Physics (BS)

Program Requirements

Required General Education

Limits, continuity, the derivative and applications, transcendental functions, L'Hopital's Rule, and development of the Riemann integral.

Prerequisites: Satisfy Placement Table in this section, MATH 115 or both MATH 112 and MATH 113 with “C” (2.0) or better.

Goal Areas: GE-04

Designed for science and engineering students. Calculus-based physics. Covers elementary mechanics including kinematics, statics, equilibrium and dynamics of particles, work and energy, rotational motion, gravitation, and oscillation. Lecture and Laboratory. MATH 121 must be completed with a C or better prior to taking this course or must be taken concurrently. High school physics or PHYS 101 is also strongly encouraged. Fall, Spring

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-02, GE-03

Major Common Core

This course provides conceptual and logical tools for students planning to major in a computing-based major. Programming in a high-level language such as C++, Python, or Java, and the development of skills in abstraction, problem-solving, and algorithmic thinking are emphasized.

Prerequisites: MATH 112 or MATH 113 or MATH 115 or MATH 121

Techniques of integration, applications of integration, improper integrals, numerical integration, the calculus of parametric curves, infinite series and sequences, and vectors in two and three dimensions.

Prerequisites: MATH 121 with “C” (2.0) or better or consent 

Surfaces, vector-valued functions, partial differentiation, multiple integration, and vector calculus.

Prerequisites: MATH 122 with “C” (2.0) or better, or consent

Matrices, determinants, systems of linear equations, vector spaces, linear transformations, and characteristic value problems.

Prerequisites: MATH 122 with “C” (2.0) or better or consent

This course presents the theory, computations, and applications of first and second order differential equations and two-dimensional systems.

Prerequisites: MATH 122 with “C” (2.0) or better or consent

This course is intended for students pursuing a Physics degree. The course offers an introduction to the field of physics, and prepares students for academic success in the program. Students will become familiar with current topics of physics research within the department, and better understand the career paths available with a physics major.

Prerequisites: none

Designed for science and engineering students. Calculus-based physics. Covers electrical charge and field; magnetic field and its sources; current and resistance; simple DC and AC circuits; and electromagnetic induction. Lecture only. (Associated laboratory course is PHYS 232.) MATH 121 must be completed with a C or better prior to taking this course. MATH 122 must be completed before taking this course or taken concurrently. Fall, Spring

Prerequisites: MATH 121 with a “C” or better; PHYS 221 with a “C” or better.

Designed for science and engineering students. Calculus-based physics. Covers fluids, thermodynamics, mechanical and sound waves, geometrical optics, physical optics, and modern physics. Lecture only. (Associated laboratory course is PHYS 233.) Pre: MATH 121 with a Cor better; and PHYS 221 with a C or better. MATH 122 must be completed before taking this course or taken concurrently. Spring

Prerequisites: MATH 121 with a “C” or better; and PHYS 221 with a “C” or better

Designed for science and engineering students. Laboratory course accompanying PHYS 222. Experiments involving electric and magnetic fields, electric potential, electric and magnetic forces, and simple circuits. Laboratory only. Prereq: PHYS 221 with a C or better; and PHYS 222 or concurrent. Fall, Spring

Prerequisites: PHYS 221 with a “C” or better; and PHYS 222 or concurrent.

Designed for science and engineering students. Laboratory course accompanying PHYS 223. Experiments involving fluids, thermodynamics, mechanical waves, geometrical optics, and physical optics. Laboratory only. Prereq: PHYS 221 with a C or better; and PHYS 223 or concurrent. Spring

Prerequisites: PHYS 221 with a “C” or better; and PHYS 223 or concurrent.

Special Theory of Relativity. Quantum nature of waves and particles: photons, de Broglie wavelength of matter and wave packet description of particles, Bohr model of hydrogen. Schrodinger wave equation in one-dimension: energy quantization, potential barriers, simple harmonic oscillator. One-electron atoms. X-ray and optical excitation of multielectron atoms. Lecture and laboratory. Prereq: MATH 122; (PHYS 222 and concurrently with PHYS 223) or PHYS 212.

Prerequisites: MATH 122; (PHYS 222 and concurrently with PHYS 223) or PHYS 212. 

Topics include the basics of molecular structure and spectra, classical and quantum statistical physics, solid state physics, nuclear physics,and particle physics. The lab component will teach the operation of various radiation detectors, and use them to study the interaction of radiation with matter.

Prerequisites: PHYS 335 

Rectilinear motion of a particle, general motion of a particle in three dimensions, Newtonian mechanics including harmonic oscillations, forced oscillations, central forces and orbital motion, collisions, noninertial reference systems, dynamics of a system particles, rigid body motion, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics, normal coordinates.

