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Duluth Campus

Physics B.S.

UMD-Physics & Astronomy
Swenson College of Science and Engineering
  • Program Type: Baccalaureate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2017
  • Required credits to graduate with this degree: 120
  • Required credits within the major: 65
  • Degree: Bachelor of Science
The bachelor of science degree in physics is primarily for students planning to work toward an advanced degree in physics or a related area. The physics courses emphasize conceptual foundations, problem-solving skills, and experimental techniques. Students are encouraged to participate in research. The department also offers courses required for other science and engineering programs. Honors requirements: To graduate with honors, students must participate in the department honors program, complete and present a research project, and maintain a GPA above 3.00 overall and in the major. They are also expected to attend department colloquia. Interested students should contact the physics honors program coordinator.
Program Delivery
This program is available:
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Admission Requirements
For information about University of Minnesota admission requirements, visit the Office of Admissions website.
General Requirements
The Board of Regents, on recommendation of the faculty, grants degrees from the University of Minnesota. Requirements for an undergraduate degree from University of Minnesota Duluth include the following:
  1. Students must meet all course and credit requirements of the departments and colleges or schools in which they are enrolled including an advanced writing course. Students seeking two degrees must fulfill the requirements of both degrees. However, two degrees cannot be awarded for the same major.
  2. Students must complete all requirements of the Liberal Education Program.
  3. Students must complete a minimum of 120 semester credits.
  4. At least 30 of the last 60 degree credits earned immediately before graduation must be awarded by UMD.
  5. Students must complete at least half of their courses at the 3xxx-level and higher at UMD. Study-abroad credits earned through courses taught by UM faculty and at institutions with which UMD has international exchange programs may be used to fulfill this requirement.
  6. If a minor is required, students must take at least three upper division credits in their minor field from UMD.
  7. The minimum cumulative UM GPA required for graduation will be 2.00 and will include only University of Minnesota coursework. A minimum UM GPA of 2.00 is required in each UMD undergraduate major and minor. No academic unit may impose higher grade point standards to graduate.
  8. Diploma, transcripts, and certification will be withheld until all financial obligations to the University have been met.
Program Requirements
1. A minor or a second major in a different program. 2. The first math course is determined by ACT math score. The sample plan presupposes placement into MATH 1296. 3. Courses numbered above 3xxx may be offered in alternate years only. Some courses suggested in the sample plans in the junior and senior years may need to be switched to match the course offerings. 4. Students interested in teaching 9-12 physics may enroll concurrently in the Department of Education and apply for admission to the Secondary Teacher Education Program. 5. Taking the Honors General Physics I course (PHYS 2017) is recommended but not required.
Required Courses (35 cr)
Physics I course
PHYS 2013 - General Physics I [LE CAT5, NAT SCI] (4.0 cr)
or PHYS 2017 - Honors: General Physics I [NAT SCI] (4.0 cr)
Physics I lab
PHYS 2014 - General Physics Lab I [NAT SCI] (1.0 cr)
Physics II course
PHYS 2015 - General Physics II (4.0 cr)
or PHYS 2018 - Honors General Physics II (4.0 cr)
Physics II lab
PHYS 2016 - General Physics Lab II (1.0 cr)
Core Courses
PHYS 2021 - Relativity and Quantum Physics (4.0 cr)
PHYS 2022 - Classical Physics (4.0 cr)
PHYS 2033 - Classical and Quantum Physics Lab (2.0 cr)
PHYS 3033 - Analytical Methods in Physics (3.0 cr)
PHYS 4001 - Classical Mechanics (4.0 cr)
PHYS 4011 - Electromagnetic Theory (4.0 cr)
PHYS 4021 - Quantum Physics II (4.0 cr)
Electives (9 cr)
Take 9 or more credit(s) from the following:
· AST 4110 - Observational Astronomy (3.0 cr)
· PHYS 3061 - Instrumentation (3.0 cr)
· PHYS 3091 - Independent Study (1.0-3.0 cr)
· PHYS 3094 - Physics Research (1.0-6.0 cr)
· PHYS 3561 - Astrophysics (3.0 cr)
· PHYS 4031 - Thermal and Statistical Physics (4.0 cr)
· PHYS 5033 - Introduction to Particle Physics (3.0 cr)
· PHYS 5041 - Optics (3.0 cr)
· PHYS 5052 - Computational Methods in Physics (3.0 cr)
· PHYS 5053 - Data Analysis Methods in Physics (3.0 cr)
· PHYS 5061 - Experimental Methods (3.0 cr)
· PHYS 5063 - Theoretical Methods (3.0 cr)
· PHYS 5090 - Physics Seminar (1.0 cr)
Required Courses From Other Programs (21 cr)
Mathematics
MATH 1296 - Calculus I [LE CAT2, LOGIC & QR] (5.0 cr)
MATH 1297 - Calculus II [LOGIC & QR] (5.0 cr)
MATH 3280 - Differential Equations with Linear Algebra (4.0 cr)
MATH 3298 - Calculus III (4.0 cr)
Advanced Writing
WRIT 3130 - Advanced Writing: Engineering (3.0 cr)
or WRIT 3150 - Advanced Writing: Science (3.0 cr)
Recommended Courses From Other Programs
Chemistry
CHEM 1153 - General Chemistry I [LE CAT5, NAT SCI] (4.0 cr)
CHEM 1154 - General Chemistry Lab I [LE CAT4, NAT SCI] (1.0 cr)
Computer Science
CS 1411 - Introduction to Programming in Matlab (4.0 cr)
or CS 1511 - Computer Science I [LE CAT3, LOGIC & QR] (5.0 cr)
or CS 1581 - Honors: Computer Science I [LE CAT3, LOGIC & QR] (5.0 cr)
Mathematics
MATH 3326 - Vectors and Matrices (3.0 cr)
MATH 3810 - Applied Mathematics: Numerical Methods (4.0 cr)
 
More program views..
