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
NDMU-100 First Year Seminar 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-099 Leadership Lab

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-101L Lab: General Physics I

PHY-102 General Physics II

Continues studies of the fundamental physical laws of nature and their use in understanding natural phenomena. Topics include classical wave motion, acoustics, optics, electricity and magnetism. Development of the concepts of vector algebra and calculus are provided as needed. Three lectures, one three-hour laboratory weekly. [4 credits]

PHY-102L Lab: General Physics II

PHY-106 Military Science I

PHY-107 Military Science II

PHY-111 College Physics

Provides a survey of the field for students with interests in the health sciences. Topics include mechanics of motion, energy, thermodynamics, electricity, magnetism, atomic and nuclear structure, and radioactivity. Fulfills general education requirement in natural science. CAUS only. [3 credits]

PHY-114 Environmental Science for Educators

Interdisciplinary study of the interactions among the physical, chemical, biological, political and social forces which impact the environment. Provides students with scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies necessary to comprehend the relationships abundant within the natural world in order to identify problems, evaluate risks and examine solutions for resolving issues facing the global environment. Topics include the major biomes in the world, populations, biodiversity, water, air and land uses, energy resources, and waste management. [3 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-151 Physical Science

Surveys the natural processes that occur in the physical world. Topics include astronomy, mechanics, energy, thermodynamics, ecology, atomic structure and chemical behavior. Designed for non-science majors. Three lectures, one two-hour laboratory weekly. Fulfills general education requirement in natural science. [4 credits]

PHY-151L Lab: Physical Science

PHY-153 Energy/Physical Environ

PHY-155 Introduction to Astronomy

Presents topics in astronomy designed for the non-science student. Describes and traces the historical development of astronomy from ancient myths to modern cosmology. Course concentrates on trying to understand the properties and motion of planets, stars, galaxies and the universe itself. Three lectures, one two-hour laboratory weekly. Extensive use of the telescope. Fulfills general education requirement in natural science. [4 credits Women's College; 3 credits College of Adult Undergraduate Studies]

PHY-155L Lab: Introduction to Astronomy

PHY-165 21st Cent Tec: Drm/Night

PHY-199 DA Natural Science-Physics

Degree Audit

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-307 Waves and Fields

PHY-311 Topics in Physics

PHY-316 Classical Mechanics

PHY-317 Thermal Physics

PHY-330 Introduction to Modern Astrophysics

Studies the discipline of astrophysics through a survey of topics including an introduction to general relativity, an introduction to modern telescopes, and applications such as stellar astrophysics, black holes, galaxies, and/or cosmology. Prerequisites: MAT-212, PHY-201 and Women's College students only and Loyola University students through the BSEP program. [ 3 credits ]

PHY-380 Engineer Thermodynamics

PHY-384 Waves & Physics of Medicine

PHY-411 Topics in Physics

PHY-412 Quantum Physics II

PHY-415 Wave Mechanics

PHY-417 Electricity & Magnetism

PHY-437 Field Theory

PHY-461 Earth and Space Science

PHY-463 Investigation in Physics

Provides guided study of special topics of interest to the student under the direction of the instructor. [ 3-4 credits ]