9.26. Physics

Programs offered:
B.A. in Physics and Liberal Studies*
B.S. in Physics-Astrophysics Track
B.S. in Physics-Computational Physics Track
B.S. in Physics-Engineering Track
B.S. in Physics-General Physics Track
Minor in Physics (TU)

Oglethorpe offers undergraduate Physics programs for a variety of interests and goals. The B.S. degree in Physics (which requires that every student concurrently follows a track through one of four areas: Astrophysics, Computational Physics, Engineering or General Physics) provides preparation for employment or further study in physics and related fields. The B.A. degree in Physics and Liberal Studies is suitable for students who wish to obtain a broad liberal education with a concentration in physical science. This program will prepare students to apply their knowledge of the physical sciences to non-technical careers in fields like business and entrepreneurship, museum curatorship, and K-12 education.

While Oglethorpe does not offer a degree in Engineering, there are at least three pathways for Oglethorpe physical science students to achieve an engineering degree while also obtaining a valuable liberal education.

  1. Graduate from Oglethorpe with a regular baccalaureate degree (often, although not necessarily, a B.S. in Physics) and then enter a graduate program leading to an advanced degree in the engineering field of interest. There are a number of engineering graduate schools which provide for this option.
  2. Take appropriate science and math classes (as well as the Core and various electives,such as humanities, arts, etc.) at Oglethorpe for 2-3 years, and then simply transfer to an engineering school for the final two years of baccalaureate study. Ultimately, such students receive a degree from the engineering school to which they transfer; such students are not eligible for an Oglethorpe degree.
  3. The remaining option is for a student to pursue the Engineering Track leading to the B.S.in Physics. This program enables students to obtain two bachelor’s degrees, the aforementioned B.S. from Oglethorpe and a specialized engineering baccalaureate degree from one of our partner engineering schools (currently limited exclusively to Georgia Institute of Technology and Auburn University) in a highly structured program. The programs require a student to complete three-quarters of a regular Oglethorpe baccalaureate degree in residence and the remaining technical requirements of the engineering program at one of these engineering schools. The dual-degree program provides students an opportunity to find success in a difficult field, by starting at Oglethorpe where the faculty’s primary concern is effective teaching and working closely with students. Small class sizes and access to sophisticated equipment gives students a strong foundation to find success in advanced engineering courses at the partner engineering institutions. Once the student graduates from the engineering partner, he/she sends her final transcript back to Oglethorpe, which will then confer the B.S. degree in Physics.

All introductory-level science (biology, chemistry, physics) lecture courses have mathematics prerequisites, and some also have mathematics co-requisites. Some of these introductory-level science courses are required for the various physics programs. Further, several physics courses beyond the introductory level have additional mathematics prerequisites. While the aforementioned mathematics prerequisites can be satisfied in a variety of ways, the most efficient way for most students is to start by taking the mathematics placement examination no later than the start of a student’s first semester at Oglethorpe, and preferably early in the summer preceding that first semester. The mathematics placement exam will diagnose if a student has sufficient mathematical acuity to exempt any of the mathematics prerequisites and, if not, will also diagnose an action plan for preparing the student to satisfy prerequisites in the shortest possible time. Please consult Sec. 6.4.1. and Sec. 6.4.2. for additional information. Students who satisfy the relevant mathematics proficiency prerequisites their first semester at Oglethorpe are urged to register for the appropriate physics courses (and any affiliated mathematics co-requisites) right away. Students needing additional math preparation must acquire the needed expertise in time to begin the required mathematics and physics courses in their sophomore year. Students pursuing the Engineering Track who require additional math preparation will likely find it very difficult to complete the required Oglethorpe coursework in three years.

Students interested in pursuing careers in scientific illustration with a physical science emphasis should seek specialized advising. Please consult the Studio Art program coordinator.

B.S. in Physics (all Tracks except Engineering) (see Sec. 8.5.4. for a complete list of B.S. graduation requirements)

    1. Regardless of whether a student is working toward the Astrophysics Track,the Computational Physics Track, or the General Physics Track, completion of all the following courses:
      CSC 201 Introduction to Computer Programming
      MAT 131 Calculus I
      MAT 132 Calculus II
      MAT 233 Calculus III
      PHY 201 College Physics I (and laboratory, PHY 101L)
      PHY 202 College Physics II (and laboratory, PHY 102L)
      PHY 203 Modern Physics (and laboratory, PHY 203L)
      PHY 331 Electricity and Magnetism I
      PHY 333 Thermal and Statistical Physics
      PHY 334 Quantum Mechanics
    2. Regardless of whether a student is working toward the Astrophysics Track, the Computational Physics Track, or the General Physics Track, completion of all the courses listed in one of the following three options:
      Option 1:
      PHY 204  Mathematical Physics
      Option 2 (highly recommended for those wishing to pursue graduate studies in physics):
      MAT 236 Differential Equations
      MAT 241 Proof and Logic
      MAT 372 Linear Algebra
      Option 3:
      MAT 236 Differential Equations
      MAT 238 Linear Algebra for Engineering and Economics
    3. For students pursuing a B.S. in Physics-Astrophysics Track only,
      1. Completion of PHY 100 Introduction to Descriptive Astronomy
      2. Completion of any two of the following courses:
        PHY 212 Classical Mechanics II
        PHY 335 Modern Optics (and laboratory, PHY 335L)
        PHY 490 Advanced Special Topics in Theoretical Physics
        PHY 491 Advanced Special Topics in Experimental Physics
    4. For students pursuing a B.S. in Physics-Computational Physics Track only, completion of all of the following courses:
      CSC 202 Data Structures
      CSC 490 Advanced Special Topics in Computer Science
      PHY 211 Classical Mechanics I (and laboratory, PHY 211L)
    5. For students pursuing the B.S. in Physics-General Physics Track only, completion of all of the following courses:
      PHY 211 Classical Mechanics I (and laboratory, PHY 211L)
      PHY 420 Advanced Physics Lab
      One additional Physics course indexed higher than PHY 211
    6. Additional requirements and things to note:
      1. A grade of “C-” or better is required for each of the following courses (and for each of their associated lab courses): PHY 201, PHY 202, and PHY 203.
      2. A cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 or higher is required for all courses contributing to the major.
      3. PHY 490 and PHY 491 may each be taken more than once providing that different
        topics are covered each time.
      4. Students pursuing the Astrophysics Track should enroll in PHY 490 and/or PHY 491 courses with an astronomy or cosmology focus. Prior consultation with Physics faculty is required in order to guarantee that a particular topic covered in PHY 490 and/or PHY 491 is appropriate and will satisfy the requirements for the Astrophysics Track.
      5. Evaluation by, and consultation with, Physics faculty(and especially the Physics program coordinator) is generally required in order to permit transfer work to count for any of the courses required for the major.

