Physics Major

7101
Bachelor of Science
Classroom
No
Undergraduate
Main Campus - Melbourne
Major Code: 7101 Degree Awarded: Bachelor of Science
Age Restriction: N Admission status: undergraduate
Delivery Mode/s: classroom only Location/s: main campus

Physics is the discipline most directly concerned with understanding the physical world on a fundamental level. As such, it covers an extremely broad range of subjects and areas of specialization that seek to unify and understand this diversity in terms of the smallest possible number of laws and principles. A physicist therefore must receive a broad, general training in science. Mathematics, a primary tool, must be mastered as well as experimental laboratory skills. Most important is the development of a variety of problem solving skills and a critical, incisive approach to physical problems.

The curriculum for the physics major includes core courses in physics, mathematics and related sciences, plus a liberal mixture of applied courses from engineering fields and an enriching selection of humanities as electives. Students considering a career in medicine or other health sciences should consider the premedical physics program detailed below. A degree in physics provides an excellent background for entering the health sciences.

Research is a major activity of the department, which possesses good instrumentation required for research in selected areas of physics. Participation in research programs by undergraduates is strongly encouraged. A maximum of six credit hours of research can be used to fulfill technical and free elective requirements.

Degree Requirements

Candidates for the Bachelor of Science in Physics must complete the course requirements listed in the following sample curriculum. Because the subject matter of general physics forms a critically important foundation for all advanced physics courses, the minimum grade for satisfying the prerequisite requirements for a physics major is a grade of C for each of the following courses: PHY 1001, PHY 2002, PHY 2003, PHY 2091 and PHY 2092.

