Graduate Courses in the CCPP

The Department of Physics has a rich program of advanced graduate courses supporting CCPP Ph.D. students, covering astrophysics, cosmology, and particle physics. These courses typically begin in the second year of the Ph.D. program.

To navigate these courses, it is most important that you discuss your plans with your academic or thesis advisor. This page describes the courses available, divided into themes: high energy theory, astrophysics, and general interest. None of these courses are formally required, although in high energy theory there are strong recommendations. In individual cases students may complete or audit a mix of courses from each set, as long as course prerequisites are fulfilled and the Department of Physics requirements are satisfied.

Some of the courses are offered alternating years, referred to as Years A and B below. Academic Year 2020-2021 is a “Year A”, Academic Year 2021-2022 is a “Year B”, and they alternate after that.

The actual schedule may vary from the plan set out here if absolutely required because of constraints on staffing resources or other issues.

In addition to the courses offered at NYU, there are astrophysics and physics courses offered by several local institutions that NYU Ph.D. students may take through the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium.

High Energy Theory

High energy theory requires building up a substantial body of knowledge through courses. The regularly courses in high energy theory include the following, listed according to the typical year of one’s PhD they would be taken:

Year 2 Fall Quantum Field Theory I General Relativity
Year 2 Spring Quantum Field Theory II Particle Physics
Year 3 Fall Quantum Field Theory III Introductory or Advanced Strings
Year 3 Spring Beyond the Standard Model
Year 4 Fall Introductory or Advanced Strings


The courses in bold (Quantum Field Theory, General Relativity, and Particle Physics) should be considered essential for particle theorists. Those courses and Beyond the Standard Model are taught every year.

The string theory courses are offered alternating years (Year B for Introductory Strings and Year A for Advanced Strings). Prerequisites for Advanced Strings can be satisfied by Introductory Strings or an appropriate reading course.

Astrophysics & Cosmology

The courses in astrophysics and cosmology can be taken in a more flexible order and include the following:

Year A Fall Extragalactic General Relativity
Year A Spring Radiative Processes Cosmology
Year B Fall High Energy Astrophysics
Year B Spring Stars and Explosions Early Universe


We have listed General Relativity again because it is a prerequisite for Cosmology. 

The other courses are taught every other year, based on whether it is an “A” or “B” year. They may be taken in any order, for example depending on whether a student’s second year corresponds to an “A” or “B” year. Although Radiative Processes provides some of the physics underpinning used in Extragalactic, High Energy Astrophysics, and Stars, those courses still can be taken without it.


General Interest

There are two courses of potentially broad interest for CCPP students:

Year A Fall Statistics & Data Science in Physics
Year A Spring
Year B Fall Science Communication
Year B Spring


Recommendations for Breadth

One of the most important aspects of the CCPP is its cross-cutting nature; we encourage students to consider broadening their knowledge in order to better understand the connections among the field of fundamental physics, cosmology, and astrophysics. If the CCPP faculty had to choose an essential set of courses reflecting the physics that cuts across all the CCPP research areas, they might be:

  • General Relativity
  • Quantum Field Theory I
  • Particle Physics
  • Stars
  • Early Universe or Cosmology

Every student should consider whether it makes sense to attend these courses (either taking for credit or auditing them) and discuss it with their advisor.

Please do not hesitate to contact any faculty member, the Director of Graduate Studies, or the CCPP Director, about any of the courses or options described here.