Department of Physics

John R. Gordon, Head

Professors

Ingham, Serway, G. Taylor

Associate Professors

Giovanetti, Gordon, D. Peterson, Rudmin, Staib

Assistant Professor

Chodrow

Course Descriptions: Physics and Interscience Research

The Department of Physics offers a multitrack program of study which allows each student flexibility to choose a suitable set of courses that will prepare the student for their chosen career goal. With the assistance of physics faculty advisers, each student will select a program of theoretical and experimental courses through which they will gain an understanding of the broad range of general principles which characterize the discipline of physics and they will acquire the ability to apply theoretical and experimental techniques to solve a wide variety of problems. Graduates will be prepared for highly technical post-baccalaureate employment in applied physics, engineering physics and other scientific areas. Upon graduation students will also be prepared to enter programs of advanced study in physics, engineering, medicine, environmental science and related disciplines. The physics department also offers courses which are cognate requirements in other disciplines and courses which satisfy general university requirements in the natural sciences.

The department is committed to a professional and supportive environment within which faculty and staff members can make their maximum contribution and students will achieve their full potential.

Program Requirements

The minimum departmental requirement for the B.S. degree in physics is completion of 37 credit hours of physics courses as specified for the program track selected by the student. Each student majoring in physics will also complete a set of core courses in physics, mathematics and chemistry. Courses in the core are available now, and advanced courses in the applied tracks will be phased in as student demand warrants. Courses in the fundamental studies track will be offered when the applied track is firmly established.

Core Requirements

Credit
Physics Courses Hours
Choose one of the following: 6
PHYS 240-250. University Physics I-II
PHYS 140-150. College Physics I-II
PHYS 140L-150L. General Physics Laboratory I-II 2
PHYS 260. University Physics III 4
PHYS 270. Modern Physics 4
Cognate Disciplines
CHEM 131-132. General Chemistry I-II 6
CHEM 131L-132L. General Chemistry Lab I-II 2
MATH 235-236-237. Analytical Geometry and 12
Calculus I-III
MATH 248. Computer Methods in Engineering 4
and Science
40

Each student, in consultation with their faculty adviser, will choose one of the following program tracks.

Students are expected to review progress toward completion of the selected program of study with their faculty adviser.

Applied Physics Track

This program is designed to prepare students for careers in a wide variety of scientific areas including laboratory and industrial settings. Students in this track will select electives appropriate to their individual career plans in consultation with their physics faculty advisers. Options may include electronics and computer applications, general applied physics, materials science or other areas.

Credit
Required Courses (In addition to core requirements) Hours
PHYS 360. Analog Electronics 4
PHYS 347. Advanced Physics Laboratory 2
PHYS 420. Modern Optics 3
PHYS 491-492. Assessment and Seminar 1
PHYS 498R. Applied Physics Research 2
Elective courses (see below) 12
24

Students in the applied physics track will select from the list below 12 credits of electives appropriate to their individual career plans in consultation with their physics advisers.

Credit
Hours
PHYS 371. Digital Electronics 2
PHYS/CS 372. Microcontrollers and Applications 2
PHYS/CS 373. Interfacing Microcomputers 2
PHYS 380. Thermodynamics and Statistical 3
Mechanics
PHYS 390. Computer Applications in Physics 3
PHYS 391-392. Literature and Seminar 1
PHYS 415. Materials Science 3
PHYS 440. Condensed Matter Physics (Solid State) 3
CHEM 450-450L. Nuclear, Radiation Chemistry 4
and Laboratory
ISAT 310. Energy Fundamentals 3
Additional physics course approved by 3
physics adviser

For example, students interested in careers in materials science would complete PHYS 360, PHYS 420, and PHYS 498R and elect PHYS 380, PHYS 415, and PHYS 440 for a concentration in materials science. As another example, students interested in careers in electronics would complete PHYS 360, PHYS 498R and may elect PHYS 371, PHYS 372 and PHYS 373 for an electronics concentration.

Physics and Engineering Combined Program Track

This dual degree program makes it possible for the student to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from James Madison University and a master's degree in engineering from the University of Virginia in five years. The engineering areas available under this program are biomedical, environmental, transportation, materials science, nuclear, systems and engineering physics.