View college catalog(s):
· Swenson College of Science and Engineering

View sample plan(s):
· Physics BS Traditional Track
· Physics BS Honors Track

View checkpoint chart:
· Physics B.S.
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PHYS 2013 - General Physics I (LE CAT5, NAT SCI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Calculus-based introduction to Newtonian Mechanics, fluid mechanics, and heat. The companion laboratory, PHYS 2014 should be taken concurrently. The combination of PHYS 2013 and 2014 meets liberal education category 4. prereq: previous or concurrent registration in PHYS 2014. Prerequisite of Math 1290 or 1296 or 1596; credit will not be granted if already received for PHYS 1201 or 2011.
PHYS 2017 - Honors: General Physics I (NAT SCI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Advanced coverage of General Physics topics that include Newtonian Mechanics, fluid mechanics, and heat. Mathematically and conceptually demanding problem solving techniques. The companion laboratory, PHYS 2014, should be taken concurrently. The combination of PHYS 2014 and PHYS 2017 meets liberal education natural science with lab. prereq: Previous or concurrent registration in PHYS 2014. Previous or concurrent registration in Math 1290 or Math 1296 or 1596, or physics major or instructor permission. Credit will not be granted if already received for PHYS 1201 or PHYS 2011 or PHYS 2013.
PHYS 2014 - General Physics Lab I (NAT SCI)
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Calculus-based introduction to Newtonian Mechanics, fluid mechanics, and heat exemplified by laboratory study. This laboratory accompanies lecture PHYS 2013 and should be taken concurrently. The combination of PHYS 2013 and 2014 meets liberal education category 4. prereq: previous or concurrent enrollment in PHYS 2013
PHYS 2015 - General Physics II
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Calculus-based introduction to electricity, magnetism and optics. The companion laboratory, PHYS 2016, should be taken concurrently. prereq: previous or concurrent registration in 2016. Prerequisite of 2011 or 2013 and 2014, Math 1297 or 1597; credit will not be granted if already received for PHYS 1202, 1204 or 2012.
PHYS 2018 - Honors General Physics II
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Advanced coverage of calculus-based introduction to electricity magnetism and optics. Mathematically and conceptually demanding problem solving techniques. The companion laboratory, PHYS 2016 should be taken concurrently. Prerequisites: Previous or concurrent registration in PHYS 2016; PHYS 2013 or 2017; co-registration in or prior completion of Math 1287 or 1597 or instruction permission. Credit will not be granted if already received for PHYS 1202 or 1204 or 2012 or 2015.
PHYS 2016 - General Physics Lab II
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Calculus-based introduction to electricity, magnetism and optics exemplified by laboratory study. This laboratory accompanies lecture PHYS 2015 and should be taken concurrently. prereq: Previous or concurrently enrollment in PHYS 2015 or 2018.
