Applied Physics Major
Endorsement in Physics (6-12)
The Applied Physics Major provides opportunities for students to study the applied nature of physics from within a broad liberal arts context. The course of study prepares students for a variety of challenging and rewarding careers, not only in the fields of science and technology, but also in education, engineering and computer science, as well as careers emphasizing advanced analytical skills, such as business management and medicine. Students interested in a career in engineering should apply for graduate study in engineering or complete a dual-degree engineering program with Virginia Tech.
In addition to the major, the department offers several courses in astronomy and physics that meet the general education needs of non-science majors.
Degree Type Offered: B.S. Major
Required courses:
Credits: 4 Term Offered: Fall Only
During the first term: Kinematics, Newton's laws of motion, conservation laws, rotational motion, periodic motion, and fluid mechanics. During the second term: Thermodynamics, electricity, magnetism, optics and modern physics. A combination of lectures and learning by inquiry are employed. Computers are used for data acquisition, data analysis, and mathematical modeling. Three hours in class, one hour in recitation and two hours in lab per week. Prerequisite: MATH-130 or MATH-132 or concurrent enrollment in MATH-131, MATH-132 respectively.
Credits: 4 Term Offered: Spring Only
During the first term: Kinematics, Newton's laws of motion, conservation laws, rotational motion, periodic motion, and fluid mechanics. During the second term: Thermodynamics, electricity, magnetism, optics and modern physics. A combination of lectures and learning by inquiry are employed. Computers are used for data acquisition, data analysis, and mathematical modeling. Three hours in class, one hour in recitation and two hours in lab per week. Prerequisite: a minimum grade of C- in PHYS-221 FILA general education: natural and physical sciences
PHYS-301 Mathematical Methods in Physics I
Credits: 2 Term Offered: Spring Only
Complex exponential functions, vector and partial derivatives. Applications of integration in physics, including expectation values and line integrals. Vector and matrix operations, including dot and cross products, determinants, eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Mathematical software (eg, Mathematica) is incorporated. Prerequisite: PHYS-221, MATH-132 or concurrent enrollment in MATH-132
PHYS-302 Mathematical Methods in Physics II
Credits: 2 Term Offered: Fall Only
Boundary value problems in physics: Ordinary differential equations with initial conditions, and partial differential equations in Cartesian and curvilinear coordinates. Includes Fourier analysis, Laplace's equation, the wave equation, and Legendre polynomials. Mathematical software (eg, Mathematica) is incorporated. Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in PHYS-222 and PHYS 301, MATH-231 or concurrent enrollment in MATH-231.
Credits: 4 Term Offered: Fall Only
Analog electronics including diode and transistor operation, mathematical circuit analysis, operational amplifier applications. Two hours in class and six hours in lab per week. Prerequisites: MATH-132 and a minimum grade of C- in PHYS-222 Alternate years: offered 2021-2022
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Fall Only
A survey of 20th century physics. Topics include relativity, wave-particle dualism, Schroedinger equation, wave functions, spectra, nuclear physics and elementary particles. Prerequisites: MATH-132, PHYS-301 and a minimum grade of C- in PHYS-222 Alternate years: offered 2021-2022
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Fall Only
Kinematics and dynamics in one, two and three dimensions including oscillating systems, central force motion, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics, motion of rigid objects, and wave motion. Prerequisites: MATH-132, PHYS-301 and a minimum grade of C- in PHYS-222 Alternate years: offered 2022-2023
Credits: 4 Term Offered: Fall and Spring
Principles of chemistry including stoichiometry, states of matter, atomic and molecular structure, chemical bonding, periodicity, and the kinetic molecular theory of gases. Three hours of lecture and one four hour lab per week. Prerequisites: MATH-110 or MATH-115 or MATH-118 FILA general education: natural and physical sciences Credit may not be received for both CHEM-125 and CHEM-161
Credits: 4 Term Offered: Fall and Spring
This course introduces the fundamentals of programming in a general-purpose object-oriented programming language such as C++ or Java. Topics include data types, data representation, arithmetic and logical expressions, control structures, methods, single and two-dimensional arrays, and file I/O. The course consists of 3 credit hours of lecture and 2 hours of lab per week.
