Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2020-2021, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on April 1, 2020. Access the catalog of record at https://catalogs.sandiego.edu.

Physics Major

Preparation for the Major (29-34 Units)

PHYS 270
270L
Introduction to Mechanics
and Mechanics Lab
4
PHYS 271
271L
Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism
and Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism Lab
4
PHYS 281Introduction to Optics1-3
or ENGR 103 User-Centered Design
PHYS 272
272L
Introduction to Modern Physics
and Introduction to Modern Physics Lab
4
PHYS 282Introduction to Methods in Computational Physics1-3
or ENGR 121 Engineering Programming
MATH 150Calculus I4
MATH 151Calculus II4
MATH 250Calculus III4
MATH 260Foundations of Higher Mathematics3-4
or MATH 262 Discrete Mathematics
or CHEM 151
151L
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Laboratory
Total Units29-34

Major Requirements (39-47 Units)                                                                          

Upper-division coursework in physics includes PHYS 300, PHYS 314, PHYS 319PHYS 324PHYS 330, PHYS 371 and PHYS 480. In addition, students must complete 12 units of 300-level physics electives. The major culminates with independent research (PHYS 400 and PHYS 496) and our seminar series (PHYS 493 and PHYS 495). Students are encouraged to start research (PHYS 496) as early as possible and take more than 2 units. Students are also highly encouraged to minor in Mathematics. Those majors intending to pursue graduate work in physics should take as many upper-division physics and mathematics courses as will fit into their schedule.

For students in the PHYS-MENG multiple degree program, the requirement for 12 physics elective units is replaced with 3 units of 300-level physics electives and MENG 400/MENG 400LPHYS 300 can be replaced with MATH 310 and (MATH 315 or ISYE 330), PHYS 281 can be replaced with ENGR 103, and PHYS 282 can be replaced with ENGR 121. COMM 203 is a suitable replacement for PHYS 493 and MENG 491 is a suitable replacement for PHYS 400, if desired.

PHYS 300Mathematical Methods of Theoretical Physics (OR MATH 310 and (ISYE 330 or MATH 315)*)3-6
PHYS 314Analytical Mechanics3
PHYS 319Thermal and Statistical Physics3
PHYS 324Electromagnetism3
PHYS 330Quantum Mechanics3
PHYS 371Computational Physics3
PHYS 480Experimental Modern Physics4
PHYS 493Seminar I: The Craft of Scientific Presentation1-3
or COMM 203 Public Speaking
PHYS 400Research Forum1-3
or MENG 491 Senior Design Project I
PHYS 495Seminar II: Frontiers of Physics1
PHYS 496Research (or 1 unit of PHYS 496 and 1 unit of MENG 492)2
12 units of 300-level physics electives, or (3 units of 300-level physics electives and MENG 370, MENG 460 and MENG 400 & MENG 400L)*12-13
*required for the PHYS-MENG multiple degree program
Total Units39-47

The following program of study fulfills the minimum requirement for a bachelor’s degree in physics. However, junior and senior year physics courses will depend on the student's graduation year, as many upper-division courses are offered every other year. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisors to map out a schedule that best fits their needs and interests.

Freshman Year
Semester IUnits
LLC Course3
MATH 150Calculus I4
Core or Electives9
Semester IIHours
PHYS 270
270L
Introduction to Mechanics4
MATH 151Calculus II4
Core or Electives7-9
Sophomore Year
Semester IHours
PHYS 271
271L
Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism4
PHYS 281Introduction to Optics1
MATH 250Calculus III4
Core or Electives5-8
Semester IIHours
PHYS 272
272L
Introduction to Modern Physics4
PHYS 282Introduction to Methods in Computational Physics1
PHYS 400Research Forum1
MATH 260
or 262
Foundations of Higher Mathematics
Discrete Mathematics
3
PHYS 496Research1
Core or Electives2-5
Junior Year
Semester IHours
PHYS 300Mathematical Methods of Theoretical Physics3
PHYS 371Computational Physics3
PHYS 494Special Topics in Physics and Biophysics (example PHYS elective)3
PHYS 496Research1-2
Core or Electives3-5
Semester IIHours
PHYS 314Analytical Mechanics3
PHYS 319Thermal and Statistical Physics3
PHYS 340Biological Physics (example PHYS elective)3
PHYS 4961
Core or Electives2-5
Senior Year
Semester IHours
PHYS 330Quantum Mechanics3
PHYS 324Electromagnetism3
PHYS 325Introduction to Fluids (example PHYS elective)3
PHYS 4961
Core or Electives2-5
Semester IIHours
PHYS 480Experimental Modern Physics4
PHYS 307Astrophysics (example PHYS elective)3
PHYS 493Seminar I: The Craft of Scientific Presentation1
PHYS 495Seminar II: Frontiers of Physics1
PHYS 4961
Core or Electives5-8

