Undergraduate Course Directory

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Courses by Subject Area

Click on the links below for a list of courses in that subject area. You may then click “View Classes” to see scheduled classes for individual courses. See the Ratcliffe Hicks Courses page for a list of those courses.

1010Q. Elements Of Physics

4.00 credits

Prerequisites: Not open for credit to students who have passed PHYS 1201 or 1401 or 1501 or 1601.

Grading Basis: Graded

Basic concepts and applications of physics for the non-science major. Scientific principles and quantitative relationships involving mechanics, energy, heat and temperature, waves, electricity and magnetism, and the theory of the atom are covered. A laboratory provides hands-on experience with the principles of physics. CA 3-LAB.

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1020Q. Introductory Astronomy

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: Not open to students who have passed PHYS 1025.

Grading Basis: Graded

A basic introductory astronomy course without laboratories, including principles of celestial coordinate systems and telescope design; applications of fundamental physical laws to the sun, planets, stars and galaxies; evolution of stars, galaxies and the universe; recent space probe results, modern cosmology, astrobiology. Night observing sessions are an integral part of the course. CA 3.

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1025Q. Introductory Astronomy with Laboratory

4.00 credits

Prerequisites: Not open to students who have passed PHYS 1020.

Grading Basis: Graded

A basic introductory astronomy course including principles of celestial coordinate systems and telescope design; applications of fundamental physical laws to the sun, planets, stars and galaxies; evolution of stars, galaxies and the universe; recent space probe results, modern cosmology, astrobiology. Basic quantitative laboratory techniques relevant to astronomy. Night observing sessions are an integral part of the course. CA 3-LAB.

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1030Q. Physics of the Environment

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Concepts of physics applied to current problems of the physical environment: energy, transportation, pollution. No previous knowledge of physics is assumed. Not applicable to any requirement that specifies a course in "general physics." CA 3.

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1035Q. Physics of the Environment with Laboratory

4.00 credits

Prerequisites: Not open for credit to students who have passed PHYS 1030.

Grading Basis: Graded

Concepts of physics applied to the physical environment, particularly to current problems related to energy, transportation, and pollution. These relationships will be further explored in the laboratory section. No previous knowledge of physics is assumed. CA 3-LAB.

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1040QE. Cosmic Origins of Life

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Principles of physics and quantitative reasoning applied to astrobiology, the search for extraterrestrial life, and cosmic, stellar, and atmospheric conditions for habitability. A systems perspective on the impacts of human civilization on habitability. CA 3.

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1075Q. Physics of Music

4.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Basic principles of physics and scientific reasoning will be taught in the context of the production and perception of music, emphasizing the historic and scientific interplay between physics and music. Basic quantitative laboratories pertaining to sound, music, and waves. No previous knowledge of physics or music is assumed. CA 3-LAB.

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1201Q. General Physics

4.00 credits

Prerequisites: MATH 1060 or 1110 or 1120 or 1125 or equivalent. PHYS 1201 is not open for credit to students who have passed PHYS 1202, 1401, 1501 or 1601.

Grading Basis: Graded

Basic facts and principles of physics. The laboratory offers fundamental training in precise measurements. CA 3-LAB.

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1202Q. General Physics

4.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 1201. Not open for credit to students who have passed PHYS 1402, 1502, or 1602.

Grading Basis: Graded

Basic facts and principles of physics. The laboratory offers fundamental training in exact measurements. CA 3-LAB.

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1230. General Physics Problems

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 1202, which may be taken concurrently; MATH 1122 or 11332, either of which may be taken concurrently. Not open to students who have passed PHYS 1501 or 1601.

Grading Basis: Graded

Problems, emphasizing applications of calculus, dealing with topics in general physics. Intended for those students who have taken or are taking PHYS 1202 and who desire to have a calculus-based physics sequence equivalent to PHYS 1401-1402.

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1300. Physics for the Pharmacy Profession

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: MATH 1121 or 1126, either of which may be taken concurrently, or MATH 1131 or MATH 1151. Not open to students who have passed PHYS 1230, 1401, 1402, 1501, 1502, 1601 or 1602.

Grading Basis: Graded

Survey of the principles of physics and their application to the pharmaceutical sciences. Basic concepts of calculus are used. Examples from mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, fluids, waves, and atomic and nuclear physics. SM-4/28/08

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1401Q. General Physics with Calculus

4.00 credits

Prerequisites: Recommended preparation: MATH 1121 or 1131; not open to students who have passed PHYS 1402, 1601 or 1501. May be taken for two credits, with the permission of the instructor, after PHYS 1201.

