Education   Graduate

Graduate Studies in Space Physics at UCLA

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Space Plasma Physics at UCLA has historically been pursued in three separate departments (Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Earth and Space Sciences, and Physics and Astronomy) as well as in the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics. Over the years, UCLA has attracted an exceptional and diverse group of faculty and researchers who are widely respected in the Space Science Community. Space Plasma Physics graduate education occurs via a coordinated program within the Earth and Space Sciences and Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. Prospective graduate students should apply to either the Earth and Space Sciences or the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Department. If they grant permission to do so, their files will be freely circulated to all UCLA Space Physics faculty for consideration by all. Accepted students may be enrolled in either Department and will be required to satisfy the Core Class requirements of that Department. The written comprehensive, oral comprehensive, candidacy exam and final thesis defense will be conducted according to the policies established in the relevant department. Transfer between departments, after enrollment is simplified by the similarity of the requirements but some additional classes may be required.

The graduate program in Space Physics at UCLA provides a firm foundation in Classical Physics ( E & M, fluid, and classical mechanics), Plasma physics (MHD, kinetic theory, waves), and Space Physics (Solar, heliospheric, magnetospheric, ionospheric, upper atmospheric physics). In addition, students obtain training in data analysis, instrumentation, and numerical computation techniques, and may delve deeper into topics as they choose.

Application information can be found on the home pages of each department. Both Masters programs and Ph. D programs are available.

It is also possible to study Space Physics and obtain an advanced degree from the Physics Department. The complete UCLA schedule of classes is available through UCLA's main WWW server. Fellowship support can be obtained from the individual departments from the IGPP, and from the California Space Grant Consortium. Research assistantships are also available from individual faculty members.Potential students are encouraged to visit the campus. Please contact the department offices or individual faculty members directly.

Requirements for Degree

Information on the Geophysics and Space Physics graduate degree requirements is available through the UCLA Graduate Division website.

Earth and Space Science Department Courses

ESS154  -  Solar Terrestrial Physics (Fall)
ESS200c  -  Introduction to Geophysics and Space Physics: Aeronomy and the interplanetary Medium (Winter)
ESS240  -  Space Plasma Physics (Spring: odd numbered years)
ESS261  -  Topics in Magnetospheric Plasma Physics (Winter)
ESS265  -  Instrumentation, Data processing and Data Analysis in Space Physics (Spring: even numbered years)
ESS288abc  -  Seminars in Space Physics(Fall, Winter, Spring) - A current schedule is available. This seminar series is joint with Atmospheric Sciences.

Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Department Courses

AS205A  -  Introduction to Solar System Plasmas (Fall)
AS257  -  Radiation Belt Plasma Physics (Spring, Fall)
AS205B  -  Descriptive Solar-Terrestrial Physics
AS250A  -  Solar System Magnetohydrodynamics
AS250B  -  Solar System Microscopic Plasma Processes
AS256  -  Ionospheric Electrodynamics
AS258  -  Sources and Losses of Magnetospheric Plasma
AS259  -  Space Weather


No physics courses are presently offered specifically covering space physics topics but many physics courses provide excellent background for those pursuing space science degrees.

Faculty with Research Programs in Space Physics

Physics Department:

Maha Abdalla
Ferdinand Coroniti

Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences:

Larry Lyons
Richard Thorne

Earth and Space Sciences:

Vassilis Angelopoulos
Christopher Russell
Raymond Walker

Research Scientists with research programs
that employ Space Physics graduate students:

