Physics

Undergraduate Programs

Majors

Program Locations Total Credits
Physics BS BS - Bachelor of Science
  • Mankato
120
Physics Teaching BS BS - Bachelor of Science
  • Mankato
120

Minors

Program Locations Total Credits
Physics Minor
18

Policies & Faculty

Policies

Admission to the major is granted by the department. To be admitted to the major, a student must have a minimum of 30 earned credit hours and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 (“C”). Contact the College of Science, Engineering and Technology Advising Center for application procedures.

GPA policy. A minimum GPA of 2.0 in physics courses is required for graduation.

P/N grading policy. All physics courses except PHYS 105 and PHYS 480 are open to P/N grading. However, a student majoring or minoring in physics must elect the grade option for all of the required courses except where P/N grading is mandatory.

Residency: A minimum of 25 percent of the required credits in physics must be taken at Minnesota State University, Mankato for both the major and the minor. Testing for credit by examination is available on a case-by-case basis as determined by the chairperson of the Physics and Astronomy department.

BS degree, double major. Students majoring in physics often find a second major in mathematics to be an attractive option. If the BS degree in physics is combined with a BS degree in mathematics, then the following math courses are recommended: MATH 345, MATH 422, MATH 425, and MATH 447. 

Contact Information

141 Trafton North

Main Office (507) 389-5743
http://cset.mnsu.edu/pa/

Faculty

100 Level

Credits: 3

Self-paced format, open laboratory component. Includes the history, philosophy and growth of science from myth to the present. Included are readings on Galileo, Newton, the Industrial Revolution, and the modern scientific revolution. The relationship of science to art, archaeology, politics, weapons, medicine, technology, research and development, and the universe are discussed.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03

Credits: 3

A one semester course which covers the basic principles of physics on a conceptual level and with a minimal amount of math. The course provides an understanding of natural processes and their applications. Topics generally include mechanics, simple machines, atomic structure, heat, light and sound. Lecture and laboratory components.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03

Credits: 3

A one semester course which covers the basic principles of physics on a conceptual level. The course provides an understanding of natural processes and their applications to technology (or how things work!), including the greenhouse effect and nuclear power. Lecture only.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03

Credits: 3

Self-paced format. Includes readings on time; telling time from sundials to atomic clocks; Albert Einstein (a biography of the primary developer of the Theory of Relativity); and the Theory of Relativity. All the readings are written to be understood by non-scientists.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03

Credits: 1

This course offers an introduction to the field of physics, and prepares students for academic success in the program. Students will become familiar with current topics of physics research within the department, and better understand the career paths available with a physics major.

Prerequisites: none

200 Level

Credits: 4

General background in physical concepts for those who do not plan advanced study in physics or engineering. Topics include mechanics, fluids, heat and thermodynamics. Lecture and laboratory.

Prerequisites: Either MATH 112 and MATH 113, or MATH 115; and high school physics or PHYS 101. 

Goal Areas: GE-02, GE-03

Credits: 4

Includes waves and sound, electricity and magnetism, light and optics, and topics in modern physics. Lecture and laboratory.

Prerequisites: PHYS 211 

Credits: 2

PHYS 220 focuses on mathematical methods for introductory physics and problem solving skills framed in Newton's Laws at the introductory level. Specific topics include Vector Algebra and Trigonometry, Forces and Newtons Laws, and applications of Calculus to kinematics.The goal of the course is to provide students with supplemental preparation for a Calculus-Based Introductory Physics Course. Registration will require special permission.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-02, GE-03

Credits: 4

Designed for science and engineering students. Calculus-based physics. Covers elementary mechanics including kinematics, statics, equilibrium and dynamics of particles, work and energy, rotational motion, gravitation, and oscillation. Lecture and Laboratory. Prereq: MATH 121 with a C or better; and high school physics or PHYS 101. Fall, Spring

Prerequisites: MATH 121 with a “C” or better; and high school physics or PHYS 101 Fall, Spring

Goal Areas: GE-02, GE-03

Credits: 3

Designed for science and engineering students. Calculus-based physics. Covers electrical charge and field; magnetic field and its sources; current and resistance; simple DC and AC circuits; and electromagnetic induction. Lecture only. (Associated laboratory course is PHYS 232.) Prereq: MATH 122 with a C or better; and PHYS 221 with a C or better. Fall, Spring

Prerequisites: MATH 122 with a “C” or better; and PHYS 221 with a “C” or better. 

Credits: 3

Designed for science and engineering students. Calculus-based physics. Covers fluids, thermodynamics, mechanical and sound waves, geometrical optics, physical optics, and modern physics. Lecture only. (Associated laboratory course is PHYS 233.) Pre: MATH 122 with a Cor better; and PHYS 221 with a C or better. Spring

Prerequisites: MATH 122 with a “C” or better; and PHYS 221 with a “C” or better.

Credits: 1

Designed for science and engineering students. Laboratory course accompanying PHYS 222. Experiments involving electric and magnetic fields, electric potential, electric and magnetic forces, and simple circuits. Laboratory only. Prereq: PHYS 221 with a C or better; and PHYS 222 or concurrent. Fall, Spring

Prerequisites: PHYS 221 with a “C” or better; and PHYS 222 or concurrent.