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Fall and Spring
Study of differential calculus of a single variable. Applications of the derivative are made to curve sketching, max-min problems, and linear approximation, and I'Hopital's Rule. Also included are applications of the Intermediate Value Theorem and Mean Value Theorem. Credit may not be received for both MATH 130 and 131. Prerequisites: MATH-120 or satisfactory performance on placement test
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Fall and Spring
Study of integral calculus of a single variable. Included are techniques of integration and numerical methods of integration. Applications of the integral are made to computing area, volume, arc length, and selected topics. Prerequisite: MATH-131
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Fall and Spring
Continuation of Calculus I and II. Included are Taylor polynomials, infinite series, and polar coordinates. Also included is an introduction to multivariate calculus and multiple integrals. Prerequisite: MATH-132
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Fall and Spring
Introduction to multivariate calculus. Included are calculus of vector-valued functions and motion in space; limits, continuity, and partial derivatives of functions of several variables; vector fields, Green's Theorem, The Divergence Theorem, and Stokes' Theorem. Prerequisites: MATH-231 and either MATH-210 or PHYS-301
In addition, complete the Senior Capstone requirement by choosing one of the following options:
PHYS-497 Senior Capstone Project I
Credits: 1 Term Offered: Fall Only
Students design, develop, and present a project based on a theoretical, computational, and/or experimental problem in physics or applied physics. Prerequisites: Senior standing with a major in physics or applied physics, or permission of instructor
PHYS-498 Senior Capstone Project II
Credits: 2 Term Offered: Spring Only
Students design, develop, and present a project based on a theoretical, computational, and/or experimental problem in physics or applied physics. Prerequisites: Senior standing with a major in physics or applied physics, or permission of instructor
-or-
Credits: 3 Term Offered: All Terms
Upon approval of the department and the division head, a student with a cumulative grade point average of 2.20 or better may engage in an independent study or research project. One desiring to pursue independent study or research must submit a written description of the proposed work to the chair of the appropriate department and to the appropriate division head prior to the last day of the drop and add period for the semester in which the study is to be conducted. At the end of the semester, the supervising professor files with the registrar a grade for the student and a description of the work accomplished. Credit may be received for not more than three independent studies or research projects.
-or-
Credits: 1 Term Offered: Fall and Spring
With prior permission of the Physics Department, a summer research experience in physics or a closely-related field may be used as the basis for a written thesis and oral defense. The thesis will demonstrate synthesis of previous coursework in the program and a professional level of writing and oral communication. Prerequisites: Senior standing with a major in physics or applied physics, or permission of instructor
-or-
Credits: 3 Term Offered: All Terms
An honors project is one in which a student researches a subject, by examination of relevant literature or by experimentation or both; the student reports the results in an accurately documented and well-written paper or appropriate representation of the work. Whenever the study deals with the subject of an established course, the student is expected to go well beyond the usual work of the course in research and in assimilation of the results as revealed in the report. Juniors and seniors with a cumulative grade point average of 3.40 or above may register for an honors project. One desiring to pursue an honors project must submit a written description of his or her proposed work to the chair of the appropriate department and to the appropriate division head prior to the last day of the drop and add period for the semester in which the study is to be conducted. Upon the completion of the honors project, the student must present an oral defense of his or her project. The final grade must include a satisfactory performance on the oral defense, assessed by a three-faculty member team. The project advisor will authorize the make-up of the oral defense team and will assign the final grade on the project. The honors project title will be noted on the student's transcript. It is the student's responsibility to provide a copy of the written paper or appropriate representation of the work to the library in compliance with specifications approved by the Council on Education. The library director arranges for binding and storage.
And two additional PHYS courses numbered 300 or above.
Degree Type Offered: Teacher Licensure
Students majoring in Applied Physics can be eligible for teacher licensure at the secondary level (6-12) by also completing the courses in the teacher education program. As early as possible, contact Dr. Jenny Martin, coordinator for secondary education at jmmartin@bridgewater.edu or 540-828-5662 for further information.