PHYS 2021 - Relativity and Quantum Physics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Descriptive course; relativity, quantum mechanics, hydrogen atom, multielectron atoms, molecular structure, quantum statistics, thermal radiation, solid state physics, nuclear physics. prereq: 1202 or 1204 or 2012 or (2015 and 2016)
PHYS 2022 - Classical Physics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Survey of various topics in classical physics: vector angular momentum, AC circuits, oscillatory motion, waves, physical optics. prereq: 2015 and 2016 as pre or co-req; credit will not be granted if already received for 1203 or 1205 or 2001
PHYS 2033 - Classical and Quantum Physics Lab
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01568 - PHYS 2033/2031
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Experiments and computer simulations selected to provide experience with both concepts and techniques in classical and quantum physics. prereq: 2021 and 2022 (concurrent registration is allowed)
PHYS 3033 - Analytical Methods in Physics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
A survey of analytical methods for the solution of fundamental equations of physics, such as those of Newton, Schrodinger, and Maxwell, and of the underlying mathematics, including complex variables, linear algebra, vector analysis, and ordinary and partial differential equations. prereq: 2021, 2022, Math 3280 and 3298
PHYS 4001 - Classical Mechanics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Theoretical mechanics, including Lagrangian and Hamiltonian functions, symmetries, and conservation laws. prereq: 2022 or 2001, Math 3280
PHYS 4011 - Electromagnetic Theory
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Electric and magnetic fields, Maxwell's equations and applications, radiation. prereq: 3033
PHYS 4021 - Quantum Physics II
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Quantum wave mechanics with applications; Schrodinger equation, angular momentum, hydrogen atom, symmetries, identical particles. prereq: 3033
AST 4110 - Observational Astronomy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Applied principles of astronomical observation; review of optical telescopes and mounts; locating and tracking objects; remote telescope operation, CCD, CMOS, and film astrophotography, astrometry, photometry, spectroscopy, astronomical image processing and analysis. prereq: Phys 2012 or instructor consent
PHYS 3061 - Instrumentation
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Introduction to electronics for scientific applications. DC and AC circuits, linear and nonlinear devices, integrated circuits. Analog electronics. Transducers. Digital electronics. Applications of microcomputers to lab data acquisition. prereq: 2022 or 1203 or 1205, 1 sem programming
PHYS 3091 - Independent Study
Credits: 1.0 -3.0 [max 6.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Directed individual study. prereq: department consent
PHYS 3094 - Physics Research
Credits: 1.0 -6.0 [max 6.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Supervised research. prereq: department consent
PHYS 3561 - Astrophysics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02227 - AST 3561/PHYS 3561
Prerequisites: 2021
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
The application of physical laws and processes to the understanding of astrophysical objects: celestial mechanics, energy transport, stellar structure and evolution, the interstellar medium, stellar remnants, galactic structure and dynamics, large scale structure and cosmology. prereq: 2021
PHYS 4031 - Thermal and Statistical Physics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Elements of thermodynamics; principles of statistical physics applied to equilibrium properties of classical and quantum systems. prereq: 2021
PHYS 5033 - Introduction to Particle Physics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Prerequisites: 2021, 2022, MATH 3280, 3298
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
A survey of particle physics, including physics beyond the Standard Model. Topics include symmetries and conservation laws, quark models, quantum electrodynamics and chromodynamics, Feynman diagrams, and neutrino oscillations. prereq: 2021, 2022, MATH 3280, 3298
PHYS 5041 - Optics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
Fundamentals of physical optics. prereq: 2022 or 2001
PHYS 5052 - Computational Methods in Physics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Fall Odd Year
Applications of numerical methods to problems in classical and quantum physics, emphasizing ordinary and partial differential equations. Computer modeling of physical systems and experimentation with simulations of physical systems. prereq: 2021, 1 sem programming, Math 3280
PHYS 5053 - Data Analysis Methods in Physics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Problems of data analysis in the context of dynamical models. Emphasis will be placed on large datasets that arise in astrophysics, particle dynamics, physical oceanography and meteorology. (2 hr lect & 2 hr lab) prereq: 2012 or 2015 and 2016, 1 sem programming, lab or field experience beyond 2012/2015 and 2016
PHYS 5061 - Experimental Methods
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Instruction and practice in methods of experimental physics; microcomputer-based data acquisition; vacuum techniques. prereq: 2033 or 2031, 3061
PHYS 5063 - Theoretical Methods
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Selection of theoretical methods used in physics including variational calculus. Lie groups and algebra path integrals, perturbation theory, renormalization group, differential geometry. pre-req: grad student or instructor consent
PHYS 5090 - Physics Seminar
Credits: 1.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Preparation and presentation of oral reports on approved physics topics, research projects, and journal articles. prereq: Sr or grad student
MATH 1296 - Calculus I (LE CAT2, LOGIC & QR)
Credits: 5.0 [max 5.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01420 - Math1290/1296/1596
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
