Physics

Bachelor of Science Degree: 180.0 quarter credits

About the Program

Drexel's undergraduate program provides a solid foundation in physics suitable for graduate study or to branch out into other scientific or technical disciplines. The physics program offers an innovative curriculum in a top-notch learning environment: small class sizes, personal input from faculty, and close interaction with researchers who are leaders in their fields. Students explore the span of universal phenomenon—from the farthest reaches of astrophysics and cosmology, to molecular biophysics and subatomic particle physics— providing a solid foundation for continued study and exploration. Most undergraduates actively participate in research projects, including co-authoring publications and presenting results at conferences.

Virtually every course in the physics major is designed to extend the students' ability to handle real-world problems solved by state-of-the-art techniques. An important feature of the program is the large number of electives, which allow a student to pursue topics of special interest. There are numerous elective courses in areas as diverse as biophysics and cosmology, nanoscience and particle physics. Students can also choose electives to meet teacher certification requirements.

The Laboratory for High-Performance Computational Physics is a venue for students to become proficient in numerical techniques, parallel processing, electronic communication, and the basic computer languages and software relevant to advanced studies and research in physics.

The Department of Physics conducts a broad array of outreach activities including the Kaczmarczik Lecture Series, public observing nights at the Lynch Observatory, and demonstrations in grade school performed by the Drexel Chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS).

In addition to the physics major, the Department also offers a minor in physics as well as a minor in astrophysics.

Degree Requirements

Core Physics Requirements
PHYS 113Contemporary Physics I5.0
PHYS 114Contemporary Physics II5.0
PHYS 115Contemporary Physics III5.0
PHYS 105Computational Physics I3.0
PHYS 217Thermodynamics4.0
PHYS 311Classical Mechanics I4.0
PHYS 223 [WI] Modern Physics Laboratory3.0
PHYS 317Statistical Mechanics3.0
PHYS 321Electromagnetic Fields I4.0
PHYS 322Electromagnetic Fields II4.0
PHYS 326Quantum Mechanics I4.0
PHYS 327Quantum Mechanics II4.0
PHYS 328 [WI] Advanced Laboratory3.0
PHYS 491Senior Research I3.0
PHYS 492Senior Research II3.0
PHYS 493 [WI] Senior Research III3.0
PHYS 408Physics Seminar (To be taken 3 times.)3.0
Method Classes: Complete 12 credits from the following *12.0
Introduction to Scientific Computing
Instrumentation for Scientists I
Instrumentation for Scientists II
Observational Astrophysics
Computational Physics II
Topics in Mathematical Physics
Computational Physics III
Advanced Computational Physics
Complex Variables
Partial Differential Equations
Abstract Algebra I
Tensor Analysis
Subject Courses: Complete 15 credits from the following: **15.0
Introductory Astrophysics
Introduction to Biophysics
Colloquium II (Special Relativity )
Introduction to Nuclear Physics
Classical Mechanics II
Quantum Mechanics III
Galactic Astrophysics
Cosmology
Solid State Physics
Nanoscience
Biophysics
Computational Biophysics
Single Molecule Methods
Nonlinear Dynamics
Particle Physics
Math and Technical Requirements
MATH 121Calculus I4.0
MATH 122Calculus II4.0
MATH 123Calculus III4.0
MATH 200Multivariate Calculus4.0
MATH 201Linear Algebra3.0-4.0
or MATH 261 Linear Algebra
MATH 210Differential Equations4.0
Sciences
CHEM 101General Chemistry I3.5
CHEM 102General Chemistry II4.5
CHEM 103General Chemistry III (OR Any Bio OR an ENGR class at 200 or higher)5.0
CS 171Computer Programming I3.0
General Education
ENGL 101Composition and Rhetoric I: Inquiry and Exploratory Research3.0
ENGL 102Composition and Rhetoric II: The Craft of Persuasion3.0
ENGL 103Composition and Rhetoric III: Thematic Analysis Across Genres3.0
UNIV S101The Drexel Experience1.0
CIVC 101Introduction to Civic Engagement1.0
Liberal electives9.0
Technical elective ***3.0
Business elective4.0
Free electives24.0
Total Credits180.0-181.0

*

At least 6 credits must have a PHYS subject code


**

Except for PHYS 480, courses at the 400 level and above will also be accepted.


***

 Technical electives can be any course in BIO, CHEM, ENVS, GEO, MATH, PHYS, or any course from the College of Engineering.



Writing-Intensive Course Requirements

In order to graduate, all students must pass three writing-intensive courses after their freshman year. Two writing-intensive courses must be in a student's major. The third can be in any discipline. Students are advised to take one writing-intensive class each year, beginning with the sophomore year, and to avoid “clustering” these courses near the end of their matriculation. Transfer students need to meet with an academic advisor to review the number of writing-intensive courses required to graduate.