PHYS-MENG Multiple Degree Program: Requirements & Recommended Course Schedule 

The following program of study fulfills the minimum requirement for a BA in Physics and a BA/BS in Mechanical Engineering. However, junior and senior year physics courses will depend on the student’s graduation year, as many upper-division physics courses are offered every other year. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisors to map out a schedule that best fits their needs and interests.

Freshman Year
Semester IUnits
ENGR 101Introduction to Engineering3
MATH 150Calculus I4
ENGR 121Engineering Programming3
Core or Electives6
Semester IIHours
ENGR 102Introduction to Electromechanical System Design3
PHYS 270
270L
Introduction to Mechanics4
MATH 151Calculus II4
CHEM 151
151L
General Chemistry I4-5
Core or Electives3
Sophomore Year
Semester IHours
ENGR 103User-Centered Design3
PHYS 271
271L
Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism4
MATH 250Calculus III4
Core or Electives6
Semester IIHours
PHYS 272
272L
Introduction to Modern Physics4
MATH 310Applied Mathematics for Science and Engineering I3
ELEC 201Electrical Circuits4
MENG 210Statics3
MENG 260Introduction to Thermal Sciences3
Junior Year
Semester IHours
MATH 315
or ISYE 330
Applied Probability and Statistics
Engineering Probability and Statistics
3
MENG 351Machine Shop Practices1
MENG 300Applied Thermodynamics3
MENG 352CAD Practices1
MENG 375Dynamics3
ENGR 311Engineering Materials Science3
MENG 460System Dynamics and Vibrations3
Semester IIHours
MENG 360
360L
Fluid Mechanics4
MENG 370
370L
Mechanics of Materials4
ISYE 350
350L
Manufacturing Processes4
PHYS 3191Thermal and Statistical Physics (counts as MENG Elective #1)3
Senior Year
Semester IHours
PHYS 314Analytical Mechanics3
PHIL 342Engineering Ethics3
MENG 400
400L
Heat Transfer (counts as PHYS Elective #1)4
MENG 430Design of Machine Elements3
MENG 491WSenior Design Project I4
Semester IIHours
MENG 492Senior Design Project II3
PHYS 3241Electromagnetism (counts as MENG Elective #2)3
PHYS 307Astrophysics (example PHYS elective)3
Core or Electives6
Senior Year 2
Semester IHours
PHYS 3301Quantum Mechanics (counts as MENG Elective #3)3
PHYS 371Computational Physics3
PHYS 4963Research1
Core and Electives5
Semester IIHours
PHYS 480Experimental Modern Physics (counts as MENG Elective #5)4
PHYS 493Seminar I: The Craft of Scientific Presentation1
PHYS 495Seminar II: Frontiers of Physics1
Core and Electives6-9

1. There are 5 MENG elective requirements in the MENG major, one of which must be a simulations course. PHYS 319, 324, 330, 480, and 371 count as MENG electives, with PHYS 371: Computational Physics, counting as the simulations elective.

2. ROTC students may substitute NAVS 201MILS 301, or SDSU AS 300A for COMM 203, which is the commonly taken in the engineering program. These classes will not satisfy university core requirements. Instead we recommend a 1 unit course that has the university core Oral Communication attribute, PHYS 493

3. Research is often completed in the summer


Integrated Teacher Preparation Program (ITPP): Requirements & Recommended Course Schedule 

The Integrated Teacher Preparation Program (ITPP) provides paths to 4-year science and math degrees that include a teaching credential and preparation for the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET). Students who are interested in middle or secondary education (grades 6-12) in California may earn a degree in physics while simultaneously completing requirements for a teaching credential. The degree integrates content knowledge and laboratory practices in the discipline, evidence-based teaching/learning theories, teaching performance expectations, and pre-student teaching clinical practice while satisfying baccalaureate degree requirements and CTC single subject credential program standards. There is some flexibility to meet individual needs. Students are encouraged to consult the ITPP website (http://www.sandiego.edu/itpp) and advisors (itpp@sandiego.edu) to ensure that their needs and interests will be met.

