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Bachelor of Science in Physics

A calculus-based entry-level series is required, either PHYSICS 61, 63, 64, 65, 67, or 41, 43, 44, 45, 46 (or preferably 67 rather than 44). Students who take the PHYSICS 40 series take PHYSICS 70, which covers the foundations of modern physics. This material was incorporated into the PHYSICS 60 series beginning in 2005-06. Students taking the PHYSICS 60 series in 2005-06 or after do not take PHYSICS 70; instead, they must take one advanced Physics elective (100-level or higher). In addition, the following more advanced courses are required: PHYSICS 105, 107 (WIM), 108, 110, 120, 121, 130, 131, 170, and 171; MATH 51, 52, 53, 131P; one additional Mathematics course numbered 101 or higher, or PHYSICS 112 or STATS 116 or EE 261. MATH 51H, 52H, and 53H may substitute for MATH 51, 52, and 53. It is strongly recommended that students intending to complete a Ph.D. in Physics also take PHYSICS 113, 134, and one or more of the following, depending upon their interests: PHYSICS 152A,B, 160, 161, 172, 204 and EE 268. PHYSICS 113 is designed to be taken in parallel with 110. The department advises the study of some computer science such as CS 106A/CS106X. Mathematics and Physics courses taken to satisfy the department's major requirements cannot be taken on a credit/no credit basis. Prospective Physics majors are also advised to take PHYSICS 59, Current Research Topics, in their freshman or sophomore year. Effective academic year 2009-10, courses applied to the major must be taken for a letter grade, and a grade of 'C-' or better must be received for all units applied toward the major.

To help in deciding which introductory sequence is most suitable, students considering a major in Physics may contact the undergraduate program coordinator (elva@stanford.edu) to arrange an advising appointment. Although it is possible to complete the Physics major in three years, students who contemplate starting the major during sophomore year should make an advising appointment to map out their schedule. Students who have had previous college-level courses (including EPGY) should make an advising appointment for placement and possible transfer credit. For advanced placement advice, see http://registrar.stanford.edu/students/academics/adv_place.htm.

Undergraduates are offered help with physics problems in the Physics Tutoring Center, which is staffed Monday through Friday.

REQUIRED COURSES FOR MAJORS

For sample schedules illustrating how to complete the Physics major, see http://physics.stanford.edu/academics/undergrad.html.

INTRODUCTORY SEQUENCE

Students must complete either the 40 or 60 series as follows:

40 Series:

Qtr. and Units

PHYSICS 41. Mechanics

W

4

PHYSICS 43. Electricity and Magnetism

S

4

PHYSICS 44. Electricity and Magnetism Lab

S

1

PHYSICS 45. Light and Heat

A

4

PHYSICS 46. Light and Heat Lab

A

1

PHYSICS 67. Introduction to Laboratory Physics

 

 

(recommended for physics majors in place of 44)

S

2

PHYSICS 70. Foundations of Modern Physics

A

4

60 Series: Subject and Catalog Number

Qtr. and Units

PHYSICS 61. Mechanics and Special Relativity

A

4

PHYSICS 63. Electricity, Magnetism and Waves

W

4

PHYSICS 64. Electromagnetism Lab

W

1

PHYSICS 65. Thermodynamics and Foundations of Modern Physics

S

4

PHYSICS 67. Introduction to Laboratory Physics

S

2

and

 

 

MATH 51, 52, 53. Linear Algebra, Multivariable Calculus, and Ordinary Differential Equations

 

A,W,S

 

15

PHYSICS 59. Current Research Topics (recommended)*

A

1

INTERMEDIATE SEQUENCE

PHYSICS 105. Intermediate Laboratory I: Analog Electronics

A

3

PHYSICS 107. Intermediate Laboratory II: Experimental Techniques and Data Analysis (WIM)

W

4

PHYSICS 108. Intermediate Laboratory III: Project

W or S

3

PHYSICS 110. Intermediate Mechanics

S

4

PHYSICS 112. Math Methods of Physics (recommended)**

W

4

PHYSICS 113. Computational Physics (recommended)*

S

4

PHYSICS 120,121. Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism

W,S

8

and MATH 131. Partial Differential Equations

A,W

3

ADVANCED SEQUENCE

PHYSICS 130,131. Quantum Mechanics

A,W

8

PHYSICS 134. Advanced Topics in Quantum Mechanics*

S

4

PHYSICS 170,171. Statistical Mechanics

A,W

8

and one advanced Mathematics elective (100 level or higher)

or PHYSICS 112 or STATS 116 or EE 268.

One advanced Physics elective (100 level or higher):

required only for students who are not required to take PHYSICS 70

* These courses are not required; Physics 113 is recommended for students planning to work in technical fields; Both Physics 113 and Physics 134 are recommended for students who intend to complete a Ph.D. in Physics.

