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Bachelor of Science in Physics

(updated on September 1, 2016)

The B.S. degree in physics is traditionally taken by students interested in a career in physics research in government or industry, or in college- and university-level teaching and research. Nationally, about half of all B.S. physics students go on to graduate school, either in physics, engineering or another professional area. At CWRU, about 75% of our B.S. majors continue their studies after graduation. Others choose to take immediate employment in a variety of technical fields in industry and government.  CWRU physics majors have been remarkably successful at winning prestigious national and international fellowships and being admitted to top graduate programs and professional schools.

The courses taken by our B.S. majors provide a comprehensive foundation in physics. Starting in the first year, introductory mechanics and electromagnetism courses include both lecture and laboratory components.  In the second year, the physics major takes lecture courses in modern physics, advanced classical mechanics, and mathematical physics and computing, as well as laboratory courses in electronics and instrumentation. In the junior year, the B.S. physics major will have lecture courses in quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics/thermodynamics, and advanced electricity and magnetism.  A fall semester laboratory includes a selection of experiments from classical and modern physics.  A spring semester laboratory concludes the formal training in experimental physics using research quality equipment to perform state-of-the-art experiments. In their senior year, students take a course in electrodynamics and choose from a variety of upper-level physics courses in areas such as biophysics, condensed matter physics, cosmology, general relativity, laser physics, nuclear and particle physics, and optics. An important component of the senior year is the senior capstone. B.S. students who choose to do their capstone through the Department of Physics will have a year-long research experience supervised by the physics department and a research mentor  from a department of the student’s choosing or even a professional from an outside organization.

The courses required for the Bachelor of Science in Physics for students entering in the class of fall 2016 are shown in the table below*. The suggested year for taking each course is indicated in the table, but scheduling is flexible.  Students who matriculated to CWRU before fall 2016 should consult the General Bulletin for the year they started at CWRU for program requirements that apply for them.

*A student’s Academic Requirement page in SIS and the University’s General Bulletin, http://bulletin.case.edu/, are the definitives source for course and degree information.  

Course  

Yr*

Cred

Course  

Yr*

Cred

PHYS 121 or 123

Intro Mech

1

4

CHEM 105 or 111

Chem 1

1

3 (4)

PHYS 122 or 124

Intro E&M

1

4

CHEM 106 or ENGR 145

Chem 2

1

3 (4)

PHYS 221

Modern

2

3

       
PHYS 203 Elec Lab

2F

4

ENGR 131 or EECS 132

CompP

1

3

PHYS 204

Instr Lab

2S

4

MATH 121 or 123

Calc 1

1

4

PHYS 250

CompMeth

2S

3

MATH 122 or 124

Calc 2

1

4

PHYS 310

Clas. Mech.

2S

3

MATH 223 or 227

Calc 3

2

3

PHYS 301

Adv. Lab 1

3F

3

MATH 224

Dif Eq

2

3

PHYS 303
AdvLabSem
3F
1
Subtotal    

25(27)

PHYS 313

Thermo

3F

3

       
PHYS 331

QM 1

3F

3

SAGES first/univ sem  

1&2

10
PHYS 332

QM 2

3S

3

SAGES dept. sem.**  

3or4

2or3

PHYS 302

Adv. Lab 2

3S

4

SAGES capstone***  

4

3or4

PHYS 324

E&M 1

3S

3

       
PHYS 325

E&M 2

4F

3

Breadth requirement****    
12
CHOOSE 1 of the following 4:       Open electives*****    

22

PHYS 315

Solid State

4F

3

PHED two semesters    

0

PHYS 320
Biophysics
3or4F
3
       
PHYS 326

Physical Optics

S

3

       
PHYS 327

Laser Phys.

4F

3

       
CHOOSE 1 of the following 4:            

 

PHYS 316

Nuc. Particle

4S

3

     

 

PHYS 328

Cosmo.Univ.

