Physics Program Overview

The graduate degree program at the Space Institute is an integral part of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The degree requirements for physics students at UTSI and at Knoxville are identical. Graduate programs of study and research under the guidance of a faculty advisor leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees are offered in a number of concentration areas: biophysics, atomic and molecular physics, laser physics, chemical physics, quantum optics, spectroscopy, fluid physics and theoretical physics. Thesis and dissertation research opportunities in applied and computational physics are available with the Center for Laser Applications, and with research groups at the Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center.

Admission Requirements

A student who enrolls in The Graduate School with the intention of attaining an advanced degree in Physics will have completed an undergraduate major in Physics or its equivalent. Physics 311-12, 321, 361, 431-32, 421, 461, and 411-12 constitute the minimum courses prerequisite to graduate study.


A student who intends to present Physics as a graduate minor will have completed an undergraduate minor in Physics or its equivalent. Physics 311 and 431-32 constitute the minimum coursework prerequisite to a minor in Physics.


In addition to meeting the graduate schools minimum requirements, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (general and subject).All first-year graduate students are required, for advising purposes only, to take a diagnostic examination in undergraduate physics during the fall semester registration period.


Those students who have completed the necessary applications are encouraged to seek Summer entry into our program.

Physics Faculty


  • J. W. L. Lewis, Ph.D. (Emeritus), Mississippi — ophthalmic biomedical applications with emphasis on early detection of eye abnormalities using telemedicine, fluid physics and laser-induced ignition, particulate formation and scattering.
  • Lloyd M. Davis, PhD, Auckland, New Zealand — optical physics and laser applications, single-molecule spectroscopy, quantum optics, chemical physics, biotechnology.
  • Christian Parigger, Ph.D., University of Otago, New Zealand — fundamental and applied spectroscopy, nonlinear optics, quantum optics, ultrafast phenomena, lasers, combustion and plasma physics, optical diagnostics, applied optics, biomedical applications, experimental and theoretical and computational physics.
  • Ying-Ling Chen, Ph.D., Tennessee — laser spectroscopy, biomedical optics

Physics Contacts

Dr. Lloyd Davis
Physics Program Coordinator
Univ. of Tn. Space Institute
Tullahoma, TN 37388-9700

Phone: (931) 393-7335