Grading Basis: Graded

Quantitative study of the basic facts and principles of physics. The laboratory offers fundamental training in physical measurements. This course is recommended for students planning to apply for admission to medical, dental or veterinary schools. It is also recommended for science majors for whom a one year introductory physics course is adequate. CA 3-LAB.

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1402Q. General Physics with Calculus

4.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 1401. Recommended preparation: MATH 1122 or 1132. Not open for credit to students who have passed PHYS 1502 or 1602. May not be taken for more than two credits, with the permission of the instructor, by students who have passed PHYS 1202.

Grading Basis: Graded

Quantitative study of the basic facts and principles of physics. The laboratory offers fundamental training in physical measurements. Recommended for students planning to apply for admission to medical, dental or veterinary schools. It is also recommended for science majors for whom a one year introductory physics course is adequate. CA 3-LAB.

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1501Q. Physics for Engineers I

4.00 credits

Prerequisites: Recommended preparation: PHYS 1010 or high school physics; CE 2110 ; MATH 2110 or 2130 which may be taken concurrently. Not open for credit after PHYS 1401, 1601 or 1502. Only two credits, with instructor's permission, if PHYS 1201 taken prior.

Grading Basis: Graded

Basic facts and principles of physics. Elementary concepts of calculus are used. Classical dynamics, rigid-body motion, harmonic motion, wave motion, acoustics, relativistic dynamics, thermodynamics. CA 3-LAB.

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1502Q. Physics for Engineers II

4.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 1501. Not open to students who have passed PHYS 1402 or 1602. May be taken for not more than 2 credits, with instructor's permission, by students who have passed PHYS 1202.

Grading Basis: Graded

Electric and magnetic fields, electromagnetic waves, quantum effects, introduction to atomic physics. CA 3-LAB.

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1530. General Physics Problems for Engineers

4.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 1202; MATH 1122 or 1132, either of which may be taken concurrently. Not open for credit to students who have passed PHYS 1230, 1501 or 1601.

Grading Basis: Graded

Problems, emphasizing applications of calculus, dealing with topics in general physics. Intended for those students who have taken or are taking PHYS 1202 and who desire to have a calculus-based physics sequence equivalent to PHYS 1501-1502 or 1601-1602.

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1600Q. Introduction to Modern Physics

4.00 credits

Prerequisites: Recommended preparation: MATH 1060, which may be taken concurrently, or a qualifying score on the mathematics placement assessment.

Grading Basis: Graded

Quantitative exploration of the structure of matter, including gas laws, electric and magnetic forces, the electron, x-rays, waves and lights, relativity, radioactivity, and spectra. This course is recommended for prospective Physics majors. CA 3-LAB.

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1601Q. Fundamentals of Physics I

4.00 credits

Prerequisites: Recommended Preparation: MATH 1121 or 1131 or 1151 (1151 is preferred for physics majors). Not open to students who have passed PHYS 1401 or 1501. May be taken for not more than 3 credits, with instructor's approval, by students who passed PHYS 1201.

Grading Basis: Graded

Fundamental principles of mechanics. statistical physics, and thermal physics. Basic concepts of calculus are used. Recommended for prospective Physics majors. CA 3-LAB.

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1602Q. Fundamentals of Physics II

4.00 credits

Prerequisites: Recommended preparation: PHYS 1601; MATH 1122 or 1132 or 1152 (1152 preferred for Physics majors). Not open for credit to students who have passed PHYS 1402 or 1502. May not be taken for more than 3 credits after passing PHYS 1202.

Grading Basis: Graded

Fundamental principles of electromagnetism, optics and wave propagation. Basic concepts of calculus are used. Recommended for prospective Physics majors. CA 3-LAB.

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2200. Computational Physics

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 1230 or 1402 or 1502 or 1530 or 1602, any of which may be taken concurrently; MATH 2410, which may be taken concurrently.

Grading Basis: Graded

A basic introduction to numerical and mathematical methods required for the solution of physics problems using currently available scientific software for computation and graphics. GEOC SM-2/9/04

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2300. The Development of Quantum Physics

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 1230 or 1530 or PHYS 1402 or 1502 or 1602 , which may be taken concurrently; or PHYS 1202 with consent of instructor. Cannot be taken for credit after passing PHYS 3401, 4300 or 4900.

Grading Basis: Graded

The inadequacies of classical physical concepts in the submicroscopic domain. The revision of physical principles that led to special relativity and modern quantum theory. Application to topics chosen from atomic and molecular physics, solid state physics, nuclear physics and elementary particle physics.

