Jul 23, 2024  
2015-2016 University Catalog 
2015-2016 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics, Department of

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Department Chair

Jim Feagin

Department Office/Website

McCarthy Hall 611


Kwang-Ping Cheng, Greg Childers, Jim Feagin, Heidi Fearn, Leigh Hargreaves, Murtadha Khakoo, Geoffrey Lovelace, Michael Loverude, Gina Passante, Jocelyn Read, Josh Smith, Ionel Tifrea, Keith Wanser


Physics is the natural science that deals with the properties and interactions of matter and radiation. As such, physics provides the fundamental basis for all other sciences, and for applied science fields such as engineering and the health sciences. Many physicists engage in research designed to expand the frontiers of physical knowledge; others engage in the application of physics concepts in industry and in private and government laboratories.

The physics major program can provide the education necessary for the student to continue studies at the graduate level that, in turn, lead to the master’s and doctoral degrees. Alternatively, the physics major program can provide the education necessary for the student to work immediately upon graduation with the bachelor’s degree, either in industry or government labs, in applied physics fields, or in teaching at the secondary school level. Our optional emphasis in business provides students with experience in starting or managing a technology-oriented business.

Students are encouraged to obtain research experience by working with faculty in their ongoing research efforts. Independent Study provides practical work experience that integrates classroom studies with the needs and methods of modern industrial science.

Learning Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

The following goals and learning outcomes have been established for students pursuing a degree in Physics:

Content Knowledge

Students will demonstrate understanding of:

  • Force, energy and momentum and apply this understanding to predict and describe motion
  • Thermodynamics and the thermodynamic properties of materials
  • Waves and wave propagation
  • Electricity, magnetism, the relationship between electric and magnetic phenomena, and electromagnetic forces and waves
  • Modern physics, including quantum theory, relativity and elementary particles

Investigation and Experimentation

Students will learn to:

  • Ask scientific questions, formulate hypotheses, design and conduct experiments, and analyze data
  • Collect, analyze and interpret data and information
  • Use modern laboratory equipment including advanced computer hardware and software
  • Use analytical, computational, graphical and advanced mathematical methods in problem-solving
  • Apply mathematics to scientific investigation and experimentation for the purpose of quantifying results and drawing conclusions


Students will learn to:

  • Communicate data, concepts, skills and processes to experts and non-experts in the field in logical and meaningful formats
  • Communicate scientific observations, results and conclusions in clear, logical, and unbiased terms both verbally and in writing
  • Use appropriate technology to communicate scientific results

Nature of Science

Students will learn to:

  • Recognize that science is an active endeavor in which the acquisition of knowledge is based upon the collection and examination of data
  • Recognize the synergistic nature of science and technology
  • Experience and practice analyzing complex situations to make informed decisions and to participate in scientific problem solving
  • Recognize their responsibility to increase scientific literacy so that the general population can understand current issues and appreciate their personal societal roles and responsibilities

Programs and Courses Offered


    Bachelor of ScienceMaster of ScienceNon-Degree



      Courses are designated ASTR as in the class schedule.


      Courses are designated as PHYS in the class schedule. A “C” (2.0) or better is required in all prerequisite courses. Prerequisite requirements with exception of the grade requirement may be waived by the instructor of the course if the instructor is satisfied that the student is qualified to undertake the course.

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