Broadly speaking, our courses are designed for three groups of students: non-science majors, science majors, and Physics majors. Below is a sampling of courses for each of these groups.

Hertz graphic

Physics of Sound

PHYS-P105 (3 cr.)

Physical principles involved in the description, generation, and reproduction of sound. Topics include physics of vibrations and waves, propagation, Fourier decomposition of complex wave forms, harmonic spectra, standing waves and resonance, sound loudness and decibels, room acoustics, analog/digital recording/ reproduction.

Rainbow flowing out of a prism

Physical Science through Inquiry

PHYS-P199 (3 cr.)

Fulfills the physical science requirement for elementary education majors. Introduction to topics such as motion, forces, energy, states of matter, electricity, magnetism, and light. Two lectures and one laboratory each week. Enrollment is limited to majors in the School of Education.

Smartphone being held above a payment terminal

How Things Work

PHYS-P150 (3 cr.)

An exploration of the physics involved in our technology. The course introduces ideas from physics needed to understand the function of a selection of modern devices and systems.

Solar panels and wind turbines

Energy and Technology

PHYS-P120 (3 cr.)

Provides physical basis for understanding the interaction of technology and society, and for solution of problems, such as energy use and the direction of technological change. Credit given for only one of P120 or P110.

Close up of Newton's cradle

General Physics I

PHYS-P201 (5 cr.)

Newtonian mechanics, oscillations, and waves. Bulk properties of matter and thermodynamics at the discretion of the instructor. Applications of physical principles to related scientific disciplines, including life sciences. Three lectures, one discussion, and one two-hour laboratory period each week.

Skyline showing smoke billowing out of industrial buildings

Environmental Physics

PHYS-P310 (3 cr.)

For biological and physical science majors. Relationship of physics to current environmental problems: energy production, comparison of sources and byproducts, nature of and possible solutions to problems of noise and particulate matter in atmosphere.

Colorful lines of code

Computing Skills for Physical Scientists

PHYS-P325 (3 cr.)

Computer skills with application to upper-division physical science courses: use of Python as a programming language and Mathematica for symbolic manipulation; data fitting and visualization; numerical and Monte Carlo methods.

Lab machinery

Analog and Digital Electronics

PHYS-P400 (3 cr.)

Practical electronics as would be encountered in a research laboratory or industrial setting. Both analog (filters, power supplies, transistors, amplifiers, op-amps, comparators, oscillators, transducers including the analysis of circuits using computer-aided techniques) and digital devices (storage elements, discrete gates, and programmable devices).


Physics I

PHYS-P221 (5 cr.)

First semester of a three-semester, calculus-based sequence intended for science majors. Newtonian mechanics; oscillations and waves; heat and thermodynamics. Three lectures, two discussion sections, and one two-hour lab each week. Physics majors are encouraged to take P221 in the fall semester of the freshman year.

Mass-energy equivalence formula

Physics III

PHYS-P301 (3 cr.)

Third semester of a three-semester, calculus-based sequence. Special theory of relativity; introduction to quantum physics; atomic, nuclear, condensed matter, and elementary particle physics. Intended for science and mathematics majors. Three lecture-discussion periods each week.

List of equations

Theory of Electromagnetism

PHYS-P331 (3 cr.)

Electrostatic fields and differential operators, Laplace and Poisson equations, dielectric materials, steady currents, power and energy, induction, magnetic fields, scalar and vector potentials, Maxwell’s equations.


Introduction to Quantum Mechanics

PHYS-P453 (3 cr.)

The Schroedinger equation with applications to problems such as barrier transmission, harmonic oscillation, and the hydrogen atom. Discussion of orbital and spin angular momentum and identical particles. Introduction to perturbation theory.