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University Catalog

PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Physics is the most fundamental science and underlies our understanding of nearly all areas of science and technology. In a broad sense, physics is concerned with the study of energy, space, and matter, and with the interactions between matter and the laws that govern these interactions. More specifically, physicists study mechanics, heat, light, electric and magnetic fields, gravitation, relativity, atomic and nuclear physics, and condensed matter physics.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Sacramento State offers three degree programs: the BA in Physics, the BS in Physics, and one program for a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Physics; the Department also offers Minor programs in Physics and Astronomy. The BS degree is recommended for students seeking a career in Physics or planning to pursue a graduate degree. The BA degree is recommended for students who are interested in teaching Physics in high school or who want a liberal arts education with an emphasis in Physics. Physics majors are encouraged to take additional mathematics and to develop skills in the use of computers.

Approximately 50 percent of the graduating physics majors from Sacramento State continue on to graduate school earning advanced degrees in Physics, Mathematics, Engineering, Environmental Science, Medicine or Business. Another 40 percent find job opportunities in industrial and government laboratories or agencies. The remaining 10 percent obtain their teaching credential.

Special Features

  • In addition to providing a broad academic background and facility in analytic thinking, the study of physics fosters and emphasizes independent study experiences. Physics students at Sacramento State typically spend a year or two working on the design and building of scientific apparatus, assisting a faculty member in a research project, or doing independent study on a topic of special interest to them. These independent projects not only provide a vehicle for applying material learned in class and give students experience in electronics, measurement systems, computers, and machine shop work, but also teach students to work and think on their own. Faculty in the Department have been active in research in acoustics, atomic physics, astrophysics, energy, holography, nuclear physics, optics, quantum mechanics, relativity, and solid state physics.
  • An advising system has been established by the Department of Physics and Astronomy to help students plan their schedules each semester, to discuss independent project possibilities, and to provide career and current job information. Because of the large number of sequential courses in the degree programs, the Department requires that each student contact his/her advisor before registering for classes each semester. Any student without an advisor should contact Professor Hossein Partovi in Sequoia Hall 230, or call (916) 278-6518.

UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS

Requirements - Bachelor of Arts Degree - Physics

Units required for Major: 65-67
Minimum total units required for the BA: 120

Courses in parentheses are prerequisites.

A. Required Lower Division Courses (37 units)

(5)

CHEM 1A

General Chemistry I (High school chemistry and college algebra; sufficient performance on the college algebra diagnostic test, or equivalent)

(5)

CHEM 1B

General Chemistry II (CHEM 1A with a passing grade of C or better)

(4)

MATH 30

Calculus I (MATH 29 or four years of high school mathematics which includes two years of algebra, one year of geometry, and one year of mathematical analysis; completion of ELM requirement and Pre-Calculus Diagnostic Test)

(4)

MATH 31

Calculus II (MATH 30 or appropriate high school based AP credit)

(4)

MATH 32

Calculus III (MATH 31)

(3)

MATH 45

Differential Equations for Science and Engineering (MATH 31)

(4)

PHYS 11A

General Physics: Mechanics (MATH 30, MATH 31; or equivalent certificated high school courses; MATH 31 may be taken concurrently)

(4)

PHYS 11B

General Physics: Heat, Light, Sound (MATH 31, PHYS 11A)

(4)

PHYS 11C

General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism, Modern Physics (MATH 31, PHYS 11A)

B. Required Upper Division Courses (20-22 units)

(3)

PHYS 105

Mathematical Methods in Physics (MATH 32; PHYS 11A, PHYS 11B, PHYS 11C or PHYS 5A, PHYS 5B) OR

(4)

MATH 105A

Advanced Mathematics for Science and Engineering I (MATH 32 and MATH 45 )

(3)

PHYS 106

Introduction to Modern Physics (MATH 31; PHYS 11A, PHYS 11B, PHYS 11C or PHYS 5A, PHYS 5B)

(3)

PHYS 110

Classical Mechanics (MATH 45, PHYS 11C, PHYS 105)

(4)

PHYS 115

Electronics and Instrumentation (PHYS 11C or PHYS 5B with instructor permission) OR

 

PHYS 145

Optics (MATH 45, PHYS 11A, PHYS 11B, PHYS 11C)

(3)

PHYS 124

Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (MATH 45, PHYS 11A, PHYS 11B, PHYS 11C)

(3)

PHYS 135

Electricity and Magnetism (MATH 45, PHYS 11C, PHYS 105)

(2)

PHYS 175

Advanced Physics Laboratory (12 units of upper division physics including PHYS 106 and either PHYS 115 or PHYS 145 and satisfaction of the Advanced Writing requirement)

C. Elective Upper Division Requirements (8 units)

Eight elective units in Physics selected in consultation with a Physics advisor.

