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Undergraduate Courses in Physics
Department Office: PS 315
(323) 343-2100 Office
(323) 343-2497 FAX
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Lower Division Courses


PHYS 101 – 103 Physics  (4 each)

Fundamental treatment of physics without use of calculus.  Required for biological science majors;  recommended for behavioral science majors.  Biologists planning graduate work may find the 201-205 and 306 series in physics with calculus better suited to their needs.  Lecture 3 hours, laboratory 3 hours for each course.

HYS 101–103 = CAN PHYS SEQ A

PHYS 101: Prerequisite: Knowledge of elementary algebra and trigonometry.  Mechanics of particles, rigid bodies; gravity;  simple harmonic motion.
PHYS 101P  Physics Recitation (1)
Recitation for Physics 101 with emphasis on techniques of problem solving.  Graded CR/NC.
PHYS 102:  Prerequisite: PHYS 101 .  Waves, sound, fluids, thermal physics, kinetic theory,  electrostatics.
PHYS 102P  Physics Recitation (1)
Recitation for Physics 102 with emphasis on techniques of problem solving.  Graded CR/NC.
PHYS 103:  Prerequisite:  PHYS 102 .  Electricity and magnetism, light and optics, relativity, quanta, atoms, nuclei, and fundamental particles.
PHYS 103P  Physics Recitation (1)
Recitation for Physics 103 with emphasis on techniques of problem solving.  Graded CR/NC.
PHYS 150 Principles of Physics  (4)
Prerequisite:  Ability to use simple algebraic equations.  Introductory course, not for science or engineering majors.  Basic concepts of mechanics, sound, heat, electricity, light, relativity, atomic and nuclear structure.  Lecture 3 hours, laboratory 3 hours.
PHYS 150P  Physics Recitation (1)
Recitation for Physics 150 with emphasis on techniques of problem solving.  Graded CR/NC .
PHYS 154L,P Selected Topics in Physics  (1–6)
Prerequisite:  Specific prerequisites announced in Schedule of Classes.  Topics of current interest in physics and astronomy, as announced in Schedule of Classes;  relevance of physics in solving problems of modern technological society.
PHYS 155 Nature of Physical World  (4)
Primarily for non-majors in science.  Concepts of physics illustrated through everyday phenomena.  Topics include mechanical forces, fluids, heat, waves, nuclear theory, radiation, and energy in operation of living and nonliving systems.
PHYS 156 Physics for the Twenty-first Century  (4)
Current topics in physics that will play a significant role in social and economic issues of the 21st century.  Fundamental physics concepts necessary to understand these topics.  Lecture 3 hours, laboratory 3 hours. GE B2
PHYS 157 Learning Science through Inquiry (4)  (also listed as BIOL 157)
Hands-on exploration by the scientific method of biology and physics topics, e.g. plant growth and sound.  The emphasis is on individual and group learning through inquiry-based investigation and student directed research.  Activity 6 hours.  No credit toward Biology/Physics major or minor. GE B3
PHYS 198 General Physics Laboratory  (1)
Prerequisites:  Approval of the Physics Chair and student's major adviser.  Provides registration mechanism for transfer students who require lower division laboratory to complete requirements for lower division physics course.
PHYS 201–205 General Physics  (4 each)
Two-year sequence for physical science and engineering majors, using calculus.  Lecture 3 hours, laboratory 3 hours.
PHYS 201 General Physics Prerequisites:  High school physics or permission of department;  MATH 206   (may be taken concurrently). Vectors, mechanics of particles and rigid bodies, basic conservation laws of mechanics.
PHYS 201P: Physics Recitation  (1)
Prerequisite:  Concurrent registration in PHYS 201 .  Recitation for PHYS 201 with emphasis on techniques of problem solving.  Graded CR/NC .
PHYS 202 General Physics 
PHYS Prerequisite:  PHYS 201 ;  prerequisite or corequisite:  MATH 207 .  Mechanical vibrations and sound, elementary thermodynamics.
PHYS 202P: Physics Recitation  (1)
Corequisite:  PHYS 202 .  Recitation for PHYS 202 with emphasis on techniques of problem solving. Graded CR/NC .
PHYS 203 General Physics
Prerequisite:  PHYS 202 .  Prerequisite or corequisite:  MATH 208 . Elementary field theory, basic electricity and magnetism, DC and AC circuits.
PHYS 203P: Physics Recitation
Corequisite:  Concurrent registration in PHYS 203 .  Recitation for PHYS 203 with emphasis on techniques of problem solving.  Graded CR/NC .
PHYS 204 General Physics:
Prerequisite:  PHYS 203 .  Prerequisite or corequisite:  MATH 209. Continuation of electricity and magnetism including oscillations and waves;  geometrical and physical optics.
PHYS 204P Physics Recitation  (1)
Corequisite:  Concurrent registration in PHYS 204 .  Recitation for PHYS 204 with emphasis on techniques of problem solving. Graded CR/NC .
PHYS 205 General Physics:

