Physics

Requirements & Courses

  • Major or Teaching Major Requirements

    Thirty-six credits which must include:

    1. PHY-121, 122, 212, 221, 312, 321, 323, 421; and either 333, 380, 399, 480, 499, 500 or AST-225;
    2. Required Cognates (16 cr): MTH-121,122, 210, 211.

      CSC-120 and MTH-310 are highly recommended for the major. 

  • Minor or Teaching Minor Requirements

     Twenty-four credits which must include:

    1. PHY-121, 122, 212, and 221;
    2. Eight credits from Physics and Astronomy courses numbered 200 or above;
    3. Required Cognates (8 cr): MTH-121 and MTH-122

    Note: Most upper level PHY courses also require MTH-210.

  • Four credits from PHY, with the exception of practicum or independent study courses, may count toward the Distributive Requirements in the Natural Sciences - Physical Sciences.
  • Applied Physics (Environmental Physics concentration) Major Requirements:

    Thirty-six credits which must include:

    1. Sixteen credits of core physics courses: PHY 121, 122, 212, and 312
    2. Twelve credits of Environmental science courses: ENV 110, 360, and 370
    3. Eight credits of interdisciplinary courses: ENV 291 (2cr), ENV 280/380 (2 cr), and capstone course ENV/PHY 480 (4cr)
    4. Required Cognates (20 credits): MTH 121, 122, 210, and 211, and CHM 115. Other courses such as PHY 221 may be recommended based on specific goals.
  • Applied Physics (Engineering Science concentration) Major Requirements:

    Forty credits which must include:

    1. Sixteen credits of core physics courses: PHY 121, 122, 212, and 221.
    2. Eight credits of upper level physics courses, numbered 200 and above (e.g. PHY 312, 321, 323, 333, 421).
    3. Twelve credits of upper level applied science courses approved by the department, or upper level (transferred) engineering courses.
    4. Capstone Project: at least 4 credits approved by the department.
    5. Required Cognates (20 credits): MTH 121, 122, 210, and 211, and ECN111 or 112. Additionally, CSC120 and MTH 310 are highly recommended.
  • The Applied Physics (Engineering Science) major is not ABET accredited.

    Students who intend to continue their careers as professional engineers, who plan to take the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination, or who plan to continue their education with an MSc or MSE may require additional work and/or professional experience to qualify.

Courses

  • PHY
    101M
    .
    Making of the Atomic Bomb
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: MTH-100 or higher recommended
    Review of the scientific, engineering, military and social factors involved in the development of the atomic bomb from 1900-1945. Does not count toward Physics major. MTH-100 or 101 recommended.
  • PHY
    112
    .
    Physics of the Human Body I
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: MTH-112, 113, or 121 or Permission
    First half of an introductory couse on general physics with examples drawn from applications to the human body. Uses algebra and trigonometry, but not calculus. Physical principles are used to explain body functions such as muscles and human motion, with topics including mechanics, rotation, and conservation laws. Laboratory. Course fee.
  • PHY
    113
    .
    Physics of the Human Body II
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: PHY-112
    Second half of the introductory class started in PHY112. Uses algebra and trigonometry, but not calculus. General physical principles are introduced and used to explain body functions including: hearing and acoustics, vision and optics, and electric forces and signaling. Laboratory. Course fee.
  • PHY
    121
    .
    Introduction to Physics I
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: MTH-113 or MTH-121 previously or concurrently
    Calculus-based treatment of one and two-dimensional mechanics, vectors, force, work, energy, momentum, torque, and static equilibrium. Offered every Fall. Laboratory. Course fee.
  • PHY
    122
    .
    Introduction to Physics II
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: PHY-121
    Continuation of PHY 121. Topics include oscillations and waves, sound, Doppler effect, introductory electricity and magnetism, introductory optics. Offered every Winter. Laboratory. Course fee.
  • PHY
    140
    .
    Machine Shop
    2 credits
    Introduction to machine shop tools and techniques. Offered every winter. Course fee.
  • PHY
    212
    .
    Mechanical Systems
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: PHY-121 and MTH-121
    Rotational kinematics, dynamics, and advanced static equilibrium; fluids and introduction to thermal physics. Offered Winter, Even numbered years)
  • PHY
    221
    .
    Modern Physics
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: PHY-121
    Survey of fundamentals of modern physics; special relativity, atomic physics, nuclear physics, and introductory quantum wave mechanics. Laboratory. Course fee.
  • PHY
    225
    .
    Astrophysics
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: PHY-221
    Study of the physics of stellar constituents of the universe: distances, magnitudes, colors, spectra and motions of stars; multiple and variable stars; stellar structure and evolution, star clusters, structure and rotation of the Milky Way galaxy, galaxies and cosmology.
  • PHY
    299
    .
    Physics Independent Study
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: Permission
    Planned program of study. Topic selected by instructor and student.
  • PHY
    312
    .
    Dynamics
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: PHY-122 and MTH-211
    Study of motion. Includes particle dynamics, central force motion, rigid body motion, Lagrange’s and Hamilton’s equations of motion. (Offered Fall, Even numbered years)
  • PHY
    321
    .
    Advanced Electromagnetism
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: PHY-122, MTH-210
    Study of electric and magnetic fields. Introduces and uses vector calculus. Includes integral and differential forms of Maxwell’s equations; electric, scalar and vector potentials; radiation; and electric and magnetic properties of matter. (Offered Fall, Odd numbered years)
  • PHY
    323
    .
    Thermal/Statistical Physics
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: PHY-221 and MTH-210
    Study of thermodynamics as seen and derived from a quantum statistics perspective. Includes first, second and third laws of thermodynamics; kinetic theory of gasses; Maxwell-Boltzman statistics; thermal equilibrium; and fluctuations and irreversibility. (Offered Winter, Odd numbered years)
  • PHY
    333
    .
    Optics
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: PHY-122
    Study of geometric and physical optics. Includes mirror and lens systems, apertures and stops, photography, fiber optics, Fourier techniques, interference and diffraction, limits of resolution, optical image processing, electro optics, lasers and holography. Laboratory. Course fee.
  • PHY
    380
    .
    Topics in Physics
    4 credits
    Study of topic of current or historical importance chosen by instructor. Prerequisites vary with selections. May require instructor permission.
  • PHY
    399
    .
    Physics Independent Study
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: Permission
    Planned program of study. Topic selected by instructor and student.
  • PHY
    421
    .
    Quantum Mechanics
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: PHY-221, MTH-210; MTH-310 is recommended
    Study of wave and matrix mechanics, the harmonic oscillator, the hydrogen atom and angular momentum and spin. (Offered Winter, Even numbered years)
  • PHY
    480
    .
    Topics in Physics
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: May require Permission
    Study of topic of current or historical importance chosen by instructor. Prerequisites vary with selections.
  • PHY
    499
    .
    Physics Independent Study
    1 credit
    Planned program of study. Topic selected by instructor and student. Requires instructor permission.
  • PHY
    500
    .
    Senior Thesis
    2-4 credits
    Prerequisite: Permission
    Planned program of research performed on campus or as part of research group at major university or national laboratory. Course fee.