2018-2019 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 19, 2024  
2018-2019 Undergraduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics, BA

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Director of Undergraduate Studies

Matthew LaHaye
201 Physics Building


Marina Artuso, Stefan Ballmer, Steven Blusk, Mark Bowick, Duncan Brown, Simon Catterall, Walter Freeman, Jay Hubisz, Matthew LaHaye, John Laiho, M. Lisa Manning, M. Cristina Marchetti, Alan Middleton, Liviu Movileanu, Alison Patteson, Joseph Paulsen, Britton Plourde, Carl Rosenzweig, Matthew Rudolph, Peter Saulson, Eric A. Schiff, Jennifer Schwarz, Tomasz Skwarnicki, Mitchell Soderberg, Paul Souder, Sheldon Stone, Gianfranco Vidali, Scott Watson, Denver Whittington

Physicists idealize the behavior of matter and energy in terms of mathematical representations called the “fundamental laws of nature” and seek to explain the properties of nuclei, atoms, molecules, and systems of these particles (gases, liquids, crystals, etc.). Undergraduate courses provide a background in classical physics, quantum mechanics, and laboratory techniques.

The department offers coursework leading to either a B.A. or a B.S. degree. The major leading to the B.S. degree is modeled on the recommendations of the American Physical Society for students intending to pursue graduate work in physics. Students submit a petition to receive a B.S. in physics and should consult the director of undergraduate studies concerning required courses. For information about certification to teach physics at the secondary school level, see “Education/Arts and Sciences (dual program)” in this section of the catalog.

Other information about physics can be found on the Internet at physics.syr.edu.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Employ qualitative physical principles to describe phenomena occurring from sub-atomic to cosmological distance scales

2. Establish, reinforce, and master languages of mathematics and logic as they apply to problem solving associated with natural phenomena

3. Gain laboratory and technology skills necessary to investigate the experimental underpinnings of physics

4.  Use the principles of physics in solving a broad array of scientific and technical problems

B.A. Degree Requirements

The B.A. degree in physics is an important accomplishment for students considering careers in such widely varying areas as law, journalism, corporate management, and teaching. In all of these fields a liberal education incorporating serious study of a scientific discipline is an asset.

  • Development of analytical and computational skills through the study of advanced undergraduate physics.
  • Development of written and verbal communication skills, including the specialized skills required for the communication of technical information.
  • Development of a broad understanding of the role of science and technology in modern life. The bachelor of arts degree requires completion of at least 30 credits of physics and astronomy courses.

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