Science and Technology (MSIS)

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The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers a 36‐hour interdisciplinary master’s program, the Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (MSIS) in Science and Technology designed for STEM teachers and/or STEM majors who aim for interdisciplinary training and research. Depending on the intended career path, MSIS students will choose 18 hours of physics courses and 9 hours each in two interdisciplinary areas which include Education, Chemistry, Educational Technology, Computer Science, and Mathematics. Thesis and non‐thesis options are available in the MSIS program. These options provide opportunities for students to enhance their scientific knowledge as well as develop skills necessary in conducting interdisciplinary scientific research. Graduates of the program will have interdisciplinary training in physics, mathematics, chemistry, instructional technology, computer science, and STEM teaching and research preparing them to be more competitive in the rapidly changing work environment.
  • Why UTRGV?

    • Ranked #79 among 300+ national universities by Washington Monthly in 2018
    • Accredited, cutting edge degree program
    • Experienced, dedicated faculty
    • Affordable tuition (ranked #1 in net price among natinal universities by Washington Monthly in 2018 and #3 most affordable university in America 2018 by BestValueSchools.com)
    • Demonstrated student success in research, professional certification and career advancement
  • Admission Requirements

    Step #1: Submit a UTRGV Graduate Application at www.utrgv.edu/gradapply. The university application fee of $50 ($100 for International Applicants) can be paid online by credit card or electronic check (in the online application). All application fees are nonrefundable.

    Step #2: Request your official transcripts to be sent electronically to gradapps@utrgv.edu or mailed to:

    The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
    The Graduate College
    Marialice Shary Shivers Bldg. 1.158
    1201 W. University Drive
    Edinburg, TX 78539-2999

     
    *Please Note: If you are a graduate of UTPA, UTB/TSC, or UTRGV you do not need to request an official transcript to be sent to the Graduate College.

    Review and submit all Program Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or a recognized international equivalent in a similar or related field.
    • Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0.
    • Official transcripts from each institution attended (must be submitted directly to UTRGV).
    • Personal  statement  detailing  professional  goals  and  reasons  for pursuing the graduate degree.
    • Two  letters  of  recommendation  from  referees  conversant  with the candidate’s academic background.
    • Resume
    • GRE general test. GRE test scores are valid for 5 years. A waiver of the GRE requirement will be granted to applicants who show proof of completing a graduate degree (master’s or doctoral).

    Additional requirements for domestic applicants who attended foreign universities:

    • TOEFL or IELTS Language Proficiency Test with minimum scores: 550 on paper-based, 213 on computer based, or 79 on Internet-based for the TOEFL; 6.5 for the IELTS. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for 2 years. For additional information, visit the Additional Documents for Domestic Applicants who Attend Foreign Universities section of our website.
    • Certified English translation of educational records.

    Additional requirements for international applicants:

    • TOEFL or IELTS Language Proficiency Test with minimum scores: 550 on paper-based, 213 on computer based, or 79 on Internet-based for the TOEFL; 6.5 for the IELTS. For additional information, visit the English Proficiency Exam section of our website.
    • Certified English translation of educational records.
    • Financial   Documentation  showing sufficient funds to cover all expenses (living and academic) for the first year of study. For additional information, visit the Financial Documentation section of our website.
    • Immigration  documents, including a current copy of your valid passport. For additional information, visit the Immigration Documents section of our website.

    UPDATE ON INTERNATIONAL ADMISSIONS FROM U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT:

    • SEVP regulations prohibit the issuance of a Form I-20 based on conditional admission, effective July 13, 2016. University officials can only issue a Form I-20 when students have met all standards for admission for the program of study listed on the Form I-20. These standards for admission include any English proficiency requirements.

  • Program Contact

    Program Coordinator: Dr. Edgar Corpuz

    E-Mail: edgar.corpuz@utrgv.edu

    Office: Edinburg Campus, Science Building, R. 3.130

    Phone: (956) 665-2153

  • Deadlines

    Deadlines:

    Applications will be accepted year round and prospective students are encouraged to apply at least 2 months before classes start to ensure a timely application review.  Applying early will also give prospective students the best opportunity to be considered for scholarships and other possible funding opportunities.