D. Physics Colloquium Attendance

Majors must fulfill a minimum attendance requirement at Department Colloquia. Students should consult with their advisor (and/or Department Chair) during their mandatory advising appointments to find out the number of colloquia that are required to satisfy this requirement.

Requirements - Bachelor of Arts Degree - Physics - Concentration in Teacher Preparation

Units required for Major: 80-81
Minimum total units required for the BA: 120

Courses in parentheses are prerequisites.

A. Required Lower Division Courses (52 units)

(3)

ASTR 4B

Introduction to Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology (One year of high school geometry or instructor permission)

(5)

BIO 1

Biodiversity, Evolution, and Ecology

(5)

CHEM 1A

General Chemistry I (High school chemistry and college algebra; sufficient performance on the college algebra diagnostic test, or equivalent, or minimum grade of "C" in CHEM 4)

(5)

CHEM 1B

General Chemistry II (CHEM 1A with a passing grade of C or better)

(3)

GEOL 10

Physical Geology

(1)

GEOL 10L

Physical Geology Lab (GEOL 10; may be taken concurrently)

(4)

MATH 30

Calculus I (MATH 29 or four years of high school mathematics which includes two years of algebra, one year of geometry, and one year of mathematical analysis; completion of ELM requirement and Pre-Calculus Diagnostic Test)

(4)

MATH 31

Calculus II (MATH 30 or appropriate high school based AP credit)

(4)

MATH 32

Calculus III (MATH 31)

(3)

MATH 45

Differential Equations for Science and Engineering (MATH 31)

(4)

PHYS 11A

General Physics: Mechanics (MATH 30, MATH 31; or equivalent certificated high school courses; MATH 31 may be taken concurrently)

(4)

PHYS 11B

General Physics: Heat, Light, Sound (MATH 31, PHYS 11A)

(4)

PHYS 11C

General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism, Modern Physics (MATH 31, PHYS 11A)

(3)

PHYS 30

Science and Pseudoscience

B. Required Upper Division Courses (22-23 units)

(3)

PHYS 105

Mathematical Methods in Physics (MATH 32; PHYS 11A, PHYS 11B, PHYS 11C or PHYS 5A, PHYS 5B)

(3)

PHYS 106

Introduction to Modern Physics (MATH 31; PHYS 11A, PHYS 11B, PHYS 11C or PHYS 5A, PHYS 5B)

(3)

PHYS 110

Classical Mechanics (MATH 45, PHYS 11C, PHYS 105)

(4)

PHYS 115

Electronics and Instrumentation (PHYS 11C or PHYS 5B with instructor permission) OR

 

PHYS 145

Optics (MATH 45, PHYS 11A, PHYS 11B, PHYS 11C)

(3)

PHYS 124

Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (MATH 45, PHYS 11A, PHYS 11B, PHYS 11C)

(3)

PHYS 135

Electricity and Magnetism (MATH 45, PHYS 11C, PHYS 105)

(2)

PHYS 175

Advanced Physics Laboratory (12 units of upper division physics including PHYS 106 and either PHYS 115 or PHYS 145 and satisfaction of the Advanced Writing requirement)

(1-2)

PHYS 191*

Senior Project (Department Chair permission)

C. Elective Upper Division Requirements (6 units)

Six elective units in Physics selected in consultation with an advisor.

(3)

PHYS 116

Advanced Electronics and Instrumentation (PHYS 115)

(3)

PHYS 130

Acoustics (MATH 45, PHYS 11A, PHYS 11B, PHYS 11C)

(3)

PHYS 142

Applied Solid State Physics (MATH 45, PHYS 106)

(1-3) PHYS 196 series course

Experimental Offerings in Physics (1-3 units per semester; 4 unit maximum)

(1-3)

PHYS 198

Co-curricular Activities (1-3 units per semester; 4 unit maximum)

(1-3)

PHYS 199

Special Problems (1-3 units per semester; 4 unit maximum)

And whichever of the courses below not previously used to fulfill the upper division requirement:

(4)

PHYS 115

Electronics and Instrumentation (PHYS 11C or PHYS 5B with instructor permission) OR

(3)

PHYS 145

Optics (MATH 45, PHYS 11A, PHYS 11B, PHYS 11C)

*It is expected, but not required, that the Senior Project for students enrolled in this concentration will be related to developing and understanding and/or knowledge about the teaching of science based upon guidelines established in the department.

