School of Humanities and Sciences

Department of Physics

Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science

Beth Ellen Clark Joseph, Associate Professor and Chair

The Department of Physics offers a range of programs and courses designed to prepare students for a variety of career opportunities. With the supporting background of mathematics, computer science, chemistry, and biology, the curriculum provides the educational foundation necessary for continued study at the graduate level, technical employment, or certification in secondary school teaching of physics.

The department offers a physics-engineering 3-2 program and has programs leading to the bachelor of science degree in physics and the bachelor of arts in physics and mathematics-physics.

Physics, B.S.
Physics, B.A.
Mathematics-Physics, B.A.
Physics, B.A. with Teaching Option
Physics Minor

Physics-Engineering 3-2 Program

In collaboration with Cornell University, Clarkson University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering, Applied Science, and Technology of Binghamton University, as well as other accredited engineering schools, the physics department offers qualified students the opportunity to receive two bachelor's degrees, one from Ithaca College and one from the appropriate school of engineering, over the course of five years. Physics majors who are interested in this program complete all the requirements for the physics B.A. (see below) in three years, and apply to transfer to the appropriate engineering school for two more years to complete an engineering degree.

Students who wish to enter this joint program must take, in addition to the physics program requirements, certain basic courses stipulated by the engineering department of their choice. Very careful planning is necessary to ensure the proper program articulation, and students must therefore obtain the approval of the department chairperson no later than the end of the fifth semester. This program requires the student to take an academic leave of absence for the senior year and to obtain the provost's waiver of the senior credit requirement. Transfer will be subject to both the department's recommendation and acceptance by the engineering school. Students will transfer 30 credits from the engineering school toward the Ithaca College degree.

To graduate from the program, a student must fulfill the degree requirements of the engineering school. In the event a student does not complete the engineering school portion of the program, an Ithaca College degree in physics can be awarded if all the requirements for a department-approved physics program have been met. Courses taken at the engineering school can be used toward fulfillment of the requirement upon approval of the department.

Requirements for Honors in Physics

A senior physics major may elect to compete for departmental honors, provided his or her cumulative average in level 2 and above physics courses is at least 3.50. The two-part examination is given the first two Saturdays following the winter break of the senior year. The first Saturday consists of two comprehensive written exams: from 9:00 a.m. to noon, covering the principles of physics, and from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., covering material at the junior/senior level. In addition, material from any course in the student's concentration may be included in the afternoon examination. Provided the candidate performs satisfactorily on these written exams, he or she is given a comprehensive oral exam on the following Saturday by a faculty committee of at least three members. The committee makes the final decision on whether to grant honors based on the student's academic record and performance on the written and oral exams.

Requirements for the Major in Physics -- B.S.

The B.S. major in physics provides a rigorous course of study in physics for the student as a preparation for graduate school or highly technical jobs in industry.

Courses in the department

PHYS 11700

Principles of Physics I: Mechanics

4

PHYS 11800

Principles of Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism

4

PHYS 12000

Introductory Applied Physics Laboratory

3

PHYS 21700

Principles of Physics III: Waves, Optics, and Thermodynamics

4

PHYS 21800

Principles of Physics IV: Modern Physics

4

PHYS 22500

AC and DC Circuits

3

PHYS 30100

Mathematical Methods in Physics

3

PHYS 30500

Electromagnetism

3

PHYS 31100

Analytical Mechanics

3

PHYS 32000

Thermodynamics

3

PHYS 36000

Intermediate Physics Laboratory

3

PHYS 42100

Quantum Mechanics

3

PHYS 45100

Advanced Physics Laboratory

3

PHYS 49800

Senior Thesis

3

PHYS 29900

Introductory Physics Research

1

PHYS 39900

Intermediate Physics Research

1

PHYS 49900

Advanced Physics Research

1

  One additional physics course at level 3 or above 3
 

Total, physics courses

52

Courses outside the department

MATH 11100

Calculus I

4

MATH 11200 Calculus II 4
MATH 21100 Calculus III 4
MATH 21200 Calculus IV 3
COMP 17100

Principles of Computing Science I

4

 

Total, courses outside the department

19

  Electives 49
  Total, B.S. in physics 120

Requirements for the Major in Physics -- B.A.

The B.A. major in physics permits students either to concentrate heavily on physics in preparation for industrial careers or to combine physics with other professional interests or graduate degree aspirations such as secondary education, premedical training or biology, astronomy, electronics, chemistry, environmental science, or computer science.

Core physics courses

PHYS 11700 Principles of Physics I: Mechanics 4
PHYS 11800 Principles of Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism 4
PHYS 12000 Introductory Applied Physics Laboratory 3
PHYS 21700 Principles of Physics III: Waves, Optics, and Thermodynamics 4
PHYS 21800 Principles of Physics IV: Modern Physics 4
PHYS 22500 DC and AC Circuits 3
  Total, core physics courses 22

Additional requirements outside the department

MATH 11100

Calculus I

4

MATH 11200 Calculus II 4
MATH 21100 Calculus III 4
COMP 17100 Principles of Computing Science I 4
 

Total, requirements outside the department

16

Concentration requirements

The concentration must be planned with the adviser and approved by the department before the end of the student's fourth semester. See listing of sample concentrations below.

1. Nine credits at level 3 or 4, at least 6 of the 9 in physics (excluding PHYS 30100). Credits used to satisfy this requirement may not be used to satisfy concentration requirement 2 or 3.

9

2. Three credits of physics laboratory at level 3 or 4. Credits used to satisfy this concentration requirement may not be used to satisfy concentration requirement 1 or 3.

3

3. Six additional credits.

6

Total, concentration requirements

18

Electives 64
Total, B.A. in physics 120

Requirements for the Major in Mathematics-Physics -- B.A.

