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Physics Degree

Physics Degree

Bachelor of Science in Physics

The Bachelor of Science in Physics is designed to prepare students for graduate studies, as well as careers in industry, education and the private sector.  The curriculum consists of four introductory courses that build broad knowledge in the field while training students in laboratory and computational skills.  At the advanced level, students choose theory and experiment courses to complete their major.  Mathematics through differential equations is required, as is participation in the weekly departmental seminar beginning the second semester sophomore year. (Sample schedules are given at the bottom of this page.)

Detailed course descriptions, descriptions of distribution course requirements and other curricular requirements are given in the Washington College Course Catalog.

1. Required Introductory Physics Courses (Typically taken Freshman and Sophomore Years):

PHY 111 General Physics I with Lab
PHY 112 General Physics II with Lab
PHY 211 Modern Physics with Lab
PHY 252 Scientific Modeling and Data Analysis

2. Required Advanced Physics Courses (Junior and Senior Years):

  • Two Experiment Courses
PHY 352 Electronics
PHY 451 Advanced Physics Lab
  • Three Theory Courses Selected from the Following:
PHY 321 Classical Mechanics
PHY 322 Quantum Mechanics
PHY 323 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
PHY 324 Electricity and Magnetism

3. Physics Seminar:

Five one-credit physics seminar courses beginning the second semester sophomore year. PHY 292, PHY 391, PHY 392, PHY 491, PHY 492.  This course includes informal conversation about physics topics, writing, presentation, problem solving and discussions of job preparation and careers.

4. Four Required Courses in Mathematics (and two recommended courses):

MAT 111 Differential Calculus
MAT 112 Integral Calculus
MAT 210 Multivariable Calculus
MAT 310 Differential Equations
MAT 280 (recommended) Linear Algebra
MAT 340 (recommended) Numerical Analysis

5. One Additional Science or Math Course:

Selected from among the following: CHE 220, PHY 240, any physics course at the 300+ level, or another science or math course approved by the department.

6. Successful Completion of the Senior Capstone Experience (SCE) during the senior year (4 course credits). 

Example Schedules for Physics Majors

Year 1: Fall                     Year 1: Spring                    
PHY 111 PHY 112
MAT 111 MAT 112
FYS ENG 101
Language 1 Language 2 or Distribution

Year 2: Fall                     Year 2: Spring                    
PHY 211 PHY 252
MAT 210 MAT 310
Distribution Distribution
Distribution Distribution
  PHY 292
Year 3: Fall                     Year 3: Spring                    
PHY 321 PHY 322
CSI 201 PHY 352
Elective Elective
Distribution* Distribution
PHY 391 PHY 392
Year 4: Fall                     Year 4: Spring                   
PHY 323 PHY 324 (elective)
PHY 451 Elective
Elective Elective
Elective Elective
PHY 491 PHY 492
Work on SCE Work on SCE
Year 1: Fall                     Year 1: Spring                    
PHY 111 PHY 112
MAT 111 MAT 112
FYS ENG 101
Language 1 Language 2 or Distribution

Year 2: Fall                     Year 2: Spring                    
PHY 211 PHY 252
MAT 210 MAT 310
Distribution Distribution
Distribution Distribution
  PHY 292

Year 3: Fall                     Year 3: Spring                    
Study Abroad PHY 322
Study Abroad PHY 352
Study Abroad CSI 201
Study Abroad Distribution
Study Abroad PHY 392

Year 4: Fall                     Year 4: Spring                   
PHY 323 PHY 324
PHY 451 Elective
Distribution Elective
Elective Elective
PHY 491 PHY 492
Work on SCE Work on SCE 

 

Year 1: Fall                     Year 1: Spring                    
Distribution Distribution
Elective Elective
FYS ENG 101
Language 1 Language 2 or Distribution

Year 2: Fall                     Year 2: Spring                    
PHY 111 PHY 112
MAT 111 MAT 112
Distribution Distribution
Distribution Distribution

Year 3: Fall                     Year 3: Spring                    
PHY 211 PHY 252
MAT 210 MAT 310
PHY 321 PHY 352
Elective Elective
PHY 391 PHY 392
Year 4: Fall                     Year 4: Spring                   
PHY 323 PHY 324 (elective)
PHY 451 Elective
Elective Elective
Elective Elective
PHY 491 PHY 492

 

Minor in Physics

1. Required Introductory Physics Courses (Typically taken Freshman and Sophomore Years):

PHY 111 General Physics I with Lab
PHY 112 General Physics II with Lab
PHY 211 Modern Physics with Lab
PHY 252 Scientific Modeling and Data Analysis

2. Two Advanced Physics Courses (Junior and Senior Years) selected from the following:

PHY 352 Electronics
PHY 451 Advanced Physics Laboratory
PHY 321 Classical Mechanics
PHY 322 Quantum Mechanics
PHY 323 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
PHY 324 Electricity and Magnetism 

3. Four Courses in Mathematics:

MAT 111 Differential Calculus
MAT 112 Integral Calculus
MAT 210 Multivariable Calculus
MAT 310 Differential Equations