The upper division elective requirements will be customized to meet the needs of the individual students in consultation with an advisor in the department as they prepare for a career in the teaching of physics. PHYS 195 and PHYS 197 will be strongly encouraged for students in the Teacher Preparation Concentration.

Requirements - Bachelor of Science Degree - Physics

Units required for Major: 74-76
Minimum total units required for the BS: 120

Students graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics will not be subject to the University’s Foreign Language Graduation Requirement. Students who change major may be subject to the University’s Foreign Language Graduation Requirement.

Courses in parentheses are prerequisites.

A. Required Lower Division Courses (37 units)

(5)

CHEM 1A

General Chemistry I (High school chemistry and college algebra; sufficient performance on the college algebra diagnostic test, or equivalent, or minimum grade of "C" in CHEM 4)

(5)

CHEM 1B

General Chemistry II (CHEM 1A with a passing grade of C or better)

(4)

MATH 30

Calculus I (MATH 29 or four years of high school mathematics which includes two years of algebra, one year of geometry, and one year of mathematical analysis; completion of ELM requirement and Pre-Calculus Diagnostic Test)

(4)

MATH 31

Calculus II (MATH 30 or appropriate high school based AP credit)

(4)

MATH 32

Calculus III (MATH 31)

(3)

MATH 45

Differential Equations for Science and Engineering (MATH 31)

(4)

PHYS 11A

General Physics: Mechanics (MATH 30, MATH 31; or equivalent certificated high school courses; MATH 31 may be taken concurrently)

(4)

PHYS 11B

General Physics: Heat, Light, Sound (MATH 31, PHYS 11A)

(4)

PHYS 11C

General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism, Modern Physics (MATH 31, PHYS 11A)

B. Required Upper Division Courses (34-36 units)

(3)

PHYS 105

Mathematical Methods in Physics (MATH 32; PHYS 11A, PHYS 11B, PHYS 11C or PHYS 5A, PHYS 5B) OR

(4)

MATH 105A

Advanced Mathematics for Science and Engineering I (MATH 32 and MATH 45)

(3)

PHYS 106

Introduction to Modern Physics (MATH 31; PHYS 11A, PHYS 11B, PHYS 11C or PHYS 5A, PHYS 5B)

(3)

PHYS 110

Classical Mechanics (MATH 45, PHYS 11C, PHYS 105)

(4)

PHYS 115

Electronics and Instrumentation (PHYS 11C or PHYS 5B with instructor permission) OR

(3)

PHYS 145

Physical Optics (MATH 45, PHYS 11A, PHYS 11B, PHYS 11C)

(3)

PHYS 124

Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (MATH 45, PHYS 11A, PHYS 11B, PHYS 11C)

(3)

PHYS 135

Electricity and Magnetism (MATH 45, PHYS 11C, PHYS 105)

(3)

PHYS 136

Electrodynamics of Waves, Radiation, and Materials (PHYS 135)

(3)

PHYS 150

Quantum Mechanics (MATH 45, PHYS 106, PHYS 110)

(3)

PHYS 151

Advanced Modern Physics (PHYS 150)

(3)

PHYS 156

Classical and Statistical Mechanics (PHYS 110 and PHYS 124)

(2)

PHYS 175

Advanced Physics Laboratory (12 units of upper division physics including PHYS 106 and either PHYS 115 or PHYS 145 and satisfaction of the Advanced Writing requirement)

(1-2)

PHYS 191

Senior Project (Department Chair permission)

C. Elective Upper Division Requirements (3 units)

Three units of upper-division coursework chosen in consultation with an advisor:

D. Physics Colloquium Attendance

Majors must fulfill a minimum attendance requirement at Department Colloquia. Students should consult with the Department for details.

Notes:

  • Students are required to complete 2 units for their Senior project (PHYS 191) either over one or two semesters
  • Students with an interest in theoretical physics are encouraged to consider a minor in Mathematics.
  • Students graduating with a BS in Physics will not be subject to the University's Foreign Language Graduation Requirement. Students who change major may be subject to the University's Foreign Language Graduation Requirement

Requirements - Minor - Physics

Units required for Minor: 21, all of which must be taken in Physics.
A minimum of 9 upper division units is required.
Written approval from a Physics faculty advisor is required.

