Physics

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Faculty: Christopher Cline, Peter Conwell, Julia Kamenetzky

Physics Courses

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
  • WCore requirements

Physics Major

To fulfill the requirements for a major in Physics, students must complete the following as well as demonstrate competency in MATH 144:

Requirement Description
Credit Hours Prerequisites
I. World Language Requirement 8
Physics majors must complete eight credit hours in a single world language.
II. Lower Division Physics Courses 8
PHYS 211 Physics for Scientists and Engineers I and Lab (4) MATH 144, co-requisite: MATH 201
PHYS 212 Physics for Scientists and Engineers II and Lab (4) PHYS 211, co-requisite: MATH 202
III. Upper Division Physics Courses 28
PHYS 301 Introduction to Modern Physics (4) PHY 151 or PHYS 212
PHYS 309 Mathematical Methods for Physics (4) MATH 202, PHYS 211
PHYS 311 Analytical Mechanics (4) – offered fall of even years MATH 203, PHYS 212, 309
PHYS 370 Scientific Computing (4) PHYS 211, or 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) – offered spring of even years PHYS 212, 301, 309 and MATH 203, 204, or 211
PHYS 431 Electrodynamics (4) – offered spring of odd years PHYS 212, 309, MATH 203, and either MATH 204, MATH 211, or WCSAM 203
IV. Electives 4
Take one of the following courses:
PHYS 305 Optics (4) PHYS 152 or 212; MATH 202
PHYS 315 Electronics and Electric Circuits (4) – offered fall of even years PHYS 212, MATH 202
PHYS 410 Quantum Chemistry (4) – offered fall of odd years CHEM 112, MATH 202, PHYS 212, 309
V. Required Courses from Other Programs 26
CHEM 111 Principles of Chemistry I and Lab (4) co-requisites: CHEM 111R recommended/MATH 144 required
CHEM 112 Principles of Chemistry II and Lab 4 CHEM 111
MATH 201 Calculus I (4) MATH 144 or placement test
MATH 202 Calculus II (4) MATH 201 or placement test
MATH 203 Multivariate Calculus (4) MATH 202
WCSAM 203 Linear Algebra (4)
WCSAM 400 Science Capstone (2)
TOTAL HOURS FOR PHYSICS MAJOR 74

*Note: MATH 311 and 363 are highly recommended.

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


WCSAM 203
PHYS 212
PHYS 309

Junior Year

PHYS 301
PHYS 305** or PHYS 315 or PHYS 410
PHYS 410


PHYS 411
PHYS 425

Senior Year

PHYS 311
PHYS 370
WCSAM 400


PHYS 411
PHYS 431
WCSAM 400 (when offered)

* Assumes student already has credit for MATH 144

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


Physics Minor

Requirement Description
Credit Hours Prerequisites
I. Required Courses 20
CHEM 111 Principles of Chemistry I and Lab (4) co-requisites: CHEM 111R recommended/MATH 144 required
CHEM 112 Principles of Chemistry II and Lab (4) CHEM 111
PHYS 211 Physics for Scientists and Engineers I and Lab (4) MATH 144, co-requisite: MATH 201
PHYS 212 Physics for Scientists and Engineers II and Lab (4) PHYS 211, co-requisite: MATH 202
PHYS 301 Introduction to Modern Physics (4) PHY 151 or PHYS 212
II. Electives 4
Additional coursework in Physics selected from courses
numbered 300 or above (4)
TOTAL HOURS FOR PHYSICS MINOR 24
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