PHYSICS (PHYS)

College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Physics
Owens Science Hall (OWS) 153, (651) 962-5224
Ohmann (chair), Green, Jalkio, Johnston, Lopez del Puerto, Ruch, Wehner; Blilie, Delain, Nellermoe, Thomas

Department Web Site: http://www.stthomas.edu/physics/

Physics majors learn the fundamental laws that govern the physical universe, from the smallest subatomic particle to the largest galaxies to the very structure of space and time. Emphasis is placed on general understanding, problem solving, and the communication skills essential for success in a career grounded in science. In the laboratory, students use state-of-the-art instrumentation in applying physics to a wide variety of systems. Opportunities are available for students to participate in research projects during the school year and over the summer.

There are three educational options from which to choose: a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree; a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree; or a minor in physics. The B.S. degree provides the necessary background for students interested in graduate school, engineering or industrial work; the Bachelor of Arts degree gives a solid background in physics with the flexibility to meet other needs, including preparation for professional programs such as medicine or patent law, or for students double majoring in areas such as mathematics or electrical engineering.

For students interested in teacher licensure, see the various combinations of science education in the School of Education Department of Teacher Education in this catalog.

Transfer students can transfer a maximum of 16 credits in physics towards the physics degree. Physics courses taken at other colleges by students already matriculated at St. Thomas may be credited toward the

requirements of the major only with prior and explicit written approval of the department chair.

The department offers courses for non-majors to fulfill the laboratory science component of the core curriculum.

Graduation with Honors in Physics

Students graduating with a B.A. or B.S. degree in physics may also qualify for departmental honors. Students interested in this designation must consult with the department chair one year or more before graduation. All requirements must be met one month before graduation.

  1. Complete four credits in 400-level physics research or the equivalent research experience
  2. Prepare a written thesis in the format of primary literature
  3. Defend the thesis before a panel composed of:
    • thesis director (chair of committee)
    • two additional UST physics faculty
    • one UST faculty member outside of physics
  4. Achieve a final cumulative grade point average in physics department courses of 3.50 and 3.50 overall
  5. Present their research at a scientific meeting beyond the St. Thomas community 

Major in Physics (B.S.)

Physics (B.S.) - Major Field Guide

  • PHYS 111 Introduction to Classical Physics I (4 credits)
  • PHYS 112 Introduction to Classical Physics II (4 credits)
  • PHYS 215 Foundations of Modern Physics: From the Atom to the Big Bang (4 credits)
  • PHYS 225 Applications of Modern Physics: From the Atom to the Diode (4 credits)
  • PHYS 323 Methods of Experimental Physics (4 credits)
  • PHYS 331 Theoretical Mechanics (4 credits)
  • PHYS 341 Electricity and Magnetism (4 credits)
  • PHYS 347 Optics (4 credits)
  • PHYS 410 Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics (4 credits)
  • PHYS 431 Quantum Mechanics (4 credits)

Plus:

  • Four PHYS credits 104 or greater

Allied requirements

  • MATH 113 Calculus I (4 credits)
  • MATH 114 Calculus II (4 credits)
  • MATH 200 Multi-Variable Calculus (4 credits)
  • MATH 210 Introduction to Differential Equations and Systems (4 credits)
  • MATH 240 Linear Algebra (4 credits)

Plus:

  • ENGR 350 Introduction to Electronics (4 credits)
  • CISC 130 Introduction to Programming and Problem Solving in the Sciences (4 credits) or CISC 131 Introduction to Programming and Problem Solving (4 credits)

 

Major in Physics (B.A.)

Physics (B.A.) - Major Field Guide

  • PHYS 111 Introduction to Classical Physics I (4 credits)
  • PHYS 112 Introduction to Classical Physics II (4 credits)
  • PHYS 215 Foundations of Modern Physics: From the Atom to the Big Bang (4 credits)
  • PHYS 225 Applications of Modern Physics: From the Atom to the Diode (4 credits)
  • PHYS 323 Methods of Experimental Physics (4 credits)

Plus:

  • Four PHYS credits 104 or greater
  • Eight PHYS credits above 301 

Allied requirements

  • MATH 113 Calculus I (4 credits)
  • MATH 114 Calculus II (4 credits)
  • MATH 200 Multi-variable Calculus (4 credits)
  • MATH 210 Introduction to Differential Equations and Systems (4 credits)

Plus:

  • ENGR 240 Circuit Analysis (4 credits) or ENGR 350 Introduction to Electronics (4 credits)

Plus:

  • CISC 130 Introduction to Programming and Problem Solving in the Sciences (4 credits) or CISC 131 Introduction to Programming and Problem Solving (4 credits)

 

PRE-ENGINEERING

See Pre-Professional Programs

Teacher Licensure

Elementary Education with a Co-major in Science and Mathematics for Elementary Education
Elementary Education with a Specialty in Science (5-8)
Co-major in Science (5-8) – Physics (9-12) and a Co-major in Secondary Education

See Education

Minor in Physics

 

  • PHYS 111 Introduction to Classical Physics I (4 credits)
  • PHYS 112 Introduction to Classical Physics II (4 credits)

Plus:

Twelve PHYS credits from the following list:

  • PHYS 104 Astronomy (4 credits)
  • PHYS 105 Musical Acoustics (4 credits)
  • PHYS 215 Foundations of Modern Physics: From the Atom to the Big Bang (4 credits)
  • PHYS 225 Applications of Modern Physics: From the Atom to the Diode (4 credits)
  • Additional credits from other courses above PHYS 225

 

Course Number Title Credits
PHYS  101 Physics for Liberal Arts I 4
PHYS  104 Astronomy 4
PHYS  105 Musical Acoustics 4
PHYS  109 General Physics I 4
PHYS  110 General Physics II 4
PHYS  111 Classical Physics I 4
PHYS  112 Classical Physics II 4
PHYS  215 Modern Physics: Atom-Big Bang 4
PHYS  225 Modern Physics: Atom to Diode 4
PHYS  243 Individual Study 1 TO 4
PHYS  269 Research 2 OR 4
PHYS  295 Topics 2
PHYS  296 Topics 2
PHYS  297 Topics 4
PHYS  298 Topics 4
PHYS  323 Methods of Experimental Phys 4
PHYS  331 Theoretical Mechanics 4
PHYS  341 Electricity & Magnetism 4
PHYS  342 Electromagnetic Waves 4
PHYS  347 Optics 4
PHYS  389 Research 2 OR 4
PHYS  393 Individual Study 2 OR 4
PHYS  410 Stat Mech & Thermodynamics 4
PHYS  431 Quantum Mechanics 4
PHYS  487 Topics 2
PHYS  488 Topics 2
PHYS  489 Topics 4
PHYS  490 Topics 4
PHYS  491 Individual Research 2 OR 4
PHYS  495 Individual Study 1 TO 4