Courses in parentheses are prerequisites.

A. Required Lower Division Courses (12 units)

(4)

PHYS 11A

General Physics: Mechanics (MATH 30, MATH 31; or equivalent certificated high school courses; MATH 31 may be taken concurrently)

(4)

PHYS 11B

General Physics: Heat, Light, Sound (MATH 31, PHYS 11A)

(4)

PHYS 11C

General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism, Modern Physics (MATH 31, PHYS 11A)

B. Required Upper Division Courses (3 units)

(3)

PHYS 106

Introduction to Modern Physics (MATH 31; PHYS 11A, PHYS 11B, PHYS 11C or PHYS 5A, PHYS 5B)

C. Additional Upper Division Requirements (6 units)

Six elective units in Physics selected in consultation with an advisor:

(3)

PHYS 105

Mathematical Methods in Physics (MATH 32; PHYS 11A, PHYS 11B, PHYS 11C or PHYS 5A, PHYS 5B)

(3)

PHYS 110

Classical Mechanics (MATH 45, PHYS 11C, PHYS 105)

(4)

PHYS 115

Electronics and Instrumentation (PHYS 11C or PHYS 5B with instructor permission)

(3)

PHYS 124

Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (MATH 45, PHYS 11A, PHYS 11B, PHYS 11C)

(3)

PHYS 130

Acoustics (MATH 45, PHYS 11A, PHYS 11B, PHYS 11C)

(3)

PHYS 135

Electricity and Magnetism (MATH 45, PHYS 11C, PHYS 105)

(3)

PHYS 136

Electrodynamics of Waves, Radiation, and Materials (PHYS 135)

(3)

PHYS 142

Applied Solid State Physics (MATH 45, PHYS 106)

(3)

PHYS 145

Optics (MATH 45, PHYS 11A, PHYS 11B, PHYS 11C)

(3)

PHYS 150

Quantum Mechanics (MATH 45, PHYS 106, PHYS 110)

(3)

PHYS 151

Advanced Modern Physics (PHYS 150)

(3)

PHYS 162

Scientific Computing: Basic Methods (MATH 26A or MATH 30 and PHYS 5A, or MATH 30 and PHYS 11A, or MATH 105A taken concurrently)

(2)

PHYS 175

Advanced Physics Laboratory (12 units of upper division physics including PHYS 106 and either PHYS 115 or PHYS 145 and satisfaction of the Advanced Writing requirement)


Note:
PHYS 5A, PHYS 5B may be substituted for PHYS 11A, PHYS 11C, but the 21-unit minimum must be met by additional courses in one of two ways:

PHYS 106 plus three other upper division Physics courses OR

PHYS 106 plus PHYS 11B plus two other upper division Physics courses.

Requirements - Minor - Astronomy

Please refer to the Astronomy section within this catalog.

Requirements - Certificate - Scientific Computing and Simulation

Units required for Certificate: 14 minimum

A certificate program in Scientific Computing and Simulation designed for science and engineering majors is offered by the Department of Physics and Astronomy. It focuses on the basic skills of applying the computer to the solution of scientific problems which today encompass a broad range of applications in science and technology. Such skills include modeling and formulating the problem, solving the resulting equations, and displaying the results graphically. Students that earn this certificate will acquire a good grounding in such skills and be better prepared for today's industrial and academic careers.

Specific course requirements are as described below:

A. Background Courses (8 units)

(4)

PHYS 11A

General Physics: Mechanics (MATH 30, MATH 31; or equivalent certificated high school courses; MATH 31 may be taken concurrently) AND

(4)

PHYS 11B

General Physics: Heat, Light, Sound (MATH 31, PHYS 11A) OR

(4)

PHYS 11A

General Physics: Mechanics (MATH 30, MATH 31; or equivalent certificated high school courses; MATH 31 may be taken concurrently) AND

(4)

PHYS 11C

General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism, Modern Physics (MATH 31, PHYS 11A) OR

(4)

MATH 105A

Advanced Mathematics for Science and Engineering I (MATH 32, MATH 45) AND

(4)

MATH 105B

Advanced Mathematics for Science and Engineering II (MATH 105A) OR

(4)

PHYS 5A

General Physics: Mechanics, Heat, Sound (Recently completed three years of high school algebra and geometry; and a college course in algebra and trigonometry [MATH 9 recommended] for those having an inadequate mathematics background) AND

