Faculty: D. Krause (chair), J. Brown, M. Madsen
Physics is the study of the fundamental laws that govern our universe. Our curriculum is designed to give our students a solid foundation for understanding these laws and how they were uncovered. The language that best expresses these laws is mathematical so there are a significant number of mathematics courses, which serve as prerequisites for our courses. However, since physics describes the real world, our curriculum also incorporates a significant laboratory component to ensure that our students will learn how to interrogate Nature and understand the answers it gives. Only by balancing theoretical concepts with experimental reality can one reach a more complete understanding of the world.
Our physics majors and minors will master valuable analysis and problem-solving skills, which can be applied to wide variety of situations beyond physics. By integrating these skills with their liberal arts experiences, our students are prepared for a vast spectrum of careers. Recent graduates have gone on to work in physics research, engineering, computer programming, teaching, environmental studies, law, business, and other fields.
For Senior Comprehensives, majors must pass an exam which requires them to demonstrate a coherent understanding of all the major areas of physics covered in the required courses, including computational and laboratory methods, and the ability to apply this understanding to solve specific problems.
Requirements for a Major: Nine course credits in physics. These must include Physics 111, 113, 114, 210, 310, 314, 315, 381 (taken two consecutive semesters during a single year), and one additional physics course credit (excluding Physics 101 and Physics 112 which do not count toward the major). Students accepted to a 3-2 engineering program may substitute Chemistry 111 for the one elective physics course. Those planning to go on to graduate school in physics should also plan to take Physics 230 and 316.
In addition, mathematics courses that are prerequisites or co-requisites for physics courses are Mathematics 111, 112, 223, 224, and 225. Although not required, Computer Science 111 is also highly recommended, and Mathematics 324 and 344 are useful.
Since physics is a hierarchical subject, it is important to take Physics 111 and 113 during the freshman year if one wishes to major in physics. Below is a possible schedule of how one might fulfill all the necessary requirements:
|Fall Semester||Spring Semester|
|Senior||Physics 315||Physics 220, 230, or 316|
Requirements for a Minor: Five courses in physics. These must include Physics 111, 113, 114, 210, and one additional physics course (excluding Physics 101 and Physics 112). Mathematics prerequisites (or co-requisites) are Mathematics 111, 112, and 223.
|PHY 101||Astronomy: Fundamentals and Frontiers||1|
|PHY 111||General Physics I||1||Prerequisite: Mathematics 111 (or concurrent registration) or permission of instructor.|
|PHY 112||General Physics II for Science Majors||1||Prerequisite: Physics 111.|
|PHY 113||General Physics II for Physics Majors & Minors||1||Prerequisite: Physics 111 and Mathematics 112 (or concurrent registration).|
|PHY 114||General Physics III||1||Prerequisite: Physics 113 and Mathematics 112.|
|PHY 210||Modern Physics||1||Prerequisite: Physics 114 and Mathematics 223 (or concurrent registration).|
|PHY 220||Electronics||1||Prerequisite: Physics 114.|
|PHY 230||Thermal Physics||1||Prerequisite: Physics 210.|
|PHY 277||Special Topics||1/2||Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.|
|PHY 278||Special Topics||1/2||Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.|
|PHY 287||Independent Study||1/2||Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.|
|PHY 288||Independent Study||1/2||Prerequiste: Permission of instructor.|
|PHY 310||Classical Mechanics||1||Prerequisite: Physics 114 (or permission of instructor) and Mathematics 224.|
|PHY 314||Electrodynamics||1||Prerequisites: Physics 114 and Mathematics 224 and 225.|
|PHY 315||Quantum Mechanics||1||Prerequisites: Physics 210 and Mathematics 223 and 224.|
|PHY 316||Advanced Topics in Quantum Mechanics||1||Prerequisite: Physics 315.|
|PHY 381||Advanced Laboratory||1/2||Prerequisite: Physics 210.|