The courses in physics provide a mix of theoretical concepts and practical examples. Each course within a degree plan builds upon the knowledge base acquired in previous courses and, together, these courses allow a student to acquire the combination of physical insight and mathematical skill needed for success in today’s demanding job markets.
The department also offers introductory survey courses in physics and astronomy which are of interest to a broad range of students in the social sciences, fine arts, humanities, health sciences, and education. These courses use a minimum of mathematics to introduce the principles of physics and they provide many examples from the “real world” of the environment, energy, space, communications, transportation, and medicine.
Undergraduate Physics Courses
Physics 111 (General Physics I)
Calculus-based introduction to mechanics, thermodynamics, and waves
Physics 112 (General Physics II)
Calculus-based introduction to electricity, magnetism, and optics
Physics 211 (Mathematical Physics)
Review of vectors, matrices, ordinary and partial differential equations, Fourier analysis, and special functions
Physics 314 (Introductory Modern Physics)
Topics of modern physics, including atomic physics, special theory of relativity, and introduction to solid state and nuclear physics
Physics 321 (Optics)
Ray optics, interference, diffraction, dispersion, absorption, and polarization of light
Physics 325 (Atomic Physics)
Relativistic mechanics, atomic structure, and spectra
Physics 331 (Theoretical Mechanics I)
Mechanics of particles, systems of particles, and rigid bodies
Physics 332 (Theoretical Mechanics II)
Kinematics and dynamics of particle systems, Hamiltonian and Lagrangian formulation
Physics 333 (Electricity and Magnetism I)
Electrostatic fields, magnetic fields in matter, Maxwell’s equations
Physics 334 (Electricity and Magnetism II)
Electrodynamics, waveguides and cavities
Physics 341 (Advanced Physics Laboratory)
Experiments in physics, methods of data evaluation and error analysis
Physics 451 (Introductory Quantum Mechanics)
Fundamental principles, Schrodinger’s equation, state functions in position and momentum space, operators, hydrogen atom, angular momentum and spin
Physics 461 (Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics )
Heat transfer, three laws of thermodynamics, statistical foundations of thermodynamics
Physics 463 (Nuclear Physics)
Nuclear structure, nuclear decay and reactions, nuclear forces and models, and elementary particles
Physics 471 (Solid State Physics)
Crystal structure, interatomic binding, lattice vibrations, free electron theory, band theory of solids
Physics 481 (Plasma Physics)
Introduction to physics of ionized gases, equilibrium and stability of plasmas and waves
Physics 493 (Special Topics)
Topics of current interest in physics (independent study)
Undergraduate Astronomy Courses
ASTR 106 (Descriptive Astronomy)
The celestial sphere; Kepler’s laws; birth, evolution, and death of stars.
ASTR 367 (Astrophysics I)
Hertzsprung-Russell diagram; the sun; special and general relativity;
star clusters and galaxies; the interstellar medium.
ASTR 368 (Astrophysics II)
Star formation, galaxy types, cosmology, planets and the solar system.
ASTR 469 (Observational Astronomy)
Student projects using techniques of visible, radio, and X-ray astronomy.
ASTR 470 (General Relativity)
Special relativity, curved space-time, black holes, gravitational waves.