Strongly Recommended Supporting Coursework for Graduate School in Engineering
Credits: 4 Term Offered: Fall and Spring
This course is an intermediate course in programming and focuses on Object Oriented Programming and Event-Driven Programming in a high-level programming language. Topics include inheritance, polymorphism, class design, generics, lambda expressions, map-reduce transformations, building GUIs, and an introduction to common data structures. Prerequisites: A grade of C or greater in CSCI-101 or both CSCI-100 and a grade of C or greater on the CSCI-101 assessment exam
MATH-331 Differential Equations
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Fall Only
Introduction to ordinary and partial differential equations. Included are solving first order differential equations, and linear differential equations with constant coefficients; series solutions of differential equations; solving elementary partial differential equations. Prerequisites: MATH 231 Offered alternate years
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Spring Only
Topics include iterative techniques for solving non-linear equations, numerical differentiation and integration, and differential equations. Prerequisites: Take MATH-231 and CSCI-101 Offered alternate years
Strongly Recommended Supporting Coursework for Graduate School for Teaching Licensure in Mathematics
MATH-200 Introduction to Number Theory
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Fall Only
Emphasis is on mathematical proofs. Topics include properties of integers (such as odd, even, prime, etc.), division algorithm, least common multiples, greatest common divisors, binary operations ad modular arithmetic. Prerequisite: MATH-110
MATH-210 Introduction to Linear Algebra
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Spring Only
Emphasis on finite dimensional vector spaces and the algebra of matrices. Vector topics include n-dimensional vectors, dot product, norm, orthogonality, lines, planes, projections and cross products. Matrix topics include systems of equations, matrix operations, Gauss elimination, determinants, eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Prerequisite: MATH-120
MATH-140 Introduction to Statistics
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Fall and Spring
Basic descriptive statistics, probability, hypothesis testing, correlation, and regression. Statistical computer software is used to analyze data. Prerequisites: MATH-118, MATH-110, MATH-115, or satisfactory performance on placement test
-or-
MATH-341 Theoretical Statistics I
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Fall Only
Fundamentals of probability and distribution theory. Includes probability theory, counting techniques, conditional probability, random variables, moments, moment generating functions, an introduction to multivariate distributions, and transformations of random variables. Prerequisites: MATH-231 or permission of the instructor Offered alternate years
MATH-300 Set Theory and Symbolic Logic
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Spring Only
The first part of the course is devoted to naive set theory and includes the algebra of sets, relations, functions and orders. The second part is devoted to logic, including truth tables and first-order predicate calculus. Prerequisites: MATH-132 and MATH-200
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Fall Only
Fundamental concepts of geometry, including projective and non-Euclidean geometries, with emphasis on the axiomatic method. Prerequisites: MATH-132, MATH-210 and MATH-300, or permission of the instructor Offered alternate years
MATH-360 History of Mathematics
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Spring Only
Survey of the history of mathematics from ancient civilizations to the modern mathematics of the 19th-century. Prerequisite: MATH-132 Offered alternate years
Recommended Minors for Graduate School in Engineering
Computer Science
Mathematics
Environmental Science (for Environmental Engineering/Civil Engineering)
PHYS-110 Introductory Astronomy
Credits: 4 Term Offered: Fall and Spring
Designed to help students appreciate and understand their physical environment and the methods of physical science through the study of basic astronomy. Topics include the history of astronomy; motion of celestial objects; planets of the solar system; birth, life, and death of stars; galaxies; and cosmology. Three hours in class and two hours in laboratory per week. Prerequisites: MATH-110 or MATH-115 or MATH-118 FILA general education: natural and physical sciences
PHYS-119 Physics and the Modern World
Credits: 4 Term Offered: Fall and Spring