First part of a standard introduction to calculus of functions of a single variable. Limits, continuity, derivatives, integrals, and their applications. prereq: Math ACT 27 or higher or a grade of at least C- in Math 1250 or department consent
MATH 1297 - Calculus II (LOGIC & QR)
Credits: 5.0 [max 5.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01421 - Math 1597/1297
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Second part of a standard introduction to calculus. Vectors, applications of integrals, transcendental functions, series, and multivariable functions and partial derivatives. prereq: A grade of at least C- in 1290 or 1296 or 1596
MATH 3280 - Differential Equations with Linear Algebra
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
First, second, and higher order equations; series methods; Laplace transforms; systems; software; modeling applications; introduction to vectors; matrix algebra, eigenvalues. prereq: A grade of at least C- in 1297 or 1597
MATH 3298 - Calculus III
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Third part of a standard introduction to calculus. Conic sections, vectors and vector-valued functions, partial derivatives and multiple integrals, vector fields, Green's and Stokes' theorems. prereq: A grade of at least C- in 1297 or 1597
WRIT 3130 - Advanced Writing: Engineering
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Study and practice of writing tasks in engineering, including oral presentations. Exploration of rhetorical situations in professional practice, including research methods, document design, editing, effective collaboration, and ethical issues in the production of professional documents, such as instructions, lab reports, proposals, short and long reports, and career documents. prereq: WRIT 1120 or MNTC completed and minimum 60 credits
WRIT 3150 - Advanced Writing: Science
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Study and practice of writing tasks in science, including oral presentations. Exploration of rhetorical situations in professional practice, including research methods, document design, editing, effective collaboration, and ethical issues in the production of professional documents, such as instructions, lab reports, proposals, short and long reports, and career documents. prereq: WRIT 1120 or MNTC completed and minimum 60 credits
CHEM 1153 - General Chemistry I (LE CAT5, NAT SCI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02278 - CHEM 1173/CHEM 1153/CHEM 1161
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Fundamental principles of chemistry exemplified by study of elements, compounds, and their reactions. Covers fundamental concepts of the atom, molecule, stoichiometry, chemical reactions, thermochemistry, gas laws, atomic structure, periodic table, chemical bonding, and other selected topics. The companion laboratory, CHEM 1154, should be taken concurrently. The combination of CHEM 1153 and CHEM 1154 meets the lab component of NAT SCI, LE CAT 4. prereq: One year high school chem, Math ACT 24 or higher or a grade of least C- in Math 1005, Credit will not be granted if already received for 1151 or 1161 or 1173.
CHEM 1154 - General Chemistry Lab I (LE CAT4, NAT SCI)
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02279 - CHEM 1174/CHEM 1154
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Basic laboratory skills while investigating the fundamental principles of chemistry. Covers fundamental concepts of the atom and molecule, stoichiometry, acid-base reactions, oxidation-reduction reactions, thermochemistry, characteristic properties of anions, gas laws and spectrophotometry. This laboratory accompanies lecture CHEM 1153. The combination of CHEM 1153 and CHEM 1154 meets liberal education category 4 requirements. prereq: Previous or concurrent enrollment in CHEM 1153 or 1173; credit will not be granted if already received for CHEM 1151, 1161 or 1174.
CS 1411 - Introduction to Programming in Matlab
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
An introduction to programming in the Matlab language. Topics covered will include the creation of algorithms, function definition, basic programming statements, input and output, mathematical operations, matrix manipulation, and representing data. As time allows, additional coverage of plotting methods, data structures using cellular arrays and other advanced topics. prereq: one to two years of high school math or instructor consent
CS 1511 - Computer Science I (LE CAT3, LOGIC & QR)
Credits: 5.0 [max 5.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01383 - CS 1211/1511/1581
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
A comprehensive introduction to computer programming using the C++ language. The course covers program design, C++ programming basics, control structures, functions and parameter passing. Students write and implement programs with data structures (arrays), pointers and files. Object-oriented programming is also introduced, along with concepts of abstraction, ADTs, encapsulation and data hiding. prereq: 3 1/2 yrs high school math or instructor consent
CS 1581 - Honors: Computer Science I (LE CAT3, LOGIC & QR)
Credits: 5.0 [max 5.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01383 - CS 1211/1511/1581
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Similar to 1511, but in greater depth and with more challenging assignments. For high-ability students. prereq: Honors student, 3 1/2 yrs high school math
MATH 3326 - Vectors and Matrices
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Solving systems of linear equations; matrix algebra; determinants; an introduction to vector spaces, subspaces, linear independence, span, basis; coordinates, matrix transformations, eigenvalues, eigenvectors, matrix factorizations and applications to computer graphics. prereq: 1296 with a grade of C- or better
MATH 3810 - Applied Mathematics: Numerical Methods
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Methods for the numerical solution of mathematical problems. Computer representation of numbers; courses of error; introduction to interpolation, approximation, numerical integration, solution of linear and nonlinear systems, initial-value problem approximation; use of highly structured computer software such as MATLAB, Octave, Mathematical and/or SAGE. prereq: previous or concurrent registration in 3280