A "WI" next to a course in this catalog may indicate that this course can fulfill a writing-intensive requirement. For the most up-to-date list of writing-intensive courses being offered, students should check the Writing Intensive Course List at the University Writing Center. Students scheduling their courses can also conduct a search for courses with the attribute "WI" to bring up a list of all writing-intensive courses available that term. Transfer students need to meet with an academic advisor to review the number of writing-intensive courses required to graduate.


Sample Plan of Study

Term 1Credits
ENGL 101Composition and Rhetoric I: Inquiry and Exploratory Research3.0
MATH 121Calculus I4.0
PHYS 113Contemporary Physics I5.0
PHYS 223 [WI] Modern Physics Laboratory3.0
UNIV S101The Drexel Experience1.0
 Term Credits16.0
Term 2
CS 171Computer Programming I3.0
ENGL 102Composition and Rhetoric II: The Craft of Persuasion3.0
MATH 122Calculus II4.0
PHYS 114Contemporary Physics II5.0
 Term Credits15.0
Term 3
ENGL 103Composition and Rhetoric III: Thematic Analysis Across Genres3.0
MATH 123Calculus III4.0
PHYS 105Computational Physics I3.0
PHYS 115Contemporary Physics III5.0
CIVC 101Introduction to Civic Engagement1.0
 Term Credits16.0
Term 4
CHEM 101General Chemistry I3.5
MATH 201
or 261
Linear Algebra
Linear Algebra
4.0
MATH 200Multivariate Calculus4.0
PHYS 217Thermodynamics4.0
 Term Credits15.5
Term 5
CHEM 102General Chemistry II4.5
MATH 210Differential Equations4.0
PHYS 311Classical Mechanics I4.0
Subject course*3.0
 Term Credits15.5
Term 6
PHYS 326Quantum Mechanics I4.0
One of the following:3.0-5.0
General Chemistry III 
Any Biology (BIO) course
 
Any ENGR course 200-level or higher
 
Method course*3.0
Free elective3.0
 Term Credits13.0-15.0
Term 7
PHYS 327Quantum Mechanics II4.0
PHYS 317Statistical Mechanics3.0
Method course3.0
Business elective3.0
Liberal studies elective3.0
 Term Credits16.0
Term 8
PHYS 321Electromagnetic Fields I4.0
Two Subject courses6.0
Technical elective3.0
Free elective3.0
 Term Credits16.0
Term 9
PHYS 322Electromagnetic Fields II4.0
PHYS 328 [WI] Advanced Laboratory3.0
Method course3.0
Liberal studies elective3.0
Business elective3.0
 Term Credits16.0
Term 10
PHYS 408Physics Seminar1.0
PHYS 491Senior Research I3.0
Subject course3.0
Liberal studies elective3.0
Free elective3.0
UNIV S201Looking Forward: Academics and Careers (Recommended only. For students persuing graduate study.)1.0
 Term Credits14.0
Term 11
PHYS 408Physics Seminar1.0
PHYS 492Senior Research II3.0
Subject course3.0
Free electives6.0
 Term Credits13.0
Term 12
PHYS 408Physics Seminar1.0
PHYS 493 [WI] Senior Research III3.0
Method course3.0
Free electives7.0
 Term Credits14.0
Total Credit: 180.0-182.0

*

 See degree requirements.



 

Co-op/Career Opportunities

Students who complete a degree in physics have many options. Some enter graduate school with the intention of obtaining a master’s or a PhD. Others attend medical school. Engineering is yet another option, and graduates of an undergraduate physics program can enter this field with an unusually solid background in fundamental physical principles, mathematics, and computation. It is also possible for physics graduates to work in business and finance; for example, Wall Street employs many analysts trained in such “hard sciences” as physics.

Many Drexel physics graduates proceed directly into graduate schools, or medical or other professional programs. Physics graduates have attended some of the best graduate programs in the United States, including Columbia, Harvard, and CalTech. Other graduates have found jobs in engineering and business, and with such government agencies as the National Bureau of Standards.

Visit the Drexel Steinbright Career Development Center for more detailed information on co-op and post-graduate opportunities.

Minor in Physics

Physics is a science that studies the natural phenomena at all scales, from that of the universe to elementary particles. This minor exposes the students to some of the basic principles of physics and would easily complement any other discipline—from engineering to other sciences.

The minor in physics requires a total of 10.0 credits from the elective list in addition to the prerequisite and core courses.

Because of the overlap in requirements between the astrophysics minor and the physics minor, students cannot minor in both.

Required Prerequisite Courses *
Contemporary Physics I
Contemporary Physics II
Contemporary Physics III
Required Courses
PHYS 311Classical Mechanics I4.0
PHYS 321Electromagnetic Fields I4.0
PHYS 217Thermodynamics4.0
PHYS 326Quantum Mechanics I4.0
Electives
Select at least 10 credits from PHYS courses at the 300 level or above10.0
Total Credits26.0

*

PHYS 101, PHYS 102 and PHYS 201 will also satisfy the prerequisite requirements.


