James A. Perez (department head)
The student majoring in physics will gain a solid background in our current understanding of the physical universe. Learning how that understanding evolves through the interplay between theory and experiment is equally important. The department maintains a computer-based instructional laboratory, a planetarium and an astronomical observing facility for use with classes. Research facilities include computer labs for theoretical research, modern experimental labs and astronomical observatories both on and off campus. Students are encouraged to participate in collaborative research with members of the physics faculty.
Required for a major: The program is determined for each student on an individual basis with the approval of his or her major advisor from the physics faculty. The major consists of PHYS 181, 182, 281, 282, 311, 312 and three additional full courses numbered above 300. Two of these additional courses must be chosen from PHYS 361, 364 and PHYS 411. In addition, coursework equivalent to MATH 151, 152, 240 and MATH 351 is required. Students beginning the math sequence above MATH 151 need not receive credit for the courses skipped, only to complete coursework through the MATH 351 level. Writing requirement completed with PHYS 281 and 282. Further supporting courses in mathematics, computer science, and other sciences are desirable. Each program is designed to meet the needs and special interests of the student, and interdisciplinary study is encouraged in order to obtain a broad base for the major. Programs with emphasis in applied physics, engineering, astrophysics, biophysics, energy resources and environmental sciences, geophysics, history of science, teacher preparation, business-science, and technical writing are indicative of the many broad areas that may be developed for the student. Students interested in teaching should see the education department for secondary minor requirements.
Required for a minor: Eighteen hours in courses numbered above PHYS 150, excluding PHYS 185.
Required for a second teaching area: See Education department for specific requirements. The second teaching area license is offered only in the state of Iowa.
Advanced Placement Credit: Students with exceptional preparation in physics (a thorough calculus-based course) may begin in PHYS 182 or PHYS 281 after consultation with a member of the physics faculty. Students earning a grade of B- or above in this higher numbered course will receive credit for PHYS 181 and (when appropriate) PHYS 182.