The department of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physics offers a minor in physics, as well as a wide range of physics courses for science and non-science majors.

The emphasis for the physics minor is on fundamental concepts, analytical methods, and critical thinking skills. A physics minor is an excellent addition to any Liberal Arts major, in which the goal is to produce a well-rounded person with the knowledge and skills to succeed in any field. If a student is interested in becoming more knowledgeable in physics and loves learning for its own sake, a physics minor is an outstanding way to begin to do so, while at the same time gaining valuable transferable skills and ways of thinking.

The 18-20 credit Physics minor is designed for students who enjoy physics and are interested in gaining a broader exposure to physics concepts, experimental techniques, and computational paradigms, while at the same time gaining transferable skills and ways of thinking applicable to jobs within their primary field of interest.

Required courses (12 credits)

PHYS 2203 University Physics I (3 credits) with PHYS 2201 (1 credit) 
PHYS 2204 University Physics II (3 credits) with PHYS 2202 (1 credit) 
PHYS 3206 Modern Physics (4 credits) with PHYS 3216 (0 credits) 

Elective courses (6-8 credits)

Take 6-8 credits from PHYS at the 2250 level or above

PHYS 2250  Electronics I (4 credits) with PHYS 2251 (0 credits)
PHYS 2800 Sophomore Independent Study (1-6 credits)
PHYS 3210 Advanced Mechanics (3 credits)
PHYS 3220 Mathematical Methods for Physics (3 credits)
PHYS 3240 Optics (4 credits) with PHYS 3241
PHYS 3250 Thermodynamics (3 credits)
PHYS 3277 Solid State Physics (3 credits)
PHYS 3530 Electricity and Magnetism (3 credits)
PHYS 3800 Junior Independent Study (1-6 credits)
PHYS 4401 Physics Seminar (2 credits)
PHYS 4250 Quantum Mechanics I (3 credits)
PHYS 4430 Selected Studies in Physics (3 credits)
PHYS 4800 Senior Independent Study (1-6 credits)

“A little-known secret is that a physicist is one of the most employable people in the marketplace – a physicist is a trained problem solver. How many times have you heard a person in a workplace say, “I wasn’t trained for this!” That’s an impossible reaction from a physicist, who would say, instead, “Cool!”
— Neil deGrasse Tyson

Course Descriptions

  • PHYS2201 Applications of PHYS2101 General Physics I. Experiments from mechanics, heat, sound and fluids. Measurement and data analysis.

  • PHYS2202 Applications of PHYS2102 General Physics II. Experiments from electricity, magnetism, circuits, waves, optics, light, modern physics. Measurement and data analysis.

  • PHYS2203 The first half of a two-semester calculus based physics course for science and engineering majors. Topics normally covered include: units and dimensions, forces and motion in one and two dimensions, vectors, momentum and center of mass, work, kinetic energy and the work-energy theorem, potential energy and the conservation of energy, rotation and moment of inertia, torque and angular momentum, gravitation, oscillations, elasticity, fluids, heat, kinetic theory of gases, thermodynamics. Co-requisite: Physics Laboratory I and Calculus I. Lecture: 3 credits, 4 hours.

  • PHYS2204 The second half of a two-semester, calculus based physics course. Topics normally covered include: waves and sound, geometrical and physical optics, electrical forces and fields, electric potential, current and resistance, circuits, capacitance, magnetic forces and fields, force on a moving charge, magnetic field of a current, electromagnetic induction, electromagnetic oscillations and waves, alternating currents, special relativity, quantization and modern physics. Prerequisite: University Physics I Corequisite: Physics Laboratory II Recommended: Calculus II. Lecture 3 credits, 4 hours.

  • PHYS2250 The first of a two-semester course on the fundamentals of electronic circuit theory and practice. The course will concentrate on analog components and devices, DC and AC circuits, diodes, transistors, operational amplifiers, and oscillators.