Courses

PHYS 050 Preparation for Engineering Studies 0.0 Credits

PHYS-050 is a self-paced online course and is intended for students who need additional preparation in mathematics and physics to be successful in the beginning physics courses ( PHYS-101, 102). The online course is divided into six UNITS : Simultaneous Equations, Fundamentals of Plane Geometry, Use of Trigonometric Functions, Fundamentals of Solid geometry Vectors, and Kinematics. Each UNIT is organized in four sections: [i] Introduction; [ii] Interactive Problems; [iii] Sample Problems; and [iv]Tests.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Can be repeated multiple times for credit

PHYS 100 Preparation for Engineering Studies 4.0 Credits

This is a basic mathematics foundational course to prepare the students for the beginning sequence of Engineering Physics. Topics include: simultaneous equations, fundamentals of plane and solid geometry, use of trigonometric functions and vectors and translational kinematics.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

PHYS 101 Fundamentals of Physics I 4.0 Credits

First of a four course sequence teaching fundamental physics to engineering and science majors. Topics include: description of motion, inertial and non-inertial frames, special relativity, Newton's Laws, translational and rotational equilibrium, one- and two-dimensional motion, fundamental forces, inverse square laws, Gauss' Law, Bohr's quantization, rotational dynamics, potential energy, black holes, determinism and chaos.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: MATH 121 [Min Grade: D] and (APC 070 or APC2 070) or PHYS 100 [Min Grade: D]
Corequisite: EXAM 080

PHYS 102 Fundamentals of Physics II 4.0 Credits

Second of a four course sequence teaching fundamental physics to engineering and science majors. Topics include: electrostatics, capacitors, charges in motion, insulators, semiconductors, conductors, superconductors, voltage and current measurements, magnetism, electromagnetic induction, magnetic materials, quantum dots, magnetic resonance phenomenon.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 101 [Min Grade: D]
Corequisite: EXAM 080

PHYS 103 General Physics I 4.0 Credits

Algebra-based course that covers force, motion, work, energy properties of matter, and wave motion and sound propagation.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

PHYS 104 General Physics II 4.0 Credits

Algebra-based course that covers electricity and applications, magnetism, and optics.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 103 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 105 Computational Physics I 3.0 Credits

Introduces computational physics. Covers analytical and numerical solutions of equations governing the behavior of physical systems. Includes the use of Maple and simple FORTRAN/C/C++ programming methods to solve selected problems. Introduces UNIX, X-windows, programming languages, and visualization and data analysis tools for problems in computational physics. Introduces elementary programming concepts as needed.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: (PHYS 113 [Min Grade: D] or PHYS 101 [Min Grade: D]) and CS 171 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 106 [WI] The Physics of High Fidelity 3.0 Credits

Applies physical principles to understanding how hi-fi systems work. Includes consumer education in selecting components. This is a writing intensive course.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

PHYS 107 Acoustics 3.0 Credits

Covers the theory describing sound, behavior and sound waves, resonance and harmonics, frequency analysis, electronic production of sound, sound perception by the human ear, sound recording and reproduction, and room acoustics. Emphasis will be placed on understanding how sound operates in the physical world and how our ears respond to it.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

PHYS 113 Contemporary Physics I 5.0 Credits

Part I in an introductory physics sequence for majors. This course combines the traditional lecture/lab format with real-time numerical simulations designed by the students. Topics include: the fundamental forces, Newton's laws, the atomic nature of matter, work and energy, light, friction, and atomic nuclei.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Corequisite: MATH 121

PHYS 114 Contemporary Physics II 5.0 Credits

Part II in an introductory sequence for majors. This course combines the traditional lecture/lab format with real-time numerical simulations designed by the students. Topics include: angular momentum, entropy, gas dynamics, electric fields, electricity and matter, and electric potential.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 113 [Min Grade: D]
Corequisite: MATH 122

PHYS 115 Contemporary Physics III 5.0 Credits

Part III in an introductory sequence for majors. This course combines the traditional lecture/lab format with real-time numerical simulation designed by the students. Topics include: magnetic fields, electronics, radiation, waves and particles, and an introduction to semiconductor devices.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 114 [Min Grade: D]
Corequisite: MATH 123

PHYS 121 Physical Science for Design I 4.0 Credits

Offers a non-calculus-based survey of physical science for students in design and the visual arts. Topics include kinematics in two dimensions, forces, Newton's laws, applications using the constant acceleration model, energy, momentum, conservation laws, universal gravitation, circular motion, satellites, oscillatory motion, wave motion, sound, and music.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Corequisite: EXAM 080

PHYS 122 Physical Science for Design II 4.0 Credits

Continues PHYS 121. Topics include electricity, magnetism, em waves, light, geometrical and physical optics, anatomic structure, the elements, and nuclear decay and nuclear energy.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 121 [Min Grade: D]
Corequisite: EXAM 080

PHYS 131 Survey of the Universe 3.0 Credits

Provides an overview of modern astronomy, including the scientific method; telescopes; stars and star clusters; stellar evolution; galaxies and the large-scale structure of the universe; and the Big Bang. May also include periodic visits to the university observatory.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

