Department of Physics and Astronomy

Chair and Associate Professor: C. Frederickson (PhD), 450-5900
Professor: S. Addison (PhD), R. Mehta (PhD)
Associate Professors: S. Austin (PhD), D. Burris (PhD), N. Gaiser (PhD), W. Slaton (PhD)
Assistant Professors: A. Mason (PhD), B. Menon (PhD), A. Walker (PhD)
Lecturer: N. Austin (MS)

[1] Purposes

Curricula offered by the Department of Physics and Astronomy serve two main purposes: first, to contribute to the knowledge and awareness of non-science students in order to prepare them to appreciate and understand the nature of the physical world and how science operates to achieve comprehension of the physical world; second, to prepare science students for graduate study or the workplace. A range of courses designed for the physics major are offered to establish a broad and secure foundation in any of several disciplines in the field.

[2] The Honors Program in Physics

Junior and senior students with appropriate grade point averages and having the consent of the department may be allowed to participate in a program that, when successfully completed, will allow them to graduate with honors in physics. This program will consist of not less than two semesters of research in physics or astronomy and the writing and oral defense of an honors thesis.

[3] Bachelor of Science

[3.1] Major in Physics

A physics degree is an excellent preparation for much more than a career in physics. The technical expertise and cognitive skills acquired in earning a physics degree are valuable in many endeavors.

The BS in physics makes the advantages of a physics degree available to a wide range of students. The program allows the student to choose one of a number of tracks to fit his or her interests and goals. The tracks are physics, biological physics, chemical physics, mathematical physics, physical science, and applied physics.

A BS degree with a major in physics requires the successful completion of 120 hours including (1) the UCA Core: complete 38 hours to meet lower-division UCA Core requirements and complete upper-division UCA Core requirements using major, minor, or elective courses (see the UCA Core requirements); (2) degree requirements; (3) major requirements listed below; and (4) a minor, if required, to be worked out with the student's minor advisor.

 

Abbreviation Key – UCA Core Program

[3.1.1] Physics Core Requirements (34 hours)

All tracks of the BS in physics program require completion of a 34-hour core, consisting of 19 hours of physics, and 12 hours of mathematics, and 3 hours of writing.

Physics Core courses:

PHYS 1441 University Physics 1*
PHYS 1442 University Physics 2*
PHYS 2443 University Physics 3*
PHYS 3210 Experiments in Physics 1
PHYS 3220 Experiments in Physics 2
PHYS 4111 Senior Capstone 1
PHYS 4211 Senior Capstone 2 [ UCA Core: Z ]

*For tracks other than the physics track, the University Physics course sequence may be replaced by the College Physics course sequence.

PHYS 1410 College Physics 1
PHYS 1420 College Physics 2
PHYS 2430 College Physics 3

Physics Core courses:

MATH 1496 Calculus I
MATH 1497 Calculus II
MATH 2471 Calculus III

Physics Core writing course:

WRTG 3310 Technical Writing [ UCA Core: C, D ]

Completion of the physics core will partially satisfy the UCA Upper-Division Core. Though students may choose any upper-division courses with the appropriate designations, it is suggested that they consider one of two courses to satisfy the balance of the Upper-Division Core:

PHIL 3320 Ethics [ UCA Core: I, R ] offered spring semester of odd years
or
PHIL 3325 Political Philosophy [ UCA Core: I, R ] offered spring semester of even years

[3.1.2] Physics Track (67 hours)

This is the traditional physics track, offering excellent preparation both for those planning a physics- or astronomy-related career, including graduate school, and for those desiring a physics degree for entry into other fields, such as engineering. The program is flexible and can be tailored to the needs and interests of the individual student by using electives, of which at least 6 hours are required. The student's advisor will work closely with the student to achieve the optimal curriculum for the student.

In addition to the physics core, the following courses are required:

Physics courses in addition to the physics core:

PHYS 2320 Introduction to Computational Physics
PHYS 3341 Mathematical Methods in Physics
PHYS 3342 (or ENGR 3342) Mechanics
PHYS 3343 (or ENGR 3343) Thermal Physics
PHYS 3360 (or ENGR 3360) Electromagnetism 1
PHYS 3361 (or ENGR 3361) Electromagnetism 2
PHYS 3353 Quantum Theory 1

Major electives: Six (6) hours approved by the Department of Physics and Astronomy

Mathematics course in addition to the physics core:

MATH 3331 Differential Equations

Computer Science course:

CSCI 1340 Introduction to Programming

Physics hours required: 46
Mathematics hours required: 15
Computer Science hours required: 3
Writing hours required: 3
TOTAL: 67

[3.1.3] Biological Physics Track (79 hours)

The biological physics track offers a physics-centered curriculum for students planning to enter medical school. It also serves as an excellent entry into medical physics and health-related fields, including graduate study. Note: It appears that one of the best predictors for acceptance into medical school is a physics degree. This track does not require a minor.

