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Department of Physics

BA with a Major in Physics

Minor in Physics
BS in the Teaching of Physics

Minor in Teaching of Physics
BS in Physics

Distinction


2236 Science and Engineering South (SES)
(312) 996–3400
http://www.phy.uic.edu
Administration: Head, David J. Hofman
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Cecilia Gerber, gerber@uic.edu
Student Services: Melodie Shaw, melodies@uic.edu

 



The fundamental goal of the science of physics is to develop a basic and comprehensive understanding and description of all forms of matter and energy. This goal is pursued through experimental and theoretical investigations, with experimental results pointing the way toward possible new theories and tentative theories suggesting new experiments. Physics occupies a middle ground between mathematics and engineering, using the techniques of the former and providing new ideas and materials (structures and properties) to the latter.

The Department of Physics offers the Bachelor of Science in Physics (Curriculum in Physics), the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences with a Major in Physics, and the Bachelor of Science in the Teaching of Physics. The BS in the Teaching of Physics includes the option to obtain a State of Illinois secondary education license in the teaching of physics with an additional math endorsement if desired.

The Physics major who continues on to a PhD or who combines a physics background with an advanced degree in engineering or another science, or with an MBA, will find many positions available in industry. The Physics major who obtains a PhD will qualify in many cases for a faculty position in engineering as well as physics. The real shortage of qualified high school physical science teachers nationally also provides excellent career opportunities for students majoring in the teacher education program.

In addition to the Physics majors, the department also offers a Minor in Physics and a Minor in the Teaching of Physics. The minor in physics is also an attractive option for students in the math, chemistry, biology, pre-health, and engineering programs.

BA with a Major in Physics

Degree Requirements—BA with a Major in Physics

To earn a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences degree from UIC, students must complete University, college, and department degree requirements. The Department of Physics degree requirements are outlined below. Students should consult the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences section for additional degree requirements and college academic policies.

BA with a Major in Physics Degree Requirements
Hours
Required Prerequisite and Collateral Courses
26
Major Requirements
40
General Education and Electives to reach Minimum Total Hours
54
Minimum Total Hours—BA with a Major in Physics
120

 

General Education

See General Education and Writing-in-the-Discipline in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences section for information on meeting these requirements. Students should consult the course lists below and their advisors to determine which courses may be counted toward the General Education and Writing-in-the-Discipline requirements.

Required Prerequisite and Collateral Courses

Courses
Hours
MATH 180—Calculus Iab
5
MATH 181—Calculus IIa
5
MATH 210—Calculus IIIa
3
MATH 220—Introduction to Differential Equations
3
CHEM 112—General College Chemistry Ia
5
CHEM 114—General College Chemistry IIa
5
Total Hours—Required Prerequisite and Collateral Courses
26

a This course is approved for the Analyzing the Natural World General Education category.
b MATH 180 fulfills the LAS Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

Major Requirements

Courses
Hours
PHYS 141—General Physics I (Mechanics)a
4
PHYS 142—General Physics II (Electricity and Magnetism)a
4
PHYS 215—Mathematical Methods for Physicists
4
PHYS 244—General Physics III (Modern Physics)
3
PHYS 245—General Physics IV (Heat, Fluids, and Wave Phenomena)
4
PHYS 401—Electromagnetism I
4
PHYS 411—Quantum Mechanics I
4
PHYS 441—Theoretical Mechanics
4
PHYS 461—Thermal and Statistical Physics
4
PHYS 481—Modern Experimental Physics Ibd
4
PHYS 499—Survey of Physics Problemscd
1
Total Hours—Major Requirements
40

a This course is approved for the Analyzing the Natural World General Education category.
b PHYS 481 fulfills the Writing-in-the-Discipline requirement.
c Students must achieve a grade of C or better in PHYS 499.
d Concurrent registration in PHYS 481 and 499 is required.

Recommended Plan of Study

To view a recommended plan of study for the major in Physics, please visit the LAS website
http://www.las.uic.edu/students or follow this direct link http://physicsweb.phy.uic.edu/undergraduate/recstudy.pdf

Minor in Physics

Students from other disciplines who want to minor in Physics must complete 19 semester hours distributed as follows:

Required Courses—Physics Minor
Hours
PHYS 141—General Physics I (Mechanics)
4
PHYS 142—General Physics II (Electricity and (Magnetism)
4
PHYS 244—General Physics III (Modern Physics)
3
PHYS 245—General Physics IV (Heat, Fluids, and Wave Phenomena)
4
   
One of the following courses:
4
PHYS 401—Electromagnetism I (4)a  
PHYS 411—Quantum Mechanics I (4)a  
PHYS 441—Theoretical Mechanics (4)a  
PHYS 461—Thermal and Statistical Physics (4)  
Total Hours—Physics Minor
19

a Courses have a prerequisite of PHYS 215, or departmental approval for students in the minor program.