Credits: 1

Designed for science and engineering students. Laboratory course accompanying PHYS 223. Experiments involving fluids, thermodynamics, mechanical waves, geometrical optics, and physical optics. Laboratory only. Prereq: PHYS 221 with a C or better; and PHYS 223 or concurrent. Spring

Prerequisites: PHYS 221 with a “C” or better; and PHYS 223 or concurrent.

Credits: 3

For prospective teachers in elementary schools. Topics include weather, weather forecasting and record keeping, simple machines, electricity, chemistry, sound, light, and others. May not count as a physics elective. Not available for P/N grading.

Prerequisites: none

300 Level

Credits: 3

Special Theory of Relativity. Quantum nature of waves and particles: photons, de Broglie wavelength of matter and wave packet description of particles, Bohr model of hydrogen. Schrodinger wave equation in one-dimension: energy quantization, potential barriers, simple harmonic oscillator. One-electron atoms. X-ray and optical excitation of multielectron atoms. Lecture and laboratory. Prereq: MATH 122; (PHYS 222 and concurrently with PHYS 223) or PHYS 212.

Prerequisites: MATH 122; (PHYS 222 and concurrently with PHYS 223) or PHYS 212. 

Credits: 3

Topics include the basics of molecular structure and spectra, classical and quantum statistical physics, solid state physics, nuclear physics,and particle physics. The lab component will teach the operation of various radiation detectors, and use them to study the interaction of radiation with matter.

Prerequisites: PHYS 335 

Credits: 1-3

Supervised experience as an instructional assistant. Must demonstrate ability in basic physics.

Prerequisites: Consent 

400 Level

Credits: 2

This course bridges the gap between introductory physics and its application to the life and biomedical sciences. Topics include fluid flow, membrane transport, nerve conduction, imaging methods including MRI, CT, and nuclear imaging, radiotherapy, and health physics.

Prerequisites: MATH 121, PHYS 212 or PHYS 222 

Credits: 4

Rectilinear motion of a particle, general motion of a particle in three dimensions, Newtonian mechanics including harmonic oscillations, forced oscillations, central forces and orbital motion, collisions, noninertial reference systems, dynamics of a system particles, rigid body motion, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics, normal coordinates.

Prerequisites: PHYS 222 or PHYS 223; and MATH 321 or consent. 

Credits: 3

Electrostatic fields, magnetostatic fields, steady currents, electromagnetic induction. Review of vector algebra.

Prerequisites: MATH 223 and MATH 321 and PHYS 222 

Credits: 3

Electromagnetic waves, propagation and radiation of waves, electrodynamics and relativity.

Prerequisites: PHYS 223 and PHYS 447 

Credits: 3

Atoms in crystals, wave in crystals, thermal vibrations of the crystal lattice, free electron model, band theory of solids, semiconductors and PN junctions, magnetism, and superconductivity.

Prerequisites: PHYS 335 

Credits: 3

Geometric optics, wave optics, properties of light and matter, optics of transformations, and quantum optics. Lecture and laboratory.

Prerequisites: MATH 122 and PHYS 223

Credits: 4

A systematic development of foundations of quantum mechanics. Observables, operators, state functions, expectation values. Matrix formulation of eigenvalue problems. The hydrogen atom, electron spin, angular momentum, and perturbation theory.

Prerequisites: PHYS 335, PHYS 441, MATH 247, MATH 321 

Credits: 3

Numerical solutions of physics problems and computer simulations of physical systems. Lecture and laboratory. Prereq: Familiarity with some programming language and PHYS 212 or 222, and MATH 122, or consent

Prerequisites: MATH 122, CS 110 and PHYS 222 or PHYS 223. 

Credits: 3

Fundamental principles of statistical physics, including theory of probability, kinetic theory of transport process, entropy, classical and quantum statistical ensembles, Bose and Fermi systems. Applications to thermodynamics and magnetic properties of solids.

Prerequisites: MATH 321 and PHYS 223 

Credits: 3

Experiments in modern physics, including solid-state physics and optics. Requires more independent work than introductory laboratories.

Prerequisites: PHYS 336 or consent

Credits: 2

Experiments in modern physics, including solid-state physics and optics. Requires more independent work than introductory laboratories.

Prerequisites: PHYS 336 or consent 

Credits: 4

Current methods of teaching all physical sciences with emphasis on physics and chemistry. For students planning to teach at a middle school, secondary school, college, or a university. Prereq: One year of chemistry and one year of physics

Prerequisites: one year of chemistry and one year of physics, or consent 

Credits: 2-4

A short course devoted to a specific topic in physics. May be repeated for credit on each new topic.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 1-8

A course designed to upgrade the qualifications of persons on-the-job.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 1

Students will attend research seminars presented by faculty in the department, or speakers from other institutions. Students also make and critique presentations made by themselves and other students. May be repeated for credit. Prereq: Completed at least two upper division physics courses. Spring

Prerequisites: Completed at least two upper division physics courses. 

Credits: 1-6

.

Prerequisites: Consent 

Credits: 1-2

A course in an area of physics not regularly offered. Topic and credit assigned by department each time offered.

Prerequisites: PHYS 335 and PHYS 336 

Credits: 1-16

Provides a student with the opportunity to gain expertise and experience in a special field under the supervision of a qualified person. Prereq: Usually senior standing

Prerequisites: Usually Sr. standing 

Credits: 1-8

Special arrangements must be made with an appropriate faculty member of the department office. May be repeated for credit on each new topic.

Prerequisites: Consent