PHYS 135 How Things Work 4.0 Credits

This course examines the science behind everyday phenomena and devices. It uses real-world applications such as amusement park rides, microwave ovens, photocopiers, CDs, MRI, etc., as contextual vehicles to convey principles of classical and modern physics. It emphasizes conceptual understanding and uses pedagogy such as lecture demonstrations and active feedback.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

PHYS 137 Issues in Science and Religion 3.0 Credits

This survey course examines the interconnections and differences of science and religion, including topics as Cosmology, Human Origins, Prayer and Consciousness. Fundamental to the exploration of these theories are the examination of the historical, philosophical, psychological and sociological implications of these topics for society.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

PHYS 141 Atmospheric Science I - Climate and Global Change 3.0 Credits

The atmosphere and its structure and variations; greenhouse effect; ozone depletion; the influence of weather on man; air pollution; acid rain.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Corequisite: PHEV 142

PHYS 142 Atmospheric Science I Laboratory 1.0 Credit

Introduction to climate analysis and methods.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

PHYS 143 Atmospheric Science II - Weather & Forecasting 3.0 Credits

The atmosphere and its properties; weather systems; severe weather; hurricanes; weather forecasting.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Corequisite: PHEV 144

PHYS 144 Atmospheric Science II Laboratory 1.0 Credit

Introduction to meteorological analysis and forecasting methods.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman

PHYS 151 Applied Physics 3.0 Credits

Non-calculus-based introductory physics for business majors. Covers basic mechanics and simple harmonic motion, followed by an introduction to more advanced topics such as relativity, electromagnetism, and quantum phenomena.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Corequisite: EXAM 081

PHYS 152 Introductory Physics I 4.0 Credits

First part of a three-course algebra-based sequence providing a comprehensive introduction to Physics. Covers basic mechanics, including motion in 1, 2, and 3 Newton's laws, gravitation, energy, momentum, rotational motion and elastic properties of materials. Includes labs to enrich class material. High school physics not required.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Corequisite: EXAM 081

PHYS 153 Introductory Physics II 4.0 Credits

Second part of a three-course algebra-based sequence providing a comprehensive introduction to Physics. Covers fluids, vibrations, waves, sound, heat and thermodynamics, geometrical optics and optical instrumentation. Includes labs to enrich class material.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 152 [Min Grade: D] or PHYS 101 [Min Grade: D]
Corequisite: EXAM 081

PHYS 154 Introductory Physics III 4.0 Credits

Third part of a three-course algebra-based sequence providing a comprehensive introduction to Physics. Covers fundamentals of electricity and magnetism, including charges, fields, potential, circuits, magnetic induction, electromagnetic waves, special relativity, and physical optics. Includes labs to enrich class material.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 101 [Min Grade: D] or PHYS 152 [Min Grade: D]
Corequisite: EXAM 081

PHYS 160 Introduction to Scientific Computing 3.0 Credits

Basic introduction to scientific problem solving and numerical modeling of physical system using Excel and Maple.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

PHYS 181 Astronomy 3.0 Credits

Provides an overview of modern astronomy, including the scientific method; telescopes; stars and star clusters; stellar evolution; galaxies and the large-scale structure of the universe; and the Big Bang. May also include periodic visits to the university observatory.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

PHYS 182 Applied Physics I 3.0 Credits

Covers vectors; statics, kinematics, and classical dynamics, including Newton's laws, torque, projectile motion, and circular motion; work; power and energy; impulse and momentum; and rotation, in a non-calculus-based course. Fall.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: MATH 183 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 183 Applied Physics II 3.0 Credits

Covers fluids; elasticity; vibration, including simple harmonic motion; sound waves and acoustics; thermodynamics of temperature; heat; thermal-expansion; phase change; and heat transfer, in a non-calculus-based course. Winter.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: PHYS 182 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 184 Applied Physics III 3.0 Credits

Covers light and illumination, electrostatics, potential, direct-current electrical circuits, magnetic fields, induction, generators, motors, and AC circuits, in a non-calculus-based course. Spring.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: PHYS 183 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 185 Fundamentals of Physics Lecture I 3.0 Credits

First of a three course sequence teaching fundamental physics to engineering and science majors. Topics include: description of motion, inertial and non-inertial frames, special relativity, Newton's Laws, translational and rotational equilibrium, one- and two-dimensional motion, fundamental forces, inverse square laws, Gauss' Law, Bohr's quantization, rotational dynamics, potential energy, black holes, determinism and chaos.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: MATH 121 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 186 Physics I-A 1.0 Credit

A companion course for PHYS 185. Students will perform experiments related to Mechanics. Some or all pre-requisites may be taken as either a pre-requisite or co-requisite. Please see the department for more information.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 185 [Min Grade: D] (Can be taken Concurrently)

PHYS 188 Physics II-A 1.0 Credit

A companion course for PHYS 189. Students will perform experiments related to Electricity and Magnetism. Some or all pre-requisites may be taken as either a pre-requisite or co-requisite. Please see the department for more information.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 189 [Min Grade: D] (Can be taken Concurrently)

