# Physics

The Physics Major program explores how the universe operates from subatomic scales to the intergalactic. Physics majors learn to recognize the fundamental principles that underlie all physical phenomena and question the phenomena that still mystify us. Students of physics become model-builders of everything from black holes, to artificial intelligence, to the hidden patterns of the stock market. The collective knowledge, skills and experiences students gain through the physics program make them highly competitive for prestigious scholastic awards, graduate school admissions, and employment at leading technology and engineering companies.

**Physics Coursework**

Physics majors have the opportunity to take a range of classes from quantum mechanics and astrophysics, to optics and fluid mechanics, to computational physics. A strong foundation in physics, mathematics and computational methods enables physics majors to succeed in their upper-division courses. Our advanced laboratory course prepares students to conduct independent research and write scientific papers. Our independent research and capstone experiences enable students to explore the frontiers of physics research, learn valuable scientific communication skills, and develop quantitative problem-solving skills. Students also have the freedom to choose from a wide range of upper-division physics courses to complete their program of study, allowing them to shape the major to best fit their interests and aspirations.

**Engineering Physics Pathway**

For students interested in engineering, we offer a 5-year Pathway to earn a BA in Physics and a BS/BA in Mechanical Engineering. Requirements and a Recommended Plan of Study for this pathway are described in detail under the Major tab.

**Physics Education Pathway**

For students interested in pursuing K-12 education, we offer a 4-year pathway to earn a BA in Physics as well as a single-subject teaching credential and preparation for the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET). Requirements and a Recommended Plan of Study for this pathway are described in detail under the Major tab.

**Physics Research**

Physics majors learn about the frontiers of physics research, and explore their own research questions. Physics faculty do research on a range of cutting-edge topics including astrophysics, materials technology, plasma science, adaptive optics, computational physics, high-energy physics, alternative energy, biochemical engineering, and molecular and cellular biophysics. Physics majors are encouraged to start conducting faculty-led research on these topics as early as their freshman year. Undergraduate researchers learn first-hand where the limits of humanity’s scientific understanding lie and how to push those limits outward. Student researchers learn experimental, computational and theoretical research techniques, and gain first-hand experience with advanced physics instrumentation including optical tweezers, light-sheet and confocal microscopes, tunable diode lasers, pulsed NMR, and vacuum chambers. Many of our majors have opportunities to travel and present their work at research conferences, publish scientific papers, and network with leading scientists in the field.

**Why Physics?**

Because physics majors comprise only 2% of all STEM bachelor’s degrees awarded each year, our majors stand out and are sought out by a wide variety of graduate programs and companies. Many of our majors pursue graduate programs in physics, engineering, computer science, materials science, and astronomy. Immediately after graduation, physics majors are also highly successful in obtaining jobs in engineering, data science, finance, information technology, and education.

Students completing the *Engineering Physics Pathway* are particularly competitive for positions at premier engineering firms.

Students who complete the *Physics Education Pathway* are immediately employed as high school or junior high physics teachers.

## Physics Major

### Preparation for the Major (29-34 Units)

Code | Title | Units |
---|---|---|

PHYS 270 & 270L | Introduction to Mechanics and Mechanics Lab | 4 |

PHYS 271 & 271L | Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism and Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism Lab | 4 |

PHYS 281 | Introduction to Optics | 1-3 |

or ENGR 103 | User-Centered Design | |

PHYS 272 & 272L | Introduction to Modern Physics and Introduction to Modern Physics Lab | 4 |

PHYS 282 | Introduction to Methods in Computational Physics | 1-3 |

or ENGR 121 | Engineering Programming | |

MATH 150 | Calculus I | 4 |

MATH 151 | Calculus II | 4 |

MATH 250 | Calculus III | 4 |

MATH 260 | Foundations of Higher Mathematics | 3-4 |

or MATH 262 | Discrete Mathematics | |

or CHEM 151 & 151L | General Chemistry I and General Chemistry I Laboratory | |

Total Units | 29-34 |

### Major Requirements (39-47 Units)

Upper-division coursework in physics includes PHYS 300, PHYS 314, PHYS 319, PHYS 324, PHYS 330, PHYS 371 and PHYS 480. In addition, students must complete 12 units of 300-level physics electives. The major culminates with independent research (PHYS 400 and PHYS 496) and our seminar series (PHYS 493 and PHYS 495). Students are encouraged to start research (PHYS 496) as early as possible and take more than 2 units. Students are also highly encouraged to minor in Mathematics. Those majors intending to pursue graduate work in physics should take as many upper-division physics and mathematics courses as will fit into their schedule.

