2021-2022 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Oct 01, 2022  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics, BS

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Director of Undergraduate Studies

Jay Hubisz
201 Physics Building


Marina Artuso, Stefan Ballmer, Steven Blusk, Duncan Brown, Simon Catterall, Eric Coughlin, Walter Freeman, Jay Hubisz, John Laiho, M. Lisa Manning, Alan Middleton, Liviu Movileanu, Alison Patteson, Joseph Paulsen, Ivan Pechenezhskiy, Britton Plourde, Jennifer Ross, Matthew Rudolph, Christian Santangelo, , Eric A. Schiff, Jennifer Schwarz, Tomasz Skwarnicki, Mitchell Soderberg, Paul Souder, Sheldon Stone, 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 B.A. degree program is an excellent liberal arts major that requires fewer credit hours in the major than the B.S. program. The B.S. degree is the recommended choice for students contemplating graduate work in science and engineering.

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

Student Learning Outcomes

1. A student will be able to explain phenomena occurring from sub-atomic to cosmological distance scales using qualitative physical principles. 

2. A student will be able to apply mathematics and logic to solve problems associated with natural phenomena. 

3. A student will be able to explain the experimental underpinnings of physical laws. 

4. A student will be able to employ basic laboratory and technical skills to solve physics problems as a result of formal laboratory course work and research opportunities with faculty. 

5. A student will be able to utilize modelling software and numerical methods to solve complex problems.

B.S. Degree Requirements

The B.S. degree in physics requires at least 38 credits of physics coursework, including at least 30 credits of upper-division physics courses (numbered 300 or above). The required course work for the B.S. includes:

B.S with distinction

A B.S. with distinction is awarded to students who complete the 30 upper division credit hour B.S. with a 3.4 grade point average in their physics coursework, and who complete another 6 credit hours of upper-division physics coursework. A B.S. with distinction is noted on a student’s official transcript.

Upper-division PHY electives

The B.S. degree requires at least 5 additional credit hours of upper-division coursework beyond the required core of physics coursework. There are typically several courses offered each year in addition to the possibility of receiving credit for research, theses, or the seminar in physics education. Students considering graduate work in physics are encouraged to take PHY 525 (Electromagnetics II) and PHY 568 (Quantum Mechanics II).

Students are also encouraged to take an introductory lecture and lab course from another scientific discipline, including chemistry, biology, or earth science.

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