PHYS 189 Fundamentals of Physics Lecture II 3.0 Credits

Second of a four course sequence teaching fundamental physics to engineering and science majors. Topics include: electrostatics, capacitors, charges in motion, insulators, semiconductors, voltage and current measurements, magnetism, electromagnetic induction, magnetic materials, quantum dots, magnetic resonance phenomenon.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 185 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 201 Fundamentals of Physics III 4.0 Credits

Third of a four course sequence teaching fundamental physics to engineering and science majors. Topics include: oscillations, EM waves, interference, diffraction, wave-particle duality, energy-matter equivalence, uncertainty relations, Schrodinger's equation, Hydrogen atom, laser, and nuclear physics.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 102 [Min Grade: D]
Corequisite: EXAM 081

PHYS 202 Fundamentals of Physics IV 4.0 Credits

Fourth of a four course sequence teaching fundamental physics to engineering and science majors. Topics include: statistical kinetic, equipartition of energy, entropy, ultra-low temperatures, thermal transport, interaction of charged particles and light with biological tissue, fiber optics, IR, Raman, spectroscopy, fluidics, and microfluidics.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 201 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 217 Thermodynamics 4.0 Credits

Covers macro-thermodynamics: temperature, pressure, work, heat, equations of state, the first and second laws of thermodynamics and their applications, heat engines and refrigerators, thermodynamics potentials, Maxwell relations, theory of phase changes, kinetic theory and transport phenomena.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 114 [Min Grade: D] or PHYS 102 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 222 Modern Physics 4.0 Credits

Covers special relativity and the electron, black-body radiation, quantum theory of radiation, Bohr theory, wave particle duality, Schrodinger equation, and nuclear phenomena.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: MATH 200 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 223 [WI] Modern Physics Laboratory 3.0 Credits

Requires students to perform experiments in modern physics, including the Millikan oil-drop experiment, the photoelectric effect measurement, spectrometer experiments, atomic spectra observations, the Frank-Hertz experiment, the decay rate of radon, and a beta particle range experiment. This is a writing intensive course. Some or all pre-requisites may be taken as either a pre-requisite or co-requisite. Please see the department for more information.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 113 [Min Grade: D] (Can be taken Concurrently)

PHYS 226 Instrumentation for Scientists I 3.0 Credits

Introduces measurement concepts, including a systems approach to analog and digital measurement, amplification and feedback, electrical data domains, measurements of varying analog signals, time domain measurements and conversions, and A/D and D/A conversions.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman

PHYS 227 Instrumentation for Scientists II 3.0 Credits

Covers optimization of scientific measurements, including systems analysis, signal/noise, control of frequency response, modulation and demodulation, relation of sampling parameters to signal characteristics, and signal-to-noise ratio enhancement.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: PHYS 226 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 231 Introductory Astrophysics 3.0 Credits

An introductory astrophysics course aimed at science majors. Topics include a treatment of orbits, Kepler's laws, celestial coordinates, light, blackbodies, optics, stellar structure and evolution, galactic formation, and large scale evolution and structure of the universe.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: (PHYS 101 [Min Grade: D] or PHYS 113 [Min Grade: D]) and MATH 121 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 232 Observational Astrophysics 3.0 Credits

Covers photometric and spectroscopic properties of stars, galaxies, and quasars and fundamental astrophysics of these objects. The course contains a significant lab component, which includes training in methods of observation, using the Joseph Lynch Observatory on campus to obtain astronomical measurements, and analysis of data.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: PHYS 113 [Min Grade: D] and MATH 121 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 261 Introduction to Biophysics 3.0 Credits

This is an introductory course to the wide field of Biophysics. The intended audience is undergraduate physics majors. However, the level and approach is also accessible to undergraduates from other concentrations, including Chemistry and Biology. Students will learn the basic principles behind cells, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics applied to cellular environments, forces affecting conformation of biological molecules, protein and nucleic acid biophysics, membrane biophysics, and basic physics principles behind nerve impulses.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 115 [Min Grade: D] or PHYS 201 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 262 Introduction to Biophysics 3.0 Credits

This is an introductory course to the wide field of Biophysics. The intended audience is undergraduate physics majors. However, the level and approach is also accessible to undergraduates from other concentrations, including Chemistry and Biology. Students will learn the basic principles behind cells, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics applied to cellular environments, forces affecting conformation of biological molecules, protein and nucleic acid biophysics, membrane biophysics, and basic physics principles behind nerve impulses.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: (PHYS 115 [Min Grade: D] or PHYS 201 [Min Grade: D])

PHYS 280 Fundamentals of Physics Lecture III 3.0 Credits

Third of a three course sequence teaching fundamental physics to engineering and science majors. Topics include: oscillations, EM waves, interference, diffraction, wave-particle duality, energy-matter equivalence, uncertainty relations, Schrodinger's equation, Hydrogen atom, laser, and nuclear physics.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 102 [Min Grade: D] or PHYS 189 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 282 Fundamentals of Physics Laboratory III 1.0 Credit

