Currently viewing 201112 bulletin
Faculty: J. Brown (chair), D. Krause***, M. Madsen, L. Kinnaman
***Sabbatical, 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 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 problemsolving skills, which can be applied to a 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, 112, 209, 210, 381, and 382. Of the four remaining physics course credits, two must come from the following set of advanced courses: Physics 310, 314, and 315. Physics 101, 104 and 105 do not count toward the major unless supplemented by additional work that must receive prior approval by the course instructor and the physics department chair. Students accepted into a 32 engineering program may substitute Chemistry 111 for the one elective physics course. Those planning to go on to graduate school in physics should plan to take Physics 230, 310, 314, and 315.
In addition, mathematics courses that are prerequisites or corequisites 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 nd 112 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:
Year

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

Freshman

PHY111
Math 111

PHY 211
Math 112

Sophomore

PHY 209
Math 223

PHY 210
Math 224

Junior

Physics Elective
PHY 381
Math 225

Physics Elective
PHY 382

Senior

Physics Elective

Physics Elective

Elective courses regularly offered in the fall semester include Physics 220/230 (alternate years), Physics 310, and Physics 315, while regularly taught spring semester courses include Physics 314. In addition, Special Topics Courses 277 or 377 may be offered in the fall, and 278 or 378 in the spring, depending on student interest and instructor availability.
Requirements for a Minor: Five courses in physics, one of which must include Physics 210 with appropriate prerequisites. Any exceptions must receive prior approval from the department chair. Physics 101, 104 and 105 do not count toward the minor unless supplemented by additional work that must receive prior approval by the course instructor and the physics department chair. Mathematics prerequisites (or corequisites) are Mathematics 111 (or 110) and 112.
An Area of Concentration in Education and Middle and High School Teaching licensure (grades 512) with this major is administered through the Teacher Education Program. For Education AOC and teaching licensure information, please see the Teacher Education section of the Bulletin. Students are asked to consult with their academic advisor AND the Director of Teacher Education to learn more about course and licensure requirements.
Course  Title  Credits  Prerequisites 

PHY 101  Astronomy: Fundamentals and Frontiers  1  
PHY 104  Special Topics  1 or 1/2  Prerequisites/corequisites: Determined by the topic. 
PHY 111  General Physics I  1  Prerequisite: Mathematics 111 or 110 (or concurrent registration) or permission of instructor. 
PHY 112  General Physics II  1  Prerequisite: Physics 111. 
PHY 177  Special Topics  1 or 1/2  Prerequisites/corequisites: Determined by the topic. 
PHY 178  Special Topics  1 or 1/2  Prerequisites/corequisites: Determined by the topic. 
PHY 209  General Physics III  1  Prerequisites: Physics 112 and Mathematics 112 (or concurrent registration). 
PHY 210  Modern Physics  1  Prerequisites: Physics 112 and Mathematics 223 (or concurrent registration or permission of the instructor). 
PHY 220  Electronics  1  Prerequisite: Physics 112 (or 114 which has been discontinued) or permission of the instructor. 
PHY 230  Thermal Physics  1  Prerequisite: Physics 209 and 210. 
PHY 277  Special Topics  1 or 1/2  Prerequisite: To be determined by the topic. 
PHY 278  Special Topics  1 or 1/2  Prerequisite: To be determined by the topic. 
PHY 287  Independent Study  1 or 1/2  Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. 
PHY 288  Independent Study  1 or 1/2  Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. 
PHY 310  Classical Mechanics  1  Prerequisites: Physics 111 (or permission of instructor) and Mathematics 224. 
PHY 314  Electrodynamics  1  Prerequisites: Physics 112 and Mathematics 224 and 225 (or permission of instructor). 
PHY 315  Quantum Mechanics  1  Prerequisites: Physics 210 and Mathematics 223 and 224 or permission of the instructor. 
PHY 377  Advanced Special Topics in Physics  1 or 1/2  Prerequisite: Physics 210 or permission of the instructor. 
PHY 378  Advanced Special Topics in Physics  1 or 1/2  Prerequisite: Physicss 210 or permission of instructor 
PHY 381  Advanced Laboratory  1/2  Prerequisite: Physics 210. 
PHY 382  Advanced Laboratory  1/2  Prerequisite: Physics 381 
PHY 387  Advanced Independant Study  1 or 1/2  Permission of instructor. 
PHY 388  Advanced Independent Study  1 or 1/2  Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. 
PHY 105  Adventures in Physics  1 