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Doctoral Program in Plasma Physics for Overseas Students



Introduction to the Program


We   cordially invite highly-motivated students to apply for our PhD  program  in Plasma Physics in the school of Space Science and Physics at   Shandong University Weihai.


Assisted   by qualified supporting staff, we are a team of scientists working in   space plasma physics in general, and the physics of plasmas filling the   vast region extending from the Sun out to the Earth’s ionosphere in   particular. We also work in the fields of observational astrophysics,   planetary science, nuclear astrophysics, as well as satellite  navigation  and remote sensing. We have been heavily involved in China's  space  exploration programs, and conducting quality independent  research since  the establishment of this discipline in 2008 here at  Weihai.


Areas of Research

(1)        Physics of Solar Eruptions. This subfield focuses on solar eruptions,   the eventual driver of hazardous space weather. Attention is paid to   their physical mechanisms, coronal and interplanetary responses, as  well  as associated particle acceleration and radio bursts. Also under   construction is a state-of-the-art solar radio observatory.

(2)        Physics of the Solar Corona and Solar Wind. This subfield focuses on   the mechanisms that heat the solar corona and accelerate the solar  wind,  using a synergistic approach by combining data analysis with   theoretical and numerical methods. Also being developed are novel   techniques for observing the solar atmosphere in optical and  ultraviolet  passbands.

(3)        Magnetospheric and Planetary Physics. This subfield focuses on the   response of the Earth’s magnetosphere to solar eruptions and the solar   wind. It also combines laboratory studies with remote sensing of   planetary materials, thereby exploring the origin and geologic  evolution  of planets as well as the interactions between planetary  surface  materials and the space environment. Our team plays an active  role in  China’s space missions exploring the Earth's magnetosphere, the  Moon  (i.e., the Chang'E Program), and Mars (e.g., Yinghuo-1 and  China's Mars  exploration missions).

(4)        Ionospheric Physics and Satellite Navigation. This subfield focuses on   the response of the Earth’s ionosphere to solar activities, and the   magnetosphere-ionosphere -thermosphere coupling. Attention is paid to   ionospheric irregularities, in particular their adverse consequences  and  the relevant coping strategy for satellite navigation. Also being   developed are the applications of satellite navigation techniques to   ionospheric exploration and oceanographic remote sensing.

(5)        Nuclear Astrophysics. This subfield focuses on the understanding of  the  equation of state for dense matter and the interior of compact  stars.  One of the most exotic objects in the universe, compact stars  provide a  bridge from astrophysics to nuclear and particle physics. Our  attention  is paid to the properties of rotating neutron stars and  strange quark  stars based on the covariant density functional theory.  Also of interest  are the neutrino emissions of cooling neutron stars  and the possible  dark-matter admixed compact stars.

(6)        Observational Astrophysics. This subfield focuses on several aspects  of  observational astrophysics, including blazar variability, variable   stars and exoplanet searching using our 1-meter telescope of the Weihai   Observatory. Attention is also paid to galaxy formation and evolution  in  the local and distant Universe with multi-wavelength datasets.


Entry Requirements

l    Applicants are expected to have obtained their Masters’ degree in   astronomy, plasma physics, space physics, solar physics, hydrodynamics,   computational physics or related fields.

l    Applicants are required to be capable of communicating efficiently in   English. However, understanding of the Chinese language is NOT  required.  




Incoming   students are assigned a faculty adviser by the graduate program   coordinator in consultation with the student. Optionally, the faculty   adviser may choose to establish an advising committee comprising 2 to 4   additional members with appointments in this school together with one   external advisor.




This program is nominally for 4 years, but can be extended to 6 years under exceptional circumstances.


Course Requirements


Students   must enroll in and pass the examination of courses with a minimum of  10  credits, including 2 from seminars. To obtain the full credits from   seminars, students are required to be at present at a minimum of 15   seminar sessions, and present at least 5 lectures during these  sessions.


Qualifying Assessments


As   per university policy, all doctoral students are required to pass   qualifying assessments before proceeding to their thesis work. These   assessments take place at the end of the third semester. The examining   committee consists of the faculty advisor, the postgraduate program   coordinator and at least two additional faculty members. The student is   expected to prepare a research proposal on a project approved by  his/her  advisor. This needs to be presented to the committee orally.  The  committee examines the originality, scientific merit and  feasibility of  the proposal. The committee examines the student’s  fundamental knowledge  in the discipline as well.


