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Department of Physics and Astronomy (PHY)
College of Arts & Sciences

101 Petty Building
(336) 334-5844
www.uncg.edu/phy

Accelerated Master's Program for Physics Majors | Physics & Astronomy Courses (PHY) | Physics as a Second Major | Physics Major (BA or BS) | Physics Major (BA or BS) with Secondary Subject-Area Teacher Licensure | Physics Minor

 

Faculty

Gaylord T. Hageseth, Professor and Head of Department

Professors McCormack; Associate Professors Danford, Meisner, Muir; Adjunct Associate Professor Purdom, Starobin; Assistant Professor Pratap; Lecturer Hellen

Physics and astronomy have long been recognized as constituting the basis for study, research, and understanding in the natural sciences. The undergraduate major program seeks to provide the student with a broad and general background in all areas of physics. With this background, the student should be able to adapt readily to the specialized requirements of a job in industry, as a teacher, or to the specialized graduate study in physics or a number of related fields. Opportunities are provided through electives to sample the concerns of many of these related fields.

The effort required for a non-scientist to understand our technological society is formidable, but essential if an educated man or woman is to intelligently understand and affect our natural surroundings. Recognizing this, the Department of Physics and Astronomy offers for the non-major, with no prerequisites, courses with an overview of physics as well as special interest courses dealing with topics of immediate concern (PHY 203, 205, 209, 211, 212, 235, 333).

Its faculty members are involved with students in research in computer simulation and computational physics, quantum statistical mechanics, biophysics, observational astronomy and digital image analysis, and pedagogical methods in science teaching. The department uses and administers the Three College Observatory, located in a nearby dark-sky location. This observatory contains the state's largest (32 inch) reflecting telescope, along with a low light-level image acquisition system.

Physics Major
Degree: Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor Science

Required: 122 semester hours, to include at least 36 hours at or above the 300 course level
AOS Codes:

Physics Major, BA Degree, U191
Physics Major, BS Degree, U193
Physics Major, BA Degree, with Secondary Subject-Area Teacher Licensure, U195
Physics Major, BS Degree, with Secondary Subject-Area Teacher Licensure, U196

The Physics Major is a firm basis for a career in medicine, law, business, sales, engineering, teaching, computing, biophysics, environmental science, or physics.

Students who elect physics as a major need to complete PHY 291, 292 or 211, 212, and MAT 293 no later than the end of their sophomore year. Any student who desires to major in physics should contact the head of the department as soon as possible so a proper schedule can be planned.

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science

College of Arts and Sciences Liberal Education Requirements (CLER) (54-55 hours)

All students must meet the All-University Liberal Education Requirements (AULER). The College of Arts and Sciences, however, has established liberal education requirements for its programs which, while including those of AULER, contain additional requirements in several categories. Therefore, students following this program should adhere to the College requirements. Please note that students who satisfy the College Liberal Education Requirements (CLER) will also satisfy the All-University Liberal Education Requirements (AULER). See a complete description of the College requirements and courses meeting those requirements.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts

Major Requirements & Related Area Requirements

Required: minimum of 26 semester hours in physics courses above the 100 level

Minimum 26 semester hours in physics above the 100-level. Students must have at least a 2.0 grade point average for the required physics and mathematics courses.

Core Courses

PHY 291, 292 (or 211, 212) and 251, 252 labs, 321, 321L, 323, 323L, 325, 325L, 327, 425, 425L or 512, or 513

Related Area Requirements

CHE 111, 112, 114, 115; CSC 130; MAT 191, 292, 293, 390

Electives

Electives sufficient to complete the 122 semester hours required for degree.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Science

Required: minimum of 35 semester hours in physics courses above the 100 level

Minimum 35 semester hours in physics above the 100-level. Students must have at least a 2.0 grade point average for the required physics and mathematics courses.