Prerequisites: PHYS 222 or PHYS 223; and MATH 321 or consent. 

Electrostatic fields, magnetostatic fields, steady currents, electromagnetic induction. Review of vector algebra.

Prerequisites: MATH 223 and MATH 321 and PHYS 222 

Electromagnetic waves, propagation and radiation of waves, electrodynamics and relativity.

Prerequisites: PHYS 223 and PHYS 447 

Geometric optics, wave optics, properties of light and matter, optics of transformations, and quantum optics. Lecture and laboratory.

Prerequisites: MATH 122 and PHYS 223

A systematic development of foundations of quantum mechanics. Observables, operators, state functions, expectation values. Matrix formulation of eigenvalue problems. The hydrogen atom, electron spin, angular momentum, and perturbation theory.

Prerequisites: PHYS 335, PHYS 441, MATH 247, MATH 321 

Numerical solutions of physics problems and computer simulations of physical systems. Lecture and laboratory. Prereq: Familiarity with some programming language and PHYS 212 or 222, and MATH 122, or consent

Prerequisites: CIS 121, MATH 122. Select one PHYS 222 or PHYS 223

Fundamental principles of statistical physics, including theory of probability, kinetic theory of transport process, entropy, classical and quantum statistical ensembles, Bose and Fermi systems. Applications to thermodynamics and magnetic properties of solids.

Prerequisites: MATH 321 and PHYS 223 

Experiments in modern physics, including solid-state physics and optics. Requires more independent work than introductory laboratories.

Prerequisites: PHYS 336 or consent

Students will attend research seminars presented by faculty in the department, or speakers from other institutions. Students also make and critique presentations made by themselves and other students. May be repeated for credit. Prereq: Completed at least two upper division physics courses. Spring

Prerequisites: Completed at least two upper division physics courses. 

Major Restricted Electives

Choose either CIS 122 (4 credits) or both EE 230 (3 credits) and EE 240 (1 credit)

This course is a continuation of CIS 121. Students develop a basic knowledge of programming skills and object-oriented concepts, and use fundamental data structures such as lists, stacks, queues, and trees.

Prerequisites: MATH 113 or MATH 115 or MATH 121; and CS 110 or CIS 121 or IT 210

This course is meant to develop Electrical Engineering Circuit Analysis skills in DC and AC circuits. It includes circuit laws and theorems, mesh and node analysis. Natural and step response of RL, RC, and RLC circuits.

Prerequisites: PHYS 222 or concurrent, MATH 321 or concurrent

Laboratory support for EE 230. Use of laboratory instrumentation to measure currents and voltages associated with DC and AC circuits. Statistical analysis of measurement data. Measurements of series, parallel and series-parallel DC and AC circuits. Measurement of properties for circuits using operational amplifiers. Measurement of transient responses for R-L and R-C circuits. Simulation of DC and AC circuits using PSPICE. Concepts covered in EE 230 will be verified in the laboratory. Pre-req: Must be taken concurrently with EE 230.

Prerequisites: Must be taken concurrently with EE 230. 

Major Unrestricted Electives

Required Electives - Choose 4 Credit(s).

Operating the 0.5 meter telescope; operating the BRC 250 astrograph; learning to install and operate ancillary equipment for both telescopes.

Prerequisites: AST 201 and AST 215, Consent 

Photometric systems; observational techniques of point-source photometry: methods of data reduction; interpretation of data.

Prerequisites: AST 215 

Reduction of digital images to determine positions, proper motions, and parallaxes of stars; analysis of errors.

Prerequisites: AST 201 and AST 215 

Line identification; radial velocity determinations; spectral classifications.

Prerequisites: AST 225 

Introduction to crystal structure, energy band theory, conduction and optical phenomenon in semiconductors, metals and insulators. Study of equilibrium and non-equilibrium charge distribution, generation, injection, and recombination. Analysis and design of PN-junctions, (bipolar transistor, junction) and MOS field-effect transistors. Introduction to transferred electron devices and semiconductor diode laser.

Prerequisites: PHYS 222, and MATH 321 

Laboratory support for EE 303. Experiments include resistivity and sheet resistance measurements of semiconductor material, probing material, probing of IC chips, PN-junction IV and CV measurements, BJT testing to extract its parameters, MOSFET testing and evaluating its parameters, cv-measurements of MOS structure, and familiarization with surface analysis tools.

