TOEFL scores sent directly from the testing authority. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 600 on the paper-based exam, 250 on the computer-based exam and 105 on the Internet-based exam. Applicants will be vetted through a faculty admissions committee.
Students entering the doctoral degree program with a bachelor’s degree must follow the master of science degree requirements for 30 semester credit hours. Students must also complete an additional 45 semester credit hours to satisfy the doctoral program requirements.
Ph.D. Dissertation Information
Dissertation Proposal (prospectus)
This is an opportunity for the students to demonstrate to their dissertation committee that they understand the current research in their area of interest, and can formulate a thesis topic and a workable approach to the research. Committee members should have opportunities for in-depth discussions in the preparation of the proposal. The proposal is an opportunity for the student to demonstrate their verbal and written communication skills. Acceptance of the dissertation proposal is a significant milestone in the dissertation process.
The purpose of the dissertation process is to give the Ph.D. Candidate an authentic experience in performing and reporting research which leads to generating new knowledge. For the Ph.D. in Engineering Physics, the general areas of research will be Spacecraft Engineering, Space Physics and Upper Atmospheric Physics. The dissertation process begins with a preliminary search of the scientific & engineering literature around certain possible research topics. Then, in conjunction with the dissertation advisor (DA), a specific topic is chosen. The candidate then writes a Prospectus (a research proposal) which is presented and discussed with the full Dissertation Committee (DC). Once all comments and suggestions are addressed, the candidate begins to work full-time on a) a more specific literature search; b) formulation of tools for simulations, experimentation or analysis required; c) informally discuss progress on the research with the DA and the DC; and d) when completed, writes up the work in clear, technical English prose. The dissertation is then presented verbally in an advertised, public seminar, followed by a more thorough examination and defense with the DA and the DC. It is the expectation of the Ph.D. Program that each dissertation will lead to one or more peer-reviewed journal articles or proceedings papers.
Every student will be required to form a dissertation committee after they have passed their qualifying (comprehensive) examination and before they defend their dissertation proposal. The committee will be comprised of a minimum of four members, all of whom must be approved by the Ph.D. Program Committee. It will be chaired by the student's research advisor. One committee member will be external to the Ph.D. program. Initially, this will be a faculty member engaged in research at the Daytona Beach Campus of Embry-Riddle. Later, the possibility will be entertained that the external committee member will be an invited expert in the particular research field from a nationally renowned university or other research institution. The committee will be charged with monitoring student progress and examining student performance in their research through their dissertation proposal defense, seminars, their written dissertation and their dissertation verbal defense. When requested (by the student or advisor), the committee will also evaluate other student accomplishments related to research, such as accepted or published peer-reviewed journal and proceedings papers. The committee will meet at least once a semester.
At least once a year, students will be asked to give seminars on research topics which are pertinent to their research activities. Such seminars help demonstrate both scientific maturity, as well as verbal communication skills. Student progress will be monitored and appropriate feedback will be given both to the student (self-improvement) and to the dissertation committee (evaluation).
A dissertation is a major writing accomplishment and one that is heavily reviewed by the student's dissertation committee. It is also a major presentation accomplishment, because students are under pressure to respond quickly and accurately to all questions fielded by the committee and by others attending.
Dissemination of Student Research Results
Students will be strongly encouraged to present the results of their research at national (and international) conferences, to hone their presentation skills, to solicit feedback from other experts in the field and to strengthen their ties to the University and research communities. Students will also be strongly encouraged to write the results of their research for publication in high-quality, peer-reviewed journals or proceedings.
The Physical Sciences Department offers a graduate program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in cutting-edge areas of engineering physics.
Areas of Research Include:
- Aeronomy/Upper Atmospheric Physics
- Space Physics
- Spacecraft Instrumentation
- Spacecraft Systems Engineering
- Spacecraft Power and Thermal Control
- Dynamics and Control of Aerospace Systems
- Space Robotics/Autonomous Systems
- Space Weather
- Remote Sensing
The department houses more than 20 faculty members. Assistantships and fellowships are available to well-qualified students.