Freshman Year
Fall (16 Credit Hours)
Complete:
  • ASC 1000 University Experience
    Credit Hours: 1
    Helps first-year students adjust to the university and acquire essential academic survival skills (classroom behavior, academic honesty, study skills, etc.) that enhance academic and social integration into college.
  • CHM 1101 General Chemistry 1
    Credit Hours: 4
    Covers fundamental principles of modern chemistry, including stoichiometry, properties of gases, liquids and solids, thermochemistry, atomic structure, properties of solutions and equilibrium. Includes lab component.
  • COM 1101 Composition and Rhetoric
    Credit Hours: 3
    The first of two courses in college-level writing skills. Focuses on writing essays using various rhetorical modes: persuasion, description, comparison and analysis. Presents basic methods of library research, as well as the MLA documentation system. Students write one research paper and several essays.
    Requirement(s):
    Passing grade on placement exam or prerequisite course
  • MTH 1001 Calculus 1
    *
    Credit Hours: 4
    Functions and graphs, limits and continuity, derivatives of algebraic and trigonometric functions, chain rule; applications to maxima and minima, and to related rates. Exponential logarithmic, circular and hyperbolic functions: their inverses, derivatives and integrals.
    Requirement(s):
    High school algebra and trigonometry, and a passing score on the placement test, or prerequisite course
  • PHY 1050 Physics and Space Science Seminar
    Credit Hours: 1
    Introduces some of the major contemporary problems and research areas in physics and space sciences.
    Requirement(s):
    Must be enrolled in a phsycs or space sciences program.
  • SPS 1020 Introduction to Space Sciences
    *
    Credit Hours: 3
    Studies the solar system and its member planets, moons, rings and small bodies; their formation, dynamic, chemistry, atmospheres, surface features, interiors and magnetic fields. Presents results of recent space probes in a comparative study of the solar system's members.
Spring (16 Credit Hours)
Complete:
  • CHM 1102 General Chemistry 2
    Credit Hours: 4
    Continues . Covers acids and bases, thermodynamics, electrochemistry, kinetics, descriptive chemistry of metals and nonmetals, coordination chemistry, nuclear chemistry. Introduces organic chemistry. Includes lab component.
  • COM 1102 Writing About Literature
    Credit Hours: 3
    The second of two courses in college-level writing skills. Focuses on reading and analyzing poems, plays and short works of fiction. Students write several essays and one research paper on literary topics.
  • MTH 1002 Calculus 2
    Credit Hours: 4
    Integration and applications of integration, further techniques of integration, improper integrals, limits, l'Hospital's rule, sequences and series, numerical methods, polar coordinates and introductory differential equations.
  • PHY 1001 Physics 1
    Credit Hours: 4
    Includes vectors; mechanics of particles; Newton's laws of motion; work, energy and power; impulse and momentum; conservation laws; mechanics of rigid bodies, rotation, equilibrium; fluids, heat and thermodynamics; and periodic motion.
  • PHY 2091 Physics Laboratory 1
    Credit Hours: 1
    Experiments to elucidate concepts and relationships presented in , to develop understanding of the inductive approach and the significance of a physical measurement, and to provide some practice in experimental techniques and methods.
Sophomore Year
Fall (15 Credit Hours)
Complete:
  • HUM 2051 Civilization 1: Ancient Through Medieval
    Credit Hours: 3
    Introduces civilization from its early development to the European Renaissance. Emphasizes the interpretation of primary texts that reflect the intellectual and historical changes in society. The first of two interdisciplinary courses.
  • MTH 2001 Calculus 3
    Credit Hours: 4
    Cylindrical and spherical coordinates, vectors, functions of several variables, partial derivatives and extrema, multiple integral, vector integral calculus.
  • PHY 2002 Physics 2
    Credit Hours: 4
    Includes electricity and magnetism, Coulomb's law, electric fields, potential capacitance, resistance, DC circuits, magnetic fields, fields due to currents, induction, magnetic properties; and wave motion, vibration and sound, interference and diffraction.
  • PHY 2092 Physics Laboratory 2
    Credit Hours: 1
    Continues . Includes experiments pertaining to .
  • Restricted Elective (CSE 15xx) Credit Hours: 3
Spring (16 Credit Hours)
Complete:
  • MTH 2201 Differential Equations/Linear Algebra
    Credit Hours: 4
    First-order differential equations, linear differential equations with constant coefficients, first-order systems of differential equations with constant coefficients, numerical methods, Laplace transforms, series solutions, algebraic systems of equations, matrices, determinants, vector spaces, eigenvalues and eigenvectors.
  • PHY 2003 Modern Physics
    Credit Hours: 3
    Includes quantum mechanics of atoms, molecules, nuclei, solids and fundamental particles. Planck and de Broglie's laws, the Bohr model of hydrogen, elementary examples of Schroedinger's equation, relativity, elementary particles and symmetry, quantum electrodynamics and chromodynamics.
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 3
  • Humanities Core Course Credit Hours: 3
  • Social Sciences Elective Credit Hours: 3
Junior Year
Fall (17 Credit Hours)
Complete:
  • COM 2223 Scientific and Technical Communication
    Credit Hours: 3