    *Note: This program only admits applicants during Fall, Spring, Summer I and Summer II semesters.

  • Course Requirements

     
    Required Courses 18
    Choose from the following Courses:
    PHYS 5387: Special Topics in Physics 3
    PHYS 5394: Advanced Statistical Methods for Modern Astronomy 3
    PHYS 5398: Introduction to Computational Nano-optics and Nano-technology 3
    PHYS 5404: Physics by Inquiry I 4
    PHYS 5405: Physics by Inquiry II 4
    PHYS 6301: Topics in Physics for Teachers 3
    PHYS 6302: Environmental Physics for Teachers 3
    PHYS 6303: Quantum Information 3
    PHYS 6310: Computational Electromagnetics 3
    PHYS 6352: Computational Physics 3
    PHYS 6355: Computational Physics II 3
    PHYS 6379: Scientific Programming 3
    PHYS 6400: Astronomy by Sight 4
    PHYS 7300: Thesis I* 3
    PHYS 7301: Thesis II* 3
     
    * Required for Thesis Track
     
    Interdisciplinary Areas
    Choose TWO areas from the following:
     
    Education Courses 9
    Choose from the following recommended courses:
    EDCI 6304: Assessment of Learning 3
    EDCI 6306: Special Topics in Education 3
    EDCI 6307: Research Issues and Trends 3
    EDCI 6308: Advanced Educational Research 3
    EDCI 6344: Assessment, Current Issues and Research in Science Education 3
    EDCI 7334: Curriculum Problems and Processes 3
    EDFR 6300: Research Methods in Education 3
     
    Chemistry 9
    Choose from the following recommended courses:
    CHEM 6302: Teaching Environmental Sciences 3
    CHEM 6330: Special Topics in Organic Chemistry 3
    CHEM 6340: Special Topics in Inorganic Chemistry 3
    CHEM 6350: Special Topics in Analytical Chemistry 3
    CHEM 6360: Special Topics in Physical Chemistry 3
    CHEM 6370: Special Topics in Chemical Education 3
    CHEM 6380: Special Topics in Biochemistry 3
     
    Computer Science 9
    Choose from the following recommended courses:
    CSCI 6303: Principles of Information Technology Systems 3
    CSCI 6307: Foundations of Systems in Computer Science 3
    CSCI 6315: Applied Database Systems 3
    CSCI 6350: Advanced Artificial Intelligence 3
    CSCI 6361: Computer Visualization 3
    CSCI 6363: Human Computer Interaction 3
    CSCI 6366: Data Mining and Warehousing 3
    CSCI 6367: Digital Image Processing 3
     
    Educational Technology 9
    Choose from the following recommended courses:
    EDTC 6320: Instructional Technology 3
    EDTC 6321: Instructional Design 3
    EDTC 6323: Multimedia/Hypermedia 3
    EDTC 6329: Selected Topics in Educational Technology 3
    EDTC 6341: Student-Centered Learning Using Technology 3
     
    Mathematics 9
    Choose from the following recommended courses:
    MATH 6307: Collegiate Mathematics Teaching 3
    MATH 6309: Integrating Technology into Mathematics 3
    MATH 6310: Mathematics Teaching and Learning 3
    MATH 6325: Contemporary Geometry 3
    MATH 6328: Special Topics in Mathematics Teaching 3
     
    Capstone Requirement (Non-Thesis)
    Written Comprehensive Exam
     
    Total graduate hours for degree: 36
     

    Course Descriptions:

    CHEM 6302: Teaching Environmental Sciences               [3‐0]

    May include environmental sciences, environmental education, and hands‐on environmental experience. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 hours credit.
    Prerequisite: Acceptance into Chemistry Graduate Program and/or instructor’s permission.