A companion course for PHYS 280. Students will perform experiments related to Thermodynamics and modern physics. Some or all pre-requisites may be taken as either a pre-requisite or co-requisite. Please see the department for more information.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 280 [Min Grade: D] (Can be taken Concurrently)

PHYS 305 Computational Physics II 3.0 Credits

Covers the application of computational techniques to problems in physics, including numerical solution of differential equations, computation and display of particle trajectories in arbitrary potentials, introduction to non-linear dynamics, random numbers and Monte-Carlo methods, and numerical implementation of selected methods in mathematical physics. Emphasizes hands-on experience in problem-solving, using both Maple and C.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: CS 171 [Min Grade: D], PHYS 105 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 311 Classical Mechanics I 4.0 Credits

Covers motion in one, two, and three dimensions, conservation laws, and damped harmonic oscillator, forced harmonic oscillator, and central force motion.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: MATH 210 [Min Grade: D] (Can be taken Concurrently)(PHYS 115 [Min Grade: D] or PHYS 201 [Min Grade: D])

PHYS 312 Classical Mechanics II 4.0 Credits

Covers motion of system of particles, center of mass and conservation of linear momentum, description of collisions, Rutherford scattering, dynamics of rigid bodies, coordinate systems, the restricted three-body problem, generalized coordinates, Lagrange's equations and Hamilton's equations, and rotation of frame.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: PHYS 311 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 317 Statistical Mechanics 3.0 Credits

Covers distribution molecular velocities, transport phenomena, Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics, and quantum statistics.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: MATH 210 [Min Grade: D] and PHYS 217 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 321 Electromagnetic Fields I 4.0 Credits

Covers fields due to specified charge distributions, Gauss' law, multipole expansion of the fields, Laplace's equation, method of images, dielectrics, and energy of an electrostatic field. Some or all pre-requisites may be taken as either a pre-requisite or co-requisite. Please see the department for more information.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: PHYS 115 [Min Grade: D] (Can be taken Concurrently)

PHYS 322 Electromagnetic Fields II 4.0 Credits

Covers electric current, continuity equation, electromotive forces, magnetic fields, electromagnetic induction, magnetic properties of matter, Maxwell's equations, radiation, and radiation by moving charges.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: PHYS 321 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 324 Topics in Mathematical Physics 3.0 Credits

This course presents the mathematical background needed for Thermodynamics, Classical Mechanics, Electricity & Magnetism, and Quantum Mechanics using the theory of linear vector spaces and the standard tools of elementary mathematical physics. Emphasis will be placed on the use of analytic and numerical programming techniques, using Maple, FORTRAN and C.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman

PHYS 325 Computational Physics III 3.0 Credits

This is the third course in the Computational Physics sequence. It presents basic scientific programming techniques and problem-solving strategies, as applied to problems in electromagnetic theory and quantum mechanics. This hands-on focuses primarily on the solution of partial differential equations in physics, Monte-Carlo methods, and matrix methods, and includes solutions of Laplace's, Poisson's and Maxwell's equations, fields due to moving charges, Fast Fourier Transforms, and solutions of the time-independent and time-dependent Schroedinger equation.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 105 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 326 Quantum Mechanics I 4.0 Credits

Explores the classical foundations of quantum mechanics, the Schrodinger equation, solutions of one-dimensional problems, and the one-dimensional harmonic oscillator.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: PHYS 311 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 327 Quantum Mechanics II 4.0 Credits

Covers the three-dimensional Schrodinger equation, angular momentum, matrix mechanics, the hydrogen atom, and perturbation theory.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: PHYS 326 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 328 [WI] Advanced Laboratory 3.0 Credits

Requires students to perform advanced laboratory experiments in the various fields of physics. This is a writing intensive course.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: PHYS 223 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 330 Introduction to Nuclear Physics 2.0 Credits

Provides an overview of nuclear physics; including nuclear structure; nuclear stability; radioactivity and nuclear decay; nuclear forces and interactions; fission and fusion; and the interaction of particles with matter. A small amount of quantum mechanics will be included.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: (PHYS 115 [Min Grade: D] or PHYS 201 [Min Grade: D]) and (MATH 210 [Min Grade: D] or ENGR 232 [Min Grade: D])

PHYS 399 Independent Study in Physics 12.0 Credits

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Can be repeated multiple times for credit

PHYS 405 Advanced Computational Physics 3.0 Credits

Covers the application of computational techniques to one or more research topics of current interest, including grid-based solutions of partial differential equations in one and two dimensions and particle methods in fluid mechanics. Introduces high-performance computation and massively parallel computing platforms.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Can enroll if classification is Junior or Senior.
Prerequisites: PHYS 305 [Min Grade: C]

PHYS 408 Physics Seminar 1.0 Credit

Requires participation in weekly departmental colloquium.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Can be repeated 15 times for 15 credits
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman

