Physics

FACULTY Professors Early, Roos, Wang; Associate Professors Kimberlin, Lozano.

The Department of Physics has designed its programs and courses in physics and astronomy with two principal objectives in mind. First, for citizens to lead productive lives individuals need to be scientifically and technologically literate. Therefore, the department offers physics courses that are accessible to all of the university's students. Several of our courses have been especially tailored for the nonscientist. Second, a technological society has need for teachers, scientists, and engineers who have a broad and deep understanding of the basic physical laws. The department has programs and courses designed for students majoring in scientific and technical areas that will prepare them for professional careers or advanced study in these areas.

The Department of Physics offers introductory courses that cover the entire range of preparation in science and mathematics found at the university. Some require little or no science or mathematics preparation. Examples of such courses are PHY 100, PHY 123, and AST 300. Most of the other courses offered by the department require some prior exposure to science and mathematics. Therefore, students wishing to study physics will find entry-level courses appropriate to their abilities and preparation.

The Department of Physics offers two majors in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and one in the College of Engineering and Technology. The department also offers a minor. The specific program a student follows depends to a great extent on the particular interests of the student. Each student must work with a faculty advisor to plan an interesting course of study that satisfies the student's needs and all department, college, and university requirements.

Requirements for All Physics Majors

The physics major consists of at least 30 hours. All students majoring in the various programs in physics are required to complete the following courses in physics: PHY 110, 199, 201, 301, 305, 306, 350, 467, 501 and 563. In addition to these courses, the student must complete either PHY 202 or 303 as well as certain physics electives at the 300 to 500 level. All physics majors are expected to present the results of their research experience while enrolled in PHY 563 at a departmental colloquium. Mathematics courses required by all physics majors are MTH 121, 122, 207, 223, 224, and 501 or an upper-division mathematics course approved by the Physics Department. A chemistry course, CHM 110, and its laboratory component, CHM 111, are also required.

Liberal Arts and Sciences Physics Major

The students who seek this major can generally be grouped into three categories:

  • Professional Physicists. These students intend to continue their formal education in physics by pursuing a graduate degree in physics.
  • Professional School Preparatory: these students are using the physics major as preparation for entering professional school programs such as medicine, engineering, or law.
  • Second Major: these students use the physics major to develop their problem-solving skills and for increasing their understanding of the physical universe while choosing their primary major in areas such as computer science, chemistry, or mathematics.

These students will complete the core courses as indicated above. In addition, all of these students must complete two additional courses in physics selected from the following: PHY 320, 345, 350, 361, 502, and 568. Students seeking to become professional physicists are strongly encouraged to complete all of these courses. In addition, CHM 112 and, in special cases, CHM 250 are recommended. Three additional mathematics courses chosen from MTH 307, 325, 326, 403, 420, 421, 502, 510, and 514 are strongly recommended.

Suggested Program for the LAS Physics Major

The schedule of courses shown below lists only the physics courses required by all LAS physics majors. Elective courses would then be chosen to fulfill the requirements for the particular variation chosen by the student. Some course requirements may be met through Advanced Placement tests, proficiency examinations, or transfer credit.

  • Freshman Year

    First Semester

    • Gen. Ed.—Western Civilization 3
    • PHY 199 Physics Seminar 1
    • CHM 110 General Chemistry I 3
    • CHM 111 General Chemistry I Laboratory 1
    • ENG 101 Composition 3
    • MTH 121 Calculus I 4
    • 15 hours

    Second Semester

    • PHY 110 University Physics I 4
    • Gen. Ed.—Fine Arts 3
    • Gen. Ed.—Social Forces 3
    • COM 103 Oral Communication Process 3
    • MTH 122 Calculus II 4
    • 17 hours

  • Sophomore Year

  • First Semester

    • Physics 201 University Physics II 4
    • Elective 3
    • Gen. Ed. Social Forces—Economics 3
    • MTH 223 Calculus III 4
    • Gen. Ed. Human Values—Philosophy 3
    • 17 hours

    Second Semester

    • PHY 202 Applied Quantum Physics or elective 3
    • Gen. Ed.—Non-Western Civilization 3
    • Elective 3
    • MTH 224 Elementary Differential Equations 4
    • MTH 207 Linear Algebra 3
    • 16 hours

  • Junior Year

  • First Semester

    • MTH 501 or an approved math course 3
    • PHY 305 Electricity and Magnetism 3
    • PHY 301 Classical Mechanics 3
    • ENG 30X Junior Composition 3
    • Gen. Ed. Human Values (Literature) 3
    • 15 hours

    Second Semester

    • PHY 303 Quantum Physics or Elective 3
    • PHY 306 Electromagnetic Waves 3
    • PHY 350 Applied Quantum Physics Lab 1
    • PHY Elective 3
    • Electives 6
    • PHY 563 Special Problems in Physics 1
    • 17 hours

