B.S. Major in Physics

THE BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (B.S.) MAJOR IN PHYSICS 36 Credits

This program provides the necessary preparation for entry-level work as a physicist in government or industry. It also prepares students for entry-level work or graduate study in a wide variety of interdisciplinary science and engineering fields including astronomy and astrophysics, computational physics, geophysics, planetary science, electrical engineering, nuclear engineering, etc. Also, the program is highly recommended for any career in which a liberal arts degree with a concentration in physics may be desirable - scientific writing and reporting, criminology, patent law, scientific equipment sales, high-school physics teaching (when combined with the required education courses) - to name just a few. Students should work closely with their advisors in choosing electives to prepare for specific career goals.

Biomedical Physics Track

The biomedical physics track offers three specializations: Pre-Biomedical Engineering, Pre-Medical Physics, and Pre-Biophysics. Each of them is designed for students interested in pursuing advanced degrees in those areas or related fields.

Program Goals Learning Objectives

1.  Students will have a knowledge of the information in each of the major areas of physics, and of the interrelation between these major areas of physics. 

1A.  Students will demonstrate an improved understanding of the fundamental concepts in each of the major areas of physics.

1B.  Students will be able to use concepts and techniques from more than one area of physics together to solve problems. 

2.  Students will have mastered the skills appropriate to the discipline of physics. 

2A.  Students will demonstrate a conceptual problem solving ability.

2B.  Students will demonstrate a proficiency in the application of mathematics to physics.

2C.  Students will demonstrate a proficiency in the design, measurement and analysis techniques required in the laboratory.

2D.  Students will demonstrate the ability to work as members of a team.

2E.  Students will synthesize current knowledge and apply or extend it to new situations.

2F.  Students will successfully analyze the ethical component of issues from the physical sciences.

2G:  Students will demonstrate the ability to effectively present the results of quantitative studies.

Course Requirements: The following Physics courses are required for all majors.

Either

  • PHY 211 General Physics I (4 credits)
  • PHY 212 General Physics II (4 credits)

Or

  • PHY 221 Mathematical Modeling of the Physical World I (3 credits)
  • PHY 211 X General Physics Lab (1 credit)
  • PHY 221 Mathematical Modeling of the Physical World II (3 credits)
  • PHY 212 X General Physics Lab (1 credit)

(All of the following:) 

  • PHY 301 Modern Physics (3 credits)
  • PHY 302 Modern Physics Laboratory (1 credit)
  • PHY 303 Electronics Laboratory (1 credit)
  • PHY 331 Physical Optics (3 credits)
  • PHY 332 Optics Laboratory (1 credit)
  • PHY 471 Classical Mechanics (3 credits)
  • PHY 481 Electricity and Magnetism (3 credits)
  • PHY 491 Physics Seminar (1 credit)
  • PHY 531 Quantum Mechanics (3 credits)
  • PHY 541 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (3 credits)

(Advanced Lecture Elective: Choose 3 credits from the following:)

  • PHY 351 Physics in Medicine (3 credits)
  • PHY 353 Introduction to Biological Physics (3 credits)
  • PHY 522 Electric Circuits (3 credits)
  • PHY 551 Mathematical Physics (3 credits)
  • PHY 552 Computational Physics (3 credits)
  • PHY 558 Relativity: The Special and General Theories (3 credits)
  • PHY 559 Gravitation and Cosmology (3 credits)
  • PHY 561 Nuclear Physics (3 credits)
  • PHY 563 High Energy Nuclear Physics (1 credit)
  • PHY 571 Solid State Physics (3 credits)
  • PHY 587 Laser Physics (3 credits)
  • PHY 595 Special Topics (3 credits)

(Advanced Lab Elective: Choose 3 credits from the following:)

  • PHY 497 Directed Independent Research (1 credit)
  • PHY 581 Advanced Lab I (1 credit)
  • PHY 582 Advanced Lab II (1 credit) 

Requisite Courses: The courses listed above require the calculus sequence MTH 245, 246, 347 (12 credits)

Additional coursework in physics, mathematics, computer science, chemistry, biology, or other sciences is recommended. Choices will depend on the specific career plans and interests of the students.

