Physics (Major, Minor)

Math, Computer Studies, and Physics Department

Brian Christy, Ph.D.

Degrees offered

Major
Minor

Campuses

Main Campus

The Mathematics/Physics/Computer Information Systems Department of the School of Arts, Sciences, and Business offers a Major and Minor in Physics to students in the Women's College. Recognizing the role our field 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.

Summary

Women's College

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), or 155. The cooperative program with neighboring colleges provides concentrators with a wide choice of upper-level courses and a variety of faculty viewpoints.

Programs of Study

Required Courses for a Major in Physics

       PHY-101 and PHY-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)
       PHY-463 Investigations in Physics (1-4)

Credit is earned for PHY 463 by completing one of the following:

      • Internship
      • Teaching Apprenticeship
      • Research Experience

       CHM-110 and CHM-111 General Chemistry I and II (8)
       CST-171 Programming Concepts or CST-295 C++ Programming (3)

       MAT-211, MAT-212, MAT-213 Calculus I, II, III (11)
       MAT-214 Calculus of Vector Fields (1)
       MAT-243 Linear Algebra (3)
       MAT-315 Differential Equations (3)

Required Courses for a Minor in Physics 

       MAT-211 and MAT-212 Calculus I, II (8)
       PHY-101 and PHY-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)

Four-Year Plan

Below is a 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
ENG-101 College Writing 3 MAT-243 Linear Algebra or
CST-171 Program Concepts
3
NDMU-100 First Year Seminar 4 Foreign Language 3
[15 credits] [14 credits]
   
Second year      
PHY-201 Modern Physics 3 PHY-316L Classical Mechanics* 3
MAT-213 Calculus III 3 CHM-111 General Chemistry II 4
CHM-110 General Chem I 4 CST-171 Program Concepts or
MAT-243 Linear Algebra
3
General Education/Electives 6 General Education 3
[16 credits]   MAT-214 Calculus of Vector Fields 1
    [14 credits]
     
Third year      
PH 415L Quantum Mechanics* or
PH 417L Electricity & Magnetism I*
3 Program Electives 6
Gen Education/Electives 12 MAT 315 Math Methods 3
[15 credits] Physical Education 1
  PHYS 330+ 3
    [16 credits]  
Fourth year      
PH 417L or PH 415L 3 Program Electives 3
Gen Education/Electives 12 Gen Education/Electives 9
PHYS 463 1-4
[15 credits] [13-17 credits]
   

Notes:
+ need to take at least two Physics courses at level 300 or higher [excluding PHY 463]’

Depending on transfer credit and courses chosen, students must complete between 28-46 credit hours of General Education coursework. Please consult with the faculty advisor for your particular situation and which courses to take that best align with your interests and career path’

‘Students are required to take 120 credit hours total in order to earn the degree.  Consult the faculty advisor for which courses are most appropriate to select based on interests and career goals.’

 

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.

 


Courses

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

This lab is a co-requisite for PSY 101.  

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

This lab is a co-requisite for PSY 102. 

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-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

This lab is a co-requisite for PSY 155.  

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-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-463 Investigation in Physics

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

PHY-550 Cosmos and Quanta

Examines the most recent ideas on the birth and ultimate fate of the Universe from ancient myths to modern scientific theories. Students will be able to appreciate how knowledge of the very small dimensions can inform and illuminate knowledge of the very large. Topics to be investigated include the Big Bang Theory, the accelerating Universe, black holes, relativity, quantum, and superstring theory. Students will be able to ascertain whether science can answer fundamental questions such as whether there is a purpose to the Universe and what is humanity's role in it. No prior scientific experience necessary. [ 3 credits ]

PHY-560 Physics for Teachers Grades K-8

This course is an introduction to the fundamental laws of nature and their application to physical phenomena through science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Physics content includes mechanics, acoustics, optics, electricity, and magnetism appropriate for educators in grades K-8. It will also include an integration of the study of number relationships and computation in problem solving. [ 3 credits ]

PHY-560L Lab: Physics Methods for the Middle School Educator

Models of teaching and appropriate techniques for instruction of middle school students in physics with emphasis on scientific inquiry. Application of teaching-learning theory to physics in planning, motivation, instruction, questioning, discussion and assessment. Co-requisite PHY-560

PHY-561 Earth and Space Science for Teachers K-8

This course presents an introduction to fundamental concepts of space and earth sciences. The Space and Earth science content includes topics in Geology, Astronomy, Meteorology, energy in the Earth and Space System, and Hydrology. STEM strategies as well as statistics and probability skills and technology applications are integrated to quantify, strengthen and deepen conceptual understanding. [ 3 credits ]

PHY-561L Lab: Space and Earth Science Methods for the Middle School Educator

Models of teaching and appropriate techniques for instruction of middle school students in space and Earth science with emphasis on scientific inquiry. Application of teaching-learning theory to space and Earth science in planning, motivation, instruction, questioning, discussion and assessment. Co-requisite: PHY-561