B.S. in Physics–Engineering Track (see Sec. 8.5.4. for a complete list of B.S. graduation requirements)

        1. Completion of the following courses:
          CHM 101 General Chemistry I (and laboratory, CHM 101L)
          CHM 102 General Chemistry II (and laboratory, CHM 102L)
          MAT 131 Calculus I
          MAT 132 Calculus II
          MAT 233 Calculus III
          MAT 236 Differential Equations
          PHY 201 College Physics I (and laboratory, PHY 101L)
          PHY 202 College Physics II (and laboratory, PHY 102L)
        2. Completion of all the courses listed in one of the following two options:
          Option 1:
          MAT 241 Proof and Logic
          MAT 372 Linear Algebra
          Option 2 (highly recommended for those wishing to pursue the Engineering Track):
          MAT 238 Linear Algebra for Engineering and Economics
        3. Completion of other courses as necessary, based on the desired engineering partner school’s particular requirements and also based upon the student’s desired area of engineering expertise. Close cooperation is demanded between every student, the Engineering program coordinator and the student’s academic advisor.
        4. Satisfactory completion of the entire TU General Education program (see Sec.7.1.)and a minimum of 96 earned semester hours at Oglethorpe are needed before students can transition to an engineering partner institution. Other requirements may apply. Students must confer regularly with the Engineering program coordinator and their academic advisor.
        5. Additional requirements and things to note:
          1. It is recommended, but not required, that Engineering students complete CSC 201 Introduction to Computer Programming.
          2. A cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 or higher is required for all courses contributing to the major.
          3. Evaluation by, and consultation with, Physics faculty (and especially the Engineering program coordinator) is generally required in order to permit transfer work to count for any of the courses required for the major.
          4. Engineering students will not receive any Oglethorpe University financial aid once such students transfer to the appropriate engineering partner school.
          5. Students are cautioned that in order to receive the B.S.in Physics-Engineering Track the student must satisfactorily complete all work specified above at Oglethorpe, then apply to, and be accepted at, one of the engineering partner schools (limited to Georgia Institute of Technology and Auburn University), and then successfully achieve degree conferral at the engineering partner school in an appropriate engineering field. Only after the engineering partner awards the student an engineering degree will Oglethorpe, in turn, award the B.S. in Physics–Engineering Track degree. Students who have no intention or likely ability to successfully transfer to an engineering partner school should not pursue this major. Instead, such students should select one of the other majors available at Oglethorpe.

B.A. in Physics and Liberal Studies (see Sec. 8.5.1. for a complete list of B.A. graduation requirements)*

  1. Completion of the following courses:
    MAT 131 Calculus I
    MAT 132 Calculus II
    MAT 233 Calculus III
    PHY 201 College Physics I (and laboratory, PHY 101L)
    PHY 202 College Physics II (and laboratory, PHY 102L)
    PHY 203 Modern Physics (and laboratory, PHY 203L)
  2. Completion of three additional Physics courses indexed higher than PHY 204
  3. Completion of all the courses listed in one of the following three options:
    Option 1 (highly recommended for B.A. Physics students:
    PHY 204 Mathematical Physics
    Option 2:
    MAT 236 Differential Equations
    MAT 241 Proof and Logic
    MAT 372 Linear Algebra
    Option 3:
    MAT 236 Differential Equations
    MAT 238 Linear Algebra for Engineering and Economics
  4. Completion of four 4- or 5-hour courses(all above the introductory level) in a secondary discipline. Students should work with their academic advisor to select both the discipline and the particular courses.
  5. Additional requirements and things to note:
    1. A grade of “C-” or better is required for each of the following courses (and for each of their associated lab courses): PHY 201, PHY 202, and PHY 203.
    2. A cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 or higher is required for all courses contributing to the major.
    3. PHY 490 and PHY 491 may each be taken more than once providing that different topics are covered each time.
    4. Evaluation by,and consultation with, Physics faculty (and especially the Physics program coordinator) is generally required in order to permit transfer work to count for any of the courses required for the major.
    5. The B.A. degree requires completion of one semester of a foreign language at the 102 level or higher. See Sec. 8.5.1. for a complete list of graduation requirements for the B.A. degree.

Minor in Physics (TU)

  1. Completion of all of the following courses:
    PHY 201 College Physics I (and laboratory, PHY 101L)
    PHY 202 College Physics II (and laboratory, PHY 102L)
    PHY 203 Modern Physics (and laboratory, PHY 203L)
  2. Completion of two additional Physics courses, excluding PHY 101, PHY 102, and PHY 204.

*Pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). See Sec. 2.5. and Sec. 3.2.