The examining committee issues the following marks towards this assessment:

l  Excellent. This is issued to a maximum of 20% of the students attending this assessment.


l  No-Pass. The student can still have the possibility to take another assessment.

l  Fail. This means the termination of the student’s enrolment in the doctoral program.


The   “No-Pass” and “Fail” marks are issued to no less than 15% of all the   students taking part in a particular qualifying assessment. These   assessments take place ONLY ONCE every year. The mark may be   reconsidered by the examining committee when a student objects to the   decision. In cases where this remains unresolved, the student can make   formal complaints to the University Graduate School in writing.


Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy


Students   are advanced to candidacy upon successfully passing the qualifying   assessment AND acquiring the full credits from relevant courses   (excluding seminars). When conducting his/her project research, the   student is required to report his/her progress to the advisor or the   advising committee at least once every 4 weeks.



Doctoral Dissertation


This   program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that   demonstrates the student's ability to perform original, independent   research and constitutes a distinct contribution to the knowledge in  the  field of study.


The   completed dissertation will be reviewed by a panel of three anonymous   external reviewers. The returned marks will be “excellent”, “pass”, or   “fail”. For the student to request to give his/her viva, the returned   marks must be “Pass” or higher. In cases where a dissertation is   submitted to the school prior to the normative time-to-degree, the   returned marks must be Pass or higher, with at least one being   “excellent”.


Requirements on Publications for Fulfillment of a Doctoral Degree


The   student is required to publish his/her work in SCI-indexed journals,   listed below. Before submission of his/her dissertation, the student   must have published

l  1 paper in the journals in List I


l  2 papers, with at least 1 published in the journals in List II.


In   exceptional circumstances, a student can request to submit his/her   dissertation prior to the normative time-to-degree. However, this can  be  done no earlier than 3 years from the student’s enrollment in the   doctoral program. In addition, before submitting his/her dissertation,   the students is required to have published

l  2 papers with 1 in the journals in List I and the other in the journals in List II or III.


l  3 papers in the journals in List II or III, with at least 2 papers published in the journals in List II.


Journal List I

The Nature series (including Nature Communications), Science, Physical Review Letters (PRL), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Journal of Geodesy, and other journals at a  comparable level recognized by the academic committee of the school.


Journal List II:

Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series (ApJS), Astrophysical Journal (ApJ), Astrophysical Journal Letters (ApJL), Astronomy & Astrophysics (A&A), Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS), Astronomical Journal(AJ), Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (PASP), Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR), Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), Solar Physics, Geology, Earth and Planetary Science Letters (EPSL), GeoChimica et Cosmochimica Acta (GCA), Icarus, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), American Mineralogist (AM), GPS Solutions, Survey Review, Journal of Navigation, Advances in Space Research (AdSR,   for the subfield of Satellite Navigation ONLY), Sensors, Marine   Geodesy, Remote Sensing, IEEE TGRS, IEEE JSTARS, IEEE Geoscience and   Remote Sensing Letters, and other journals at a comparable level recognized by the academic committee.


Journal List III:

Annales Geophysicae (AG), Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics(RAA), Astrophysics and Space Science (ApSS), Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia (PASA),   Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan (PASJ), New Astronomy(NewA), Advances in Space Research(AdSR, for subfields other than navigation), Planetary and Space Science (PSS), Earth, Moon, and Planets (EMP), Journal of Earth Science (JES),   Science China, Chinese Science Bulletin, Acta Geodaetica et   Cartographica Sinica, Journal of Remote Sensing, Geomatics and   Information Science of Wuhan University, Chinese Journal of Geophysics,   Acta Petrologica Sinica, and other journals recognized by the academic   committee.


The   student must be the first-author, and must specify their first   affiliation as Shandong University. The papers are required to be an   inherent part of the student’s dissertation. The papers are considered   “published” only when they appear in printor online.



Viva (Oral Defense of Dissertation)


This   is required for all students in the program. A viva may be held only   after the student has fulfilled the requirements on the dissertation  and  publications. The viva will be examined by a committee of five   reviewers, among which at least two examiners have to be external. The   student’s advisor(s) must not sit in the examining committee. A  doctoral  degree may be awarded only after the student passes this  examination.


Doctoral Degree Conferment


A   doctoral diploma can be conferred only upon completion of the required   coursework, seminars, and successful defense of doctoral dissertation.  A  certificate of the doctoral degree can be issued only upon approval  by  the committee for the conferment of academic degrees of Shandong   University.



Courses in the Program

A   student is required to choose from the fundamental and elective  courses  (listed below) a selection carrying no less than 8 credits.



Fundamental Courses:           These courses lay the foundation for students to build their basic understanding of the field.