Requirements for this degree are listed in the Department of Mathematics.
Mathematics

Requirements for Physics -- B.A. with Teaching Option

Core physics courses

PHYS 11700

Principles of Physics I: Mechanics

4

PHYS 11800 Principles of Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism 4
PHYS 12000 Introductory Applied Physics Laboratory 3
PHYS 21700 Principles of Physics III: Waves, Optics, and Thermodynamics 4
PHYS 21800 Principles of Physics IV: Modern Physics 4
PHYS 22500 DC and AC Circuits 3
  Total, core physics courses 22

Additional requirements outside the department

MATH 11100

Calculus I

4

MATH 11200 Calculus II 4
MATH 21100 Calculus III 4
COMP 17100 Principles of Computing Science I 4
 

Total, requirements outside the department

16

Concentration requirements

The concentration must be planned with the adviser and approved by the department before the end of the student's fourth semester. See listing of sample concentrations below.

1. Nine credits at level 3 or 4, at least 6 of the 9 in physics (excluding PHYS 30100). Credits used to satisfy this requirement may not be used to satisfy concentration requirement 2 or 3.

9

2. Three credits of physics laboratory at level 3 or 4. Credits used to satisfy this concentration requirement may not be used to satisfy concentration requirement 1 or 3.

3

3. Six additional credits.

6

Total, concentration requirements

18

Core education requirements

EDUC 21910

Early Field Experience: Theory and Practice

3

COMP 20100

Technology for the Middle/Secondary School Teacher

2

EDUC 10100

Literacy Education for the Middle/Secondary School Teacher

2

EDUC 23900

Educating Children with Special Needs

2

EDUC 22900

Second-Language Acquisition: Its Nature and Meaning for Educators

2

PSYC 21010

Educational Psychology

3

EDUC 34000

Social and Cultural Foundations of Education

3

EDUC 40810

Pedagogy and Practice across the Disciplines

3

EDUC 41010

Pedagogy and Practice for the Science Teacher

3

EDUC 41210

Seminar in Reflective Practice

3

EDUC 49810

Professional Semester in Education

12

EDUC 11000

Child Abuse Identification and Prevention

0

EDUC 11100

Drug and Alcohol Abuse: Identification and Prevention

0

 

Total, core education requirements

38

Additional requirements

  • All teaching-option students must successfully complete a year of college-level study in a language other than English. Students may test out of this requirement by taking the language placement test and placing at level 2 or above.
  • All teaching-option students must successfully complete writing course WRTG 10600 or above.
  • All teaching-option students must successfully complete the second-year review and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.75 in their subject. If a student receives an unsuccessful review or a review with stipulations, the student must participate in and successfully pass a second review the following year. Unsuccessful reviews and reviews with stipulations will be accompanied by a written statement outlining what must be done before the second review is completed.
  • Students must earn a grade of B or better in EDUC 40810 and EDUC 41010 to qualify for student teaching. A grade of B- does not qualify.
  • EDUC 49810 Professional Semester in Education and EDUC 41210 Seminar in Reflective Practice constitute a full course load during the student-teaching semester. No additional courses may be taken.
  • All candidates for initial certification must successfully complete all three sections of the New York State Teacher Certification Examinations: the liberal arts and sciences test, the assessment of teaching skills (written), and the content area exam.
  • The student's department chair and the coordinator of teacher education must approve any exceptions to the above requirements.

Electives

26

Total, B.A. in physics with teaching option

120

Sample concentrations

Students have many options for developing concentrations; the list below describes typical combinations of courses in particular focus areas that students may want to consider, in consultation with their advisers.

3-2 engineering
  • Physics, including PHYS 30100, PHYS 30500, PHYS 31100, PHYS 32000, and PHYS 36000
  • Engineering, 1 course taken at the engineering school
Premedical
  • Physics, including PHYS 30500, PHYS 32000, and PHYS 36000
  • Chemistry and biology, including BIOL 12100, BIOL 12200, CHEM 12100, CHEM 12200, CHEM 12400, CHEM 22100, and CHEM 22200
Electronics
  • Physics, including PHYS 32000, PHYS 32600, and PHYS 35100
  • Computer science, including COMP 17200, COMP 21000, and COMP 22000
Biophysics
  • Physics, including PHYS 30500, PHYS 31100, and PHYS 36000
  • Biology, including BIOL 31500 and BIOL 35400
  • Chemistry, including CHEM 23200
Physical chemistry
  • Physics, including PHYS 30500, PHYS 31100, PHYS 32000, PHYS 36000, and PHYS 42100
  • Chemistry, including CHEM 23200 and CHEM 33200
Environmental science
  • Physics, including PHYS 30100, PHYS 30500, PHYS 32000, and PHYS 36000
  • Environmental Studies and Sciences, including ENVS 22000, ENVS 32200, ENVS 45000
Computational physics
  • Physics, including PHYS 30500, PHYS 31100, PHYS 36000
  • Computer Science, including COMP 21000, COMP 32100
  • Math, including MATH 28000

Minor in Physics

The physics minor program provides an option for students who may not want to be physics majors but who wish to enroll in physics courses, be guided in course selection, and receive recognition for their studies.

Credits in the minor

Physics, including PHYS 11700, PHYS 11800, PHYS 12000, PHYS 21700, PHYS 21800, PHYS 22500

22

MATH 11100 and MATH 11200

8

Total, minor in physics

30

Off-Campus Study in Oceanography

Students can participate in our cooperative programs with the Duke University Marine Lab (North Carolina and Bermuda) or the Sea Education Association of Wood's Hole (with a variety of cruise tracks). For more information on these programs, see "National Affiliated Programs in Marine Biology" in the "International Programs" section.
National Affiliated Programs in Marine Biology