Major and related area requirements are the same as for the BA degree with the following additional requirements:

PHY 521, 523 and 525

Electives

Electives sufficient to complete the 122 semester hours required for degree.

 

Physics as a Second Major

Students planning to take Physics as a second major must complete all required courses as stated above for the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree.

 

 

Physics Minor

Required: minimum of 15 semester hours

A minimum of 15 semester hours in physics courses is required for the minor in Physics, to be planned in consultation with a physics faculty member. The usual physics minor program will consist of PHY 291, 292 or 211, 212, and 251, 252 labs, and at least 7 semester hours of additional courses (excluding PHY 203, 205, 209, 235, and 333). Other quite different programs may be fitted to the individual student's interests and objectives

 

Physics Major (BA or BS) with Secondary Subject-Area Teacher Licensure

Students seeking teacher licensure should follow the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts or Science degree. In addition the following are required: BIO 111; CUI 390, 450, 459, 465, and 470; ELC 381; GEO 103; HEA 201; PSY 121. Additional hours may be required for completion of the degree. Please see Teacher Education Programs for complete details on teacher licensure requirements.

Accelerated Master's Program for Physics Majors

Interested students should see Accelerated Master's Programs for Undergraduates for details about the BA in Physics/MBA program requirements.

 

Physics and Astronomy Courses (PHY)

For Undergraduates

203 AstroWeb (3:3).

AULER/CLER: NS, CPS

  • No student may receive credit for both this course and either 209 or 235.

Introduction to astronomy, from planets to SETI. Emphasizes collaborative model of observing and learning. Syllabus, course material, tests, and quizzes are on the World Wide Web. A visual approach to learning. (FA,SP)

205 Conceptual Physics (3:3).

AULER/CLER: NS, CPS

  • Registration in laboratory (PHY 205L) optional.
  • No student may receive credit for this course if credit has previously been earned for 101, 102, 211, 212, 291, or 292.

Introduction to basic laws of physics made by extensive use of demonstrations. Concepts emphasized and mathematical manipulations held to a minimum. (FA,SP,SU)

205L Conceptual Physics Laboratory (1:0:3).

AULER/CLER: NS, CPS

The discovery approach will be used to conduct experiments in mechanics, fluids, heat, electricity and magnetism, optics and modern physics. (FA,SP,SU)

209 Astronomy: The Solar System (3:3).

AULER/CLER: NS, CPS

  • No student may receive credit for both this course and 203.

Introductory study of the solar system. Sun and planets studied with special attention to results of recent planetary exploration. Telescopic and naked-eye observations of the constellations and planets. 209 intended to complement 235, although each course is independent of the other. No science or math background beyond the level of high school algebra required. (FA)

211, 212 General Physics I, II (3:3), (3:3).

AULER/CLER: NS, CPS

Pr. 211 pr. for 212
Coreq. 251 lab coreq for 211; 252 lab coreq for 212.

  • No student may receive credit for 211 or 212 if credit has previously been earned for 291 or 292.

Introduction of laws and properties of matter, sound, heat, optics, electricity, and magnetism. Algebra and trigonometry used in development of this material. (FA,SP.SU)

235 Astronomy: The Universe (3:3).

AULER/CLER: NS, CPS

  • No student may receive credit for both this course and 203.

Introduction to stars, galaxies, and cosmology. Emphasis on conceptual approach to such topics as the evolution of stars, the formation of galaxies, interstellar communication, and the Big Bang. Sky observations utilizing the UNCG telescopes included. 235 intended to complement 209, although each course is independent of the other. No science or math background beyond the level of high school algebra required. (SP)

251, 252 General Physics Laboratory I, II (1:0:3), (1:0:3).

AULER/CLER: NS, CPS

Coreq. 251 must be taken concurrently with either 211 or 291; 252 must be taken concurrently with either 212 or 292.