Physics has given humanity the ability to better understand our world as well as transform our relationship with it. This course investigates the influence of physics principles, discoveries, and applications in human endeavors, such as electricity and nuclear radiation. The role that physics plays in energy use, technology and modern society is explored along with the impacts these discoveries and applications have on global and personal scales. Prerequisites: MATH-110 or MATH-115 or MATH-118 FILA general education: natural and physical sciences
Credits: 4 Term Offered: Fall and Spring
An introduction to the basic concepts of physics emphasizing practical applications of physical laws to common occurrences. Physical descriptions are presented on how things move, the behavior of sound and light, uses of electricity and magnetism, and the behavior of fundamental particles. Three hours in class and two hours in laboratory per week. Prerequisites: MATH-110 or MATH-115 or MATH-118 FILA general education: natural and physical sciences
Credits: 3 Term Offered: May Term
This course is a set of lectures and active-learning activities that explore the physics of sounds and music. Topics covered include propagation and energy of sound waves, frequency and wavelength, harmonics and overtones, perception of sound intensity, how various musical instruments produce different sounds, and standing waves in different media. Prerequisite: MATH-110 or MATH-118, or permission of instructor
PHYS-150 Astrophysics for Beginners
Credits: 3 Term Offered: May Term
An introduction to astrophysics using computational models to explore the astrophysical processes responsible for the properties and structure of stars, stellar remnants, and black holes. We will also explore the formation of stars, dynamics of clusters, and large scale structure of the Universe. This course will include an off-campus visit to a national center of astrophysical research. No previous computing experience is necessary. Prerequisites: MATH-110 or MATH-118 or permission of instructor
PHYS-195 Visualizing Physics With Computers
Credits: 3 Term Offered: May Term
A hands-on introduction to scientific computing with professional software packages. Emphasizes the graphical capabilities of software, such as Mathematica, applied to problems in physics. Prerequisite: MATH-120 or permission of instructor
Credits: 4 Term Offered: Fall Only
An algebra-based exploration of the concepts of motion, forces, energy, waves, heat, electricity, magnetism, optics, and modern physics. Three hours in class, one hour in recitation and two hours in lab per week. Prerequisite: MATH-120
Credits: 4 Term Offered: Spring Only
An algebra-based exploration of the concepts of motion, forces, energy, waves, heat, electricity, magnetism, optics, and modern physics. Three hours in class, one hour in recitation and two hours in lab per week. Prerequisites: PHYS-218
Credits: 4 Term Offered: Fall Only
During the first term: Kinematics, Newton's laws of motion, conservation laws, rotational motion, periodic motion, and fluid mechanics. During the second term: Thermodynamics, electricity, magnetism, optics and modern physics. A combination of lectures and learning by inquiry are employed. Computers are used for data acquisition, data analysis, and mathematical modeling. Three hours in class, one hour in recitation and two hours in lab per week. Prerequisite: MATH-130 or MATH-132 or concurrent enrollment in MATH-131, MATH-132 respectively.
Credits: 4 Term Offered: Spring Only
During the first term: Kinematics, Newton's laws of motion, conservation laws, rotational motion, periodic motion, and fluid mechanics. During the second term: Thermodynamics, electricity, magnetism, optics and modern physics. A combination of lectures and learning by inquiry are employed. Computers are used for data acquisition, data analysis, and mathematical modeling. Three hours in class, one hour in recitation and two hours in lab per week. Prerequisite: a minimum grade of C- in PHYS-221 FILA general education: natural and physical sciences
PHYS-301 Mathematical Methods in Physics I
Credits: 2 Term Offered: Spring Only
Complex exponential functions, vector and partial derivatives. Applications of integration in physics, including expectation values and line integrals. Vector and matrix operations, including dot and cross products, determinants, eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Mathematical software (eg, Mathematica) is incorporated. Prerequisite: PHYS-221, MATH-132 or concurrent enrollment in MATH-132
PHYS-302 Mathematical Methods in Physics II
Credits: 2 Term Offered: Fall Only
Boundary value problems in physics: Ordinary differential equations with initial conditions, and partial differential equations in Cartesian and curvilinear coordinates. Includes Fourier analysis, Laplace's equation, the wave equation, and Legendre polynomials. Mathematical software (eg, Mathematica) is incorporated. Prerequisites: A minimum grade of C- in PHYS-222 and PHYS 301, MATH-231 or concurrent enrollment in MATH-231.