Yuri Shprits
Robert Strangeway

Graduates of the UCLA Space Physics Program by Highest Degree


1965 Paul J. Coleman, Jr.
1965 Lowell L. Wood
1966 Osborne K. Moe
1966 Robert Currie
1966 Uri Fehr
1966 B. F. Cohlan
1966 J. C. Gupta
1966 R. Ramaty
1966 T. C. Winter
1967 S. M. Greenfield
1967 D. S. Intriligator
1967 A. J. Grobecker
1968 Christopher T. Russell*
1968 W. P. Olson
1968 R. C. Wilson
1969 J. Dale Barry
1970 E.S. Batten
1970 John V. Olson
1970 Kenneth Brody
1970 Athur D. Richmond
1971 Alberto D. Tomassian
1971 Malcolm G. Mcleod
1971 C. Richard Winge
1972 Joseph N. Barfield
1972 Rande Burton
1972 R. R. Lewis
1972 L. R. Lyons
1972 Edwin Winter
1973 Raymond J. Walker
1974 King Chan
1974 James Higdon
1974 J. P. Schieldge
1974 W. N. Spjeldvik
1975 Bryan L. Horning
1976 Carlene W. Arthur
1976 Michael N. Caan
1977 C. K. Chen
1978 Bernard R. Lichtenstein
1979 Donald Childers
1979 Lon L. Hood
1979 Stanley M. Kaye
1979 Howard Weiss
1980 C. Robert Clauer Jr.
1980 M. Harel
1980 Howard J. Singer
1980 Leonard J. Andreoli
1981 Craig A Searls
1982 Steven S. Church
1982 Richard C. Elphic
1982 David J. Gomey
1982 Kevin B. Quest*
1982 James A. Stavin
1982 John D. Richardson
1983 Kazue Takahashi
1983 T. Takashi
1984 David G. Sibeck
1986 Jean M. Berchem
1986 David J. McComas*
1987 Roberta Johnson
1987 John L. Phillips+
1987 Jon Linker
1987 Daniel Winterhatter
1989 Harlan Spence
1989 Miguel Moreno
1989 Xiaoming Zhu
1989 Julie J. Moses
1989 E. R. Sanchez
1990 Kurt Moore
1991 Lee F. Bargatze
1991 Guan Le
1991 Pu Song
1991 Tielong Zhang
1992 Francis K. Chun
1992 Yi Mei
1992 Leland R. Scurry
1992 Linda J. Horn
1993 Ming Cao
1993 Max Hammond
1993 Vassilis Angelopoulos*
1993 Changming Ho
1993 Gregory K. Crawford
1993 Sheng-Hsien Chen
1993 Michael H. Farris
1993 Steven M. Petrinec
1995 Dingan Xu
1995 Song Xue
1996 Bob Abel
1996 Gretchen M. Lindsay
1996 Gerard T. Blanchard Jr.
1997 K. T. Wang
1997 Pi-Jen Chi
2000 Jennifer M. Newbury
2000 Xiaowen Zhou
2001 Larry Kepko
2001 F. Xiao
2002 Janet Green
2002 Tamitha Mulligan
2002 C. P. Wang
2003 B. Bhattacharya
2003 Amy Boonsiriseth
2003 Janet C. Green
2003 Yongli Wang
2004 Scott Thompson
2004 Zhenjian Yu
2005 Galen Fowler
2005 Shuxiang Liu
2005 Yuri Sprits
2007 David Berube
2007 Elizabeth A. Jensen
2007 Misa M Cowee
2007 Robert F. Troy
2008 Yong Shi
2009 Yasong Ge
2009 Lan Jian
2009 Jared Leisner
2009 Xinzhe Jia
2009 Shasha Zou
2010 Hanying Wei
2010 Steve Joy
2010 Britney Schmidt

* Winner of Macelwane Award of American Geophysical Union
+ Astronaut


1984 Maria Ramirez
1985 Claudia Alexander
1985 Mohamed Arghavani
1985 Patricia Mutch
1986 C.D. Kimmel,
1988 Dain Ehring
1989 Michael Friedman
1990 Ryan Haaland
1991 Michelle Ong
1991 Michael Krajnak
1991 William Pakula
1992 Riley Jay
1992 Dennis Van Swol
1994 Yuyao Xu
1995 Han Kuo
1995 Darius Orlowski
1996 Thomas C. Meseroll
1998 Steven P. Joy
1999 Fotios Konstantinidis
1999 Richard S. Zuelsdorf
2001 Ya Xu
2004 Sabrina Mayerberger
2006 Ljiljana Vasic
2008 Erin Englert

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Last updated: September 7, 2010