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2400. Mathematical Methods for the Physical Sciences

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 1230 or PHYS 1402 or PHYS 1502 or PHYS 1530 or PHYS 1602; and MATH 2110; either or both may be taken concurrently; or instructor consent.

Grading Basis: Graded

Theoretical mathematical methods required for physical science courses. SM-3/31/08

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2501W. Advanced Undergraduate Laboratory

4.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 1201 or 1401 or 1501 or 1601; ENGL 1010 or 1011 or 2011.

Grading Basis: Graded

Experiments in classical and/or quantum phenomena with an emphasis on acquiring, analyzing, and interpreting experimental data. Extensive writing in the style of experimental reports and/or journal articles.

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2701. Foundations of Modern Astrophysics

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 1401 or 1501 or 1601; MATH 1131 (or 1151) and 1132 (or 1152). Prerequisite or corequisite: PHYS 1402 or 1502 or 1602; MATH 2110. Not open for credit to students who have passed PHYS 2702 or PHYS 4740.

Grading Basis: Graded

The conceptual framework describing astronomical objects. Topics include orbits, light, and stars. Concepts of statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and relativity as needed for astrophysical topics.

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2702. Techniques of Modern Astrophysics

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 2701. Not open for credit to students who have passed PHYS 4710 or PHYS 4720 or PHYS 4740.

Grading Basis: Graded

Observational astronomy and applications to astrophysical phenomena. Topics include telescopes and astronomical instrumentation, production of chemical elements and molecules, distance scales, black holes and compact objects, gravitational lensing, galaxy kinematics and structure, dark matter, dark energy, cosmic rays, gravitational waves, and Big Bang cosmology.

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3101. Mechanics I

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 1230 or 1402 or 1502 or 1530 or 1602; MATH 2110 or 2130 which may be taken concurrently.

Grading Basis: Graded

Newton's Laws of motion applied to mass points, systems of particles, and rigid bodies.

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3102. Mechanics II

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: MATH 2410 or 2420; PHYS 3101 or CE 2120.

Grading Basis: Graded

Further applications of Newton's Laws; continuous media; Lagrange's and Hamilton's formulation of dynamics.

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3150. Electronics

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 1230 or 1402 or 1502 or 1530 or 1602 or instructor consent.

Grading Basis: Graded

The principles of devices and their applications to instrumentation in science and engineering. Rectification, filtering, regulation, input and output impedance, basic transistor circuits, operational amplifiers, preamplifiers for photodiodes and other transducers, logic gates, and digital circuits.

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3201. Electricity and Magnetism I

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 1602 or with consent of instructor PHYS 1230 or 1530 or 1402 or 1502 or 3104; MATH 2110 and 2410 or MATH 2130 and 2420.

Grading Basis: Graded

Properties of electric and magnetic fields; direct and alternating current circuits.

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3202. Electricity and Magnetism II

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 3201.

Grading Basis: Graded

Mathematical theory of the electromagnetic field; electric and magnetic properties of matter.

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3300. Statistical and Thermal Physics

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 1230 or 1402 or 1502 or 1530 or 1602; PHYS 2300; MATH 2110 and 2410, or MATH 2130 and 2420. Recommended preparation: PHYS 3201 and 3401.

Grading Basis: Graded

The laws of thermodynamics and their microscopic statistical basis; entropy, temperature, Boltzmann factor, chemical potential, Gibbs factor, and the distribution functions.

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3401. Introductory Quantum Mechanics

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 2300; MATH 2110 and 2410 or MATH 2130 and 2420.

Grading Basis: Graded

Elementary principles of quantum mechanics; applications to electrons, atoms, molecules, nuclei, elementary particles, and solids.

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3402. Introductory Quantum Mechanics

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 3401.

Grading Basis: Graded

Elementary principles of quantum mechanics; applications to electrons, atoms, molecules, nuclei, elementary particles, and solids.

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3501. Modern Experimental Methods

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 1202Q or 1402Q or 1502Q or 1602Q; and 2501W

Grading Basis: Graded

In-depth exploration of classical and quantum phenomena through advanced experimentation using contemporary methods.

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3989. Undergraduate Research

1.00 - 3.00 credits | May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Introduction to original investigation performed by the student under the guidance of a faculty member. The student is required to submit a brief report at the end of each semester. May be repeated for credit.

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4093. Foreign Study

1.00 - 3.00 credits | May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Special topics taken in a foreign study program. May be repeated for credit. Consent of Department Head required, normally to be granted prior to the student's departure. May count toward the major with consent of the advisor.

