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Department of Physics

Program Description

undergraduate program

The Department of Physics offers a rich and comprehensive program of study leading to the B.S. degree in Physics. This program is designed to prepare students not only for adva- nced graduate studies in physics, but also for employment upon graduation in physics and other disciplines related to science and technology.

Basic courses give the student a solid foundation in the concepts of modern physics, and assist the students in developing their analytical reasoning and problem-solving skills. Laboratory courses complement this experience with an opportunity to develop experimental skills and a working knowledge of advanced technology. Students are strongly encouraged to further develop all these skills by participating in advanced experimental, analytical, or computational research under the supervision of faculty mentors.

Departmental Honors Program

A physics major with a satisfactory scholastic average (3.3 or higher) may apply for entry into the Departmental Honors Program. Application must be made to the Undergraduate Affairs Committee no earlier than the beginning of the junior year and no later than the first quarter of the senior year. Each applicant must solicit a faculty advisor to supervise the proposed research project. Honors will be granted upon (1) satisfactory completion of a thesis based on the research project, and (2) demonstration through an oral examination of a broad comprehension of physics generally and the special field of the thesis. The examining committee shall be appointed by the Chairperson and will consist of a two member faculty Honors Committee, and one additional examiner from the physics faculty or graduate student body.

Advanced undergraduate physics majors may, with the approval of the Chairperson, enroll in first-year graduate courses, such as Classical Mechanics - PHYS7711, Electricity and Magnetism - PHYS7732, Quantum Mechanics I - PHYS7741, or Mathematical Physics - PHYS7835.

Information for First Year Majors and Non-Majors

Physics, chemistry, mathematics, geophysics, and computer science majors planning on taking physics in the freshman year should enroll in Intro. to Physics I-PH 209 and the associated lab - PHYS2050. Premedical students and biology majors should enroll in the course Intro. to Physics I - PHYS2100, recitation section - PHYS2110 and the associated lab-PHYS2050. The Calculus I course specially designed for physics, mathematics, chemistry, geology, and geophysics majors is Calculus I - MATH1102. Physics majors entering with Mathematics AP placement are advised to substitute Linear Algebra - MATH2210  and Differential Equations - MATH4410  for Advanced Calculus - MATH3305.

Course Offerings

Courses numbered below 2000 are introductory courses directed towards non-science majors. These courses have no prerequisites and need no mathematics beyond ordinary college entrance requirements. Introductory physics courses may be used to fulfill the Science Core requirement. PHYS2200-2201 Introductory Physics I, II (Calculus) or PHYS2100-2101 Introduction to Physics I, II (Calculus) and PHYS2050-2051 Introductory Physics Laboratory I and II are designed for science majors. Physics majors are required to take the PHYS2200-2201 sequence, and we strongly urge that it be taken during freshman year. For other science majors, consult your major description for further details on the physics requirement. Courses numbered above 3000 are advanced offerings primarily for physics majors.