BS in the Teaching of Physics

Degree Requirements—BS in the Teaching of Physics

To earn a Bachelor of Science in the Teaching of Physics degree from UIC, students must complete University, college, and department degree requirements. The Department of Physics degree requirements are outlined below. Students should consult the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences section for additional degree requirements and college academic policies.

BS in the Teaching of Physics Degree Requirements
Hours
Required Prerequisite and Collateral Courses
26
Major Requirements
39–40
General Education and Electives to reach Minimum Total Hours
54–55
Minimum Total Hours—BS in the Teaching of Physics
120

Note: Teacher education students must fulfill certain other requirements. Please see below and consult Secondary Education Program and Council on Teacher Education in the College of Education section of the catalog for more information.


General Education

See General Education and Writing-in-the-Discipline in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences section for information on meeting these requirements. Students should consult the course lists below and their advisors to determine which courses are counted toward the General Education and Writing-in-the-Discipline requirements.

Teaching of Math Endorsement
Students who intend to obtain an endorsement in the teaching of mathematics in addition to licensure in the teaching of physics should pay special attention to the footnotes throughout this section. Additionally, students should complete 39 hours for the physics major, the requirements for the Minor in Mathematics, and additional course work that is specific to the endorsement in mathematics as described below.

Required Prerequisite and Collateral Courses

Courses
Hours
MATH 180—Calculus Iab
5
MATH 181—Calculus IIa
5
MATH 210—Calculus IIIa
3
CHEM 112—General College Chemistry Ia
5
   
One of the following two courses:
5
BIOS 100—Biology of Cells and Organisms (5)a
CHEM 114—General College Chemistry II (5)a
   
One of the following two courses:
3
MATH 215—Introduction to Advanced Mathematics (3)c
MATH 220—Introduction to Differential Equations (3)
   
Total Hours—Required Prerequisite and Collateral Courses
26

a This course is approved for the Analyzing the Natural World General Education category.
b MATH 180 fulfills the LAS Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

c This course is required to obtain an endorsement in the teaching of mathematics.

Major Requirementsa

Courses
Hours
PHYS 141—General Physics I (Mechanics)b
4
PHYS 142—General Physics II (Electricity and Magnetism)b
4
PHYS 215—Mathematical Methods for Physicists
4
PHYS 244—General Physics III (Modern Physics)
3
PHYS 245—General Physics IV (Heat, Fluids, and Wave Phenomena)
4
PHYS 481—Modern Experimental Physics Ice
4
PHYS 499—Survey of Physics Problemsde
1
   
Four of the following courses with at least three in physics:
15–16
PHYS 401—Electromagnetism I (4)
PHYS 411—Quantum Mechanics I (4)
PHYS 425—Modern Optics (4)  
PHYS 441—Theoretical Mechanics (4)
PHYS 450—Molecular Biophysics of the Cell (4)  
PHYS 461—Thermal and Statistical Physics (4)
PHYS 482—Modern Experimental Physics II (4)
MATH 310—Applied Linear Algebra I (3)f
OR
MATH 320—Linear Algebra I (3)f
Total Hours—Major Requirements
39–40

a Students must earn a grade of C or better in all physics major requirement course work to be eligible for an Illinois teaching license in secondary
physics.
b This course is approved for the Analyzing the Natural World General Education category.
c PHYS 481 fulfills the Writing-in-the-Discipline requirement.
d Students must achieve a grade of C or better in PHYS 499.
e Concurrent registration in PHYS 481 and 499 is required.
f MATH 310 or MATH 320 is required to obtain an endorsement in the teaching of math.

 

Minor in Mathematicsa
A Minor in Mathematics requires MATH 180, MATH 181, MATH 210 (already taken in the prerequisites for the Physics major) and 8
additional hours of MATH, MCS, or STAT electives at the 200-, 300-, or 400-level (with one in the MATH rubric with the exception of MATH 205).

To earn an endorsement in the teaching of math, students should complete the requirements for the Minor in Mathematics and the specific courses listed below.

Coursesa
Hours
One of the following two courses:
3
STAT 381—Applied Statistical Methods I (3)b
STAT 401—Introduction to Probability (3)b
   
MTHT 411—Advanced Euclidean Geometryc
3
   
One of the following two courses:
3
MTHT 435—Abstract Algebra (3)d
MATH 330—Abstract Algebra I (3)d
   
Total Hours—Additional Recommended Courses
9

a Students must earn the grade of C or better to earn an endorsement in mathematics teaching.
b Course has a prerequisite of a grade of C or better in MATH 210.
c Course has a prerequisite of a grade of C or better in MATH 215.
d Course has a prerequisite of MATH 210 and MATH 215.

