Skip to Main Content

Academic Bulletin Physics - 2008-09

Currently viewing 2008-09 bulletin

Faculty: D. Krause (chair), J. Brown*, M. Madsen, B. Tunguz

*Sabbatical leave, full year

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). (Note: A student who takes Physics 112 and decides to major in physics may seek permission from the department chair to replace Physics 114 with Physics 112) 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 (or 110), 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
Freshman Physics 111 Physics 113
  Mathematics 111 Mathematics 112
Sophomore Physics 114 Physics 210
  Mathematics 223 Mathematics 224
Junior Physics 310 Physics 314
  Physics 381  
  Mathematics 225  
Senior Physics 315 Physics 220, 230, or 316



Requirements for a Minor: Five courses in physics (excluding Physics 101), one of which must include Physics 210 with appropriate prerequisites. Mathematics prerequisites (or co-requisites) are Mathematics 111 (or 110) and 112.

An Area of Concentration and High School Teaching licensure in this discipline is awarded by the Teacher Education Program. For licensure information please see the Indiana Teacher Licensing Requirements for Adolescent and Young Adult License section and for information on this specific discipline see the Content Area 

Course Requirements for Teaching at the Adolescent and Young Adult Licensure Level section.

Course Title Credits Prerequisites
PHY 101 Astronomy: Fundamentals and Frontiers 1  
PHY 111 General Physics I 1

Prerequisite: Mathematics 111 or 110 (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

Prerequisites: Physics 111 and Mathematics 112 (or concurrent registration).

PHY 114 General Physics III 1

Prerequisites: Physics 113 and Mathematics 112.

PHY 210 Modern Physics 1

Prerequisites: Physics 114 (or Physics 112 with permission of the instructor) and Mathematics 223 (or concurrent registration or permission of the instructor).

PHY 220 Electronics 1

Prerequisite: Physics 112 or 114 or permission of the instructor.

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

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

PHY 310 Classical Mechanics 1

Prerequisites: 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 or permission of the instructor.

PHY 316 Advanced Topics in Quantum Mechanics 1

Prerequisite: Physics 315.

PHY 381 Advanced Laboratory 1/2

Prerequisite: Physics 210.