Elective Courses:                   These courses are at a level slightly more advanced than fundamental courses.

Complementary   Courses:                These are undergraduate and masters’ courses   that the advisor considers necessary for the student. Please note that   these courses do not carry any credit.



Term   1 (Sept.-Jan.)

Term   2 (Mar. – June)

Year   1

0900468   Radiation Mechanisms in Astrophysics II (2credits, 32 hours)

0900464   Selected Topics on Celestial Mechanics (2, 32)

0900465   Selected Topics on Satellite Navigation (2, 32)

Planetary   Mineralogy (2,40)

Planetary   Geology (2,40)

0900449   Physics of the solar atmosphere and heliosphere I (2,16+32)

0900451   Physics of the magnetosphere, ionosphere and space weather I (2,16+32)


0900472 Observational   Astrophysics (2,32)

0900650 Stellar   Physics II (2,32)

0900461 Selected   Topics on Informatization of Space Technology (2,32)

Planetary Data Processing   and Analysis (2,40)

Analytical Methods for   Planetary Samples (2,40)


0900487 Introduction to   Astronomy (0,48)

0900485 Space Observations   and Instrumentation (0,48)

0900501 Introduction to   Astrophysics (0,48)

0900518 Planetary Spectroscopy   and Remote Sensing (0,48)

0900651 Active Galactic Nuclei II   (2,32)


0900473 Astronomical Spectroscopy   (2, 32)

0900462 Selected   Topics on Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (2,32)

0900463 Selected   Topics on Data Processing (2,32)

0900450 Physics of the   solar atmosphere and heliosphere II (2,16+32)

0900452 Physics of the   magnetosphere, ionosphere and space weather II (2,16+32)


0900658 Fluid Mechanics (0,48)

0900487 Introduction to   Space Physics (0,64)

0900488 Introductory   Plasma Physics (0,48)

Introductory Planetary   Science (0,48)

Geodesy (0,40)

The fundamental of satellite   navigation(0,56)




APPENDIX: Introduction to the discipline of Plasma Physics in Shandong University Weihai


The   plasma physics branch in Shandong University, one of the top   universities in China, was established only very recently in 2007. The   past 9 years have seen rapid development of this discipline, which   resulted in a young and active team with 32 members of teaching  faculty,  12 members of engineering and supporting staff, and 12  post-doctoral  scientists (6 from overseas).This discipline tops the  list of the three  disciplines prioritized by the Weihai campus. In  2015, it was selected,  on an extremely competitive basis, to become one  of the 13 disciplines  that will receive prioritized support from  Shandong University.


We   focus on fundamental physical processes as well as space exploration  in  key regions encompassing the Sun out to the Earth’s ionosphere.  Equally  important is our aim to develop some focused research on  satellite  navigation and planetary sciences. Wherever possible, we  adopt a  synergistic approach by combining data analysis with  theoretical and  numerical computations. As a result, we publish about  30 papers every  year in such important journals as Nature  Communications, Physical  Review X, Astrophysical Journal, and Journal  of Geophysical Research.  The outcome of our research has been  highlighted in multiple science  nuggets of relevant space instruments,  and has been in spotlight covered  by international media. Four of our  team members have been involved in  international teams, selected and  financially supported by the  International Space Science Institute on a  competitive basis.

Our team members have been awarded more than 30 research grants from national funding agencies, totaling 30 million CNY.


We   have been actively involved in multiple space missions and made our   efforts to meet both the societal needs and national strategy. We were   the main player in studies on science payload on and engineering   implementation of China’s Kuafu mission. We have been in science   definition teams or working teams of such missions as the China-ESA   SMILE mission, China’s Meridian Project, Yinghuo-1, Chang’E, and Mars   exploration missions. In the field of satellite navigation, we have  been  actively collaborating with the industrial sector, establishing a  joint  laboratory to develop mini-satellites for remote sensing and   navigation.


We   have been very active in national and international exchanges as well.   Our team members sit on the board or in the technical committees of   multiple international and national learned societies. We have  organized  6 international conferences/workshops in Weihai. In  particular, we  organized the 14th International Solar Wind Conference,  arguably the  most important conference in the field. We have convened 6  sessions and  given nearly 20 invited talks in international  conferences. We have  recruited 6 international post-doctoral  scientists, and 2 international  exchange students. On the average we  have more than 10 international  visitors every year.

Tel:(+86)631-5688881 Postcode:264209 Mailing address:180 Wenhua Xi Road ,Weihai Shandong China
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