Prerequisites: none

A calculus based introduction to probability and statistics. Topics include probability, random variables, probability distributions (discrete and continuous), joint probability distributions (discrete and continuous), statistical inference (both estimation and hypothesis testing), confidence intervals for distribution of parameters and their functions, sample size determinations, analysis of variance, regression, and correlation. This course meets the needs of the practitioner and the person who plans further study in statistics.

Prerequisites: MATH 122 with “C” (2.0) or better or consent

Algebra and geometry of complex numbers, analytic functions, power series, Cauchy's theorem and residue theorem.

Prerequisites: MATH 223 and MATH 290 with “C” (2.0) or better or consent

This course presents the theory, computations, and applications of partial differential equations and Fourier series.

Prerequisites: MATH 223 and MATH 321 with “C” (2.0) or better or consent

This course provides an introduction to techniques and analysis involved with solving mathematical problems using technology. Topics included are errors in computation, solutions of linear and nonlinear equations, numerical differentiation and integration, and interpolation.

Prerequisites: MATH 122, MATH 247 with “C” (2.0) or better or consent

This course bridges the gap between introductory physics and its application to the life and biomedical sciences. Topics include fluid flow, membrane transport, nerve conduction, imaging methods including MRI, CT, and nuclear imaging, radiotherapy, and health physics.

Prerequisites: MATH 121, PHYS 212 or PHYS 222 

Atoms in crystals, wave in crystals, thermal vibrations of the crystal lattice, free electron model, band theory of solids, semiconductors and PN junctions, magnetism, and superconductivity.

Prerequisites: PHYS 335 

Special arrangements must be made with an appropriate faculty member of the department office. May be repeated for credit on each new topic.

Prerequisites: Consent 

A calculus based introduction to probability and statistics. Topics include probability, random variables, probability distributions (discrete and continuous), joint probability distributions (discrete and continuous), statistical inference (both estimation and hypothesis testing), confidence intervals for distribution of parameters and their functions, sample size determinations, analysis of variance, regression, and correlation. This course meets the needs of the practitioner and the person who plans further study in statistics. Same as MATH 354. Prereq: MATH 122 with C or better or consent Fall, Spring, Summer

Prerequisites: MATH 122 with C or better or consent 

4-Year Plan

The 4-Year Plan is a model for completing your degree in a timely manner. Your individual 4-Year plan may change based on a number of variables including transfer courses and the semester/year you start your major. Carefully work with your academic advisors to devise your own unique plan.
* Please meet with your advisor on appropriate course selection to meet your educational and degree goals.

First Year

Fall - 15 Credits

Limits, continuity, the derivative and applications, transcendental functions, L'Hopital's Rule, and development of the Riemann integral.

Prerequisites: Satisfy Placement Table in this section, MATH 115 or both MATH 112 and MATH 113 with “C” (2.0) or better.

Goal Areas: GE-04

This course is intended for students pursuing a Physics degree. The course offers an introduction to the field of physics, and prepares students for academic success in the program. Students will become familiar with current topics of physics research within the department, and better understand the career paths available with a physics major.

Prerequisites: none

General Education Course * 3 credits

General Education Course * 3 credits

Spring - 15 Credits

Techniques of integration, applications of integration, improper integrals, numerical integration, the calculus of parametric curves, infinite series and sequences, and vectors in two and three dimensions.

Prerequisites: MATH 121 with “C” (2.0) or better or consent 

Designed for science and engineering students. Calculus-based physics. Covers elementary mechanics including kinematics, statics, equilibrium and dynamics of particles, work and energy, rotational motion, gravitation, and oscillation. Lecture and Laboratory. MATH 121 must be completed with a C or better prior to taking this course or must be taken concurrently. High school physics or PHYS 101 is also strongly encouraged. Fall, Spring

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-02, GE-03

General Education Course * 3 credits

Second Year

Fall - 14 Credits

Designed for science and engineering students. Calculus-based physics. Covers electrical charge and field; magnetic field and its sources; current and resistance; simple DC and AC circuits; and electromagnetic induction. Lecture only. (Associated laboratory course is PHYS 232.) MATH 121 must be completed with a C or better prior to taking this course. MATH 122 must be completed before taking this course or taken concurrently. Fall, Spring

Prerequisites: MATH 121 with a “C” or better; PHYS 221 with a “C” or better.

Surfaces, vector-valued functions, partial differentiation, multiple integration, and vector calculus.

Prerequisites: MATH 122 with “C” (2.0) or better, or consent

Designed for science and engineering students. Laboratory course accompanying PHYS 222. Experiments involving electric and magnetic fields, electric potential, electric and magnetic forces, and simple circuits. Laboratory only. Prereq: PHYS 221 with a C or better; and PHYS 222 or concurrent. Fall, Spring

Prerequisites: PHYS 221 with a “C” or better; and PHYS 222 or concurrent.

