Physics (PHYS)

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Faculty: Christopher Cline, Peter Conwell

Program Goals

  • Students should develop a good functional understanding of physics, including mechanics, electricity & magnetism, quantum physics, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, optics, and relativity.
  • Students should develop expert-like problem solving skills.
  • Students should develop critical thinking and reasoning skills.
  • Students should develop laboratory skills.
  • Students should develop technology skills.
  • Students should improve their communication, interpersonal, and questioning skills.
  • Students should develop and/or retain student cognitive attitudes and beliefs (expectations) that are favorable for learning physics with deep understanding.

Objectives

The Physics Program offers an academic major leading to the Bachelor of Science Degree. In addition, the program offers an academic and a teaching minor in physics. A Physical Science composite major is offered for students seeking a physical science composite endorsement for secondary education. The program is designed to meet the needs of (1) students intending to specialize in physics and pursue graduate work in physics, engineering, material science, or biophysics; (2) students preparing for a professional career in science and engineering; (3) students desiring to broaden their knowledge of the natural world; and (4) students who wish to teach at the secondary level.

Program Requirements

Students choosing a double major or minor within the science program may not apply electives to more than one major or minor. Only classes listed under “required courses” that coincide between both majors/minors may be applied to both.

Students must maintain a cumulative 2.3 GPA or better in courses required in the academic majors.

Students must meet the college-wide graduation requirements in addition to the Physics major:

  • 124 total hours
  • 30 upper division hours
  • Liberal education distribution

Academic Major

To fulfill the requirements for a major in Physics, students must complete the following as well as demonstrate competency in MATH 141 and 142 or MATH 143:

  Credit Hours Prerequisites
Liberal Education Courses
Physics majors must complete eight credit hours in a single foreign language.
Requirement Description
Credit Hours Prerequisites
I. Foreign Language Requirement 8
Physics majors must complete eight credit hours in a single foreign language.
II. Lower Division Physics Courses 8
PHYS 211 Physics for Scientists and Engineers I and Lab (4) MATH 141–142or MATH 143, co-requisites: MATH 201 or MATH 201B
PHYS 212 Physics for Scientists and Engineers II and Lab (4) MATH 141–142 or MATH 143; MATH 201 or 201B, co-requisites: MATH 202
III. Upper Division Physics Courses 31
PHYS 301 Introduction to Modern Physics (4) PHYS 212
PHYS 305 Optics (4) PHYS 152 or 212; MATH 202
PHYS 309 Mathematical Methods of Physics (4) MATH 202; PHYS 211
PHYS 311 Analytical Mechanics (4) MATH 202, 203; PHYS 212, 309
PHYS 370 Scientific Computing (4) PHYS 211, or both PHYS 151 and MATH 201 or equivalent
PHYS 411 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (4) CHEM 112; Math 202; PHYS 212, 309
PHYS 425 Quantum Physics (4) PHYS 301, 309; MATH 203, 211
PHYS 431 Electrodynamics (4) PHYS 212, 309; MATH 203, 211
IV. Required Courses from Other Programs 24
CHEM 111 Principles of Chemistry I and Lab 4 co-requisite: MATH 141 or equivalent
CHEM 112 Principles of Chemistry II and Lab 4 co-requisite: MATH 141 or equivalent
MATH 201 Calculus I (4)—offered every semester MATH 142 or MATH 143 or equivalent or consent of instructor or placement test
MATH 202 Calculus II (4)—offered every semester MATH 201 or 201B or placement test
MATH 203 Multivariate Calculus (4)—offered every fall MATH 202
MATH 211 Introduction to Linear Algebra (4) MATH 201 or MATH 201B
TOTAL HOURS FOR THE ACADEMIC MAJOR
*Note: MATH 311, 363, and PHYS 301 are highly recommended
71

Recommended Plan of Study for Physics

Listed below is a suggested plan of study for completing the physics requirements. Students should check with their advisors at least once a year as course offerings may change from what is listed. Students must also meet college wide requirements for graduation.

Fall Semester Spring Semester
Freshman Year MATH 201*
CHEM 111


MATH 202*
CHEM 112


Sophomore Year MATH 203
PHYS 211


MATH 211
PHYS 212
PHYS 309


Junior Year PHYS 301**
PHYS 305
PHYS 410‡


PHYS 411
PHYS 425**


Senior Year PHYS 311**
PHYS 370
PHYS 411
PHYS 431**

* Assumes student already has credit for MATH 141 & MATH 142 or MATH 143

**Courses offered every other year, so Junior and Senior year may be interchanged.

‡ Physics 410 is recommended, but not required.

Academic Minor

Requirement Description
Credit Hours Prerequisites
I. Required Courses 20
CHEM 111 Principles of Chemistry I and Lab (4) co-requisite: MATH 141 or equivalent
CHEM 112 Principles of Chemistry II and Lab (4) co-requisite: MATH 141 or equivalent
PHYS 211 Physics for Scientists and Engineers I and Lab (4) MATH 141–142 or MATH 143 , co-requisites: MATH 201  or MATH 201B
PHYS 212 Physics for Scientists and Engineers II and Lab (4) MATH 141–142 or MATH 143 ; MATH 201 or MATH 201B, co-requisites: MATH 202
PHYS 305 Optics (4) PHYS 152 or 212; MATH 202
II. Electives 4
Additional coursework in Physics selected from courses
numbered 300 or above (4)
TOTAL HOURS FOR THE ACADEMIC MAJOR 24