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4095. Special Topics

1.00 - 3.00 credits | May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisites: Prerequisites and recommended preparation vary.

Grading Basis: Graded

With a change in content, may be repeated for credit.

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4096W. Research Thesis in Physics

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 or 1011 or 2011.

Grading Basis: Graded

Research investigation for the advanced undergraduate. Research and writing of a Thesis are required. Final public presentation is recommended.

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4098. Variable Topics

3.00 credits | May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisites: Prerequisites and recommended preparation vary.

Grading Basis: Graded

With a change of topic, this course may be repeated for credit.

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4099. Independent Study

1.00 - 3.00 credits | May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

With a change of topic, this course may be repeated for credit.

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4100. Physics of the Earth's Interior

Also offered as: GSCI 4550

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 1230 or 1402 or 1502 or 1530 or 1602, which may be taken concurrently; MATH 1121 or 1126 or 1131, which may be taken concurrently. Recommended preparation: MATH 1132.

Grading Basis: Graded

The composition, structure, and dynamics of the Earth's core, mantle, and crust inferred from observations of seismology, geomagnetism, and heat flow.

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4130. Fundamentals of Planetary Science

Also offered as: GSCI 4560

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 1230 or 1402 or 1502 or 1530 or 1602, any of which may be taken concurrently; MATH 1122 or 1126 or 1131, any of which may be taken concurrently.

Grading Basis: Graded

Evolution of the solar system, celestial mechanics, tidal friction, internal composition of planets, black-body radiation, planetary atmospheres.

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4140. Principles of Lasers

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 3202 and 3401. Recommended Preparation: PHYS 4150.

Grading Basis: Graded

The physics of lasers, including optical pumping and stimulated emission, laser rate equations, optical resonators, Gaussian beam propagation, Q-switching, mode-locking and nonlinear optics. Applications to gas, solid-state and tunable laser systems.

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4150. Optics

4.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 1230 or 1402 or 1502 or 1530 or 1602 or instructor consent. Recommended preparation: PHYS 3103 or 3201.

Grading Basis: Graded

An introduction to geometrical and physical optics. Thick lenses, stops, aberrations, interference, diffraction, polarization.

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4210. Introduction to Solid State Physics

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 1230 or 1530 or 1402 or 1502 or 1602.

Grading Basis: Graded

Crystal lattices, lattice waves, thermal and electronic properties, imperfections in solids.

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4350. Nuclei and Particles

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 3401.

Grading Basis: Graded

Properties of nuclei and particles, conserved quantities, isospin, quark model, Fermi gas model, electroweak interaction, high energy scattering.

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4710. Stars and Compact Objects

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 2701 and 2702; MATH 2410Q

Grading Basis: Graded

The structure and evolution of stars. Gravitational collapse, hydrostatic equilibrium, novae and shocks, and compact objects with degenerate matter.

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4720. Galaxies and the Interstellar Medium

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 2701 and 2702; MATH 2410Q. Recommended preparation: proficiency in calculus.

Grading Basis: Graded

Galaxy formation and evolution in the hierarchical expanding Universe. Properties of the interstellar medium, including star formation and radiative transfer; stellar populations, structure, kinematics and dynamics of galaxies.

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4730. General Relativity and Cosmology

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: Prerequisite: PHYS 2300, 3101, and 3201; or instructor consent.

Grading Basis: Graded

Gravity and the problem of motion from the ancient Greeks to Newton to Einstein. Special relativity. General relativity. Curvature. Classic tests of general relativity. Gravitational waves. Black holes. Newtonian cosmology. Big Bang theory. Inflation. Dark matter. Dark energy. Accelerating universe.

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4740. Observational Astrophysics

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 2701 and PHYS 2702.

Grading Basis: Graded

Basic principles and techniques of observational astrophysics, from radio to optical wavelengths. Telescopes, detectors, and instrumentation, and the statistical techniques for astronomical data analysis and interpretation.

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4900. Experimental Physics Design Laboratory

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: PHYS 2300 or 3101 or 3102; PHYS 3202; PHYS 3401, which may be taken concurrently; PHYS 2501 or 2502 or MSE 4003.

Grading Basis: Graded

Experiments in modern and classical physics are independently designed, performed, and evaluated. Experiments are chosen from the areas of atomic, solid state and thermal physics, as well as from acoustics and optics. Computers are utilized for control of the experimental process, data acquisition and analysis. A written description of the proposed method must be submitted and approved before each experiment, and a subsequent written critical evaluation of each experiment is required.

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