The Ph.D. in Engineering Physics curriculum is modeled after traditional programs in engineering and physics at other institutions. The program requires 45 hours beyond a master's degree, to include:
- 12 hours in core
- 6 hours of electives (minimum)
- 27 hours of dissertation (minimum)
- The successful completion of a two-day written qualification (comprehensive) examination prior to beginning the dissertation
- The successful presentation of a dissertation research proposal
- The successful completion of a written dissertation
- The successful oral defense of the dissertation before the dissertation committee and an audience of peers and other interested scholars
The objective of this Ph.D. program is to provide advanced education and research opportunities to exceptional students by providing a research environment which fosters collaboration, creative thinking and publishing of findings in nationally recognized journals.
A CGPA of 3.0 is required in order for a student to remain in good academic standing and for graduation. Students must receive a grade of B or higher in each graded course taken. If a student receives two grades less than a B or one grade less than a C, that student is subject to dismissal from the program. All requirements for the degree must be completed within seven calendar years from the date the student enters the program. Exceptions can be granted only by the Ph.D. in Engineering Physics Program Committee.
|EP 701||Analytical Techniques in Engineering Physics||3|
|EP 702||Theoretical Mechanics and Astrodynamics||3|
|EP 703||Electrodynamics of Space Environment||3|
|EP 704||Stochastic Systems in Engineering Physics||3|
|EP 705||Optimal Dynamical Systems||3|
|EP 706||Electro-optical Engineering||3|
|EP 707||Nonlinear Dynamical Control Systems||3|
|EP 708||Remote Sensing: Active and Passive||3|
|EP 709||Upper Atmospheric Physics||3|
|EP 710||Space Plasma Physics||3|
|EP 711||Computational Atmospheric Dynamics||3|
|EP 712||Geophysical Fluid Dynamics||3|
|EP 799||Special Topics in Engineering Physics||3|
EP 701 Analytical Techniques in Engineering Physics
This is a graduate course on mathematical techniques in engineering physics. It focuses on the application of advanced mathematical topics including Fourier and wavelet analysis, functional analysis, rotation groups and algebras, Legendre polynomials and functions and Bessel, Hermite and Laguerre polynomials to space science and spacecraft engineering problems.
EP 702 Theoretical Mechanics and Astrodynamics
This graduate course is organized into two major parts: theoretical mechanics and astrodynamics. The first part is essentially a modern treatment of Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics, as well as variational methods. The first part also covers several other advanced topics in analytical dynamics, including canonical transformations, Hamilton-Jacobi theory and canonical perturbation methods. The second part includes Keplerian and non-Keplerian motion, patched-conic orbits, perturbation methods, Lagrange's Planetary Equations, Gauss’ Variational Equations and advanced topics in space navigation.
EP 703 Electrodynamics of Space Environment
This is a graduate course on static and dynamic properties of electromagnetic fields. The objective of the course is to develop advanced concepts in electrostatics, magnetostatics and electrodynamics. This course also emphasizes various mathematical techniques for solving practical electromagnetic problems encountered in space plasma, antennas, propagation and scattering using Maxwell's equations.
EP 704 Stochastic Systems in Engineering Physics
This course is an advanced graduate course in stochastic processes and their applications in physics and engineering. The course covers rigorously continuous-time and discrete-time random processes and principles of optimal estimation. It focuses on the following topics: foundations of the stochastic processes theory based on probability space and s-algebras of events, Gaussian processes, Markov processes, Brownian motion, and multidimensional Wiener process and their relation with the notion of “white noise," stochastic Ito integrals and stochastic differential equations, stationary processes and their spectral properties, conditional expectations and optimal estimation techniques, Kalman filtering and time-series.
EP 705 Optimal Dynamical Systems
This course is an advanced graduate course in optimal control systems. The course covers the principles of optimal control. It focuses on the following topics: classical calculus of variations, LQR and LQG methods, Pontryagin maximum principle, time-optimal control. The course is structured to emphasize some of the recent research activity in optimal dynamical systems analysis and control.
EP 706 Electro-Optical Engineering
This course investigates the basic aspects of digital and analog fiber-optics communication systems. Topics include sources and receivers, optical fibers and their propagation characteristics and optical fiber systems. The characteristics of lasers, optical amplifiers and detectors and noise will be investigated, and systems design of fiber optic communication systems will be addressed. Quantitative development of electro-optical remote-sensing systems such as LIDARs, Hyper Spectral Imaging, Multi-directional high throughput temperature imagers, very low light level white light and monochromatic visible and infrared-red all-sky cameras. New high quantum efficiency, low thermal and read out noise detectors. Compact and rugged zed space-borne facilities and integrated multi-instrument observing systems. Digital processing and analyses of various images recorded with satellite instrumentation as well as ground-based recording of all-sky monochromatic and wide band pass images. Application of all the above to medical, drug, hazardous chemical testing and detection as well as to industrial and space exploration needs.
