Office of the Registrar
School of Graduate Studies (2012/2013)
29.27 Physics and Physical Oceanography
  • Professor and Head of the Department
  • J. Whitehead

The following Departmental Regulations are supplementary to the General Regulations governing the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees. A thorough familiarity with the latter Regulations should be regarded as the prerequisite to further reading in this section.

The Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography compiles, and regularly reviews, a brochure which contains reasonably detailed descriptions of currently active research projects, as well as a comprehensive listing of recent research publications, and other material which may be of interest to prospective graduate students.

29.27.1 Program of Study

The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is offered in Atomic and Molecular Physics, in Physical Oceanography, in Condensed Matter Physics and in Theoretical Physics.

  1. A program of study for the Ph.D. Degree in Atomic and Molecular Physics, Condensed Matter Physics or Physical Oceanography shall normally include a minimum of 9 graduate credit hours, beyond those required for the M.Sc. Degree. However, depending on the student's background and area of specialization, more or fewer graduate and/or undergraduate courses may be required.

  2. A Comprehensive Examination (as prescribed under General Regulation Comprehensive Examinations) shall be an oral one, and may include the presentation of a written research proposal.

  3. The Ph.D. Program in Theoretical Physics is an interdisciplinary program offered jointly with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. The regulations for this program are described under the Regulations Governing the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy - Theoretical Physics

29.27.2 Courses
  • A selection of the following graduate courses will be offered to meet the requirements of candidates, as far as the resources of the Department will allow:
  • 6000 Condensed Matter Physics I
  • 6001 Condensed Matter Physics II
  • 6002 Superconductivity
  • 6003 Path Integral Techniques in Condensed Matter Physics
  • 6010-19 Special Topics in Condensed Matter Physics
  • 6040 Biophysics
  • 6060-69 Special Topics in Interdisciplinary Areas
  • 6200 Nonlinear Dynamics
  • 6308 Ocean Dynamics I
  • 6309 Ocean Dynamics II
  • 6310 Physical Oceanography
  • 6313 Physical Fluid Dynamics
  • 6314 Field Oceanography
  • 6315 Polar Oceanography
  • 6316 Ocean Measurements and Data Analysis
  • 6317 Ocean Acoustics
  • 6318 Numerical Modelling
  • 6319 Climate Dynamics
  • 6320 Turbulence
  • 6321 Coastal Oceanography
  • 6322 Stratified Fluids
  • 6323 Stability Theory
  • 6324 Models in Ocean Ecology
  • 6360-69 (excluding 6363) Special Topics in Physical Oceanography
  • 6363 Laboratory Experiments in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics
  • 6400 Statistical Mechanics
  • 6402 Theory of Phase Transitions
  • 6403 Stochastic Processes, Time-Dependent and NonEquilibrium Statistical Mechanics
  • 6502 Electrodynamics
  • 6720 Theory of Molecules
  • 6721 Molecular Spectroscopy
  • 6722 Light Scattering Spectroscopy
  • 6730 Molecular Theory of Liquids and Compressed Gases
  • 6740 Physics of Atomic Collisions
  • 6760-69 Special Topics in Atomic and Molecular Physics
  • 6800 Group Theory
  • 6810-19 Special Topics in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics
  • 6850 Quantum Mechanics I
  • 6851 Quantum Mechanics II
  • 6900 Techniques in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics
  • 6910-19 Special Topics in Experimental and Applied Physics
Table of Credit Restrictions - Physics and Physical Oceanography

(Credit may be obtained for only one course from each of the pairs of courses listed in this table.)

Present Course

Former Course

Present Course

Former Course









































Members of the Department carry out research in several areas of experimental and theoretical physics, including atomic and molecular physics, condensed matter physics, physical oceanography, theoretical geophysics and applied nuclear physics. In atomic and molecular physics, there are experimental programs in collision-induced infrared absorption spectroscopy, electron emission spectroscopy of simple molecules, molecular ions and free radicals, laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy, and theoretical work on atomic and molecular collisions. The work in condensed matter physics includes experimental programs in solid state nuclear magnetic resonance on systems of biophysical interest, Raman spectroscopy of lipid bilayers and membranes, studies of phase transitions using Brillouin and Raman spectroscopy, studies of instabilities and pattern formation in simple fluid dynamical systems, and spectroscopic studies of molecular crystals. Theoretical condensed matter physics research involves studies of magnetism, superconductivity, and the statistical mechanics of polymers and lipid bilayers. The Physical Oceanography group carries out field and laboratory research on several projects which take advantage of Newfoundland's unique oceanographic environment, using acoustic and other remote sensing techniques. These include studies of circulation on the Newfoundland and Labrador shelves, Labrador current dynamics, fjord dynamics, submarine canyons and sediment transport dynamics in the nearshore zone and on the shelf. Theoretical oceanographic studies involve the modelling of ocean circulation, gravity wave phenomena and other aspects of ocean dynamics. Research in theoretical geophysics is concentrated on whole-Earth dynamics, with special emphasis on the physics of the liquid core (the Earth's "third ocean") as inferred from its wave spectrum and the associated momentum transfer to the deformable solid parts of the Earth. In nuclear physics, research is done on the atmospheric concentrations of radioactive elements and on dosimetry for medical applications.


For Geophysics, see Earth Sciences.