For students in the PHYS-MENG multiple degree program, the requirement for 12 physics elective units is replaced with 3 units of 300-level physics electives and MENG 400/MENG 400L. PHYS 300 can be replaced with MATH 310 and (MATH 315 or ISYE 330), PHYS 281 can be replaced with ENGR 103, and PHYS 282 can be replaced with ENGR 121. COMM 203 is a suitable replacement for PHYS 493 and MENG 491 is a suitable replacement for PHYS 400, if desired.

Code | Title | Units |
---|---|---|

PHYS 300 | Mathematical Methods of Theoretical Physics (OR MATH 310 and (ISYE 330 or MATH 315)*) | 3-6 |

PHYS 314 | Analytical Mechanics | 3 |

PHYS 319 | Thermal and Statistical Physics | 3 |

PHYS 324 | Electromagnetism | 3 |

PHYS 330 | Quantum Mechanics | 3 |

PHYS 371 | Computational Physics | 3 |

PHYS 480 | Experimental Modern Physics | 4 |

PHYS 493 | Seminar I: The Craft of Scientific Presentation | 1-3 |

or COMM 203 | Public Speaking | |

PHYS 400 | Research Forum | 1-3 |

or MENG 491 | Senior Design Project I | |

PHYS 495 | Seminar II: Frontiers of Physics | 1 |

PHYS 496 | Research (or 1 unit of PHYS 496 and 1 unit of MENG 492) | 2 |

12 units of 300-level physics electives, or (3 units of 300-level physics electives and MENG 370, MENG 460 and MENG 400 & MENG 400L)* | 12-13 | |

*required for the PHYS-MENG multiple degree program | ||

Total Units | 39-47 |

The following program of study fulfills the minimum requirement for a** bachelor’s degree in physics**. However, junior and senior year physics courses will depend on the student's graduation year, as many upper-division courses are offered every other year. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisors to map out a schedule that best fits their needs and interests.

Freshman Year | ||
---|---|---|

Semester I | Units | |

LLC Course | 3 | |

MATH 150 | Calculus I | 4 |

Core or Electives | 9 | |

Semester II | ||

PHYS 270 & 270L | Introduction to Mechanics | 4 |

MATH 151 | Calculus II | 4 |

Core or Electives | 7-9 | |

Sophomore Year | ||

Semester I | ||

PHYS 271 & 271L | Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism | 4 |

PHYS 281 | Introduction to Optics | 1 |

MATH 250 | Calculus III | 4 |

Core or Electives | 5-8 | |

Semester II | ||

PHYS 272 & 272L | Introduction to Modern Physics | 4 |

PHYS 282 | Introduction to Methods in Computational Physics | 1 |

PHYS 400 | Research Forum | 1 |

MATH 260 or 262 | Foundations of Higher Mathematics Discrete Mathematics | 3 |

PHYS 496 | Research | 1 |

Core or Electives | 2-5 | |

Junior Year | ||

Semester I | ||

PHYS 300 | Mathematical Methods of Theoretical Physics | 3 |

PHYS 371 | Computational Physics | 3 |

PHYS 494 | Special Topics in Physics and Biophysics (example PHYS elective) | 3 |

PHYS 496 | Research | 1-2 |

Core or Electives | 3-5 | |

Semester II | ||

PHYS 314 | Analytical Mechanics | 3 |

PHYS 319 | Thermal and Statistical Physics | 3 |

PHYS 340 | Biological Physics (example PHYS elective) | 3 |

PHYS 496 | 1 | |

Core or Electives | 2-5 | |

Senior Year | ||

Semester I | ||

PHYS 330 | Quantum Mechanics | 3 |

PHYS 324 | Electromagnetism | 3 |

PHYS 325 | Introduction to Fluids (example PHYS elective) | 3 |

PHYS 496 | 1 | |

Core or Electives | 2-5 | |

Semester II | ||

PHYS 480 | Experimental Modern Physics | 4 |

PHYS 307 | Astrophysics (example PHYS elective) | 3 |

PHYS 493 | Seminar I: The Craft of Scientific Presentation | 1 |

PHYS 495 | Seminar II: Frontiers of Physics | 1 |

PHYS 496 | 1 | |

Core or Electives | 5-8 |

**PHYS-MENG Multiple Degree Program: ****Requirements & **Recommended Course Schedule

The following program of study fulfills the minimum requirement for a **BA in Physics and a BA/BS in Mechanical Engineering**. However, junior and senior year physics courses will depend on the student’s graduation year, as many upper-division physics courses are offered every other year. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisors to map out a schedule that best fits their needs and interests.