PHYS 409 Astrophysics Seminar 1.0 Credit

This course focuses on topics in modern astrophysics. Each term, a series of papers in a subfield is chosen. Students present and discuss recent results in fields such as stellar structure, black holes, cosmology, and dynamics. May be repeated twice for credit.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Can be repeated 2 times for 2 credits
Prerequisites: PHYS 231 [Min Grade: D] or PHYS 232 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 428 Quantum Mechanics III 4.0 Credits

Advanced topics in quantum mechanics including spin, addition of angular momentum, scattering theory, relativistic quantum mechanics, atoms and molecules, and radiation from atoms.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: PHYS 327 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 431 Galactic Astrophysics 3.0 Credits

This course presents an introduction to the processes responsible for the formation, structure, evolution, and present-day appearance of the Milky Way and other galaxies. Using the Milky Way Galaxy as a guide, we will develop analytical and numerical tools to help us understand of the properties of these magnificent objects, near and far. Topics will include stars, stellar formation, and stellar evolution, galactic structure and dynamics, and galaxy formation and evolution.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: PHYS 311 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 432 Cosmology 3.0 Credits

Covers cosmological models, age and distance scales in the universe, the hot big bang, primordial nucleosyntesis, inflation, baryonic and non-baryonic matter, galaxy formation and evolution, dynamics of structure formation, statistics of cosmological density fields, and cosmic background fluctuations.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: PHYS 311 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 451 Quantum Structure of Materials 4.0 Credits

Introduces modern physics, including wave-particle duality; quantum mechanics of electrons located in one-dimensional potentials; introduction to solid-state physics; electronics in periodic potentials and energy band structure; numerical computations; metals, semiconductors, and insulators; electronic devices; quantum devices; and laboratory experiments in scanning tunneling microscopy and atomic force microscopy.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: PHYS 201 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 452 Solid State Physics 3.0 Credits

Atomic basis of the physical properties of materials, including crystalline and non-crystalline solids. Detailed introductory treatment of the structural, vibrational, and electronic properties of solid and their inter-relationships. Overview of other materials, properties, and scientific basis of technological applications.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 317 [Min Grade: D] and PHYS 326 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 453 Nanoscience 3.0 Credits

Scientific basis of nanoscale materials and systems including discussions of low-dimensional structures and their physical properties, the self-assembly of nanostructures, applications in various fields of science and technology, and techniques for fabrication and characterization on the nanoscale.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 311 [Min Grade: D] and PHYS 217 [Min Grade: D]
Corequisites: PHYS 321, PHYS 326

PHYS 461 Biophysics 3.0 Credits

A one course introduction to biological physics. Topics may include: structure of biomolecules, protein stability, electron transfer, protein folding, protein substrates, allostery, and self-assembly. No biological background is presumed.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Can be repeated 1 times for 3 credits
Prerequisites: PHYS 317 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 462 Computational Biophysics 3.0 Credits

This course involves mathematical applications of biological simulations. Using classical and statistical mechanics, we will cover topics including atomic scale simulations, statistical sampling and models of molecular cellular systems and living processes.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 305 [Min Grade: D] and PHYS 317 [Min Grade: D]
Corequisite: PHYS 321

PHYS 463 Single Molecule Methods 3.0 Credits

Covers the principles, operations and applications of the most commonly used single molecule methods in biophysics, including scanning probe microscopy and spectroscopy, optical trapping and fluorescence resonance energy transfer techniques.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: PHYS 217 [Min Grade: D] and PHYS 322 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 471 Nonlinear Dynamics 3.0 Credits

This course introduces the basic ideas of the new science of nonlinear dynamics and develops methods to carry out fundamental computations of fractal dimension, Lyapunov exponents, and topological invariants.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: MATH 200 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 476 Particle Physics 3.0 Credits

This course will provide an introduction to the physics of fundamental particles. Topics including the fundamental forces, quarks and leptons, Feynman diagrams, symmetries and conservation laws, relativistic kinematics, bound states, and experimental methods.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman or Pre-Junior or Sophomore
Prerequisites: PHYS 327 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 480 Special Topics 12.0 Credits

Covers selected topics in physics. May be repeated for credit.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Can be repeated multiple times for credit

PHYS 485 Research 3.0 Credits

Covers research problems in physics.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman

PHYS 491 Senior Research I 3.0 Credits

A three-term sequence devoted to theoretical or experimental activities in a specific area of physics or atmospheric science to be chosen in consultation with a faculty adviser. Requires students to learn to identify interesting problems, develop a plan of attack, and carry the project to completion. Requires written and oral report at the end of the third term.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Can enroll if classification is Senior.

PHYS 492 Senior Research II 3.0 Credits

Continues PHYS 491.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: PHYS 491 [Min Grade: D]

PHYS 493 [WI] Senior Research III 3.0 Credits

Continues PHYS 492. This is a writing intensive course.