Students who intend to apply for the Master of Education in Instructional Leadership degree in order to obtain licensure in secondary science: physics with a math endorsement must complete a Minor in Mathematics that includes courses required for state teacher licensure.

Additional Requirements for Teacher Education
In addition to the specified course work in the major field, teacher education students must fulfill certain professional education course requirements, which are mandated by the State of Illinois:

Courses
Hours
ED 200—Educational Policy Foundations
3
ED 210—The Educative Process
3
SPED 410—Survey of Characteristics of Learners with Disabilities
3
CI 414—Middle and High School Literacy
3
PHYS/CI 469—The Learning and Teaching of Physics
4
ED 330—Curriculum, Instruction, and Evaluation in the Secondary School
4
ED 470—Educational Practice with Seminar I
6
ED 471—Educational Practice with Seminar II
6


Grades in the above courses must average at least 3.00 with no grade lower than C. Overall, students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.50/4.00. For detailed information, see the Program Guide for Teacher Education in Physics, which is available from the secondary education coordinator in the Department of Physics.

The teaching license is not automatically awarded upon successful completion of licensure and degree requirements. Before the license is issued, the candidate must file an application for the Illinois teaching license with the Council on Teacher Education. The candidate must also pass a series of examinations required by the Illinois State Board of Education. The Test of Academic Proficiency must be passed prior to applying for candidacy with the Council on Teacher Education. The Content Area Test (s) must be passed before the candidate is allowed to student teach. The Assessment of Professional Teaching must be passed prior to licensure. For information on application procedures, contact the Council on Teacher Education located in 3015 EPASW. See Council on Teacher Education and Secondary Education Program in the College of Education section of the catalog.

Recommended Plan of Study

To view a recommended plan of study for the Bachelor of Science in the Teaching of Physics, please visit the LAS website http://www.las.uic.edu/students or follow this direct link http://physicsweb.phy.uic.edu/undergraduate/recstudy.pdf.

Minor in Teaching of Physics

Secondary education majors from other disciplines who want to minor in the Teaching of Physics must complete 19 semester hours distributed as follows:

Required Courses—Teaching of Physics Minor
Hours
PHYS 141—General Physics I (Mechanics)
4
PHYS 142—General Physics II (Electricity and Magnetism)
4
PHYS 244—General Physics III (Modern Physics)
3
PHYS 245—General Physics IV (Heat, Fluids, and Wave Phenomena)
4
   
One of the following courses:
4
PHYS 401—Electromagnetism I (4)a  
PHYS 411—Quantum Mechanics I (4)a  
PHYS 441—Theoretical Mechanics (4)a  
PHYS 461—Thermal and Statistical Physics (4)  
Total Hours—Teaching of Physics Minor
19

a Courses have a prerequisite of PHYS 215, or departmental approval for students in the minor program.


This minor is open only to students obtaining full licensure in an approved UIC Teacher Education major. To teach Physics as a second subject in Illinois public schools one must apply for and receive an Endorsement from the State Board of Education and meet all of the additional course and other requirements the Board has established.

The teaching license is not automatically awarded upon successful completion of licensure and degree requirements. Before the license is issued, the candidate must file an application with the State of Illinois and take an examination administered by the State Board of Education. For information and application procedures, contact the Council on Teacher Education in the College of Education.

BS in Physics

Degree Requirements—BS in Physics

To earn a Bachelor of Science in Physics degree from UIC, students must complete University, college, and department degree requirements. The Department of Physics degree requirements are outlined below. Students should consult the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences section for additional degree requirements and college academic policies.

BS in Physics Degree Requirements
Hours
Requirements for the Curriculum
120
Minimum Total Hours—BS in Physics
120


Requirements for the Curriculum

The requirements for the curriculum include the courses necessary to complete the General Education and Writing-in-the-Discipline requirements described in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences section.

Courses
Hours
ENGL 160—Academic Writing I: Writing for Academic and Public Contextsa
3
ENGL 161—Academic Writing II: Writing for Inquiry and Researcha
3
Foreign language (the equivalent of two years of a single language at the college level)
0–16
Exploring World Cultures courseb
3
Understanding the Creative Arts courseb
3
Understanding the Individual and Society courseb
3
Understanding the Past courseb
3
Understanding U.S. Society courseb
3
MATH 180—Calculus Icd
5
MATH 181—Calculus IId
5
MATH 210—Calculus IIId
3
MATH 220—Introduction to Differential Equations
3
CHEM 112—General College Chemistry Id
5
CHEM 114—General College Chemistry IId
5
PHYS 141—General Physics I (Mechanics)d
4
PHYS 142—General Physics II (Electricity and Magnetism)d
4
PHYS 215—Mathematical Methods for Physicists
4
PHYS 244—General Physics III (Modern Physics)
3
PHYS 245—General Physics IV (Heat, Fluids, and Wave Phenomena)
4
PHYS 401—Electromagnetism I
4
PHYS 411—Quantum Mechanics I
4
PHYS 441—Theoretical Mechanics
4
PHYS 461—Thermal and Statistical Physics
4
   