Freshman Year | ||
---|---|---|

Semester I | Units | |

ENGR 101 | Introduction to Engineering | 3 |

MATH 150 | Calculus I | 4 |

ENGR 121 | Engineering Programming | 3 |

Core or Electives | 6 | |

Semester II | ||

ENGR 102 | Introduction to Electromechanical System Design | 3 |

PHYS 270 & 270L | Introduction to Mechanics | 4 |

MATH 151 | Calculus II | 4 |

CHEM 151 & 151L | General Chemistry I | 4-5 |

Core or Electives | 3 | |

Sophomore Year | ||

Semester I | ||

ENGR 103 | User-Centered Design | 3 |

PHYS 271 & 271L | Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism | 4 |

MATH 250 | Calculus III | 4 |

Core or Electives | 6 | |

Semester II | ||

PHYS 272 & 272L | Introduction to Modern Physics | 4 |

MATH 310 | Applied Mathematics for Science and Engineering I | 3 |

ELEC 201 | Electrical Circuits | 4 |

MENG 210 | Statics | 3 |

MENG 260 | Introduction to Thermal Sciences | 3 |

Junior Year | ||

Semester I | ||

MATH 315 or ISYE 330 | Applied Probability and Statistics Engineering Probability and Statistics | 3 |

MENG 351 | Machine Shop Practices | 1 |

MENG 300 | Applied Thermodynamics | 3 |

MENG 352 | CAD Practices | 1 |

MENG 375 | Dynamics | 3 |

ENGR 311 | Engineering Materials Science | 3 |

MENG 460 | System Dynamics and Vibrations | 3 |

Semester II | ||

MENG 360 & 360L | Fluid Mechanics | 4 |

MENG 370 & 370L | Mechanics of Materials | 4 |

ISYE 350 & 350L | Manufacturing Processes | 4 |

PHYS 319^{1} | Thermal and Statistical Physics (counts as MENG Elective #1) | 3 |

Senior Year | ||

Semester I | ||

PHYS 314 | Analytical Mechanics | 3 |

PHIL 342 | Engineering Ethics | 3 |

MENG 400 & 400L | Heat Transfer (counts as PHYS Elective #1) | 4 |

MENG 430 | Design of Machine Elements | 3 |

MENG 491W | Senior Design Project I | 4 |

Semester II | ||

MENG 492 | Senior Design Project II | 3 |

PHYS 324^{1} | Electromagnetism (counts as MENG Elective #2) | 3 |

PHYS 307 | Astrophysics (example PHYS elective) | 3 |

Core or Electives | 6 | |

Senior Year 2 | ||

Semester I | ||

PHYS 330^{1} | Quantum Mechanics (counts as MENG Elective #3) | 3 |

PHYS 371 | Computational Physics | 3 |

PHYS 496^{3} | Research | 1 |

Core and Electives | 5 | |

Semester II | ||

PHYS 480 | Experimental Modern Physics (counts as MENG Elective #5) | 4 |

PHYS 493 | Seminar I: The Craft of Scientific Presentation | 1 |

PHYS 495 | Seminar II: Frontiers of Physics | 1 |

Core and Electives | 6-9 |

1. There are 5 MENG elective requirements in the MENG major, one of which must be a simulations course. PHYS 319, 324, 330, 480, and 371 count as MENG electives, with PHYS 371: Computational Physics, counting as the simulations elective.

