NDMU Course Catalog : http://catalog.ndm.edu/ccg


Women's College

Four-Year Plan
Course Descriptions

Brian Christy, Ph.D.

The mathematics/physics/computer science department of the School of Arts and Sciences offers a major and minor in physics to students in the Women's College.  Recognizing the role our fields plays in other disciplines, we offer courses for department majors and non-majors that serve the students of NDMU in the Catholic Liberal Arts tradition.  As an integral part of the liberal arts, we provide the students at NDMU with an understanding of the physical world, quantitative and technologically based knowledge, and enable our students to become leaders in their future professions.

Physics represents humanity's most profound attempt to understand the universe in which we live by studying the events and interactions that occur in nature and by trying to comprehend the truths or laws that govern these physical processes. As the most fundamental and all-inclusive of the sciences, physics naturally forms an educational base from which students may enter many diverse occupations and careers. Graduates are employed at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center the U.S. Department of Energy, Lockheed Martin, U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center, and the Peace Corps. Among the institutions where graduates have pursued advanced studies are Rochester University, Princeton University, Drexel University, George Washington University, University of Delaware, and Boston College.

Physics majors may add an additional major in a discipline such as mathematics, computer studies or chemistry, or minor in one of several different fields.

A student may fulfill the general education requirement in natural science by taking PHY-101, 102, 111 (College of Adult Undergraduate Studies), 132 (CAUS), 151 or 155. The cooperative program with neighboring colleges provides concentrators with a wide choice of upper-level courses and a variety of faculty viewpoints.

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Programs of Study

Required Courses for a Major in Physics

PHY-101 and 102 General Physics I, II (8)
PHY-201 Modern Physics (3)
PHY-316L Classical Mechanics (3)
PHY-415L Quantum Mechanics (3)
PHY-417L Electricity and Magnetism (3)
Two other physics courses (at 300 level or higher) (6)
CHM-110 and 111 General Chemistry I and II (8)
CST-171 Programming Concepts or CST-295 C++ Programming (3)
MAT-211, 212, 213 Calculus I, II, III (11)
MAT-214 Calculus of Vector Fields (1)
MAT-243 Linear Algebra (3)
MAT-315 Differential Equations (3)

Physics majors are expected to complete at least one of the following:

  • Internship
  • Teaching Apprenticeship
  • Research Experience

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Required Courses for a Minor in Physics 

MAT-211 and 212 Calculus I, II (8)
PHY-101 and 102 General Physics I, II (8)
PHY-201 Modern Physics (3)
Plus one other course in mathematics, physics or computer science at the 200-level or higher (3)

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Four-Year Plan

Sample program of study for the physics major. Students should select courses with the assistance of a faculty advisor.

Fall Spring 
First year      
PHY-101 General Physics I 4 PHY-102 General Physics II 4
MAT-211 Calculus I 4 MAT-212 Calculus II 4
General Education/Elective 3 MAT-243 Linear Algebra or
CST-171 Program Concepts
ENG-101 College Writing 3 Foreign Language 3
IDS-100 Perspectives in Education 3 General Education 3
[17 credits]   [17 credits]  
Second year      
PHY-201 Modern Physics 3 PHY-316L Classical Mechanics* 3
MAT-213 Calculus III 3 MAT-315 Differential Equations or Elective 3
CHM-110 General Chem I 4 CHM-111 General Chemistry II 4
General Education/Electives 6 CST-171 Program Concepts or
MAT-243 Linear Algebra
[16 credits]   General Education 3
    MAT-214 Calculus of Vector Fields 1
    [17 credits]  
Third year      
PH 415L Quantum Mechanics* or
PH 417L Electricity & Magnetism I*
3 #PH 450L Quantum Mech II* or
+PH 474L Electricity & Magnetism II*
+PH 307L Math. Meth. Phys.* 3 Elective or #MAT-315 3
Gen Education/Electives 9 Gen Education/Electives 9
[15 credits]   Physical Education 1
    [16 credits]  
Fourth year      
PH 417L or PH 415L 3 #+PH 474L or +PH 450L 3
+PH 317L Thermal Physics* 3 Physics elective 3
Gen Education/Electives 9 Gen Education/Electives 9
[15 credits]   [15 credits]  

# offered alternative years
+ need to take at least two physics courses at level 300 or higher
*Courses with a designation of "L" are taught at Loyola. Notre Dame students take the courses through the cooperative program. For more information, contact the program chair.

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PHY-101 General Physics I

Studies the fundamental physical laws of nature and their use in understanding natural phenomena. Course provides a knowledge base for study in all areas of science and mathematics. Topics include kinematics, dynamics of motion, Newton's laws, rotational mechanics and conservation of energy and momentum. Development of the concepts of vector algebra and calculus are provided as needed. Three lectures, one three-hour laboratory weekly. Fulfills general education requirement in natural science. [4 credits]

PHY-132 Environmental Science

Explores the global environment, focusing on current threats to the planet's well-being and presenting options for the future. Introduces the basic principles of ecology. Designed for non-science students. Laboratory and lecture integrated. Fulfills general education requirement in natural science. CAUS only. [3 credits]

PHY-201 Modern Physics

Traces the development of ideas and theories that have shaped physics in the last 100 years. Topics include relativity, quantum theory, atomic and nuclear structure, particle physics and cosmology. Course can be used to fulfill minor in physics. Prerequisites: PHY-102 and MAT-212. [3 credits]

PHY-411 Topics in Physics