EP 707 Nonlinear Dynamical Control Systems
This course is a second graduate course in nonlinear dynamical control systems, organized into three major parts: differential geometric nonlinear control, advanced topics in feedback linearization and input-output and advanced stability analysis. The course is structured to emphasize some of the recent research activity in nonlinear dynamical systems analysis and control. It uses concepts from differential geometry, however the course is self contained in that the necessary mathematics will be taught as part of the course.
EP 708 Remote Sensing: Active and Passive
This course introduces students to concepts in remote sensing in the microwave and RF bands. The course will cover the fundamentals of radar and passive remote sensing. This includes the underlying physics of scattering and radiative transfer, analytical techniques, system design and examples illustrating the use of radiometer and radar as tools for monitoring the natural environment. The course will provide a systems perspective to remote sensing instrument design. The students will obtain the knowledge and ability to perform basic systems engineering calculations, evaluate tradeoffs and evaluate advanced systems.
EP 709 Atmospheric Physics
In this course, we reveal the fundamental processes controlling the structure, composition, dynamics and energetics of the terrestrial upper atmosphere (the near-Earth space environment). Topics include vertical structure of the atmospheric gases, solar radiation and photolysis, collisional processes, photochemistry and transport, thermodynamics, radiative processes, dynamics of the upper atmosphere, aurora and airglow phenomena, layered phenomena: metallic atoms, noctilucent clouds, and radio echoes and energy balance of the atmosphere and global change.
EP 710 Space Plasma Physics
This course is a graduate course in advanced plasma physics and its space applications. A strong background knowledge of electrodynamics and a previous introductory course (at the undergraduate level) in plasma physics is strongly recommended. It will start from the microscopic fundamentals, and then derive useful approximations such as Vlasov theory, two-fluid theory and magnetohydrodynamics. Waves and instabilities in each of these descriptions will be investigated. Applications to the space environment will form a core component of this course.
EP 711 Computational Atmospheric Dynamics
This is a second graduate course in atmospheric dynamics. Here, we emphasize the numerical solution of the governing fluid equations for various types of fluid flows. Various numerical methods and their associated limitations are discussed. Comparisons between real observations and simulations will be made wherever possible. Students will gain experience running large simulation code on a supercomputer. In addition to exams, students will be required to complete a hands-on project.
EP 712 Geophysical Fluid Dynamics
This is the first graduate course in atmospheric dynamics. The thermodynamics of fluids and conservation laws are introduced, which lead to the Navier-Stokes equations describing fluid flow. Effects of rotation on fluids are described. Wave motions occurring in the atmosphere and oceans are described, and include gravity waves, Rossby waves and Kelvin waves, as well as tidal motions. Instability processes, some triggered by waves, are discussed, and the cascade of energy to smaller scales through turbulence is described. Global scale "mean" motions (winds and Hadley cells) are discussed. The dissipative effects of molecular diffusion in rarefied gases are also described.
EP 799 Special Topics in Engineering Physics
Guided independent study of selected topics not offered in regularly scheduled classes. Course work requirements are established by the instructor, and the arrangement is made between the instructor and students, subject to approval of the Ph.D. program committee and department chair.
EP 800 Dissertation
A doctoral-level research in Engineering Physics, including an oral defense and a written dissertation satisfying all doctoral degree program guidelines. The work is supervised by the student’s advisor and dissertation committee. The approval of the dissertation committee is required to receive final dissertation credit.
Qualifying (Comprehensive) Exam
Within six months of the completion of the core courses, a student will be required to complete two days (8-12 hours) of qualifying examinations (administered every Spring semester) which test the student's mastery of core subject matter of the program. Questions on the examination will be written and subsequently graded by a committee of the program faculty with the oversight and approval of the Program Committee. Passing the qualifying examination will require a student achieves at least a B for each section of the exam. If a student achieves a grade below a B on a section, that student will be given an opportunity to repeat that section of the exam, after appropriate remediation, within a year. Should the student achieve a grade below a B on the second attempt, the student will be subject to dismissal from the program. The student will be admitted to candidacy status upon successful completion of the qualifying exam.
Our programs prepare students to make positive scientific and technological contributions to our increasingly complex society.