Prerequisite:  PHYS 204 ;  prerequisite or corequisite:  MATH 209. Topics in modern physics including special relativity, elementary quantum physics, atomic theory, Schrödinger's equation.


Upper Division Courses


PHYS 306 Modern Physics  (3)
Prerequisite:  PHYS 205 .  Elementary quantum mechanics and its applications to atoms, molecules, nuclei, particle physics and solid state physics.
PHYS 311 Elements of Modern Astronomy  (3)  (also listed as ASTR 311)
Prerequisite:  PHYS 205 .  Survey of modern astronomy, designed for students majoring in physical sciences, engineering, or mathematics.
PHYS 312 Basic Electronics  (4)
Prerequisite:  PHYS 204 .  AC and DC circuits, solid-state circuits and devices, feedback, operational amplifiers.  Lecture 3 hours, laboratory 3 hours.
PHYS 313 Digital Electronics  (4)
Prerequisite:  PHYS 312 .  Design and use of pulse circuits and digital logic circuits.  Fundamentals of computer design and computer programming.  Lecture 3 hours, laboratory 3 hours.
PHYS 333 Applied Modern Physics  (4)
Prerequisites:  MATH 215 , PHYS 204 .  Selected topics in modern physics of solids including special relativity, wave mechanics, photons, phonons, applications to lasers, semiconductors, and other devices.
PHYS 350N Evolution of Universe and Earth  (4)  (also listed as GEOL 350N)
Prerequisite:  GE natural science requirement.  Origin and evolution of the universe, elements, stars, sun, the Earth, and life upon it.
PHYS 363 The Creative Process in Physics  (4)
Prerequisite:  GE natural science requirement.  The creative process in physics past and present.  Individual achievements from Galileo to modern times, both experimental and theoretical;  examination of how large scientific groups work;  implications for future research.
PHYS 396 Honors Studies in Physics  (3)
Prerequisite:  Admission to departmental honors program.  Study leading to colloquium presentation required for conferral of Bachelor of Science degree with Departmental Honors in Physics.
PHYS 400-level Courses

All 400-level courses may be applied toward master's degree requirements except the following, subject to limits established by the department and approval of the graduate adviser:  PHYS 410AB , 425AB , 426AB , 427 , 432AB , 470 , 497 , 499 .