2. ROTC students may substitute NAVS 201, MILS 301, or SDSU AS 300A for COMM 203, which is the commonly taken in the engineering program. These classes will not satisfy university core requirements. Instead we recommend a 1 unit course that has the university core Oral Communication attribute, PHYS 493

3. Research is often completed in the summer

**Integrated Teacher Preparation Program (ITPP): Requirements & Recommended Course Schedule **

The Integrated Teacher Preparation Program (ITPP) provides paths to 4-year science and math degrees that include a teaching credential and preparation for the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET). Students who are interested in middle or secondary education (grades 6-12) in California may earn a degree in physics while simultaneously completing requirements for a teaching credential. The degree integrates content knowledge and laboratory practices in the discipline, evidence-based teaching/learning theories, teaching performance expectations, and pre-student teaching clinical practice while satisfying baccalaureate degree requirements and CTC single subject credential program standards. There is some flexibility to meet individual needs. Students are encouraged to consult the ITPP website (http://www.sandiego.edu/itpp) and advisors (itpp@sandiego.edu) to ensure that their needs and interests will be met.

In addition to all courses for the physics major, students completing the ITPP pathway must also take the following:

Code | Title | Units |
---|---|---|

BIOL 240 & 240L | Bioenergetics and Systems and Bioenergetics and Systems Laboratory | 4 |

BIOL 242 & 242L | Genomes and Evolution and Genomes and Evolution Laboratory | 4 |

EOSC 110 | Introduction to Geosciences | 4 |

EDTE 300P | Diversity, Inclusion & Schooling | 3 |

EDTE 301P | Methods for Language & Literacy | 3 |

EDTE 304P | Secondary Methods I | 3 |

EDTE 306P | Secondary Methods II: Science | 3 |

EDTE 310P | Educational Psychology | 3 |

EDTE 311P | Equity & Advocacy in Educational Systems | 3 |

EDTE 312P | Methods for English Learners | 3 |

EDUC 491P | Student Teaching for the Single Subject Credential | 9 |

EDUC 491S | Student Teaching Seminar for the Single Subject Credential | 3 |

Total Units | 45 |

The following paradigm is included as a guide only, and should not be interpreted in a rigid sense. Physics courses may be taken at any time as long as the course prerequisites have been satisfied.

## Recommended Course Schedule, Physics ITPP Pathway

Freshman Year | ||
---|---|---|

Semester I | Units | |

LLC Course | 3 | |

CHEM 151 & 151L | General Chemistry I | 4 |

MATH 150 | Calculus I | 4 |

Core or Electives | 6 | |

Semester II | ||

CHEM 152 & 152L | General Chemistry II | 4 |

PHYS 270 & 270L | Introduction to Mechanics | 4 |

MATH 151 | Calculus II | 4 |

Core or Electives | 3 | |

Semester III (Summer) | ||

EOSC 110 | Introduction to Geosciences | 4 |

BIOL 240 & 240L | Bioenergetics and Systems | 4 |

Sophomore Year | ||

Semester I | ||

PHYS 271 & 271L | Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism | 4 |

PHYS 281 | Introduction to Optics | 1 |

MATH 250 | Calculus III | 4 |

EDTE 300P | Diversity, Inclusion & Schooling | 3 |

Core or Electives | 3 | |

Semester II | ||

PHYS 272 & 272L | Introduction to Modern Physics | 4 |

PHYS 282 | Introduction to Methods in Computational Physics | 1 |

PHYS 300 | Mathematical Methods of Theoretical Physics | 3 |

EDTE 311P | Equity & Advocacy in Educational Systems | 3 |

Core or Electives | 3 | |

Semester III (Summer) | ||

BIOL 242 & 242L | Genomes and Evolution | 4 |

EDTE 310P | Educational Psychology | 3 |

Junior Year | ||

Semester I | ||

PHYS 319 | Thermal and Statistical Physics | 3 |

PHYS 371 | Computational Physics | 3 |

PHIL 341 | Ethics and Education | 3 |

EDTE 304P | Secondary Methods I | 3 |

PHYS 325 | Introduction to Fluids (example PHYS elective) | 3 |

Semester II | ||

PHYS 314 | Analytical Mechanics | 3 |

PHYS 330 | Quantum Mechanics | 3 |

PHYS 340 | Biological Physics (example PHYS elective) | 3 |

EDTE 306P | Secondary Methods II: Science | 3 |

EDTE 312P | Methods for English Learners | 3 |

Semester III (Summer) | ||

Core or Electives | 6 | |

Senior Year | ||

Semester I | ||

EDTE 301P | Methods for Language & Literacy | 3 |

EDUC 491P | Student Teaching for the Single Subject Credential | 9 |

EDUC 491S | Student Teaching Seminar for the Single Subject Credential | 3 |

Semester II | ||

PHYS 324 | Electromagnetism | 3 |

PHYS 480 | Experimental Modern Physics | 4 |

PHYS 307 | Astrophysics (example PHYS elective) | 3 |

Core or Electives | 6 | |

## Physics Minor

The 18 units required for a minor in Physics must include:

Code | Title | Units |
---|---|---|

Select either 8 units from the 270 series or units from the 136 series along with PHYS 272 & PHYS 272L | ||

PHYS 270 & 270L | Introduction to Mechanics and Mechanics Lab | 4 |

PHYS 271 & 271L | Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism and Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism Lab | 4 |

PHYS 136 & 136L | General Physics I and General Physics I Lab | 4 |

PHYS 137 & 137L | General Physics II and General Physics II Lab | 4 |

PHYS 272 & 272L | Introduction to Modern Physics and Introduction to Modern Physics Lab | 4 |

6 additional Upper-Division Units | 6 |

PHYS 102 | PHYSICS, ENERGY, AND INFORMATION

Units: 4 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Quantitative reasoning comp, Science/Tech Inquiry area, Lab

An introduction to physics concepts and principles with tangents into related technologies and global issues. Special attention is paid to devices and networks that furnish two necessities of modern life: energy and information. No background in physical science is required. Lab component involves guided hands-on investigation of physics principles and related technologies.

PHYS 105 | PHYSICAL SCIENCES FOR K-8 TEACHERS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Science/Tech Inquiry area, Lab

A laboratory/lecture/discussion class designed to lead students toward an understanding of selected topics in chemistry and physics. The course topics are selected to satisfy the Physical Science specifications of the Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (K-12). Enrollment is limited to liberal studies majors. Two two-hour laboratory sessions per week. This course is cross-listed with Chemistry 105. Fall semester.

PHYS 136 | GENERAL PHYSICS I

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: MATH 115 or MATH 130 or MATH 150 or Passing the appropriate departmental placement test within the previous year or Passing the appropriate departmental placement test within the previous year

Corequisites: PHYS 136L

A study of the fundamental principles of mechanics, wave motion, sound, fluids, and heat. Physics principles will be covered using algebra and trigonometry. Three hours of lecture weekly. Concurrent enrollment in 136L required.

PHYS 136L | GENERAL PHYSICS I LAB

Units: 1 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Lab

Prerequisites: PHYS 136 (Can be taken Concurrently)

A laboratory course introducing the concepts and techniques of experimental physics. Meets weekly.

PHYS 137 | GENERAL PHYSICS II

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 136 and PHYS 136L

Corequisites: PHYS 137L

A study of the fundamental principles of electricity and magnetism, light, and modern physics. Physics principles will be covered using algebra and trigonometry. Three hours of lecture weekly. Concurrent enrollment in 137L required.

PHYS 137L | GENERAL PHYSICS II LAB

Units: 1 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Lab

Prerequisites: PHYS 137 (Can be taken Concurrently)

A laboratory course introducing the concepts and techniques of experimental physics. Meets weekly.

PHYS 270 | INTRODUCTION TO MECHANICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: First Yr Integration (LC Only), Science/Tech Inquiry area

Prerequisites: MATH 150 with a minimum grade of C- or MATH 151 with a minimum grade of C-

Corequisites: PHYS 270L

A study of the fundamental principles of Newtonian mechanics, kinematics, and momentum and energy conservation laws. Harmonic oscillations and wave motion will also be discussed. Three hours of lecture weekly. Concurrent enrollment in 270L required.

PHYS 270L | MECHANICS LAB

Units: 1 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Science/Tech Inquiry area, Lab

Prerequisites: PHYS 270 (Can be taken Concurrently)

A laboratory course introducing the concepts and techniques of experimental physics. Meets weekly.

PHYS 271 | INTRODUCTION TO ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: (PHYS 270 with a minimum grade of C- and PHYS 270L with a minimum grade of C-) or (PHYS 136 with a minimum grade of C- and PHYS 136L with a minimum grade of C-) and MATH 151 and PHYS 271L (Can be taken Concurrently)

A study of the fundamental principles of classical electricity and magnetism focusing on electrostatics and magnetic force. Circuits, electromagnetism, and light are also introduced. Three hours of lecture weekly. Concurrent enrollment in 271L required.