Credits: 4 Term Offered: Fall Only
Analog electronics including diode and transistor operation, mathematical circuit analysis, operational amplifier applications. Two hours in class and six hours in lab per week. Prerequisites: MATH-132 and a minimum grade of C- in PHYS-222 Alternate years: offered 2021-2022
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Fall Only
Analysis and applications of digital circuits such as flip-flops, registers, counters and analog-to-digital converters leading to interfacing real-time data collection to computers. Prerequisites: PHYS-219 or PHYS-222 Alternate years: offered 2021-2022
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Fall Only
A survey of 20th century physics. Topics include relativity, wave-particle dualism, Schroedinger equation, wave functions, spectra, nuclear physics and elementary particles. Prerequisites: MATH-132, PHYS-301 and a minimum grade of C- in PHYS-222 Alternate years: offered 2021-2022
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Fall Only
Kinematics and dynamics in one, two and three dimensions including oscillating systems, central force motion, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics, motion of rigid objects, and wave motion. Prerequisites: MATH-132, PHYS-301 and a minimum grade of C- in PHYS-222 Alternate years: offered 2022-2023
PHYS-331 Electricity and Magnetism
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Spring Only
Electrostatics, scalar potential, electric fields and energy in conductors and dielectrics, electric currents, magnetic fields and energy, leading up to Maxwell's equations and from there to electromagnetic radiation. Prerequisites: MATH-132, a minimum grade of C- in PHYS-302, and a minimum grade of C- in PHYS-222 Alternate years: offered 2022-2023
PHYS-341 Thermal & Statistical Physics
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Fall Only
Thermodynamics, kinetic theory, and an introduction to statistical mechanics. Prerequisites: MATH-232, PHYS-301 and a minimum grade of C- in PHYS-222 Offered alternate years: 2022-2023
PHYS-345W Experimental Physics
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Fall Only
Classical and modern experiments give the student a basic understanding of experimental methods. Involves several lectures and extensive lab work. Prerequisites: FILA-150 or FILA-350EW, ENG-110, PHYS-222, and MATH-132 FILA general education: writing intensive Alternate years: offered 2021-2022
PHYS-401X Computational Physics
Credits: 3 Term Offered: May Term
Computational and numerical techniques for problem-solving in physics. Methods for differential equations, Monte Carlo simulations, and modeling of physical systems (e.g., fluid flows, electrostatics, waves). Topics implemented in a programming language appropriate for computational physics (e.g., Python). Students will work with professors outside BC to test and help develop computational materials as part of PICUP, the Partnership for Integration of Computation into Undergraduate Physics. Prerequisites: FILA-150 or FILA-350EW, CSCI-101 and PHYS-222 FILA general education: experiential learning Offered alternate years: 2022-2023
PHYS-410 Optics and Laser Physics
Credits: 4 Term Offered: Fall Only
Topics include electromagnetic nature of light, geometrical optics, polarization, interference, diffraction, holography, and basics of lasers with applications. Three hours in class and three hours in laboratory per week. Prerequisites: MATH-232 and a minimum grade of C- in PHYS-222 Alternate years: offered 2021-2022
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Spring Only
Course in fluid mechanics covering fluid properties, statics, and dynamics. Topics covered include hydrodynamics, viscous flows, potential flows, turbulence, and boundary layer analysis. Use of Bernoulli, Euler, and Navier-Stokes equations. Additional topics may include airfoil theory, shock waves, instabilities, and plasmas. Prerequisites: PHYS-301 and a minimum grades of C- in PHYS-222 Alternate years: offered 2020-2021
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Spring Only
Schroedinger equation, square well, harmonic oscillator, hydrogen atom, matrix methods, angular momentum, spin, and approximation methods. Prerequisites: PHYS-308, MATH-232, and a minimum grade of C- in PHYS-302 Alternate years: offered 2021-2022
PHYS-442 Fundamentals of Astrophysics
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Spring Only
This course covers the basic principles of astrophysics. Topics include energy sources and transport, stellar structure and evolution, end states of stars, radiative processes, interstellar medium, galaxies, and cosmology. Prerequisites: PHYS-308 or permission of instructor Offered alternate years: 2021-2022
Credits: 3 Term Offered: Fall and Spring
Devoted to a subject chosen from some field of physics in which regular courses are not offered. The course may be repeated for credit provided a different topic is covered. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor
Credits: 3 Term Offered: All Terms
