Physics and Astronomy

Introductory Statement

The Universe we live in is not made up of a collection of random events. Humanity has learned that there is order in the Universe, and that this order can be expressed through physical laws. As physicists, we strive to understand our surroundings - to understand the forces of nature that control systems as diverse as atomic nuclei and distant galaxies. Physics enriches our understanding of chemical reactions, transport in cells, the structure of the Earth's interior, the convective power of hurricanes, and the life-cycle of stars. Physics is at the core of all science.

Mission Statement

Our mission is teaching and research. We will:

  • Advance the frontiers of knowledge in physics and astronomy with top quality research by our faculty in collaboration with graduate and undergraduate students,
  • Help students to become proficient in physics, especially in optical science, condensed matter, computational physics, and astrophysics,
  • Offer undergraduate and graduate education in physics that will prepare our students for doctoral studies, professional positions in applied physics and research, or high school science education,
  • Teach courses in basic and advanced physics and astronomy for science and engineering students, and teach general education courses to students from other fields to enrich their understanding of the physical universe,
  • Offer laboratory classes taught by highly qualified faculty in an environment conducive to learning.

Learning Outcomes

1. Students know basic physics principles [BS, BA, MS]

1.1 Students can demonstrate an understanding of Newton's laws

1.2 Students can demonstrate an understanding of Maxwell's equations

1.3 Students can demonstrate an understanding of the Schrödinger equation

1.4 Students can answer qualitative and quantitative problems in classical mechanics

1.5 Students can answer qualitative and quantitative problems in electricity and magnetism

1.6 Students can answer qualitative and quantitative problems in quantum mechanics

1.7 Students can demonstrate an understanding of the thermodynamics and statistical mechanics

2. Students can apply their knowledge to practical, theoretical and experimental problems [BS, BA only]

2.1 Students can analyze experimental results and draw reasonable conclusions from them

2.2 Students can interpret experimental data to draw meaningful conclusions from properly conducted experiments

3. Students can effectively communicate with the physics community through scientific journals, poster presentations and scientific talks. [MS only]

3.1 Students can locate research results by searching electronic and traditional databases

3.2 Students can present research in a form consistent with the AIP style manual

4. Students are prepared for careers in science, industry and education. [BS, BA, MS]

4.1 Students can identify and use standard laboratory equipment and instrumentation

4.2 Students have developed critical thinking skills (and can apply these skills to solving problems in physics)

4.3 Students are proÞcient using standard software tools (such as Mathematica, Excel and Word) for modeling, data analysis and report writing

Assessment of Student Learning


BA/BS and MS SLO to course maps March 2011 (pdf)

BS/BA schedule submitted: fall 2010spring 2010 (doc)12/31/2007(doc)

MS schedule submitted fall 2010spring 2010 (doc)

BS/BA reports

SLO 1.1 and 1.4:
Spring 2013 (pdf)
Spring 2011
Spring 2010 (doc)(pdf)
Fall 2009 (pdf)
Spring 2009 (doc)
Spring 2007 (doc)
Fall 2007 (doc)

MS schedule submitted:
Spring 2013 (pdf)
Spring 2010 (doc)
12/31/2007 (doc)
Spring 2009 (doc)
SLO 1.7: spring 2011
Combined grad and undergraduate assessment reports spring 2008 (doc)

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