PHYS 271L | INTRODUCTION TO ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM LAB

Units: 1 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Science/Tech Inquiry area

Prerequisites: PHYS 271 (Can be taken Concurrently)

A laboratory course that introduces the concepts and techniques of experimental physics. Meets weekly.

PHYS 272 | INTRODUCTION TO MODERN PHYSICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 271 with a minimum grade of C- and PHYS 271L with a minimum grade of C- and MATH 250 (Can be taken Concurrently)

An introduction to modern physics including principles and applications of quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics, and special relativity. Required for all physics and biophysics majors and physics minors, and is an accepted elective for engineering students. For physics and biophysics majors concurrent enrollment in PHYS 272L and PHYS 282 is required.

PHYS 272L | INTRODUCTION TO MODERN PHYSICS LAB

Units: 1

Core Attributes: Lab

Corequisites: PHYS 272

Laboratory experiments to illustrate the topics presented in the lecture course: Introduction to Modern Physics (PHYS 272).

PHYS 281 | INTRODUCTION TO OPTICS

Units: 1 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Lab

Prerequisites: (PHYS 270 with a minimum grade of C- and PHYS 270L with a minimum grade of C-) or (PHYS 136 with a minimum grade of C- and PHYS 136L with a minimum grade of C-) and MATH 151 and PHYS 271L

This lab course provides a hands-on introduction to the fundamentals of optics. Several guided lab activities will introduce basic concepts in optics including reflection, refraction, image formation, coherence, diffraction and interference. Following these guided labs, students will have the final few weeks to work in teams on a project of their own design. Projects may extend any of the earlier lab activities or explore several other options that will be presented. But students are encouraged to pursue any feasible optics project they find exciting.

PHYS 282 | INTRODUCTION TO METHODS IN COMPUTATIONAL PHYSICS

Units: 1 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Lab

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 (Can be taken Concurrently)

A hands-on introduction to the fundamentals of using computation in physics and biophysics. A combination of in-class guided group practice and at-home individual practice will be employed to introduce, practice and apply fundamental computational techniques including: the declaration and manipulation of variables and arrays, conditional statements, loops, as well as procedural programming through creating functions. These fundamentals will be applied to creating graphical representations and performing calculations to further elucidate topics discussed in PHYS 272. Computational techniques will be introduced to highlight the application of these fundamentals. These techniques may include: solutions to initial value problem ordinary differential equations; solving boundary value problems and the eigenvalue problem; and statistics and stochastic methods.

PHYS 294 | SPECIAL TOPICS IN PHYSICS AND BIOPHYSICS

Units: 0.5-4 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Topics chosen by the instructor in areas that include but are not limited to: Newtonian mechanics, electricity and magnetism, waves, optics, physics and society, modern physics, astronomy, fluids, and thermodynamics. May be repeated for credit if the course material is different.

PHYS 300 | MATHEMATICAL METHODS OF THEORETICAL PHYSICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 271 with a minimum grade of C- and PHYS 271L with a minimum grade of C- and MATH 250 and PHYS 272 (Can be taken Concurrently)

An introduction to the methods of theoretical physics that uses physical applications to introduce mathematical techniques. This course will cover: the eigenvalue problem; Taylor expansions in one and multiple variables; solutions techniques to ordinary differential equations; Fourier analysis; separation of variables in partial differential equations; probability distribution functions and Dirac delta function. Other topics that may be discussed at the instructor’s discretion include: complex variables; Green’s functions and solutions to partial differential equations; vector spaces and group theory; chaos theory; special functions; Monte Carlo methods; and computational applications.

PHYS 301 | ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 with a minimum grade of C-

Energy is the lifeblood of civilization, but its use entails substantial environmental costs. This course examines the physics and technology of energy production, distribution and use, as well as its environmental and societal consequences. It is suitable for students having completed lower-division physics.

PHYS 307 | ASTROPHYSICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 with a minimum grade of C-

A study of the fundamental principles of astrophysics including topics such as stellar formation, life and death, galaxy evolution, special and general relativity, and cosmology.

PHYS 314 | ANALYTICAL MECHANICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 with a minimum grade of C-

Statics and dynamics are developed using vector analysis, the Hamiltonian and Lagrangian formulations. Orbit theory and chaos are among the special topics treated.