During the first three years at JMU, the student must complete 96 credit hours including all JMU liberal studies requirements, the physics core requirements, differential equations and at least 12 additional semester hours in physics courses designated by the JMU physics department. In general these 12 additional hours will be chosen from those recommended for the applied physics track but substitutions may be approved by the department head. During the fourth year of study (when the student will be in residence at the University of Virginia), the student will take further courses approved by the JMU physics department for credit toward the bachelor of science degree in physics. A total of 37 semester hours of physics or other physics-related courses taken at either school will be required for the JMU Bachelor of Science Degree in physics.

Fundamental Studies Track

The fundamental studies track is designed to prepare students for immediate post-baccalaureate employment or for entrance to advanced study in physics or related areas.

Credit
Required Courses (in addition to core requirements) Hours
MATH 336. Elementary Differential Equations 3
PHYS 340. Mechanics 3
PHYS 350. Electricity and Magnetism 3
PHYS 347. Advanced Physics Laboratory I 2
PHYS 360. Analog Electronics 4
PHYS 380. Thermodynamics and 3
Statistical Mechanics
PHYS 391-392. Literature and Seminar 1
PHYS 460. Quantum Mechanics 3
PHYS 491-492. Assessment and Seminar 1
Choose one from the following: 2-6
PHYS 398. Problems in Physics (two credits)
PHYS 498R. Undergraduate Research in Physics
(two credits)
ISCI450. Interscience Research (two credits)
PHYS 499. Honors (six credits)
25-29

Individual Option Track

The individual option is a course of studies chosen specifically to match the interest and career plans of the student. This option will allow custom-designed interdisciplinary majors such as biophysics, geophysics, and chemical physics, as well as majors designed for prospective secondary school teachers, technical writers and entrepreneurs.

A student electing the individual option must complete the core requirements for the physics major, and will select a program consisting of a coherent collection of a minimum of 25 credits of physics courses numbered above 300 and courses in related fields. This individualized program must be selected in consultation with a faculty adviser in the physics department, and must be approved by that adviser, the department head and one other faculty member in the department. The individualized program, as approved by the physics department and accepted by the student, becomes major requirements for that student.

Typical Program of Study for a Major in Physics (B.S. Degree)

Credit
Freshman Year Hours
CHEM 131-132. General Chemistry I and II 6
CHEM 131L-132L. General Chemistry Laboratory 2
ENG 101-102. Reading and Composition 6
MATH 235-236. Analytic Geometry and Calculus 8
PHYS 140L-150L. General Physics Laboratory
I and II 2
Choose one of the following: 6
PHYS 240-250. University Physics I and II
PHYS 140-150. College Physics I and II
33
Credit
Sophomore Year Hours
MATH/CS 248. Computer Methods in 4
Engineering and Science
MATH 237. Analytic Geometry and Calculus III 4
PHYS 260. University Physics III 4
PHYS 270. Modern Physics 4
Electives 15
31

Junior and Senior Years

During the junior and senior years students will select courses to complete the specific program track which they are following. These course selections will be made with the assistance of a faculty adviser.

Minor In Physics

The minimum requirement for a minor in physics is 22 credit hours selected as follows:

Credit
Specific Requirements Hours
Choose one of the following: 6
PHYS 240-250. University Physics I and II
PHYS 140-150. College Physics I and II
PHYS 140L-150L. General Physics Laboratory 2
I and II
PHYS 260. University Physics III 4
Physics courses numbered above 260 10
22

Independent Learning Project

All physics majors are expected to complete an independent learning project under the supervision of a faculty member. Academic credit for these activities will be given under PHYS 398, Problems in Physics; PHYS 498, Undergraduate Physics Research; and/or ISCI 450, Interscience Research. Credit may also be earned by successful completion of an approved summer internship.

Additional Information

For additional information about the physics department programs, facilities, and available scholarships; contact the department at (540) 568­6109, fax: (540) 568­2800, e-mail: emersokc@jmu.edu; and World Wide Web site: http://www.jmu.edu/physics.

College of Science and Mathematics Directory

Undergraduate Catalog Contents


1996-97 Undergraduate Catalog
Last reviewed: 30 November 1996
Information Publisher: Division of Academic Affairs
James Madison University