PHYS 410AB Mathematical Methods of Physics  (4, 4)
Prerequisites:  PHYS 204 ;  MATH 209.  Vector calculus, integration, series, complex variables, special functions, boundary value problems, calculus of variations.  Emphasis on mathematical solution of problems in physics.
PHYS 411 Introduction to Astrophysics  (3)  (also listed as ASTR 411)
Prerequisites:  PHYS 306 PHYS 311 recommended.  Celestial mechanics, stellar interiors, atmospheres, and evolution;  introductory cosmology.
PHYS 412 Laboratory Applications of Minicomputers and Microcomputers  (4)
Prerequisite:  PHYS 313 strongly recommended.  The use of minicomputers and microcomputers in physics laboratories and research.  Fundamentals of data acquisition, interfacing, and data display.  Lecture 2 hours, laboratory 6 hours.
PHYS 420 Physics Computing  (3)
Prerequisites:  PHYS 410A and some programming experience recommended.  Introduction to the use of computers in physics.  The use of numerical recipes and symbolic manipulation programs for the solution of scientific problems.  Lecture 2 hours, laboratory 3 hours.
PHYS 425AB Introduction to Theoretical Physics  (4, 4)
Prerequisites:  PHYS 205 , 410A .  Application of mathematics to solutions of problems in physics with emphasis on general area of mechanics;  Newtonian, Lagrangian, and Hamiltonian mechanics, field theory, special relativity.
PHYS 426AB Electricity and Magnetism  (3, 3)
Prerequisites:  PHYS 205 , 410A .  Theoretical electricity and magnetism;  properties of electric and magnetic fields, electromagnetic waves;  emphasis on mathematical solution of problems.
PHYS 427 Thermodynamics  (4)
Prerequisites:  PHYS 205 , MATH 209. Corequisite: 410A.
Introduction to thermodynamics and statistical physics; emphasis on mathematical solution of problems.
PHYS 428 Statistical Physics  (3)
Prerequisite:  PHYS 427 .  Introduction to statistical mechanics, transport phenomena, fluctuations;  emphasis on mathematical solution of problems.
PHYS 431 Modern Optics  (4)
Prerequisites or corequisites:  PHYS 205 , 410AB ;  recommended corequisite:  PHYS 471 .  Introduction to modern optics;  geometric optics by matrix methods, partial polarization, coherence, diffraction, quantum optics, and developments in laser technology.
PHYS 432AB Introductory Quantum Mechanics  (3, 3)
PHYS Prerequisites:  PHYS 306 , 410A .  Introduction to quantum mechanics with applications;  emphasis on mathematical solution of problems.
432A:  Fundamentals of wave mechanics, wave packets, and the uncertainty principle.  Schrödinger's equation, operators and eigenfunctions, one-dimensional problems.
432B:  Central potentials, spectroscopy, spin and angular momentum, symmetry and conservation laws.
PHYS 433 Solid State Physics I  (4)
Prerequisites:  PHYS 306 427 recommended.  Crystal structure, thermal and electrical behavior of insulators, metals, and semiconductors;  band theory.
PHYS 434 Solid State Physics II  (4)
Prerequisites:  PHYS 432A 427 , 433 recommended.  Fermi surface, transport theory, superconductivity, magnetic resonance, optical properties, superfluidity, ion implantation.
PHYS 443AB Biophysics  (3, 2)
Prerequisites:  Lower division biophysics or biochemistry program;  CHEM 401 or PHYS 427 .
PHYS 443A:  Physical aspects of living state.  Lecture 3 hours.
443B:  Theory of physical methods used in measurement of biological processes.  Lecture 2 hours.
PHYS 444 Nuclear Physics  (4)
Prerequisite:  PHYS 306 .  Nuclear phenomenology;  alpha, beta, and gamma decays;  nuclear reactions, nuclear energy, radiation detectors;  radioactivity.
PHYS 470 Advanced Physics Laboratory I  (3)
Prerequisites:  PHYS 306 , 312 .  Instrumentation, techniques, and analytical evaluation involved in current experimental practice;  basic experiments in vacuum techniques, and in classical, solid-state, and nuclear physics.  Lecture 1 hour, laboratory 6 hours.
PHYS 471 Advanced Physics Laboratory II  (3)
Prerequisite:  PHYS 470 .  Further advanced laboratory experience in contemporary fields.  Experiments in nuclear physics, solid-state physics, cryogenics, optics, laser physics, spectroscopy, and related topics, as selected by instructor.  Lecture 1 hour, laboratory 6 hours.  May be repeated to maximum of 9 units.
PHYS 488 Modern Topics in General Relativity  (3)  (also listed as ASTR 488)
Prerequisites:  PHYS 410AB 425AB strongly recommended.  Introduction to basic ideas of general relativity:  physics of spacetime, relativistic stars, gravitational collapse and black holes, gravitational waves, testing of general relativity.
PHYS 491 Topics in Contemporary Experimental Physics  (3)
Prerequisites:  Upper division or graduate standing in physics;  others as listed in department announcement.  Each section of course is a lecture series designed to present current developments in research;  laboratory program may be included.  Specific topics listed in Schedule of Classes and in department.  May be repeated for credit.
PHYS 492 Topics in Contemporary Theoretical Physics  (3)
Prerequisites:  Upper division or graduate standing in Physics;  others as listed in department announcement.  Each section of course is a lecture series designed to present current developments in theory.  Specific topic listed in Schedule of Classes and in department.  May be repeated for credit.
PHYS 497 Undergraduate Research  (1–4)
Prerequisite:  Consent of faculty sponsor prior to registration.  Laboratory work organized on a project basis open to a limited number of qualified physics majors each year.  Emphasis on developing experimental ability and initiative of the student.  May be repeated for credit.
PHYS 499 Undergraduate Directed Study  (1–4)
Prerequisites:  Consent of faculty sponsor before registration and ability to work independently.  Includes regular conferences with sponsor and preparation of a report.  May be repeated for credit.



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