PHYS 319 | THERMAL AND STATISTICAL PHYSICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 with a minimum grade of C-

This course develops modern statistical mechanics and its application to thermodynamic principles and phenomena. Topics include ideal gases, phase transitions, stellar systems, chemical equilibrium, kinetic theory, paramagnetism, polymers and biophysics.

PHYS 324 | ELECTROMAGNETISM

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 with a minimum grade of C-

A development of Maxwell’s equations using vector calculus. The electrical and magnetic properties of matter, solutions of boundary value problems, special relativity and radiation theory are also developed. Three lectures per week.

PHYS 325 | INTRODUCTION TO FLUIDS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 with a minimum grade of C-

An introduction to the basic principles of fluids. This course will serve as an introduction to concepts used in physical oceanography, atmospheric science, and other disciplines in which fluids are studied or utilized. Examples of applications to a broad range of disciplines (physics, engineering, earth sciences, astrophysics, and biology) will be developed.

PHYS 330 | QUANTUM MECHANICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 with a minimum grade of C-

Introduction to the fundamental properties of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics, including the Schrödinger equation in 1-3 dimensions, the mathematical formalism (involving linear algebra and partial differential equations) of quantum theory, the solution of the hydrogen atom, and elementary perturbation and scattering theory. Entanglement, Bell’s theorem, exotic states of matter, and history of physics are among the special topics discussed.

PHYS 331 | ADVANCED TOPICS IN QUANTUM PHYSICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 330

Applications of Quantum Theory in areas such as atomic, nuclear, solid state, and elementary particle physics.

PHYS 340 | BIOLOGICAL PHYSICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 with a minimum grade of C-

Biological physics introduces the interface between the two classic sciences. Physics principles and techniques are applied to questions and problems in biology with a focus on molecular and cellular biology. Topics will be introduced systematically, building on the fundamentals of thermodynamics up to current cutting edge research topics such as protein folding, molecular machines and brain function. Specific topics may include single-molecule biophysics, optical trapping, molecular and cellular self-assembly, gene regulation, biomaterials and biomedical imaging.

PHYS 371 | COMPUTATIONAL PHYSICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 with a minimum grade of C- and PHYS 282

A hands-on introduction to the implementation of computational algorithms to solve problems in physics and biophysics and the interpretation of the results. Detailed topics covered will depend on instructor expertise. Topics may include solutions to ordinary and partial differential equations, linear algebra, fast Fourier transforms, numerical integration, differentiation and approximation, statistics and Monte Carlo methods.

PHYS 381 | EXPERIMENTAL BIOPHYSICS

Units: 4 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Advanced writing competency, Quantitative reasoning comp

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 and PHYS 272L

A laboratory-based course introducing biophysics majors to interdisciplinary research techniques. Instrumentation development and experimental research explore topics of fluorescence and force spectroscopy, molecular diffusion, fluctuation-dissipation theory and viscoelasticity related to molecular and cellular biophysical systems. Students are trained in wet-lab techniques and computational methods using Matlab and Fiji. This is the primary upper-division laboratory requirement for biophysics majors and fulfills the core advanced writing and quantitative reasoning requirements. Students write and edit research reports on their experimental results at a level suitable for journal publication. The writing process also includes literature search techniques and an introduction to the peer review process.

PHYS 400 | RESEARCH FORUM

Units: 1 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Core Attributes: Undergraduate Research

Prerequisites: PHYS 496 (Can be taken Concurrently)

PHYS 400 brings together all Physics and Biophysics majors involved in undergraduate research (PHYS 496) to provide a formal platform to: (1) gain skills in abstract writing and poster preparation, (2) engage in the scientific literature, (3) form a community of scholars, (4) develop a sense of ownership of their work, and (5) contextualize how their research fits into the big picture. The course meets weekly for 1 hour. Class time is primarily devoted to: learning about and practicing to write scientific abstracts and prepare posters, and having journal club style discussions on student-chosen papers. Outside of class, students are responsible for completing literature searches, reading assigned research papers, writing abstracts, preparing posters, and writing research summaries. PHYS 496 is a required concurrent prerequisite. Offered in Fall semesters.