One of the following courses:
4
PHYS 425—Modern Optics (4)  
PHYS 482—Modern Experimental Physics II (4)  
   
One of the following courses:
4
PHYS 402—Electromagnetism II (4)e  
PHYS 412—Quantum Mechanics II (4)e  
   
PHYS 481—Modern Experimental Physics Ifh
4
PHYS 499—Survey of Physics Problemsgh
1
Electives
9–25
Minimum Total Hours—Requirements for the Curriculum
120

a ENGL 160 and 161 fulfill the University Writing Requirement.
b Students should consult the General Education section of the catalog for a list of approved courses in this category.
c MATH 180 fulfills the LAS Quantitative Reasoning requirement.
d This course is approved for the Analyzing the Natural World General Education category.
e Students planning to pursue graduate studies in physics are strongly encouraged to take both of these courses.
f PHYS 481 fulfills the LAS Writing-in-the-Discipline requirement.
g A grade of C or better is required in PHYS 499.

h Concurrent registration in PHYS 481 and 499 is required.

Recommended Plan of Study—BS in Physics

Physics is a discipline that carefully builds additional knowledge on a foundation of previously learned science and mathematics. To complete the physics curriculum in four years, therefore, requires careful planning, especially because the upper-division courses are offered at most once per year and have prerequisites. A recommended typical course sequence for the BS degree is given below. (The BA program omits PHYS 425 or 482; and PHYS 402 or 412).

Note: Students should consult the General Education section of the catalog for a list of approved courses in each category.


Freshman Year

Fall Semester
Hours
CHEM 112—General College Chemistry I
5
ENGL 160—Academic Writing I: Writing for Academic and Public Contexts
3
MATH 180—Calculus I
5
General Education Core course
3
Total Hours
16

Spring Semester
Hours
CHEM 114—General College Chemistry II
5
ENGL 161—Academic Writing II: Writing for Inquiry and Research
3
MATH 181—Calculus II
5
PHYS 141—General Physics I (Mechanics)
4
Total Hours
17

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester
Hours
MATH 210—Calculus III
3
PHYS 142—General Physics II (Electricity and Magnetism)
4
General Education Core course
3
General Education Core course
3
Total Hours
13

Spring Semester
Hours
MATH 220—Introduction to Differential Equations I
3
PHYS 215—Mathematical Methods for Physicists
4
PHYS 244—General Physics III (Modern Physics)
3
PHYS 245—General Physics IV (Heat, Fluids, and Wave Phenomena)
4
Total Hours
14

Junior Year

Fall Semester
Hours
PHYS 401—Electromagnetism I
4
PHYS 461—Thermal and Statistical Physics
4
Foreign Language
4
General Education Core course
3
Total Hours
15

Spring Semester
Hours
PHYS 402—Electromagnetism II
4
PHYS 441—Theoretical Mechanics
4
Foreign Language
4
General Education Core course
3
Total Hours
15

Senior Year

Fall Semester
Hours
PHYS 411—Quantum Mechanics I
4
PHYS 481—Modern Experimental Physics I
4
PHYS 499—Survey of Physics Problems
1
Foreign Language
4
Elective
3–4
Total Hours
16–17
Spring Semester
Hours
PHYS 412—Quantum Mechanics II
4
PHYS 425—Modern Optics
OR
PHYS 482—Modern Experimental Physics II
4
Foreign Language
4
Elective
3–4
Total Hours
15–16


Students who are not prepared to begin Mathematics 180 in their first semester may need to attend summer school or possibly take more than four years to finish their BS degree.

In addition to the degree programs shown above, there is an Engineering Physics program available through the College of Engineering.

Distinction

Departmental Distinction. Distinction in physics is awarded to students who achieve college honors and an overall minimum GPA of 3.50/4.00 in upper-division physics (400-level) and mathematics (300-level and above) courses.

Students who qualify for departmental distinction are recommended for high or highest distinction on the basis of grade point average and/or high performance in PHYS 391—Physics Seminar or PHYS 392—Physics Research, described as follows.

High Distinction. A minimum overall GPA of 3.70/4.00 in upper-division physics and mathematics courses or a minimum overall GPA of 3.50/4.00 in upper-division physics and mathematics courses and high performance in PHYS 391 or 392, as judged by the instructor of the course.

Highest Distinction. A minimum overall GPA of 3.80/4.00 in upper-division physics and mathematics courses or a minimum overall GPA of 3.70/4.00 in upper-division physics and mathematics courses and high performance in PHYS 391 or 392, as judged by the instructor of the course.