(updated on May 23, 2021)

The formal mission of the Bachelor of Sciences in Physics degree program is to develop professional physicists by providing majors a high quality and relevant education in classical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, thermal physics/statistical mechanics, and laboratory, data analysis and computational skills. The program trains our majors to communicate professionally and reason quantitatively and ethically. This program will prepare graduates for employment or graduate study in physics and aligned technical disciplines and provide a solid foundation for other professional career paths. The formal Program Student Learning Outcomes for this degree program are provided at the end of this posting.

The Bachelor of Science 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 bachelors physics students go on to graduate school, either in physics, engineering or another professional area. At CWRU, about 75% of our 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 in this degree program provide a comprehensive foundation in physics. Introductory mechanics and electromagnetism courses include both lecture and laboratory components.  In the second year, the B.S. physics major takes lecture courses in modern physics, advanced classical mechanics, and computational methods in physics, as well as laboratory courses in electronics, instrumentation and signal analysis. The junior year includes lecture courses in quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics/thermodynamics, and advanced electricity and magnetism.  A fall semester laboratory offers 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. Students take a course in electrodynamics in their senior year and, in both junior and senior years, choose from a variety of upper-level physics electives 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 project through the Department of Physics will have a year-long research experience supervised by the physics department and a research mentor chosen by the student.

The courses required for the Bachelor of Science in Physics for students entering in the class of fall 2021 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 2021 should consult the General Bulletin for the year they started at CWRU for program requirements that apply for them.  One important change implemented in fall 2019 is a reduction in the total number of credits required for this degree from 127 to 120, leading to a reduction in the number of required open electives from 22 to 15. 

*A student’s Academic Requirement page in SIS and the University’s General Bulletin, https://case.edu/bulletin/, are the definitive sources 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 CSDS/ECSE 132

CompProg

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*****    

15

PHYS 315

Solid State

4S

3

PHED two semesters    

0

PHYS 320
Biophysics
3or4F
3
       
PHYS 326

Physical Optics

3or4

3

       
PHYS 327

Laser Phys.

4

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.

4

3

     

 

Subtotal    

54

Total    

120

* 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 120.


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)

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)


Program Student Leaning Outcomes

1. BS physics majors will graduate with mastery of classical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, thermal physics/ statistical mechanics and other topics expected for a professional physicist and needed for admission to a graduate program in physics and other professional programs.

2. Graduates will be able to carry out experiments, take measurements and analyze data to support or refute a scientific hypothesis. 

3. Graduates will demonstrate proficiency in the methods of scientific inquiry, be skilled in critical thinking and problem-solving, and be able to formulate and solve quantitative problems using computational and analytical methods.

4. Graduates will have experience in research and be able to contribute to an experimental, theoretical or computational research effort.

5. Graduates will be proficient in communicating scientific concepts and results orally and in writing in styles appropriate to proposals, reports and formal publications.

6. Graduates will be well-versed in professional ethics.


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