    CHEM 6330: Special Topics in Organic Chemistry              [3‐0]

    May include advanced organic preparative laboratory, advanced organic synthesis, polymer synthesis, polymer physics and engineering and organic nanomaterials.
    Prerequisite: CHEM 2303.
    CHEM 6340: Special Topics in Inorganic Chemistry              [3‐0]

    May include advance biochemical techniques, protein biochemistry, biotechnology, critical developments in biochemistry, advanced training and conduct in biochemistry, enzymes biochemistry and clinical biochemistry.
    Prerequisites: Undergraduate Biochemistry, CHEM 3303.

    CHEM 6350: Special Topics in Analytical Chemistry              [3‐0]

    May include clinical instrumentation, quality control/quality assurance, chemical separations, laser analytical chemistry, advance instrumental laboratory investigations, environmental chemistry, geochemistry, marine chemistry and forensic sciences.
    Prerequisites: Undergraduate Analytical Chemistry, CHEM 2301.

    CHEM 6360: Special Topics in Physical Chemistry              [3‐0]

    May include quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, kinetics, statistical mechanics, group theory and nuclear chemistry.
    Prerequisites: Undergraduate Physical Chemistry I & II, CHEM 3304 and CHEM 3305.

    CHEM 6370: Special Topics in Chemical Education              [3‐0]

    Special topics for the enhancement of chemical education including chemistry, technology, environmental science and other related topics.
    Prerequisite: Assigned teaching duties or graduate student status. May be repeated for credit up to 9 hours.

    CHEM 6380: Special Topics in Biochemistry              [3‐0]

    May include advance biochemical techniques, protein biochemistry, biotechnology, critical developments in biochemistry, advanced training and conduct in biochemistry, enzymes biochemistry and clinical biochemistry.
    Prerequisite: Undergraduate Biochemistry, CHEM 3303.

    CSCI 6303: Principles of Information Technology Systems              [3‐0]

    An introduction to information technology and computer systems. Specific topics provide an overview of databases, knowledge‐based systems, e‐commerce, software engineering, software tools, programming, and Internet.
    Prerequisites: Knowledge of a high level programming language and consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6307: Foundations of Systems in Computer Science              [3‐0]

    In‐depth analysis of operating systems, computer architecture, and distributed processing, focusing on principles of organization and applications across systems.

    CSCI 6315: Applied Database Systems              [3‐0]

    Course covers the application of a modern database system. Concepts covered include relational model, normalization, structured query language, Internet data formats, and server and client side technologies. The course is targeted at students who are interested in the development of application programs using a database system such as Oracle, or Microsoft SQL.
    Prerequisite: CSCI 6302 or equivalent.

    CSCI 6350: Advanced Artificial Intelligence              [3‐0]

    Issues of knowledge representation, including a survey of important knowledge‐based systems. Current research issues, including neural networks, object‐oriented programming in AI, natural language understanding, device understanding, and perception.
    Prerequisite: CSCI 6305 or consent of instructor.

    CSCI 6361: Computer Visualization              [3‐0]

    Visualization systems augment quantitatively based systems for presentation of data in a manner facilitating understanding and insight. This course provides an in‐depth study of the theory, design, and implementation of computer‐based visualization systems. In addition to scientific visualization, visualization of semantic information is also examined.
    Prerequisite: CSCI 6307.

    CSCI 6363: Human Computer Interaction              [3‐0]

    Presents theory of human‐computer interaction, as well as development methods for interfaces, such as user‐centered design, prototyping, and participatory design. Course presents evaluation and testing techniques, such as heuristic evaluation, the cognitive walkthrough, and usability testing, as well as userinterface programming and ethical and societal issues.
    Prerequisite: CSCI 6302 or equivalent.

    CSCI 6366: Data Mining and Warehousing              [3‐0]

    As a multidisciplinary field, draws on work from areas including database technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural network, statistics, information retrieval, and data visualization. Theoretical and practical methods will be presented on knowledge discovery and systems design and implementation.
    Prerequisite: CSCI 6305.