Laboratories to supplement PHY 211-212 and 291-292 lecture courses by providing hands-on experience with selected physical phenomena. Development of observational, measuring, and analytical reasoning skills. (FA,SP,SU)

291 General Physics I with Calculus (3:3).

AULER/CLER: NS, CPS

Pr. MAT 191, co. MAT 292.

  • No student may receive credit for this course if credit has previously been earned for 211 or 101.

Basic principles of mechanics, heat, and sound developed using the calculus. 291 together with 292 constitute a one-year general physics course utilizing calculus. (FA)

292 General Physics II with Calculus (3:3).

AULER/CLER: NS, CPS

Pr. 291 and MAT 292, or permission of instructor.

  • No student may receive credit for this course if credit has previously been earned for 212 or 102.

Introduction to basic principles of electricity and magnetism and optics, presented in terms of both classical and modern physics topics. 291 together with 292 constitute a one year general physics course utilizing calculus. (SP)

321 Introduction to Modern Physics (3:3).

Pr. 292 (or 101, 102/211, 212 with permission of instructor).

Fundamental concepts of atomic, molecular, nuclear, and solid state physics from quantum-mechanical and special relativity points of view. Topics include special relativity, wave-particle dualism, Schrödinger equation, hydrogen atom, atomic spectra, nuclear structure, radioactivity, nuclear reactions, and molecular and solid state physics. (FA)

321L Modern Physics Laboratory (1:0:3).

Pr. 292 (or 211, 212 with permission of instructor).

Performance of atomic, nuclear, and solid state physics experiments and analysis of data in a quantitative and scientific manner. Simple computer programs used to study the concepts of error and least-square-fit techniques. (FA)

323 Mechanics (3:3).

Pr. 101, 102 or 211, 212, or 292
Coreq. MAT 293, or permission of instructor.

Mathematical treatment of classical kinematics and dynamics of a particle in a uniform field, in oscillatory motion and simple motions of systems of particles. Analytical and numerical techniques of problem solution stressed. (FA)

323L Classical Physics Laboratory (1:0:3).

Pr. 292 (or 101, 102/211, 212 with permission of instructor).

Performance of experiments emphasizing concepts of classical physics. Topics include force, energy, resonance, and relaxation. (FA)

325 Electricity and Magnetism I (3:3).

Pr. 292 and MAT 293.

A study, developing and using techniques of vector algebra and calculus, of topics in the theory of static electric and magnetic fields including the divergence and Stokes' theorems and the law of Gauss, Biot-Savart, and Ampere. Application to the properties of conductors, dielectric, and magnetic materials. (SP)

325L Electricity and Magnetism Laboratory (1:0:3).

Pr. 323, MAT 390, or permission of instructor.

Performance of electricity and magnetism and electronic experiments with analysis of these basic phenomena as applied to research laboratory. (SP)

327 Thermal Physics (3:3).

Pr. 292 (or 101, 102/211, 212 with permission of instructor).

Properties of matter developed by combining thermodynamic reasoning with molecular theory. (SP)

331, 332 Experimental Physics (1:0:3), (1:0:3).

Pr. two advanced courses in physics taken concurrently or completed.

Advanced courses in laboratory techniques as involved in special laboratory problems.

333 Selected Topics (1 to 3).

Primarily intended for those who are not physical science majors. Topics vary with instructor and with semester. Contemporary topics may include subjects such as analysis of physical resources, their inherent energy limitations and new sources of energy (such as solar, geothermal, etc.); development and adaptation of nuclear energy to electric power plants and armaments systems and the ensuing environmental and political problems. No previous science course required. Interested student should inquire at Physics and Astronomy Department office for further details. Selected topics for science majors may also be given upon request.

345 20th Century Physics: A Liberal Art (3:3).

Pr. junior, senior standing, or permission of instructor.

20th century developments in description of physical universe, including small (quantum mechanics), fast (Einstein's relativity), energetic (nuclear). Emphasize understanding, societal impact, minimal mathematics.