(4)

PHYS 5B

General Physics: Light, Electricity and Magnetism, Modern Physics (PHYS 5A or instructor permission)

B. Computing Courses (6 units)

(3)

PHYS 162

Scientific Computing: Basic Methods (MATH 26A or MATH 30 and PHYS 5A, or MATH 30 and PHYS 11A, or MATH 105A taken concurrently)

(3)

PHYS 163

Scientific Computing: Modeling, Simulation, and Visualization (PHYS 162)

To receive the certificate in Scientific Computing and Simulation, students must

  • achieve a 2.5 GPA in the certificate program courses;
  • must be working towards a degree at Sacramento State or have special approval from the Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Requirements - Certificate - Scientific Instrument Development

Units required for Certificate: 11 minimum

A certificate in Scientific Instrument Development is available through the Department of Physics and Astronomy. The Scientific Instrument Development certificate program focuses not only on using scientific instruments, but also will teach the fundamentals of electronics, computer interfacing, and machining. Students that earn this certificate will be prepared to design, prototype, and construct instruments for a wide range of scientific applications.

Specific course requirements are:

(2)

PHSC 75

Introduction to Machine Shop Practices

(4)

PHYS 115

Electronics and Instrumentation (PHYS 11C or PHYS 5B, instructor permission)

(3)

PHYS 116

Advanced Electronics and Instrumentation (PHYS 115)

(2-4) Select one of the following:

 

CHEM 133

Chemical Instrumentation (CHEM 31, CHEM 140B, or CHEM 142, instructor permission, ENGL 20 or an equivalent second semester composition course)

 

CHEM 141

Physical Chemistry Laboratory (ENGL 20 or an equivalent second semester composition course, CHEM 140A, CHEM 140B or CHEM 142, instructor permission, CHEM 140B may be taken concurrently)

 

GEOL 197

Advanced Laboratory Techniques for Geology (Appropriate upper division courses and instructor permission)

 

PHYS 175

Advanced Physics Laboratory (12 units of upper division physics including PHYS 106 and either PHYS 115 or PHYS 145 and a satisfaction of the Advanced Writing requirement)

To receive the certificate in Scientific Instrument Development, students must

  • achieve a 2.5 GPA in the certificate program courses;
  • must be working towards a degree at Sacramento State or have special approval from the Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Requirements - Subject Matter Program (Pre-Credential Preparation)

Physics majors who intend to pursue a single subject teaching credential must complete a BA in Physics including courses in the Science Subject Matter Program which is described in more detail under the heading "Science Subject Matter Program" in this catalog. Upon successful completion, this program fulfills the subject matter competence requirement and qualifies students to enter the Teaching Credential Program in the School of Education. The science teaching credential with a concentration in Physics allows candidates to teach all four of the natural sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Geoscience, and Physics) at the general science level and Physics at an advanced level in high school.

Currently there is a serious need in public school education for well-educated science teachers. Physics majors who have an interest in teaching should see the credential advisor in the Department (Dr. Vera Margoniner, Vera.Margoniner@csus.edu) to plan an academic program and to explore ways to get involved in teaching-related activities such as tutoring, grading, and working in the schools.

Note: Due to policy changes from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and the federal No Child Left Behind mandate, the Subject Matter program was under review at the time of this catalog release and is subject to revision. As a result it is important to consult a credential advisor for current details.

Career Possibilities

Research Physicist or Applied Physicist in: Acoustics · Atmospheric Physics · Astrophysics · Astronomy · Atomic and Molecular Physics · Electricity and Magnetism · Electronic Instrumentation · Energy Conservation · Geophysics · Health Physics · Heat · Light · Mechanics · Medical Imaging · Nuclear Medicine · Nuclear Physics · Solar Energy · Solid State Physics · Scientific Computing · Engineer · Science Educator · Technical Writer

Faculty

Jerome Buerki, William DeGraffenreid, Vera Margoniner, Zolili Ndlela, Jack Osborne, Hossein Partovi, Tatiana Sergan, Vassili Sergan, Gary Shoemaker, Lynn Tashiro, Christopher Taylor

Contact Information

William DeGraffenreid, Department Chair
Heidi Yamazaki, Administrative Support Coordinator
Sequoia Hall 230
(916) 278-6518
www.csus.edu/physics



COMPLETE COURSE LISTING - PHYSICS
COMPLETE COURSE LISTING - PHYSICAL SCIENCE
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