In addition to all courses for the physics major, students completing the ITPP pathway must also take the following:

BIOL 240
240L
Bioenergetics and Systems
and Bioenergetics and Systems Laboratory
4
BIOL 242
242L
Genomes and Evolution
and Genomes and Evolution Laboratory
4
EOSC 110Introduction to Geosciences4
EDTE 300PDiversity, Inclusion & Schooling3
EDTE 301PMethods for Language & Literacy3
EDTE 304PSecondary Methods I3
EDTE 306PSecondary Methods II: Science3
EDTE 310PEducational Psychology3
EDTE 311PEquity & Advocacy in Educational Systems3
EDTE 312PMethods for English Learners3
EDUC 491PStudent Teaching for the Single Subject Credential9
EDUC 491SStudent Teaching Seminar for the Single Subject Credential3
Total Units45

The following paradigm is included as a guide only, and should not be interpreted in a rigid sense.   Physics courses may be taken at any time as long as the course prerequisites have been satisfied. 

Recommended Course Schedule, Physics ITPP Pathway

Freshman Year
Semester IUnits
LLC Course3
CHEM 151
151L
General Chemistry I4
MATH 150Calculus I4
Core or Electives6
Semester IIHours
CHEM 152
152L
General Chemistry II4
PHYS 270
270L
Introduction to Mechanics4
MATH 151Calculus II4
Core or Electives3
Semester III (Summer)Hours
EOSC 110Introduction to Geosciences4
BIOL 240
240L
Bioenergetics and Systems4
Sophomore Year
Semester IHours
PHYS 271
271L
Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism4
PHYS 281Introduction to Optics1
MATH 250Calculus III4
EDTE 300PDiversity, Inclusion & Schooling3
Core or Electives3
Semester IIHours
PHYS 272
272L
Introduction to Modern Physics4
PHYS 282Introduction to Methods in Computational Physics1
PHYS 300Mathematical Methods of Theoretical Physics3
EDTE 311PEquity & Advocacy in Educational Systems3
Core or Electives3
Semester III (Summer)Hours
BIOL 242
242L
Genomes and Evolution4
EDTE 310PEducational Psychology3
Junior Year
Semester IHours
PHYS 319Thermal and Statistical Physics3
PHYS 371Computational Physics3
PHIL 341Ethics and Education3
EDTE 304PSecondary Methods I3
PHYS 325Introduction to Fluids (example PHYS elective)3
Semester IIHours
PHYS 314Analytical Mechanics3
PHYS 330Quantum Mechanics3
PHYS 340Biological Physics (example PHYS elective)3
EDTE 306PSecondary Methods II: Science3
EDTE 312PMethods for English Learners3
Semester III (Summer)Hours
Core or Electives6
Senior Year
Semester IHours
EDTE 301PMethods for Language & Literacy3
EDUC 491PStudent Teaching for the Single Subject Credential9
EDUC 491SStudent Teaching Seminar for the Single Subject Credential3
Semester IIHours
PHYS 324Electromagnetism3
PHYS 480Experimental Modern Physics4
PHYS 307Astrophysics (example PHYS elective)3
Core or Electives6

Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2020-2021, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on April 1, 2020. Access the catalog of record at https://catalogs.sandiego.edu.

Physics Minor

The 18 units required for a minor in Physics must include:

Select either 8 units from the 270 series or units from the 136 series along with PHYS 272 & PHYS 272L
PHYS 270
& 270L
Introduction to Mechanics
and Mechanics Lab
4
PHYS 271
& 271L
Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism
and Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism Lab
4
PHYS 136
& 136L
General Physics I
and General Physics I Lab
4
PHYS 137
& 137L
General Physics II
and General Physics II Lab
4
PHYS 272
& 272L
Introduction to Modern Physics
and Introduction to Modern Physics Lab
4
6 additional Upper-Division Units6

Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2020-2021, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on April 1, 2020. Access the catalog of record at https://catalogs.sandiego.edu.