For a suggested sequence of physics, mathematics, biology, and chemistry courses, please contact the department chair or consult the program completion plan for the track (see links for the appropriate year at the Program Completion Plan site).

In addition to the physics core, the following courses are required:

Physics courses in addition to the physics core:

PHYS 3343 (or ENGR 3343) Thermal Physics
PHYS 3345 Optics

Mathematics course in addition to the physics core:

MATH 2311 Statistical Methods I
or
MATH 4371 Introduction to Probability [ UCA Core: R ]

Chemistry courses in addition to the physics core:

CHEM 1450 College Chemistry I
CHEM 1451 College Chemistry II
CHEM 2401 Organic Chemistry I
CHEM 3411 Organic Chemistry II

Biology courses in addition to the physics core:

BIOL 1440 Principles of Biology I
BIOL 1441 Principles of Biology II
BIOL 2490 Genetics
BIOL 3402 Cell Biology
BIOL 4460 Animal Physiology

Physics hours required: 25
Mathematics hours required: 15
Chemistry hours required: 16
Biology hours required: 20
Writing hours required: 3

TOTAL: 79

[3.1.4] Chemical Physics Track (80 hours)

The chemical physics track provides an excellent preparation for entering the chemistry-oriented industrial work force or for continued study in engineering or graduate school.

This track does not require a minor. However the chemistry courses required by the track are more than sufficient for a minor in chemistry, and the requirements for a mathematics minor are nearly met by the mathematics courses required by the core and the track.

For a suggested sequence of physics, mathematics, and chemistry courses, contact the department chair or consult the program completion plan for the track (see links for the appropriate year at the Program Completion Plan site).

In addition to the physics core, the following courses are required:

Physics courses in addition to the physics core:

PHYS 3341 Mathematical Methods in Physics
PHYS 3342 (or ENGR 3342) Mechanics
PHYS 3343 (or ENGR 3343) Thermal Physics
PHYS 3360 (or ENGR 3360) Electromagnetism 1
PHYS 3361 (or ENGR 3361) Electromagnetism 2
PHYS 3353 Quantum Theory 1

Mathematics course in addition to the physics core:

MATH 3331 Differential Equations [ UCA Core: C ]

Chemistry courses:

CHEM 1450 College Chemistry I
CHEM 1451 College Chemistry II
CHEM 2401 Organic Chemistry I
CHEM 3411 Organic Chemistry II
CHEM 3520 Quantitative Analysis
CHEM 4450 Physical Chemistry I

Physics hours required: 37
Mathematics hours required: 15
Chemistry hours required: 25
Writing hours required: 3

TOTAL: 80

[3.1.5] Mathematical Physics Track (79 hours)

The mathematical physics track is intended for those students who are particularly interested and strongly motivated both in physics and in mathematics. It offers an excellent preparation for graduate study in theoretical physics, mathematical physics, computational physics, applied mathematics, and engineering. This track does not require a minor.

For a suggested sequence of physics and mathematics courses, please contact the department chair or consult the program completion plan for the track (see links for the appropriate year at the Program Completion Plan site).

In addition to the physics core, the following courses are required:

Physics courses in addition to the physics core:

PHYS 3341 Mathematical Methods in Physics
PHYS 3342 (or ENGR 3342) Mechanics
PHYS 3343 (or ENGR 3343) Thermal Physics
PHYS 3353 Quantum Theory 1
PHYS 3354 Quantum Theory 2
PHYS 3360 (or ENGR 3360) Electromagnetism 1
PHYS 3361 (or ENGR 3361) Electromagnetism 2
PHYS 4341 Advanced Mathematical Physics
PHYS 4351 Computational Physics

Mathematics course in addition to the physics core:

MATH 3331 Differential Equations [ UCA Core: C ]
MATH 4362 Advanced Calculus I [ UCA Core: Z ]
MATH 4363 Advanced Calculus II
MATH 4371 Introduction to Probability [ UCA Core: R ]
MATH 4385 Complex Analysis
MATH electives (3 hours) approved by the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Physics hours required: 46
Mathematics hours required: 30
Writing hours required: 3

TOTAL: 79

[3.1.6] Physical Science Track (58 hours)

The physical science track is intended for those students who are interested in physical science, do not intend to specialize in either physics or chemistry. The program is very flexible and can be tailored to the particular needs and interests of the individual student by using electives, of which at least 12 hours are required – six in physics and six in chemistry. The student's advisor will work closely with the student to achieve the optimal curriculum for the student. This track requires a minor and is an excellent choice for students interested in STEMteach.