    CSCI 6367: Digital Image Processing              [3‐0]

    This course covers the basic techniques used in acquiring, processing and displaying of digital images and video. Topics include image acquisition, spatial and frequency domain representation, image filtering, image compression, image analysis, morphological image processing and image understanding. Efficient implementation of image processing algorithms in a structured computer language is emphasized.
    Prerequisites: MATH 2414 and CSCI 3333 or departmental consent.

    EDCI 6304: Assessment of Learning              [3‐0]

    An introduction to basic concepts, techniques and issues in assessment of student learning and learning environments. [Prescribed elective for all students who do not have a required assessment course in their specialization]

    EDCI 6306: Special Topics in Education              [3‐0]

    Students will engage in projects focused on causing change to occur in public schools. Topics must be approved by the instructor. The primary student work product from the course will be either a project proposal or a final project report. Course may be repeated for credit when topics changes.

    EDCI 6307: Research Issues and Trends              [3‐0]

    Research as well as current issues and trends within the field of education. A course designed to broaden the professional’s understanding of the impact and implications of research, controversial issues and trends both within the society and within the field of education. May be repeated for credit for maximum of nine hours when topics vary.

    EDCI 6308: Advanced Educational Research              [3‐0]

    An examination of the role in education of the discipline or field of study selected by the student. Includes an intensive study of research findings, scholarly publications and advanced experimentation with a focus on the improvement of instruction.

    EDCI 6344: Assessment, Current Issues and Research in Science Education              [3‐0]

    This course includes selected studies of current issues and problems related to science assessment, instruction and curriculum development within a research framework that leads to science education reform. A mentoring assignment, technology and field work is required.

    EDCI 7334: Curriculum Problems and Processes              [3‐0]

    This course examines approaches in developing, implementing and evaluating curricula. Principles and practices in the production and use of curriculum frameworks, guides, textbooks, technologies and other curriculum materials will be included.

    EDFR 6300: Research Methods in Education              [3‐0]

    A survey of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research designed to introduce students to educational research. This course will include research design, literature review, critiquing research, and action research.

    EDTC 6320: Instructional Technology              [3‐0]

    This course provides a history and overview of the field of instructional technology. Demonstrations of technologies in different educational settings are explored. Practical and theoretical means for ascertaining the needs of learners, implementations of specific technologies to meet those needs, and assessment of effectiveness of those technologies in meeting learner's needs are presented.

    EDTC 6321: Instructional Design              [3‐0]

    This course uses an instructional systems design model to guide the student in systematically developing effective Instruction. Theoretical and practical issues in instructional systems design are examined. Other instructional design models are introduced.
    EDTC 6323: Multimedia/Hypermedia              [3‐0]

    This course concentrates on the development and utilization of hypermedia and multimedia in education. Students are expected to demonstrate the ability to develop an interactive instruction by utilizing audiovisual technologies and computer‐based/Web‐based technologies in a meaningful, educational context.
    Prerequisite: EDTC 6321.

    EDTC 6329: Selected Topics in Educational Technology              [3‐0]

    This course addresses the study of significant topics related to utilization of technology in educational settings. With approval by advisor, course may be repeated when topic varies.

    EDTC 6341: Student‐Centered Learning Using Technology              [3‐0]

    This course provides the teacher/trainer with the skills and conceptual knowledge for instructional design and development of student‐centered learning activities in learning environments. The course also addresses critical issues in the instructional design and development process, including effective modifications of instruction that uses advanced technologies for special needs students, and mentoring other faculty members.

    MATH 6307: Collegiate Mathematics Teaching              [3‐0]

    This course provides opportunities for students to have a practical experience in teaching college‐level mathematics courses supervised by faculty.
    Prerequisite: Departmental approval.