PHYS 102, PHYS 105, PHYS 136, PHYS 136L, PHYS 137, PHYS 137L, PHYS 270, PHYS 270L, PHYS 271, PHYS 271L, PHYS 272, PHYS 272L, PHYS 281, PHYS 282, PHYS 294, PHYS 300, PHYS 301, PHYS 307, PHYS 314, PHYS 319, PHYS 324, PHYS 325, PHYS 330, PHYS 331, PHYS 340, PHYS 371, PHYS 381, PHYS 400, PHYS 480, PHYS 481W, PHYS 487, PHYS 493, PHYS 494, PHYS 495, PHYS 496, PHYS 499

PHYS 102 | PHYSICS, ENERGY, AND INFORMATION

Units: 4 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Quantitative reasoning comp, Science/Tech Inquiry area, Lab

An introduction to physics concepts and principles with tangents into related technologies and global issues. Special attention is paid to devices and networks that furnish two necessities of modern life: energy and information. No background in physical science is required. Lab component involves guided hands-on investigation of physics principles and related technologies.

PHYS 105 | PHYSICAL SCIENCES FOR K-8 TEACHERS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Science/Tech Inquiry area, Lab

A laboratory/lecture/discussion class designed to lead students toward an understanding of selected topics in chemistry and physics. The course topics are selected to satisfy the Physical Science specifications of the Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (K-12). Enrollment is limited to liberal studies majors. Two two-hour laboratory sessions per week. This course is cross-listed with Chemistry 105. Fall semester.

PHYS 136 | GENERAL PHYSICS I

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: MATH 115 or MATH 130 or MATH 150 or Passing the appropriate departmental placement test within the previous year or Passing the appropriate departmental placement test within the previous year

Corequisites: PHYS 136L

A study of the fundamental principles of mechanics, wave motion, sound, fluids, and heat. Physics principles will be covered using algebra and trigonometry. Three hours of lecture weekly. Concurrent enrollment in 136L required.

PHYS 136L | GENERAL PHYSICS I LAB

Units: 1 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Lab

Prerequisites: PHYS 136 (Can be taken Concurrently)

A laboratory course introducing the concepts and techniques of experimental physics. Meets weekly.

PHYS 137 | GENERAL PHYSICS II

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 136 and PHYS 136L

Corequisites: PHYS 137L

A study of the fundamental principles of electricity and magnetism, light, and modern physics. Physics principles will be covered using algebra and trigonometry. Three hours of lecture weekly. Concurrent enrollment in 137L required.

PHYS 137L | GENERAL PHYSICS II LAB

Units: 1 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Lab

Prerequisites: PHYS 137 (Can be taken Concurrently)

A laboratory course introducing the concepts and techniques of experimental physics. Meets weekly.

PHYS 270 | INTRODUCTION TO MECHANICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: First Yr Integration (LC Only), Science/Tech Inquiry area

Prerequisites: MATH 150 with a minimum grade of C- or MATH 151 with a minimum grade of C-

Corequisites: PHYS 270L

A study of the fundamental principles of Newtonian mechanics, kinematics, and momentum and energy conservation laws. Harmonic oscillations and wave motion will also be discussed. Three hours of lecture weekly. Concurrent enrollment in 270L required.

PHYS 270L | MECHANICS LAB

Units: 1 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Science/Tech Inquiry area, Lab

Prerequisites: PHYS 270 (Can be taken Concurrently)

A laboratory course introducing the concepts and techniques of experimental physics. Meets weekly.

PHYS 271 | INTRODUCTION TO ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: (PHYS 270 with a minimum grade of C- and PHYS 270L with a minimum grade of C-) or (PHYS 136 with a minimum grade of C- and PHYS 136L with a minimum grade of C-) and MATH 151 and PHYS 271L (Can be taken Concurrently)

A study of the fundamental principles of classical electricity and magnetism focusing on electrostatics and magnetic force. Circuits, electromagnetism, and light are also introduced. Three hours of lecture weekly. Concurrent enrollment in 271L required.

PHYS 271L | INTRODUCTION TO ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM LAB

Units: 1 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Science/Tech Inquiry area

Prerequisites: PHYS 271 (Can be taken Concurrently)

A laboratory course that introduces the concepts and techniques of experimental physics. Meets weekly.