PHYS 480 | EXPERIMENTAL MODERN PHYSICS

Units: 4 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Advanced writing competency

Prerequisites: PHYS 330

A laboratory-based course focused on the introduction to principles of research techniques with an emphasis on modern physics. Experiments illustrate physical phenomena pertaining to core areas of physics: quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics, laser physics and plasma physics. Analog and digital data acquisition instrumentation, high-resolution optical and laser technology, and phase sensitive detection technology will be explored. This course is the required writing-intensive course for physics majors and fulfills the upper-division core writing requirement. Students write papers up to professional standards required of publication in physics research journals, learn to write mathematical prose, engage in the peer review process, and learn to code LaTeX.

PHYS 481W | EXPERIMENTAL BIOPHYSICS

Units: 4

Core Attributes: Writing-Pre F17 CORE

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 and PHYS 272L and MATH 250

A laboratory-based course focused on the introduction to principles of biophysics research techniques. Instrumentation development and experimental research will explore topics of fluorescence and force spectroscopy, molecular diffusion, fluctuation-dissipation theory and viscoelasticity related to molecular and cellular biophysical systems. Students will also be trained in general wet-lab techniques and computational data acquisition and analysis using Labview and Matlab. This course is the primary upper division laboratory requirement for the biophysics major and fulfills the upper division core writing requirement. Students will write and edit research reports on their experimental results at a level suitable for journal publication. The writing process will also include literature search techniques and an introduction to the peer review process.

PHYS 487 | EXPERIENTIAL PHYSICS

Units: 1-3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

An independent experiential learning project focused on broad applications of physics and biophysics. Projects can include but are not limited to: teaching assistantships, internships, community outreach, communication/media, secondary school teaching, and traditional physics or biophysics research. All projects must be approved and supervised by a faculty mentor in the physics and biophysics department. A student seeking PHYS 487 credit must take initiative to meet with his/her academic advisor to identify projects that best meet his/her interests and goals. Once a student has identified a faculty mentor and project, he/she can enroll in PHYS 487 by completing the application form found on the Student Resources page of the department website. The detailed requirements for earning PHYS 487 credit can also be found on the Student Resources page.

PHYS 493 | SEMINAR I: THE CRAFT OF SCIENTIFIC PRESENTATION

Units: 1 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Oral communication competency

Prerequisites: PHYS 496

First semester of the physics and biophysics seminar series devoted to instruction on scientific presentations. Students give short presentations on topics of interest, and prepare a lengthy presentation on their research. Stress is laid on the preparation, execution, and critique of effective scientific presentations. One hour per week. Fall semester.

PHYS 494 | SPECIAL TOPICS IN PHYSICS AND BIOPHYSICS

Units: 0.5-4 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Prerequisites: PHYS 271 and PHYS 271L

Topics chosen by the instructor in areas that include but are not limited to: condensed matter physics, quantum field theory, general relativity, plasma physics, electronics, soft matter physics, particle physics, neurophysics, and advanced physics and biophysics laboratories. May be repeated for credit if the course material is different.

PHYS 495 | SEMINAR II: FRONTIERS OF PHYSICS

Units: 1 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Advanced Integration

Prerequisites: PHYS 272

The second semester of the capstone seminar series for the Physics and Biophysics major that fulfills the Advanced Integration component of the Core curriculum. This course focuses on exposure to the breadth of current physics-related research topics, and understanding the impact and context of the research through the lens of other disciplines. Students will learn about a wide range of cutting-edge research topics such as: dark matter, global warming and alternative energy sources, biomechanics, graphene, neutrinos, etc. They will also learn about how the research fits into the “big picture” by considering ethical, political, societal, technological and/or historical issues related to the research. These goals are achieved through attending seminars, meeting with scientists, and completing routine reading and writing assignments. The course culminates with a final project in which students investigate and articulate the connection of one of the covered research topics to another discipline.

PHYS 496 | RESEARCH

Units: 1-3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Prerequisites: PHYS 400 (Can be taken Concurrently)

An independent research project supervised by a faculty mentor in the physics and biophysics department. A student seeking PHYS 496 credit must take initiative to meet with faculty members to learn about their research interests and possible problems to research. Once a student has identified a faculty mentor and project, he/she can enroll in PHYS 496 by completing the application form found on the Student Resources page of the department website. The detailed requirements for earning PHYS 496 credit can also be found on the Student Resources page. Students completing their first unit of PHYS 496 must be concurrently enrolled in PHYS 400.

PHYS 499 | INDEPENDENT STUDY

Units: 1-3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)