    MATH 6309: Integrating Technology into Mathematics              [3‐0]

    This is an introductory course related to the latest technological computer programs, especially in mathematics. It covers some of the following educational computer softwares: graphing calculator, dynamic geometry, computer algebra systems, publishing softwares and some multimedia and Internet related softwares.
    Prerequisite: Departmental approval.

    MATH 6310: Mathematics Teaching and Learning              [3‐0]

    This course examines issues, trends and research related to the teaching/learning of secondary school mathematics. Specific topics will vary, but could include: technology in the classroom, mathematical problem solving and the use of applications in the teaching of mathematics. Prerequisite: Graduate standing in mathematics.

    MATH 6325: Contemporary Geometry              [3‐0]

    This course contains selected topics in computational, combinatorial and differential geometry as well as combinatorial topology. Topics include the point location problem, triangulations, Voronoi diagrams and Delaunay triangulations, plane curves and curvature, surfaces and polyhedrons and Euler characteristic.
    Prerequisite: Departmental approval.

    MATH 6328: Special Topics in Mathematics Teaching              [3‐0]

    A critical analysis of issues, trends and historical developments in elementary and/or secondary mathematics teaching with emphasis on the areas of curriculum and methodology. This course may be repeated for credit when topic changes. Prerequisite: Graduate standing in mathematics.

    PHYS 5387: Special Topics in Physics              [3‐0]

    This graduate course will introduce students to different topics. The topics will be announced. May be repeated twice for credit. Prerequisite: Instructor approval.

    PHYS 5394: Advanced Statistical Methods for Modern Astronomy              [3‐0]

    This course will introduce the student to: gravitational wave astronomy and the detectors, advanced statistical methods, computational methods, introduction to grid computing and the LSC grid. The course has a mandatory laboratory component which will train the students in advanced statistical data analysis and grid computing.
    Prerequisites: MATH 3349, PHYS 3311 or consent of instructor.

    PHYS 5398: Introduction to Computational Nano‐optics and Nano‐technology              [3‐0]

    Applications of nanotechnology continue to advance significant innovations in sustainable energy, advanced materials, electronics, biotechnology, medicine, consumer supplies, and aerospace. Improved methods of modeling and simulation are required to achieve a more robust quantitative understanding of matter at the nanoscale. Computational techniques will be used to validate hypotheses that may not be accessible through traditional experimentation. Introduction to Computational Nanotechnology will provide students insights into current and emerging methods, opportunities, and challenges associated with the computational techniques involved in nanoscale research. Topics covered include: Modeling of nanoparticles and complex NEMs and MEMs systems; Theory associated with nanoparticles nucleation; Surface modeling of thin films; Simulation methods for various nanotubes, buckyballs and modeling of graphene metal‐oxide‐semiconductor field‐effect transistors; MATLAB for biological simulations in nanomedicine. Students will learn the future computational directions in the nanoscience field, highlighting the importance of the algorithms, modeling software, and computing tools in the development of efficient nanoscale systems.
    Prerequisites: Consent of instructor.

    PHYS 5404: Physics by Inquiry I              [3‐3]

    Physics by Inquiry I introduces students to guided inquiry‐based modules that are specifically designed to prepare prospective and practicing teachers (K‐12) to teach science as a process of "learning by discovery". This course deals with the study of mechanics, thermodynamics, and wave motion.
    Prerequisites: PHYS 1402 or consent of instructor.

    PHYS 5405: Physics by Inquiry II              [3‐3]

    Physics by Inquiry II introduces students to guided inquiry‐based modules that are specifically designed to prepare prospective and practicing teachers (K‐12) to teach science as a process of "learning by discovery". This course deals with the study of electricity, magnetism, and modern physics.
    Prerequisites: PHYS 5404 or consent of instructor.

    PHYS 6301: Topics in Physics for Teachers              [3‐0]

    A course that incorporates many different topics in physics. Guest lectures, student participation and basic concept presentation will be utilized to teach each topic.
    Prerequisite: PHYS 5405 or consent of instructor.