PHYS 272 | INTRODUCTION TO MODERN PHYSICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 271 with a minimum grade of C- and PHYS 271L with a minimum grade of C- and MATH 250 (Can be taken Concurrently)

An introduction to modern physics including principles and applications of quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics, and special relativity. Required for all physics and biophysics majors and physics minors, and is an accepted elective for engineering students. For physics and biophysics majors concurrent enrollment in PHYS 272L and PHYS 282 is required.

PHYS 272L | INTRODUCTION TO MODERN PHYSICS LAB

Units: 1

Core Attributes: Lab

Corequisites: PHYS 272

Laboratory experiments to illustrate the topics presented in the lecture course: Introduction to Modern Physics (PHYS 272).

PHYS 281 | INTRODUCTION TO OPTICS

Units: 1 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Lab

Prerequisites: (PHYS 270 with a minimum grade of C- and PHYS 270L with a minimum grade of C-) or (PHYS 136 with a minimum grade of C- and PHYS 136L with a minimum grade of C-) and MATH 151 and PHYS 271L

This lab course provides a hands-on introduction to the fundamentals of optics. Several guided lab activities will introduce basic concepts in optics including reflection, refraction, image formation, coherence, diffraction and interference. Following these guided labs, students will have the final few weeks to work in teams on a project of their own design. Projects may extend any of the earlier lab activities or explore several other options that will be presented. But students are encouraged to pursue any feasible optics project they find exciting.

PHYS 282 | INTRODUCTION TO METHODS IN COMPUTATIONAL PHYSICS

Units: 1 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Lab

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 (Can be taken Concurrently)

A hands-on introduction to the fundamentals of using computation in physics and biophysics. A combination of in-class guided group practice and at-home individual practice will be employed to introduce, practice and apply fundamental computational techniques including: the declaration and manipulation of variables and arrays, conditional statements, loops, as well as procedural programming through creating functions. These fundamentals will be applied to creating graphical representations and performing calculations to further elucidate topics discussed in PHYS 272. Computational techniques will be introduced to highlight the application of these fundamentals. These techniques may include: solutions to initial value problem ordinary differential equations; solving boundary value problems and the eigenvalue problem; and statistics and stochastic methods.

PHYS 294 | SPECIAL TOPICS IN PHYSICS AND BIOPHYSICS

Units: 0.5-4 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Topics chosen by the instructor in areas that include but are not limited to: Newtonian mechanics, electricity and magnetism, waves, optics, physics and society, modern physics, astronomy, fluids, and thermodynamics. May be repeated for credit if the course material is different.

PHYS 300 | MATHEMATICAL METHODS OF THEORETICAL PHYSICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 271 with a minimum grade of C- and PHYS 271L with a minimum grade of C- and MATH 250 and PHYS 272 (Can be taken Concurrently)

An introduction to the methods of theoretical physics that uses physical applications to introduce mathematical techniques. This course will cover: the eigenvalue problem; Taylor expansions in one and multiple variables; solutions techniques to ordinary differential equations; Fourier analysis; separation of variables in partial differential equations; probability distribution functions and Dirac delta function. Other topics that may be discussed at the instructor’s discretion include: complex variables; Green’s functions and solutions to partial differential equations; vector spaces and group theory; chaos theory; special functions; Monte Carlo methods; and computational applications.

PHYS 301 | ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 with a minimum grade of C-

Energy is the lifeblood of civilization, but its use entails substantial environmental costs. This course examines the physics and technology of energy production, distribution and use, as well as its environmental and societal consequences. It is suitable for students having completed lower-division physics.

PHYS 307 | ASTROPHYSICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 with a minimum grade of C-

A study of the fundamental principles of astrophysics including topics such as stellar formation, life and death, galaxy evolution, special and general relativity, and cosmology.

PHYS 314 | ANALYTICAL MECHANICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 with a minimum grade of C-

Statics and dynamics are developed using vector analysis, the Hamiltonian and Lagrangian formulations. Orbit theory and chaos are among the special topics treated.

PHYS 319 | THERMAL AND STATISTICAL PHYSICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 with a minimum grade of C-

This course develops modern statistical mechanics and its application to thermodynamic principles and phenomena. Topics include ideal gases, phase transitions, stellar systems, chemical equilibrium, kinetic theory, paramagnetism, polymers and biophysics.