  • Senior Year

  • First Semester

    • PHY 501 Quantum Mechanics I 3
    • PHY 563 Special Problems in Physics 1
    • PHY 467 Statistical and Thermal Physics 3
    • PHY Elective 3
    • Electives 6
    • 16 hours

    Second Semester

    • PHY Elective 6
    • PHY 563 Special Problems in Physics 1
    • Electives 9
    • 16 hours

Total Hours 129

Secondary Education-Physics Teaching Major

Students preparing to teach physics at the high-school level must complete the requirements for a secondary teaching certificate to be certified in the state of Illinois. These requirements are listed in this catalog under the Department of Teacher Education (Secondary Programs) and consist of a minimum of 38 semester hours in professional education courses. The courses used to fulfill the General Education requirement must also be chosen to fulfill certification requirements. Secondary Education-Physics Teaching majors are also required to take courses that will qualify them to be certified in a second teaching area. This will require that from 6 to 15 semester hours be completed in the second area chosen. Students must consult with advisors from both the Physics Department and the College of Education and Health Sciences. In addition to the courses required of all physics majors the students selecting this variation in the physics major must complete two courses from the following: PHY 320, 345, 361, 502, and 568.

Suggested Program for Secondary Education - Physics Teaching Major

A student preparing to teach physics at the high-school level should follow the sequence shown below. Students who plan to teach in states other than Illinois should be aware that some of the education courses in this sequence might not apply toward certification in those states.

A second teaching field is required. The student must consult an advisor for specific requirements for the second teaching field.

  • Freshman Year

  • First Semester

    • PHY 110 University Physics I 4
    • PHY 199 Physics Seminar 1
    • MTH 121 Calculus I 4
    • ENG 101 English Composition 3
    • Gen. Ed. (SF) 3
    • CHM 110 Gen. Chem. I or CHM 300 3
    • 18 hours

    Second Semester

    • PHY 201 University Physics II 4
    • MTH 122 Calculus II 4
    • COM 103 Oral Communication Process 3
    • ETE 115 Schools and Schooling in American Society 3
    • ETE 116 Field Experience for ETE 115 1
    • Gen. Ed. – Human Values (ENG 115 or 121) 3
    • 18 hours

  • Sophomore Year

  • First Semester

    • PHY 202 Applied Quantum Physics 3
    • PHY 350 Applied Quantum Physics Laboratory 1
    • MTH 223 Calculus III 4
    • CS 101 Intro. to Programming 3
    • Gen. Ed. CIV 100 Western Civilization 3
    • ETE 100 Technology Applications 1
    • ETE 280 Exploring Diversity 3
    • 18 hours

    Second Semester

    • PHY 320 Optics 3
    • PHY 350 Optics Laboratory 1
    • MTH 224 Elem. Differential Equations 4
    • ETE 225 Human Development 4
    • BIO 101 Life Sci. I or BIO 300 3
    • FCS 203 or NUR 163, 220, 221, 263, or 376 3
    • 18 hours

  • Junior Year

  • First Semester

    • PHY 305 Electricity and Magnetism 3
    • Second Teaching Area 3
    • English: 300-level Junior Composition 3
    • ETE 360 Teaching Reading in the Content Field 3
    • ETE 370 General Secondary Methods I 3
    • Gen. Ed. Fine Arts 3
    • 18 hours

    Second Semester

    • PHY 301 Classical Mechanics 3
    • PHY 306 Electromagnetic Waves 3
    • Second Teaching Area 3
    • ETE 374 Methods of Teaching Secondary Science 3
    • ETE 371 General Secondary Methods II 3
    • ETE 379 Novice Teaching in the Secondary School 2
    • 16 hours

    Summer

    • Gen. Ed. Non-Western Civilization 3
  • Senior Year

  • First Semester

    • PHY 501 Quantum Mechanics I 3
    • PHY 467 Statistical and Thermal Physics 3
    • Second Teaching Area 2
    • MTH 501 or an approved mathematics course 3
    • ETE 342 Guiding Learners and Developing Classroom Communities 3
    • Gen. Ed. (Humanities Phil.) 3
    • 17 hours

    Second Semester

    • PHY 361 Electronics 3
    • PHY 563 Special Problems in Physics 2
    • ETE 490 Student Teaching Professional Portfolio 1
    • ETE 499 Student Teaching in the
    • Secondary Schools 10 or 13
    • 16 or 19 hours

    Total Hours 142-145

    Engineering Physics

    The engineering physics major is offered through the College of Engineering and Technology. Details of this program are found in the College of Engineering and Technology section of this catalog. Engineering physics majors must meet all the requirements of the University and College of Engineering and Technology in addition to taking the required courses in physics and mathematics indicated above. Faculty advisors from both physics and engineering advise students who major in engineering physics.

    Physics Minor

    The physics minor consists of PHY 110; 201; and 202 and three additional elective courses at the 300 level chosen to fit the student's special interests. Students may select from the following: PHY 301, 303, 305, 306, 320, 345, 350 (two semester hours), 361, 467, and 501.