Provides an opportunity for a student to gain field experience in an area related to the student's program of study or career goals. The learning objectives for internships include connecting academic knowledge and problem-solving processes to experiences and problems in professional settings. Supervision of an intern is provided by an appropriate faculty member and by a site supervisor of the agency or business in which the student is an intern. A student who wishes to engage in an internship must consult with the appropriate faculty member at least eight weeks in advance of the start of the term in which the internship is to be completed. A description of the internship, signed by the student and the faculty sponsor, must be filed with the director of internships by the first day of the semester prior to the start of the internship. Approval of each application for an internship is made by the director of internships based upon approved policies and guidelines. Internships are graded on an S or U basis. Students must complete 120 hours of internship-related work as well as weekly journal entries and a final reflective paper completed in accordance with approved requirements. A student may enroll in an internship program for 3 credits per semester, and internship credit may be earned in subsequent semesters subject to the limitations that no more than two internships may be pursued in any one agency or business and a maximum of 9 credits in internships may be applied toward graduation. Prerequisites: FILA-150 or FILA-350EW, junior or senior standing, and a minimum 2.0 grade point average FILA general education: experiential learning
Credits: 3 Term Offered: All Terms
Upon approval of the department and the division head, a student with a cumulative grade point average of 2.20 or better may engage in an independent study or research project. One desiring to pursue independent study or research must submit a written description of the proposed work to the chair of the appropriate department and to the appropriate division head prior to the last day of the drop and add period for the semester in which the study is to be conducted. At the end of the semester, the supervising professor files with the registrar a grade for the student and a description of the work accomplished. Credit may be received for no more than three independent studies or research projects.
Credits: 3 Term Offered: All Terms
Upon approval of the department and the division head, a student with a cumulative grade point average of 2.20 or better may engage in an independent study or research project. One desiring to pursue independent study or research must submit a written description of the proposed work to the chair of the appropriate department and to the appropriate division head prior to the last day of the drop and add period for the semester in which the study is to be conducted. At the end of the semester, the supervising professor files with the registrar a grade for the student and a description of the work accomplished. Credit may be received for not more than three independent studies or research projects.
Credits: 1 Term Offered: Fall and Spring
With prior permission of the Physics Department, a summer research experience in physics or a closely-related field may be used as the basis for a written thesis and oral defense. The thesis will demonstrate synthesis of previous coursework in the program and a professional level of writing and oral communication. Prerequisites: Senior standing with a major in physics or applied physics, or permission of instructor
PHYS-497 Senior Capstone Project I
Credits: 1 Term Offered: Fall Only
Students design, develop, and present a project based on a theoretical, computational, and/or experimental problem in physics or applied physics. Prerequisites: Senior standing with a major in physics or applied physics, or permission of instructor
PHYS-498 Senior Capstone Project II
Credits: 2 Term Offered: Spring Only
Students design, develop, and present a project based on a theoretical, computational, and/or experimental problem in physics or applied physics. Prerequisites: Senior standing with a major in physics or applied physics, or permission of instructor
Credits: 3 Term Offered: All Terms
An honors project is one in which a student researches a subject, by examination of relevant literature or by experimentation or both; the student reports the results in an accurately documented and well-written paper or appropriate representation of the work. Whenever the study deals with the subject of an established course, the student is expected to go well beyond the usual work of the course in research and in assimilation of the results as revealed in the report. Juniors and seniors with a cumulative grade point average of 3.40 or above may register for an honors project. One desiring to pursue an honors project must submit a written description of his or her proposed work to the chair of the appropriate department and to the appropriate division head prior to the last day of the drop and add period for the semester in which the study is to be conducted. Upon the completion of the honors project, the student must present an oral defense of his or her project. The final grade must include a satisfactory performance on the oral defense, assessed by a three-faculty member team. The project advisor will authorize the make-up of the oral defense team and will assign the final grade on the project. The honors project title will be noted on the student's transcript. It is the student's responsibility to provide a copy of the written paper or appropriate representation of the work to the library in compliance with specifications approved by the Council on Education. The library director arranges for binding and storage.