PHYS 324 | ELECTROMAGNETISM

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 with a minimum grade of C-

A development of Maxwell’s equations using vector calculus. The electrical and magnetic properties of matter, solutions of boundary value problems, special relativity and radiation theory are also developed. Three lectures per week.

PHYS 325 | INTRODUCTION TO FLUIDS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 with a minimum grade of C-

An introduction to the basic principles of fluids. This course will serve as an introduction to concepts used in physical oceanography, atmospheric science, and other disciplines in which fluids are studied or utilized. Examples of applications to a broad range of disciplines (physics, engineering, earth sciences, astrophysics, and biology) will be developed.

PHYS 330 | QUANTUM MECHANICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 with a minimum grade of C-

Introduction to the fundamental properties of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics, including the Schrödinger equation in 1-3 dimensions, the mathematical formalism (involving linear algebra and partial differential equations) of quantum theory, the solution of the hydrogen atom, and elementary perturbation and scattering theory. Entanglement, Bell’s theorem, exotic states of matter, and history of physics are among the special topics discussed.

PHYS 331 | ADVANCED TOPICS IN QUANTUM PHYSICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 330

Applications of Quantum Theory in areas such as atomic, nuclear, solid state, and elementary particle physics.

PHYS 340 | BIOLOGICAL PHYSICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 with a minimum grade of C-

Biological physics introduces the interface between the two classic sciences. Physics principles and techniques are applied to questions and problems in biology with a focus on molecular and cellular biology. Topics will be introduced systematically, building on the fundamentals of thermodynamics up to current cutting edge research topics such as protein folding, molecular machines and brain function. Specific topics may include single-molecule biophysics, optical trapping, molecular and cellular self-assembly, gene regulation, biomaterials and biomedical imaging.

PHYS 371 | COMPUTATIONAL PHYSICS

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 with a minimum grade of C- and PHYS 282

A hands-on introduction to the implementation of computational algorithms to solve problems in physics and biophysics and the interpretation of the results. Detailed topics covered will depend on instructor expertise. Topics may include solutions to ordinary and partial differential equations, linear algebra, fast Fourier transforms, numerical integration, differentiation and approximation, statistics and Monte Carlo methods.

PHYS 381 | EXPERIMENTAL BIOPHYSICS

Units: 4 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Advanced writing competency, Quantitative reasoning comp

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 and PHYS 272L

A laboratory-based course introducing biophysics majors to interdisciplinary research techniques. Instrumentation development and experimental research explore topics of fluorescence and force spectroscopy, molecular diffusion, fluctuation-dissipation theory and viscoelasticity related to molecular and cellular biophysical systems. Students are trained in wet-lab techniques and computational methods using Matlab and Fiji. This is the primary upper-division laboratory requirement for biophysics majors and fulfills the core advanced writing and quantitative reasoning requirements. Students write and edit research reports on their experimental results at a level suitable for journal publication. The writing process also includes literature search techniques and an introduction to the peer review process.

PHYS 400 | RESEARCH FORUM

Units: 1 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Core Attributes: Undergraduate Research

Prerequisites: PHYS 496 (Can be taken Concurrently)

PHYS 400 brings together all Physics and Biophysics majors involved in undergraduate research (PHYS 496) to provide a formal platform to: (1) gain skills in abstract writing and poster preparation, (2) engage in the scientific literature, (3) form a community of scholars, (4) develop a sense of ownership of their work, and (5) contextualize how their research fits into the big picture. The course meets weekly for 1 hour. Class time is primarily devoted to: learning about and practicing to write scientific abstracts and prepare posters, and having journal club style discussions on student-chosen papers. Outside of class, students are responsible for completing literature searches, reading assigned research papers, writing abstracts, preparing posters, and writing research summaries. PHYS 496 is a required concurrent prerequisite. Offered in Fall semesters.