B.S. Major in Physics: 4-Year Plan

This 4-year plan satisfies the requirements for the B.S. degree with a major in physics as well as the core requirements in four years. There is plenty of room for students to customize the degree according to their interests.

Freshman Year

Physics Major: 4-Year Plan

Fall Spring
Course Credits Course Credits
PHY 201/213/221 & 205 LM 4 PHY 202/214/222 & 206 LM 4
Calculus I or II 4 Calculus II or III 4
RSP 1 Foundations: Critical Issues 3
Foundations: Composition 3 Foundations: Oral Communications 1
Foreign Language 4 Foundations: Theology 3
  16   15
Sophomore Year
4-Year Plan: Physics Major
Fall Spring
Course Credits Course Credits
Modern Physics 3 Optics & Lab 4
Research Methods 2 Electronics Lab 1
Calculus III or Physics Elective 3 Explorations: Ethics 3
Foundations: Philosophy 3 Explorations: Biblical Trad. 3
Explorations: History 3 Understanding Social Science 3
  14   14
Junior Year
4-Year Plan: Physics Major
Fall Spring
Course Credits Course Credits
Thermodynamics 3 Electricity and Magnetism 3
Research 1 Classical Mechanics 3
Doing Social Science 3 Explorations: Fine Arts 3
Explorations: Literature 3    
       
  10   9
Senior Year
4-Year Plan: Physics Major
Fall Spring
Course Credits Course Credits
Quantum Mechanics 3 Physics Seminar 1
Research Capstone 1 Physics Elective 3
Intersections 3 Ultimate Questions 3
       
  7   7
 

 

 

 

*Students who need to take a pre-calculus math course may begin calculus in the second semester. General physics is then begun in the second semester or in the first semester of the sophomore year.

**The minimum requirements for the physics concentration are stated here.

The courses listed below are suggested to fill in or expand the program. The list is not intended to be exhaustive. Choices will depend on the specific career plans and interests of the student.

  • General Chemistry I-II (CHM 203-206)
  • Computer Programming I (CSC 221)
  • Applied Linear Algebra (MTH 529)
  • Differential Equations (MTH 545)
  • Mathematical Statistics l-ll (MTH 561-562)

B.S. Major in Physics: 4-Year Plan (Pre-med)

This 4-year plan is designed to rigorously prepare students for taking the MCAT after the junior year as well as to earn a B.S. with a major in physics in four years.

Freshman Year
 
Physics Major: 4-Year Plan (Pre-med)
Fall Spring
Course Credits Course Credits
PHY 201/213/221 & 205 4 PHY 202/214/222 & 206 4
Calculus I or II 4 Calculus II or III 4
General Chemistry & Lab 4 General Chemistry & Lab 4
RSP 1 Foundations: Critical Issues 3
Foundations: Composition 3 Foundations: Oral Communications 1
  16   16
Sophomore Year
4-Year Plan: Physics Major
Fall Spring
Course Credits Course Credits
Modern Physics 3 Optics 3
Organic Chemistry & Lab 4 Organic Chemistry & Lab 4
General Biology & Lab 4 General Biology & Lab 4
Foundations: Philosophy 3 Foreign Language 4
Foundations: Theology 3 Understanding Social Science 3
  17   18
Junior Year
4-Year Plan: Physics Major
Fall Spring
Course Credits Course Credits
Thermodynamics 3 Classical Mechanics 3
Research Methods 2 Electronics Lab 1
Electronics Lab 1 Optics Lab 1
Calculus III 3 Genetics 3
Math Stats I 3 Biochemistry 3
Physiology 3 Doing Social Science 3
Explorations: Literature 3 Explorations: Ethics 3
  17   17
Senior Year
4-Year Plan: Physics Major
Fall Spring
Course Credits Course Credits
Quantum Mechanics 3 Physics of Medicine/Bio Physics 3
Research Capstone 1 Electricity and Magnetism 3
Research 1 Physics Seminar 1
Explorations: Biblical Traditions 3 Ultimate Questions 3
Explorations: Fine Arts 3 Intersections 3
Explorations: History 3    
  14   13
 

 

§Students should consult with their physics major advisor and a pre-health science advisor when choosing additional courses and planning their schedule.

*Students who need to take a pre-calculus math course may begin calculus in the second semester. General physics is then begun in the second semester or in the first semester of the sophomore year.