Physics

Physics Major

The physics major is intended to prepare students for advanced study in physics or engineering, for teaching high school physics, for a career in industrial research and development, government research laboratories, or any career involving quantitative problem solving and analysis. The requirements for the physics and physics-engineering option majors are given below.

Students will complete 12.25 courses plus capstone as follows:

Required:

  • Phys 191 General Physics I
  • Phys 192 General Physics II
  • Phys 230 Modern Physics
  • Phys 271 Experimental Physics I (.5 course)
  • Phys 370 Physics Seminar (.25 course)

Choose two of the following four courses::

  • Phys 310 Thermal Physics
  • Phys 320 Classical Mechanics
  • Phys 340 Electromagnetic Fields
  • Phys 360 Quantum Mechanics

Choose two and a half courses:

  • Physics Electives: 200-level or above

Capstone:

  • Phys 385 Capstone Completion (no credit)

Required Supporting Courses:

  • Math 151 Calculus I
  • Math 152 Calculus II
  • Math 251 Calculus III
  • Math 345 Differential Equations

In addition to the required courses specified above, physics students are encouraged to consider additional physics electives according to their career goals as well as the following supporting courses: Math 255 Linear Algebra, CmSc 150, (155) Fundamentals of Computing I (II), and Chem 101 (102) Bonds and Structures I (II). For those students interested in graduate school in physics (or closely related area), it is virtually imperative to take all four of the 300-level physics theory courses: Phys 310 Thermal Physics, Phys 320 Classical Mechanics, Phys 340 Electromagnetic Fields, and Phys 360 Quantum Mechanics.

Physics Capstone

The physics capstone will require a student to demonstrate advanced and/or integrated disciplinary knowledge in the context of an approved experience, such as a research project. The capstone experience will culminate in a written and oral report directed to the student’s scientific peers. The capstone experience will normally be based on one of the following: summer research in physics (including at another institution), on campus physics research (Phys 398), an appropriate internship, student teaching in physics, or additional exploration of an approved topic such as from Physics Seminar (Phys 370) or Experimental Physics II (Phys 371). Ideally, students should begin planning this experience with a member of the physics department by spring of their junior year. Enrollment in Physics 385 Capstone Completion in physics is required to verify satisfactory completion of the capstone. Note: Students whose capstone experience is student teaching in physics are not required to enroll in Physics 385 (neither is any other paper or oral report required).

Physics – Engineering Option

This option is only available to students who transfer to an engineering school. A maximum of 32 credits may be transferred back to Simpson College from the engineering school.

Students will complete 14 courses as follows:

Required:

  • Phys 191 General Physics I
  • Phys 192 General Physics II
  • Phys 230 Modern Physics
  • Phys 271 Experimental Physics I (.5 course)
  • Phys/Engr 250 Statics OR Phys/Engr 330 Digital Systems

Choose one course from the following:

  • Phys 310 Thermal Physics
  • Phys 320 Classical Mechanics
  • Phys 340 Electromagnetic Fields
  • Phys 360 Quantum Mechanics

Engineering Electives 300- level or above (2.5 courses) transferred from engineering school

Required Supporting Courses:

  • Chem 101 General Chemistry I
  • Chem 102 General Chemistry II*
  • CmSc 150 Fund. Of Computing I
  • Math 151 Calculus I
  • Math 152 Calculus II
  • Math 251 Calculus III
  • Math 345 Differential Equations

*Chemistry 102 may be waived if it is not required by the particular engineering school or program the student wishes to enter.

In addition to the above required courses, students should consider taking Math 255 Linear Algebra and be careful to meet any other specific course requirements of their chosen engineering program.

Physics-Engineering Option Capstone

The capstone of the physics-engineering option major is the successful completion (and transfer back to Simpson College) of 10 hours of engineering courses, 300-level or above, from an accredited engineering school.

Physics Minor

A minor in physics consists of an eight credit introductory core and at least 10 credits of physics courses numbered 200 or higher. Some upper-level courses emphasize applied areas of physics. This is intended to make the minor in physics especially practical to students of pre-engineering, physics education, chemistry, and mathematics. Although either Principles of Physics (151/152) or General Physics (191/192) will satisfy the core requirement for the minor, students satisfying the core requirement with the non-calculus based Principles of Physics (151/152) should realize that calculus is a prerequisite for some 200- and 300-level courses.

Students will complete five or six courses as follows:

Required:

  • Phys 191 General Physics I AND Phys 192 General Physics II

OR

  • Phys 151 Principles of Physics I AND Phys 152 Principles of Physics II

Electives:

  • Choose 2.5 courses (10 credits) of physics electives numbered 200-level and above.