    Practice in the technical and scientific writing style and format, including gathering and using data to prepare reports. Includes abstracts, reports, letters, technical descriptions, proposals and at least two oral presentations.
  • MTH 3101 Complex Variables
    Credit Hours: 3
    Algebra of complex numbers, elementary analytic functions, complex integration, series representations for analytic functions, residue theory and conformal mapping and its applications.
  • PHY 3011 Physical Mechanics
    Credit Hours: 4
    Fundamental principles of mechanics and applications in physics. Includes Newton's Laws, equations of motion, types of forces, conservation laws, potential functions, Euler and Lagrange equations and Hamilton's Principle.
  • PHY 3060 Thermodynamics, Kinetic Theory and Statistical Mechanics
    Credit Hours: 4
    Includes temperature, heat and heat engines, work, internal energy, entropy, laws of thermodynamics, thermodynamic potentials, equations of state, phase changes, viscosity, thermal conductivity, diffusion, Boltzmann, Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics and partition functions.
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 3
Spring (17 Credit Hours)
Complete:
  • MTH 3210 Introduction to Partial Differential Equations and Applications
    Credit Hours: 3
    Includes heat, wave and Laplace equations, initial and boundary value problems of mathematical physics and Fourier series. Also covers Dirichlet problem and potential theory, Dalambert's solutions for wave equation, Fourier and Laplace transforms, and Poisson integral formula. Also includes PDEs in higher dimensions and special functions of mathematical physics.
  • PHY 3035 Quantum Mechanics
    Credit Hours: 4
    Schrodinger equation, the uncertainty principle, one-dimensional potentials, harmonic oscillator, operator methods, tunneling, angular momentum and spin. Discusses three-dimensional problems, such as one-electron atom and N-particle systems. Introduces approximation techniques, including perturbation theory.
  • PHY 3152 Electronic Measurement Techniques
    Credit Hours: 4
    Includes modern electronic measurement and data collection methods, circuit analysis, integrated and digital circuits, noise reduction techniques, signal conditioning in experimental physics and computer interfacing. Includes a laboratory section considering the design, construction and testing of analog and digital circuits.
  • PHY 3440 Electromagnetic Theory
    Credit Hours: 3
    Includes geometry of static electric and magnetic fields, electric charges and currents, calculating electric and magnetic fields from potentials, static electric and magnetic fields inside matter, Faraday's Law of Induction and Maxwell's Equations, and propagation and radiation of electromagnetic waves.
  • Humanities Elective Credit Hours: 3
Senior Year
Fall (17 Credit Hours)
Complete:
  • PHY 4020 Optics
    Credit Hours: 3
    Applications to physics, space sciences and engineering. Includes geometrical optics (briefly), physical optics including Fraunhofer and Fresnel diffraction; interactions with dielectric materials; Fresnel equations; and applications including lasers, holography, polarization and nonlinear optics materials.
    Requirement(s):
    Instructor approval or prerequisite course
  • PHY 4021 Experiments in Optics
    Credit Hours: 1
    Experiments include basic optical systems, interference and diffraction. Studies interferometers, spectrometers, lasers and detectors. Enrollment limited to physics and space sciences majors, and on a space-available basis to electrical engineering majors with an emphasis in electrooptics.
  • PHY 4033 Introduction to Solid State Physics
    Credit Hours: 3
    Includes crystal structure, crystal diffraction and the reciprocal lattice, crystal binding; lattice vibrations, phonons, thermal properties of insulators; free electron Fermi gas, energy bands in metals; and Fermi surfaces.
  • PHY 4200 Senior Seminar 1
    Credit Hours: 1
    Reports and discussions on selected topics in contemporary experimental and theoretical physics and space sciences.
    Requirement(s):
    Student must be within three semesters of graduation
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 3
  • Restricted Elective (MTH or CSE) Credit Hours: 3
  • Technical Elective or Undergraduate Research Credit Hours: 3
Spring (15 Credit Hours)
Complete:
  • PHY 4030 Introduction to Subatomic Physics
    Credit Hours: 3
    Introduces elementary particles, fundamental forces, nuclear structure and reactions. Includes classification and properties of particles (the Standard Model) and nuclei, particle interactions, nuclear models, nuclear decays, radiation and particle detection.
  • PHY 4071 Senior Laboratory
    Credit Hours: 2
    Experiments in optics, and atomic nuclear and solid state physics.
  • PHY 4210 Senior Seminar 2
    Credit Hours: 1
    Reports and discussions on selected topics in contemporary experimental and theoretical physics and space sciences.
    Requirement(s):
    Student must be within three semesters of graduation
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 3
  • Humanities or Social Science Elective Credit Hours: 3
  • Technical Elective or Undergraduate Research Credit Hours: 3
Total Credits Required: 129

*Students will be block registered into Introduction to Space Sciences (SPS 1020). If a student places into Calculus 2 (MTH 1002), he/she is encouraged to take Physics 1 (PHY 1001) in the first semester and SPS 1020 (or SPS 1010) later in the program.