Physics Curriculum

Physics and Astronomy

Physics in this century has become a complex endeavor reflecting many centuries of experimentation and theory. It is an enterprise conducted by men and women who are stimulated by hopes and purposes that are universal: to understand and describe nature in its most elementary form. Physics and astronomy courses train students to carefully observe physical phenomena and to interpret the phenomena using synthesis, mathematical modeling and analysis. These methods represent a way of knowing that is central to the scientific method. The department is dedicated to teaching students with majors in science as well as general science education in the liberal arts tradition. The physics major is designed for students who wish to pursue graduate study or gain employment in industry or government service. In addition to offering a bachelor of science degree in physics, the Department of Physics and Astronomy also offers an optional degree concentration in astrophysics and/or a physics minor.

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with a major in physics will be able to analyze complex and subtle physical phenomena and systems. The successful student will be able to identify the physical and mathematical principles relevant to a system -- even principles that are addressed in separate courses and disciplines. Using the principles they identify, students will be able to carry out the necessary analysis and synthesis to model the system accurately, and will be able to effectively communicate their results.

Major Requirements

Lower Division
Physics 1, 2 (lab), 3, 4 (lab), 60 Mathematics 27, 38, 29

Upper Division
All majors must take six upper-division physics courses including Physics 105, 110, 125, 181 and Math 134.

The concentration in astrophysics requires eight upperdivision courses: the five listed above and Physics 170, 173 and 185.

Minor requirements

Physics 1, 2 (lab), 3, 4 (lab), 60; Mathematics 27, 38, 29 and three elective upper-division physics courses.

Prerequisite Grades

Any course listed in this department with a prerequisite assumes a grade of "C−" or better in the prerequisite course.

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