  • PHYS2251 The first half of a two-semester course on the fundamentals of electronic circuit theory and practice. The course will concentrate on analog components and devices, DC, and AC circuits, diodes, transistors, operational amplifiers, and oscillators. This integrated lecture/lab course will employ hands-on circuit experience and electronic circuit simulation.

  • PHYS2800 Independent Study in Physics and Photonics (PHYS) at the sophomore level.

  • PHYS3206 A third semester of a calculus based physics sequence for science majors. Topics normally include special relativity, end of classical physics, photons and quantization, wave functions and uncertainty, one-dimensional quantum mechanics, atomic physics, nuclear physics and elementary particles

  • PHYS3210 A study of Newton's laws applied to the motion of particles and systems of particles. Topics will include forced and damped harmonies oscillators, central-field motion, collisions, conservations laws, Lagrangian mechanics, Hamilton's equations, and rigid body dynamics.

  • PHYS3216 Experimental physics at an advanced undergraduate level. Includes working in an increasingly independent format on a series of selected projects from a variety of physics areas such as geometrical optics, interference and diffraction, spectroscopy, lasers, fiber optics, and quantum phenomena. Specific attention is paid to experimental design, laboratory techniques, computer data acquisition and analysis, and error propagation and analysis.

  • PHYS3220 An introduction to methods used in solving problems in physics and other sciences, including calculus of variations and extremum principles, orthogonal functions and Sturm-Liouville problems, Fourier series, series solutions of differential equations, partial differential equations of physics, Green's function methods of solution, nonlinear equations and chaos theory.

  • PHYS3240 This course will introduce the student to the most significant light phenomena and the basic physical concepts that underlie their interpretation. Topics covered will include paraxial optics, the wave equation and properties of wave motion, electromagnetic waves, dispersion, absorption, coherences, interference, diffraction, geometrical optics, optical systems and lasers.

  • PHYS3241 Advanced Experimental Methods in Optics/Photonics: This course focuses on advanced laboratory experiments in Optics and Photonics. It will cover the mechanism of geometrical optics and imaging, the characteristics of the Fourier transform of an optical system, the concept of the frequency spectrum of optical information processing, the physical effect of frequency filtering, the principle of color imaging, and the realization of the computer-aided color decoding of an optical image.

  • PHYS3250 This course is an introduction to classical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Some of the basic concepts such as temperature, heat, internal energy, entropy and multiplicity will be introduced. Also covered will be heat engines, phase transformations, the partition function, and statistical thermodynamics, including Maxwell-Boltzmann, Bose-Einstein, and Fermi-Dirac statistics, and their applications to an ideal diatomic gas, electrons in metals and monatomic crystals.

  • PHYS3277 Fundamental properties of matter in the solid state from quantum mechanical foundations. Crystal structure, lattice vibrations and phonons, lattice imperfections, free electron and band theories of metals and semiconductors, the Fermi surface; electrical, magnetic and thermal properties of matter.

  • PHYS3530 The first half of a two-semester course in the study of advanced concepts in electricity and magnetism with the use of calculus and vector calculus. Areas covered will include electrostatics, Gauss' Law, charges in motion, magnetic fields in vacuum and matter, magnetostatics, electromagnetic induction, and Maxwell's equations.

  • PHYS3800 Independent Study in Physics and Photonics (PHYS) at the junior level.

  • PHYS4250 A study of the concepts, postulates and applications of quantum mechanics. Areas covered will include the Schrodinger equation (SE), the use of operators, application of SE to simple quantum systems, QM postulates, variational and perturbation methods, spin and angular momentum, and topics on atomic, molecular and nuclear structure, bonding, intermolecular forces and reaction mechanisms.

  • PHYS4401 A junior-senior seminar meeting weekly to discuss current and/or historical topics in physics. Oral presentations by students on selected readings from such areas as experimental or theoretical research, government science policy, pseudoscience, and physics education.

  • PHYS4430 Studies in special areas of current interest to physics.

  • PHYS4800 Independent Study in Physics and Photonics (PHYS) at the senior level.