    PHYS 6302: Environmental Physics for Teachers              [3‐0]

    An enhanced understanding of environmental concepts and principles regarding pollution, air, water and waste management. The course will also address local issues and resources to help teachers provide students with opportunity for real world critical thinking and problem‐solving. The course will include in-depth industry site visits and guided field trips to environmentally sensitive areas. Both renewable and non‐renewable energy resources with the concept of energy conservation, waste management and disposal methods will be emphasized.
    Prerequisite: PHYS 5405 or consent of instructor.

    PHYS 6303: Quantum Information              [3‐0]

    The Heisenberg uncertainty principles and implications. Observation and measurement. Introduction to quantum mechanics, four quantum numbers and hands‐on experiment will be provided. The Schrodinger Equation and its application to bound and free particles, the hydrogen atom.
    Prerequisite: PHYS 3402 or PHYS 5405 or consent of instructor.

    PHYS 6310: Electromagnectics              [3‐0]

    This is an introduction to the rapidly‐developing new field of computational science: FDTD – Finite‐ Difference Time‐Domain technique. It is widely used for modeling of propagation of electro‐magnetic through material objects. FDTD is particularly useful for design of nano structures conducting light such as silicon integrated photonic devices. Examples include propagation of light through waveguides and storage of light in resonators. FDTD is also used for modeling of optical properties of photonic crystals. The topics covered in this course include: fundamentals of discrete wave equation, Yee algorithm, perfectly matched boundary layers, numerical stability and applications for electromagnetics.
    Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

    PHYS 6352: Computational Physics              [3‐0]

    The course will cover introduction to numerical techniques for solving physics problems, theory of computation and applications to various branches of physics, sample problems might include chaotic motion and nonlinear dynamics, particle trajectories, Monte Carlo simulations, dynamical and statistical descriptions of many body problems, hyperbolic, parabolic, and elliptic differential equations.

    Prerequisite: PHYS 4390 or consent of instructor.

    PHYS 6355: Computational Physics II              [3‐0]

    This course will focus on the solution of large systems of equations, a topic that pervades many problems in scientific modeling, including the solutions of partial differential equations. The course will point out the limitations of direct methods of solutions and look at alternatives such as multigrid, the cholesky conjugate gradient, and Krylov methods in general with GMRES as a specific implementation. Preconditioning methods will be studied, along with the advantages of decomposition. Advanced topics like interpolative methods and the use of radomization may be included.
    Prerequisite: PHYS 6352 and familiarity with C programming and UNIX systems.

    PHYS 6379: Scientific Programming              [3‐0]

    The use of computing to solve scientific problems is pervasive in every field of science now. The effective use of computing in the sciences does not merely need a knowledge of a programming language but also the effective use of software libraries and hardware options available for scientific computing. This course will cover (i) efficient programming and best practices in procedural and object oriented programming languages, (ii) training in widely used scientific programming environments such as Matlab, (ii) use of scientific software libraries such as the various toolboxes in Matlab and the Gnu Scientific Library for numerical analysis, (iv) introduction to programming for high performance parallel computing machines, and (v) introduction to massively parallel computing using Graphics Processing Units (GPU computing).
    Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

    PHYS 6400: Astronomy by Sight              [3‐3]

    Astronomy by Sight is a set of laboratory‐based modules that are specifically designed to prepare prospective and practicing teachers (K‐12) to teach science as a process of learning by discovery. The modules are also suitable for liberal arts students and for under‐prepared students who aspire to science‐related careers. Astronomy by Sight emphasizes the process of science rather than the presentation and explanation of facts. This course will deal with the sun, moon and stars, which will help predict and explain daily/monthly changes in the appearance of the sky. It will also deal with the earth, solar system and possibility of extraterrestrial life. Prerequisite: PHYS 5405 or consent of instructor.

    PHYS 7300: Thesis I              [3‐0]

    Prerequisites: Graduate standing and consent of thesis advisor.

    PHYS 7301: Thesis II [3‐0]

    Prerequisites: Graduate standing and consent of thesis advisor