For a suggested sequence of physics and chemistry courses, please contact the department chair or consult the program completion plan for the track (see links for the appropriate year at the Program Completion Plan site).

In addition to the physics core, the following courses are required:

PHYS electives: Nine (9 hours) approved by the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Chemistry courses in addition to the physics core:

CHEM 1450 College Chemistry I
CHEM 1451 College Chemistry II
CHEM 2401 Organic Chemistry I
CHEM electives (3 hours) approved by the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Physics hours required: 28
Mathematics hours required: 12
Chemistry hours required: 15
Writing hours required: 3

TOTAL: 58

[3.1.7] Applied Physics Track (81 hours)

The applied physics track is designed for the student whose interests lie in the application of the knowledge and methods of physics in industrial and practical situations. It offers excellent preparation both for immediate entry into the industrial work force and for engineering school. The program is unique among the tracks in that it contains an internship option, whereby the student obtains real-world experience that is integrated into his/her studies. Alternatively, the student might work on an application-oriented research project. The program also requires business courses to provide the student background for the business environment. The student's advisor will work closely with the student to achieve an optimal integration of studies and practical experience. This track does not require a minor.

For a suggested sequence of courses, please contact the department chair or consult the program completion plan for the track (see links for the appropriate year at the Program Completion Plan site).

In addition to the physics core, the following courses are required:

Physics courses in addition to the physics core:

PHYS 3341 Mathematical Methods in Physics
PHYS 3342 (or ENGR 3342) Mechanics
PHYS 3343 (or ENGR 3343) Thermal Physics
PHYS 3360 (or ENGR 3360) Electromagnetism 1
PHYS 3361 (or ENGR 3361) Electromagnetism 2
PHYS 4351 Computational Physics
PHYS 4380 Internship in Applied Physics or 4303 Problems in Physics
PHYS 4380 Internship in Applied Physics or 4303 Problems in Physics

Mathematics courses in addition to the physics core:

MATH 2311 Statistical Methods I
or
MATH 4371 Introduction to Probability [ UCA Core: R ]

MATH 3320 Linear Algebra [ UCA Core: I ]
MATH 3331 Differential Equations [ UCA Core: C ]

Chemistry courses in addition to the physics core:

CHEM 1450 College Chemistry I
CHEM 1451 College Chemistry II

Business courses in addition to the physics core:

ECON 1310 Modern Political Economy
ACCT 2310 Principles of Accounting I

Physics hours required: 34
Mathematics hours required: 21
Chemistry hours required: 8
Computer science hours required: 3
Business hours required: 6
Internship/research hours required: 6
Writing hours required: 3

TOTAL: 81

[3.2] Minor in Physics (24 hours)

Physics course requirements:

PHYS 1441 University Physics 1*
PHYS 1442 University Physics 2*
PHYS 2443 University Physics 3*
PHYS 3110 or 3120 Junior Laboratory
PHYS 3342 (or ENGR 3342) Mechanics

* The University Physics course sequence may be replaced by the College Physics course sequence:

PHYS 1410 College Physics 1
PHYS 1420 College Physics 2
PHYS 2430 College Physics 3

Electives (minimum 8 hours) approved by the Department of Physics and Astronomy. These may include up to 3 hours of special problems.

Related requirements:

MATH 1496 Calculus I
MATH 1497 Calculus II
MATH 2471 Calculus III

[3.3] Major in General Science

See the General Science page (Interdisciplinary Programs).

[3.4] Minor in Physical Science (24 hours)

CHEM 1450 and 1451 and either 2401 or 3520; PHYS 1410 and 1420 (or PHYS 1441 and 1442), and either 2411 or 2430 (or 2443); MATH 1390 and 1392, or 1580, or equivalent. Note: three upper-division hours in physics or chemistry are required to meet the general requirement for a minor.

[4] Bachelor of Science in Education, Secondary Science Education

Note: Students are no longer being admitted to the BSE in Secondary Science Education. UCA STEMteach is now the path to licensure in science education.

[5] Course Links (PHYS, ENGR)

Follow this link for PHYS course descriptions: course link.

Follow this link for PHYS - Courses for Departmental Majors course descriptions: course link.

Follow this link for ENGR course descriptions: course link.