** Those wishing to do physics theory in graduate school may wish to take a collection of courses in the Department of Mathematics rather than or in addition to PHYSICS 112.

CONCENTRATIONS IN PHYSICS

The primary purpose of concentrations in the Physics major is to provide consistent and more formal advising to students who want to concentrate in a particular area of physics during their undergraduate education, or prepare for future graduate studies in a particular area of physics. Physics majors are not required to choose a concentration and a concentration does not add any formal requirements to the Physics major. Upon graduation, students receive a certificate of completion of a concentration.

Students seeking further advice on a given concentration should contact the professor whose name appears next to the respective title of each section below.

A. APPLIED PHYSICS (HARI MANOHARAN)

At least four, one quarter courses chosen from the following courses, or three courses plus an honors thesis:

Solid State:

PHYSICS 172. Solid State Physics

APPPHYS 270. Magnetism and Long Range Order in Solids

MATSCI 195. Waves and Diffraction in Solids

Biophysics:

APPPHYS 192. Introductory Biophysics

Lasers:

EE 231. Introduction to Lasers

EE 232. Laser Dynamics

EE 268. Introduction to Modern Optics

Lab Methods:

APPPHYS 207, 208. Laboratory Electronics, Analog and Digital

APPPHYS 304. Lasers Laboratory

B. ASTROPHYSICS (ROGER ROMANI, SARAH CHURCH)

Requirements:

PHYSICS 100. Introduction to Observational and Laboratory Astronomy

PHYSICS 160. Introduction to Stellar and Galactic Astrophysics

PHYSICS 161. Introduction to Extragalactic Astrophysics and Cosmology

Plus one elective from below or an honors thesis:

PHYSICS 211. Continuum Mechanics

PHYSICS 260. Introduction to Astrophysics and Cosmology

PHYSICS 262. Introduction to Gravitation

PHYSICS 312. Basic Plasma Physics; prerequisites are PHYSICS 210 and 220

C. BIOPHYSICS (SEB DONIACH)

At least four, one quarter courses chosen from the following courses, or three courses plus an honors thesis:

APPPHYS 136. Biology by the Numbers

APPPHYS 192/292. Introductory Biophysics

BIOC 202. Metabolic Biochemistry

BIOPHYS 228. Computational Structure Biology

BIO 141. Biostatistics

BIO 132/232. Advanced Imaging Lab In Biophysics

BIO 135/HUMBIO 182. Biological Clocks

BIO 211. Biophysics of Sensory Transduction

BIO 217. Neuronal Biophysics

CS 273. Algorithms for Structure and Motion In Biology

It is recommended that Physics majors interested in pursuing a career in biophysics consider a minor in Biology.

D. GEOPHYSICS (SIMON KLEMPERER, GEOPHYSICS)

At least four, one quarter courses chosen from the following courses, or three courses plus an honors thesis:

EE 140. Introduction to Remote Sensing

GEOPHYS 112. Exploring Geosciences with MATLAB

GEOPHYS 150. General Geophysics and Physics of the Earth

GEOPHYS 170. Global Tectonics

GEOPHYS 180. Geophysical Inverse Problems

GEOPHYS 190. Introduction to Geophysical Field Methods

GEOPHYS 222. Reflection Seismology

GEOPHYS 262. Rock Physics

GEOPHYS 288A. Crustal Deformation

E. THEORETICAL PHYSICS (ANDREI LINDE)

At least four, one quarter courses chosen from the following courses, or three courses plus an honors thesis:

PHYSICS 152A,B. Introduction to Particle Physics

PHYSICS 204. Seminar in Theoretical Physics

PHYSICS 212. Statistical Mechanics

PHYSICS 232. Quantum Mechanics

PHYSICS 260. Introduction to Astrophysics and Cosmology

PHYSICS 262. Introduction to Gravitation

PHYSICS 330,331,332. Quantum Field Theory

PHYSICS 351. Standard Model of Particle Physics and Beyond

PHYSICS 352. Neutrino Physics

PHYSICS 362. Advanced Extragalactic Astrophysics and Cosmology

PHYSICS 364. Advanced Gravitation

Notes to students taking this concentration:

  1. No more than one of the courses should be taken for CR/NC.
  2. Students should discuss the choice of courses with members of the Institute for Theoretical Physics and/or their major adviser.
  3. Students may attend 330 after taking 130, 131 and 134. Prior study of special topics in quantum mechanics (232) may be helpful.