General Education Course * 3 credits

General Education Course * 3 credits

Spring - 14 Credits

Designed for science and engineering students. Calculus-based physics. Covers fluids, thermodynamics, mechanical and sound waves, geometrical optics, physical optics, and modern physics. Lecture only. (Associated laboratory course is PHYS 233.) Pre: MATH 121 with a Cor better; and PHYS 221 with a C or better. MATH 122 must be completed before taking this course or taken concurrently. Spring

Prerequisites: MATH 121 with a “C” or better; and PHYS 221 with a “C” or better

Designed for science and engineering students. Laboratory course accompanying PHYS 223. Experiments involving fluids, thermodynamics, mechanical waves, geometrical optics, and physical optics. Laboratory only. Prereq: PHYS 221 with a C or better; and PHYS 223 or concurrent. Spring

Prerequisites: PHYS 221 with a “C” or better; and PHYS 223 or concurrent.

This course presents the theory, computations, and applications of first and second order differential equations and two-dimensional systems.

Prerequisites: MATH 122 with “C” (2.0) or better or consent

Special Theory of Relativity. Quantum nature of waves and particles: photons, de Broglie wavelength of matter and wave packet description of particles, Bohr model of hydrogen. Schrodinger wave equation in one-dimension: energy quantization, potential barriers, simple harmonic oscillator. One-electron atoms. X-ray and optical excitation of multielectron atoms. Lecture and laboratory. Prereq: MATH 122; (PHYS 222 and concurrently with PHYS 223) or PHYS 212.

Prerequisites: MATH 122; (PHYS 222 and concurrently with PHYS 223) or PHYS 212. 

General Education Course * 3 credits

Third Year

Fall - 16 Credits

Topics include the basics of molecular structure and spectra, classical and quantum statistical physics, solid state physics, nuclear physics,and particle physics. The lab component will teach the operation of various radiation detectors, and use them to study the interaction of radiation with matter.

Prerequisites: PHYS 335 

Rectilinear motion of a particle, general motion of a particle in three dimensions, Newtonian mechanics including harmonic oscillations, forced oscillations, central forces and orbital motion, collisions, noninertial reference systems, dynamics of a system particles, rigid body motion, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics, normal coordinates.

Prerequisites: PHYS 222 or PHYS 223; and MATH 321 or consent. 

Electrostatic fields, magnetostatic fields, steady currents, electromagnetic induction. Review of vector algebra.

Prerequisites: MATH 223 and MATH 321 and PHYS 222 

General Education Course * 3 credits

General Education Course * 3 credits

Spring - 16 Credits

Matrices, determinants, systems of linear equations, vector spaces, linear transformations, and characteristic value problems.

Prerequisites: MATH 122 with “C” (2.0) or better or consent

Electromagnetic waves, propagation and radiation of waves, electrodynamics and relativity.

Prerequisites: PHYS 223 and PHYS 447 

Geometric optics, wave optics, properties of light and matter, optics of transformations, and quantum optics. Lecture and laboratory.

Prerequisites: MATH 122 and PHYS 223

Experiments in modern physics, including solid-state physics and optics. Requires more independent work than introductory laboratories.

Prerequisites: PHYS 336 or consent

General Education Course * 3 credits

Fourth Year

Fall - 15 Credits

A systematic development of foundations of quantum mechanics. Observables, operators, state functions, expectation values. Matrix formulation of eigenvalue problems. The hydrogen atom, electron spin, angular momentum, and perturbation theory.

Prerequisites: PHYS 335, PHYS 441, MATH 247, MATH 321 

Numerical solutions of physics problems and computer simulations of physical systems. Lecture and laboratory. Prereq: Familiarity with some programming language and PHYS 212 or 222, and MATH 122, or consent

Prerequisites: CIS 121, MATH 122. Select one PHYS 222 or PHYS 223

Elective Course in Major * 2 credits

General Education Course * 3 credits

General Education Course * 3 credits

Spring - 12 Credits

Fundamental principles of statistical physics, including theory of probability, kinetic theory of transport process, entropy, classical and quantum statistical ensembles, Bose and Fermi systems. Applications to thermodynamics and magnetic properties of solids.

Prerequisites: MATH 321 and PHYS 223 

Students will attend research seminars presented by faculty in the department, or speakers from other institutions. Students also make and critique presentations made by themselves and other students. May be repeated for credit. Prereq: Completed at least two upper division physics courses. Spring

Prerequisites: Completed at least two upper division physics courses. 

Elective Course in Major * 2 credits

General Education Course * 3 credits

General Education Course * 3 credits