The Departments of Philosophy and Physics at Columbia University are now offering a Master of Arts Program in the Philosophical Foundations of Physics.

General Overview

The program is designed to meet the needs of an increasing population of gifted students who are intrigued by, and want to participate in, the growing scholarly interest in the relationship between the philosophy of science and the foundations of physics. The program will draw on the diverse strengths of Columbia University and the surrounding metropolitan area in Physics, the Foundations of Physics, the Philosophy of Physics, and the Philosophy of Science.

The program should be extremely attractive to bright students who have undergraduate degrees in either physics or philosophy and who aspire to do original research in the conceptual foundations of modern physics. It is envisaged that students who successfully complete the program will most often want to continue toward a Ph.D. in either physics or philosophy and thereafter to pursue a career in research, but the program will also prove very useful to students whose future plans involve teaching or science journalism.

Course and Thesis Requirements

The instructional component of the program consists of ten courses (six graded and four audited) which can be taken over two semesters of full-time work. In addition, students submit a written master's thesis which presents original research on some aspect of the foundations or philosophy of physics and which is to be completed under the supervision of a member of the Physics or Philosophy Department at Columbia University.

Students can satisfy the program's course requirements by choosing from the following offerings in philosophy and physics:

    Philosophy Department
  • The Philosophy of Science
  • The Conceptual Foundations of Quantum Mechanics
  • The Philosophy of Space and Time
  • The Direction of Time
  • Probability and Induction
  • Logic
  • The Theory of Knowledge
  • The Scientific Revolution
    Physics Department
  • Special and General Relativity
  • General Relativity and Black Holes
  • Early Universe Cosmology and Particle Astrophysics
  • Classical Mechanics
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Quantum Field Theory
  • Thermal and Statistical Physics
  • Statistical Mechanics
  • Mathematical Methods of Physics
  • Geometric Concepts in Physics

Faculty Members and Areas of Specialization

David Albert (Philosophy; Program Director)
Foundations of quantum theory, foundations of statistical mechanics,
foundations of relativity theory, philosophy of science.

Allan Blaer (Physics; Associate Program Director)
Quantum mechanics, thermal and statistical physics, relativity,
elementary particles.

John Collins (Philosophy)
Metaphysics, epistemology, decision theory.
Richard Friedberg (Physics)
Statistical mechanics, quantum theory, relativity.
Alan Gabbey (Philosophy)
History and philosophy of science, history of early modern

Haim Gaifman (Philosophy)
Probability theory, logic, philosophy of language.
Brian Greene (Physics and Mathematics)
Quantum field theory, relativity, geometric concepts in physics.
Marc Kamionkowski (Physics)
Cosmology, relativity, astrophysics.
Isaac Levi (Philosophy)
Epistemology, decision theory, philosophy of science.
Christia Mercer (Philosophy)
History and philosophy of science, history of early modern

Alfred Muller (Physics)
Quantum field theory, relativity, elementary particles.
Malvin Ruderman (Physics)
Astrophysics, fluid dynamics, statistical physics.
Achille Varzi (Philosophy)
Logic, formal semantics, analytic metaphysics.
Erick Weinberg (Physics)
Relativity, cosmology, quantum mechanics, elementary particles.

For More Information and Application Forms

Graduate School Program Coordinator
GSAS Admissions Office
Mail Code 4305
Columbia University
535 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10027
Phone: 212-854-8120
Mr. Kofi Taha
Department of Philosophy
Mail Code 4971
Columbia University
1150 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027
Phone: 212-854-8507
Philosophy Department Physics Department
Professor David Albert
Department of Philosophy
Mail Code 4974
Columbia University
1150 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027
Phone: 212-854-3519
Professor Allan Blaer
Department of Physics
Mail Code 5227
Columbia University
550 West 120th Street
New York, NY 10027
Phone: 212-854-3262

To be considered for the 1998-99 M.A. program, completed applications must be received by Columbia University no later than March 31, 1998. (The program will begin in September, 1998, pending approval by the New York State Regents.)