4

3

     

 

PHYS 336

Mod.Cosmo.

4

3

     

 

PHYS 365

General Rel.

4S

3

     

 

Subtotal    

54

Total    

127

* course usually taken in this year, ‘F’ or ‘S’ indicates the course is usually offered only in the fall or spring. Other courses are either offered both semesters (100 & 200 – level) or on no fixed schedule.

** PHYS 303 + PHYS 352 can be used to satisfy the SAGES departmental seminar requirement.

***PHYS 351 can be used to satisfy the SAGES capstone requirement.

**** The breadth requirements include 6 hours of Social Sciences and 6 hours of Arts and Humanities. This may increase by 3 credits if the required Global and Cultural Diversity course is not also one of the breadth requirement courses. Courses required for the BS in Physics satisfy the 6 credit GER for Natural Sciences and Mathematics as well as the Quantitative Reasoning course requirement.

***** The number of open electives may vary, depending on course choices made by the student, but the degree requires that the total number of credits be at least 127.


The Bachelor of Science in Physics – Typical Schedule

(* indicates options, 4-5 of the Open Elective courses are normally used to satisfy GER Breadth Requirements.)

 

Fall (Class Hours-Lab Hours-Credit Hours)

Spring (Class Hours-Lab Hours-Credit Hours)

First Year

PHYS 121 or PHYS 123  Mechanics (4-3-4)

MATH 121 Calculus for Science and Engineering I (4-0-4)

CHEM 105 or CHEM 111 (3-0-3) or (4-0-4)

Open* Elective = PHYS 166 Physics Today & Tomorrow (1-0-1)

FS** SAGES First Seminar (4-0-4)

PHED *** Physical Education Activities (0-3-0)

PHYS 122 or PHYS 124 Electricity & Magnetism (4-3-4)

MATH 122 Calculus for Science and Engineering II (4-0-4)

CHEM 106 or ENGR 145 (3-0-3) or (4-0-4)

ENGR 131 Elementary Computer Programming (2-2-3)

US** University Seminar (3-0-3)

PHED *** Physical Education Activities (0-3-0)

Second Year

PHYS 203 Analog & Digital Electronics (2-4-4)

PHYS 221 General Physics III  Modern Physics (3-0-3)

MATH 223 Calculus for Science & Engineering III (3-0-3)

US** University Seminar (3-0-3)

Open* Elective (3-0-3)

PHYS 204 Advanced Instrumentation Lab (2-4-4)

PHYS 250 Computational Methods(3-0-3)

PHYS 310 Classical Mechanics (3-0-3)

MATH 224 Differential Equations (3-0-3)

Open* Elective (3-0-3)

Third Year

PHYS 301+303 Adv. Lab. Physics I + Seminar (0-7-3)+(1-0-1)

PHYS 313 Thermodynamics & Statistical Mech. (3-0-3)

PHYS 331 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics I (3-0-3)

Open* Elective (3-0-3)

Open* Elective (3-0-3)

PHYS 302 Advanced Laboratory Physics II (0-8-4)

PHYS 324 Electricity and Magnetism I (3-0-3)

PHYS 332 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics II (3-0-3)

Open* Elective (3-0-3)

Open* Elective (3-0-3)

Fourth Year

PHYS 351+352 Senior Physics Project+Seminar (0-6-2)+(1-0-1)

PHYS 325 Electricity and Magnetism II(3-0-3)

PHYS 3** Condensed Matter Physics Elective (3-0-3)

Open* Elective (3-0-3)

Open* Elective (3-0-3)

PHYS 351+352 Senior Physics Project + Seminar (0-6-2)+(1-0-1)

PHYS 3** Particle/Astrophysics Elective (3-0-3)

Open* Elective (3-0-3)

Open* Elective (3-0-3)

Open* Elective (3-0-3)

For more information, contact Prof. Gary Chottiner, gary.chottiner@case.edu

Page last modified: September 1, 2016