425 Optics (3:3).

Pr. 325 or permission of instructor.

Analytical treatment of geometrical optics (thin and thick lenses, image formation, theory of optical instruments) and physical optics (electromagnetic waves, interference, polarization, diffraction, optical properties of materials). (SP)

425L Optics Laboratory (1:0:3).

Pr. 321L, 325L, or permission of instructor.

Performance of geometrical and physical optics experiments with both microwaves and visible light. (SP)

493 Honors Work (3-6).

Pr. see prerequisites under Honors Program, XXX 493

  • May be repeated for credit if the topic of study changes.

495 Research Experience in Physics (3).

Pr. two courses from the major sequence beyond PHY 291-292 or 211-212, permission of instructor, and approval of department head.

  • May be repeated for up to 6 hours of credit with departmental permission.

A significant research project directed by faculty member. Student must submit written proposal, develop approved written plan, and deliver formal report of results. (FA,SP,SU)

For Advanced Undergraduates and Graduate Students

500 Seminar (1 to 3).

Selected topics of current interest in physics are studied.

501, 502 Conceptual Physics for Teachers (3:3), (3:3).

  • Credit not applicable to MS degree in Physics.

The basic laws of physics are introduced by extensive use of demonstrations. Concepts are emphasized and mathematical manipulation is minimal. Teaching materials and strategies are developed.

510 Apparatus and Instrumentation for Teaching (3:3).

Pr. permission of instructor.

Principles of design, construction, maintenance, and use of demonstration and laboratory apparatus and instrumentation are studied. Safe use of equipment, materials choice and substitutions, and functionality tests are included.

512 Electronics for Scientists (3:2:3).

Pr. permission of instructor

Electronic circuits useful for measurement, signal processing, and control. This course is especially designed to meet needs of experimental scientist. (SP)

513 Microcomputer Interfacing for Scientists (3:2:3).

Pr. permission of instructor.

Methods and techniques of electronic connection between computer and other devices and programming methods to facilitate use of the computer as a laboratory instrument are introduced. Assembly language used primarily. (SP)

519 Advanced Laboratory (1 to 3:0:3 to 9).

Pr. 321L

Principles of design and execution of laboratory experiments are introduced, with emphasis on developing the capability to do independent experimentation.

520 Selected Topics in Physics (3:3).

Pr. permission of instructor.

  • May be repeated for a total of 6 hours credit.

A topic of special interest is studied in depth.

521 Modern Physics with Quantum Mechanics (3:3).

Pr. 321 and 325.

Modern theories of matter are studied by applying quantum mechanics to atomic, molecular, nuclear, and solid state systems.

523 Analytical Mechanics (3:3).

Pr. 323, MAT 390.

Classical laws of particle motion are extended to the treatment of general motion of a rigid body, noninertial reference frames, generalized coordinates, normal coordinates, and to topics and techniques based on calculus of variations.

525 Electricity and Magnetism II (3:3).

Pr. 325.

Continuation of 325. The properties of time-varying electric and magnetic fields, including Faraday's law, and the development of Maxwell's equations are studied. Results are applied to alternating current circuit theory, electromagnetic waves, and radiation.

530 Astrophysics (3:3).

Pr. 291, 292, 321

Current understanding of the structure and evolution of stars and galaxies is emphasized. Properties of the interstellar medium and cosmological models are studied in some detail.

543 Biophysics (3:3).

Pr. PHY 211/212 or 291/292; MAT 191; BIO 355; CHE 111/114; or permission of instructor.

Introduction to cellular biophysics, with emphasis on the physical properties of membranes, including membrane transport mechanisms and electrical properties of membranes. (Same as BIO 543) (Alt FA)

595 Individual Study (1 to 3).

Pr. permission of instructor.

The student and at least one member of the graduate faculty will develop a plan to study a topic of particular interest to the student.

Please refer to The Graduate School Bulletin for additional graduate level courses.


 
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