College/Department: College of Arts and Sciences
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: PHYS 492 [Min Grade: D]

Physics Faculty

Alexey Aprelev, PhD (St Petersburg State University). Assistant Teaching Professor. Experimental biophysics.
S. M. Bose, PhD (University of Maryland). Professor. Theory of surfaces and interfaces, disordered systems, electron and X-ray spectroscopy of solids, high-temperature superconductivity.
Luis R. Cruz Cruz, PhD (MIT). Associate Professor. Correlation studies and density map analysis of the loss of spatial organization of neurons in the aged brain: computational studies of the folding of the Alzheimer amyloid beta protein using all-atom molecular dynamics:cellular automata models of the growth of plaques in Alzheimer's disease: fluid flow through porous media using computer lattice models.
N. John Dinardo, PhD (University of Pennsylvania) Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. Professor. Vibrational and electron dynamics at semiconductor surfaces and interfaces, metal-semiconductor interfaces, polymer surfaces and interfaces, diamond-like carbon thin films, and protein and cell interactions with biomaterials surfaces.
Michelle Dolinski, PhD (University of California, Berkeley). Assistant Professor. Neutrino physics, rare nuclear decays, cyrogenic detector technologies.
Frank A. Ferrone, PhD (Princeton University). Professor. Experimental and theoretical protein dynamics, kinetics of biological self-assembly, including sickle cell and Alzheimer's disease.
Leonard X. Finegold, PhD (University of London). Professor. Biological physics and granular physics.
Robert Gilmore, PhD (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Professor. Applications of compact and non-compact Lie algebras for problems in nuclear, atomic, and molecular physics; nonlinear dynamics and chaos and the analysis of chaotic data.
David M. Goldberg, PhD (Princeton University) Director of Undergraduate Studies. Professor. Theoretical and computational cosmology, extragalactic astrophysics, parallel computing.
Goran Karapetrov, PhD (Oregon State University). Associate Professor. Experimental solid state physics, scanning probe microscopy, nanoscale catalysis, mesoscopic superconductivity.
Charles Lane, PhD (California Institute of Technology). Professor. Experimental tests of invariance principles and conservation laws, experimental search for magnetic monopoles and high-energy cosmic neutrinos, solar neutrinos and neutrino oscillations.
Teck-Kah Lim, PhD (University of Adelaide) Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Studies. Professor. Structures and dynamics of small nuclear and molecular systems, spin-polarized quantum systems, physics in two dimensions. Physics education.
Hairong Ma, PhD (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign). Assistant Professor. Protein folding, aggregation and mechanics; ultrafast laser spectroscopy; and microfluidics-integrated live-cell imaging of biomolecular dynamics.
Stephen L. W. McMillan, PhD (Harvard University). Professor. Stellar dynamics, large-scale computations of stellar systems, and high-performance special-purpose computers.
Kevin Olson, PhD (University of Massachusetts). Research Associate Professor. Development of parallel and numerical algorithms for astrophysics applications.
Gordon Richards, PhD (University of Chicago). Associate Professor. Quasars, active galactic nuclei, supermassive black holes, sky surveys, gravitational lensing, galaxy evolution.
Richard I Steinberg, PhD (Yale University). Professor. Experimental tests of invariance principles and conservation laws, experimental search for magnetic monopoles and high-energy cosmic neutrinos (MACRO experiment at Gran Sasso Laboratory, Italy), solar neutrinos and neutrino oscillations (CHOOZ project).
Somdev Tyagi, PhD (Brigham Young University). Professor. Nanobiophysics, Raman spectroscopy, magnetic materials.
Brigita Urbanc, PhD (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia). Associate Professor. Landau-Ginsburg theory of ferroelectric liquid crystals; cellular automaton model of Alzheimer's senile plaque growth; protein folding and assembly relevant to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases; discrete (discontinuous) molecular dynamics simulations and coarse-grain protein models; applications of automated neuron recognition and density map methods to quantify spatial correlations in aging brain.
Michel Vallières, PhD (University of Pennsylvania) Department of Physics, Department Head. Professor. Shell-model and mean field studies of nuclei on and off beta-stability, chaotic scattering, computational physics.
Michael Vogeley, PhD (Harvard University) Director of Graduate Studies. Professor. Cosmology; galaxy formation and evolution; statistical analysis of large data sets; active galactic nuclei.
Jian-Min Yuan, PhD (University of Chicago). Professor. Protein folding, signal transduction pathways, computational biophysics, nonlinear dynamics and chaos in atomic and molecular systems, protein folding.

Emeritus Faculty

Leonard D. Cohen, PhD (University of Pennsylvania). Professor Emeritus.
Richard D. Haracz, PhD (Wayne State University). Professor Emeritus.
Frederick House, PhD (University of Wisconsin). Professor Emeritus. Meteorology
Arthur P. Joblin, PhD (Drexel University). Professor Emeritus.
Donald C. Larson, PhD (Harvard University). Professor Emeritus.
Arthur E. Lord, PhD (Columbia University). Professor Emeritus.
James McCray, PhD (California Institute of Technology). Professor Emeritus.
T. S. Venkataraman, PhD (Worcester Polytechnic Institute). Professor Emeritus. Material engineering and physics.
  • Schedule of Classes
  • All Course Descriptions
  • Co-op
  • Academic Advising
  • Admissions
  • Tuition & Fees
LEARN MORE