INDIVIDUALLY DESIGNED MAJOR PROGRAM IN TEACHING PHYSICAL SCIENCE

This major, a joint effort of the Department of Physics and the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP), is designed for students to prepare themselves as high school teachers of physics and general science. Students complete 45-47 units of Physics and related Mathematics courses, 40-43 units of course work in other sciences such as the life sciences, chemistry, and geosciences, and in general issues of science, and 9-15 units of concentration and depth courses. Total program units: 94-105. Students interested in this program should consult Professor Patricia Burchat (burchat@stanford.edu, 725-5771), and Professor Rachel Lotan, Director of the Stanford Teacher Education Program—Secondary in the School of Education (rlotan@stanford.edu).

CORE PHYSICS COURSES:

Mechanics:

Units

PHYSICS 41. Mechanics

 

or PHYSICS 61. Mechanics and Special Relativity

4

Heat:

PHYSICS 45. Light and Heat

 

PHYSICS 46. Light and Heat Lab

 

or

 

PHYSICS 65. Thermodynamics and Foundations of Modern Physics

 

PHYSICS 67. Introduction to Laboratory Physics

5-6

Electricity and Magnetism:

PHYSICS 43. Electricity and Magnetism

 

PHYSICS 67. Introduction to Laboratory Physics

 

or

 

PHYSICS 63. Electricity, Magnetism, and Waves

 

PHYSICS 64. Electricity and Magnetism Lab

 

and

 

PHYSICS 105. Analog Electronics (Lab)

8-9

Wave Motion:

PHYSICS 107 Intermediate Physics Laboratory II:
Experimental Techniques and Data Analysis (WIM)

4

Modern Physics (for students who take 40 series):

PHYSICS 70. Foundations of Modern Physics

4

Applications:

PHYSICS 59. Current Research Topics

1

Mathematics (Physics departmental requirement):

MATH 51,52,53. Linear Algebra, Multivariable Calculus,
and Ordinary Differential Equations
and a course in Statistics (choose one):

 

STATS 110. Statistical Methods in Engineering and the Physical Sciences

 

STATS 116. Theory of Probability

 

STATS 141. Biostatistics

 

STATS 166. Computational Biology

 

STATS 191. Introduction to Applied Statistics

20

Total

46-48

ADDITIONAL SCIENCE BREADTH COURSES

Life Sciences:

BIO 41. Genetics, Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology

 

BIO 42. Cell Biology and Animal Physiology

 

BIO 43. Plant Biology, Evolution and Ecology

 

or

 

HUMBIO 2A,B, 3A,B, 4A,B

15

Chemistry:

CHEM 31A and B, or 31X. Chemical Principles

 

CHEM 33. Structure and Reactivity

8

Geosciences:

EARTHSYS 10. Introduction to Earth Systems

 

PHYSICS 15. The Nature of the Universe

 

or PHYSICS 16. Cosmic Horizon

 

or PHYSICS 17. Black Holes

8

General Issues of Science:

STS 101. Science, Technology, and Contemporary Society

 

EDUC 180. Directed Reading in History of Science

 

ENGR 103. Public Speaking and Presentation Development

9-12

CONCENTRATION AND DEPTH COURSES

3 courses (100 level or above) in a single area of concentration

9-15

Total units for general science

49-58

Total units for the Physical Science program

94-105

This individually designed major program in Physical Science includes all the elements of a Program of Subject Matter Preparation for Secondary Teachers of Physics and General Science that has been approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC). Students who complete the program are exempt from taking the CSET examination in Physics and General Science for admission to the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) or any other accredited secondary teacher education program in California. Full details of the CCTC-approved program may be found at http://ed.stanford.edu/suse/programs-degrees/program-coterminal-step.html. Note: the Stanford individually designed major program in Physical Science requires course work beyond the CCTC-approved program, specifically 9-15 units of depth courses in a field of concentration: Physics, Astrophysics, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Human Biology, or Computational Mathematics. See the adviser in the Physics department or the School of Education for more details.

HONORS PROGRAM

The department offers a program leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Physics with honors as follows:

  1. Students must submit an Honors Program Proposal form to the undergraduate program coordinator once they find a physics project, either theoretical or experimental, in consultation with individual faculty members. Proposal forms are available from the Physics undergraduate office and must be submitted by November 1 of the academic year in which the student plans to graduate.
  2. Credit for the project is assigned by the adviser within the framework of PHYSICS 205. The work done in the honors program may not be used as a substitute for regular required courses.
  3. A written report and a presentation of the work at its completion are required for honors. By mid-May, the honors candidate is required to present the project at the department's honors presentations. This event is publicized and open to the general public. The expectation is that the student's adviser, second reader, and all other honors candidates attend.
  4. The decision as to whether a given independent study project does or does not merit award of honors is made jointly by the student's honors adviser and the second reader for the written thesis. This decision is based on the quality of the student's honors work and other work in physics.

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