PHYS 480 | EXPERIMENTAL MODERN PHYSICS

Units: 4 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Advanced writing competency

Prerequisites: PHYS 330

A laboratory-based course focused on the introduction to principles of research techniques with an emphasis on modern physics. Experiments illustrate physical phenomena pertaining to core areas of physics: quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics, laser physics and plasma physics. Analog and digital data acquisition instrumentation, high-resolution optical and laser technology, and phase sensitive detection technology will be explored. This course is the required writing-intensive course for physics majors and fulfills the upper-division core writing requirement. Students write papers up to professional standards required of publication in physics research journals, learn to write mathematical prose, engage in the peer review process, and learn to code LaTeX.

PHYS 481W | EXPERIMENTAL BIOPHYSICS

Units: 4

Core Attributes: Writing-Pre F17 CORE

Prerequisites: PHYS 272 and PHYS 272L and MATH 250

A laboratory-based course focused on the introduction to principles of biophysics research techniques. Instrumentation development and experimental research will explore topics of fluorescence and force spectroscopy, molecular diffusion, fluctuation-dissipation theory and viscoelasticity related to molecular and cellular biophysical systems. Students will also be trained in general wet-lab techniques and computational data acquisition and analysis using Labview and Matlab. This course is the primary upper division laboratory requirement for the biophysics major and fulfills the upper division core writing requirement. Students will write and edit research reports on their experimental results at a level suitable for journal publication. The writing process will also include literature search techniques and an introduction to the peer review process.

PHYS 487 | EXPERIENTIAL PHYSICS

Units: 1-3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

An independent experiential learning project focused on broad applications of physics and biophysics. Projects can include but are not limited to: teaching assistantships, internships, community outreach, communication/media, secondary school teaching, and traditional physics or biophysics research. All projects must be approved and supervised by a faculty mentor in the physics and biophysics department. A student seeking PHYS 487 credit must take initiative to meet with his/her academic advisor to identify projects that best meet his/her interests and goals. Once a student has identified a faculty mentor and project, he/she can enroll in PHYS 487 by completing the application form found on the Student Resources page of the department website. The detailed requirements for earning PHYS 487 credit can also be found on the Student Resources page.

PHYS 493 | SEMINAR I: THE CRAFT OF SCIENTIFIC PRESENTATION

Units: 1 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Oral communication competency

Prerequisites: PHYS 496

First semester of the physics and biophysics seminar series devoted to instruction on scientific presentations. Students give short presentations on topics of interest, and prepare a lengthy presentation on their research. Stress is laid on the preparation, execution, and critique of effective scientific presentations. One hour per week. Fall semester.

PHYS 494 | SPECIAL TOPICS IN PHYSICS AND BIOPHYSICS

Units: 0.5-4 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Prerequisites: PHYS 271 and PHYS 271L

Topics chosen by the instructor in areas that include but are not limited to: condensed matter physics, quantum field theory, general relativity, plasma physics, electronics, soft matter physics, particle physics, neurophysics, and advanced physics and biophysics laboratories. May be repeated for credit if the course material is different.

PHYS 495 | SEMINAR II: FRONTIERS OF PHYSICS

Units: 1 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Advanced Integration

Prerequisites: PHYS 272

The second semester of the capstone seminar series for the Physics and Biophysics major that fulfills the Advanced Integration component of the Core curriculum. This course focuses on exposure to the breadth of current physics-related research topics, and understanding the impact and context of the research through the lens of other disciplines. Students will learn about a wide range of cutting-edge research topics such as: dark matter, global warming and alternative energy sources, biomechanics, graphene, neutrinos, etc. They will also learn about how the research fits into the “big picture” by considering ethical, political, societal, technological and/or historical issues related to the research. These goals are achieved through attending seminars, meeting with scientists, and completing routine reading and writing assignments. The course culminates with a final project in which students investigate and articulate the connection of one of the covered research topics to another discipline.

PHYS 496 | RESEARCH

Units: 1-3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Prerequisites: PHYS 400 (Can be taken Concurrently)

An independent research project supervised by a faculty mentor in the physics and biophysics department. A student seeking PHYS 496 credit must take initiative to meet with faculty members to learn about their research interests and possible problems to research. Once a student has identified a faculty mentor and project, he/she can enroll in PHYS 496 by completing the application form found on the Student Resources page of the department website. The detailed requirements for earning PHYS 496 credit can also be found on the Student Resources page. Students completing their first unit of PHYS 496 must be concurrently enrolled in PHYS 400.

PHYS 499 | INDEPENDENT STUDY

Units: 1-3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)