Apr 17, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog 
2023-2024 University Catalog

Physics B.S.

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The Physics Major


The physics program includes a core of physics courses that will give students the quantitative problem solving skills that are the hallmark of a physics degree.  For students wishing to continue to graduate school in physics, the faculty in physics at RWU engage in research and have been active in incorporating students into their work.  The physics major also allows students who choose to work in industry to select electives from a variety of departments to tailor their degree plan to any of the number of fields open to physics graduates.  


After completing the requirements for a B.S. in Physics, students will be able to:

1. Construct mathematical solutions to quantitative problems at the advanced undergraduate level from the four major branches of physics: classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, and thermodynamics/statistical physics.

2. Communicate the major ideas of physics to a non-technical audience.

3. Communicate both advanced and fundamental concepts and ideas in physics to a technical audience.

4. Demonstrate a breadth of knowledge of disciplines outside of physics that prepares the student for further work either in industry or academia.

5. Apply the principles of problem solving used in physics to real world scenarios to find innovative solutions.




Majors pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Physics must satisfy University Core Curriculum requirements and the College speech requirement, COMM 210. In addition, they must complete the following courses and a sufficient number of electives to total 120 credits. Majors are encouraged to apply electives toward a minor or second major.



Students must maintain a GPA of 2.0 or better in these courses.                                                            

MATH 213                        Calculus I and Lab                                                                    

MATH 214                        Calculus II and Lab                                                                   

MATH 317                        Differential Equations                                                               

MATH 331                        Linear Algebra               

PHYS 201                        Physics I with Calculus and Lab                                                

PHYS 202                        Physics II with Calculus and Lab                                                                       

PHYS 320                        Modern Physics                                                                                   

PHYS 340                        Classical Mechanics                                                                  

PHYS/MATH 370             Mathematical Methods for the Physical Sciences                       

PHYS 405 or ENGR 460   Electricity and Magnetism                                                        

PHYS 420                        Quantum Mechanics

ENGR 330 or CHEM 391  Thermodynamics             




Students must take at least 6 credit hours of additional physics (PHYS) courses with 3 credit hours at the 300 level or above.



Students must take an additional 6 credit hours selected from the list of approved out of department electives or any physics (PHYS) courses at the 300 level or above.  Some of the courses listed have prerequisites below the 300-level which may be taken as part of a student’s free electives.


    Approved out of department elective courses

Chemistry:       CHEM 392 Quantum Chemistry

         CHEM 433 Advanced Physical Chemistry

Computer Science: COMSC 330 Software Design

                                  COMSC 335 Theory of Computation

                                  COMSC 340 Analysis of Algorithms

         COMSC 410 Artificial Intelligence

         COMSC 415 Machine Learning

Engineering:   ENGR 300 Mechanics of Materials and Lab

                 ENGR 305 Fluid Mechanics and Lab

         ENGR 310 Materials Science

         ENGR 337 Finite Element Analysis

         ENGR 350 Theory and Design of Mechanical Measurements

         ENGR 360 Signals and Systems

         ENGR 431 Mechanical Vibrations

         ENGR 433 Heat Transfer

         ENGR 437 Acoustics

         ENGR 442 Biomechanics

Environmental Science: ENVS 305 Marine Geology

                         ENVS 315 Meteorology and Climatology

Mathematics: MATH 305 Mathematical Modeling

                MATH 315 Probability and Statistics

                MATH 342 Numerical Analysis

                MATH 351 Calculus of Several Variables

                MATH 371 Real Analysis

                MATH 381 Complex Analysis


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