Study the tiny particles that can help solve the biggest mysteries of the universe. Study the tiny particles that can help solve the biggest mysteries of the universe. Study the tiny particles that can help solve the biggest mysteries of the universe. Study the tiny particles that can help solve the biggest mysteries of the universe. Study the tiny particles that can help solve the biggest mysteries of the universe.

College of Arts & Sciences

Department of Chemistry/Physics

Physics

Questions?

Undergraduate Admission

(630) 637-5800

admissions@noctrl.edu

Why pursue a physics degree at North Central College?

At North Central, you’ll study the tiny particles that can help solve the biggest mysteries of the universe. At North Central, you’ll join those scientists. Fulltime professors teach all of our science courses—no teaching assistants here—so from day one you’ll work side by side with the experts, both in the lab and in the classroom. You’ll gain the research and academic experience you’ll need to pursue graduate studies or employment in the physics industry.

You may also:

  • Select a degree track in physics, physics teaching or engineering.
  • Obtain laboratory training in electrical and optical measurements, analog and digital electronics, and advanced experimental physics.
  • Present your research findings at local, state and national conferences.
  • Gain valuable work experience through an internship at a nearby corporate or government research laboratory, such as Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia or Argonne National Laboratory near Lemont.
  • Tap into the professional networks of our professors and alumni.

More Department information

Physics, Interdisciplinary Track, B.S.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Chemistry and Physics.

Major Requirements

  • PHYS 160 - Einstein and Heisenberg: Physics of the Fast and the Small

    PHYS 160 - Einstein and Heisenberg: Physics of the Fast and the Small

    2.00 credit hours

    Introduction to the special theory of relativity: Galilean relativity, spacetime diagrams, Lorentz transformations, relativistic collisions and conservation of four-momentum. Introduction to the principles of quantum physics, Heisenberg's matrix mechanics, Pauli's spin matrices.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Precalculus (Algebra & Trigonometry) competence.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    4.00 credit hours

    Newton's Laws of motion, energy conservation, rotational motion, thermodynamics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and an introduction to computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 131 and PHYS 161.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160; MATH 151 or concurrent enrollment.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    4.00 credit hours

    Oscillations, waves, electricity, magnetism, optics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 132 and PHYS 162.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160, MATH 151 and PHYS 161.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 200 - Electronic Instrumentation for Scientists

    PHYS 200 - Electronic Instrumentation for Scientists

    4.00 credit hours

    Survey of electronics with focus on application to scientific instrumentation. Topics include digital principles, combinational and sequential logic, digital applications, DC and AC circuits, discrete semiconductors, operational amplifiers. Focus is on applied learning in the laboratory. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151; PHYS 132 or PHYS 162 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 263 - Physics III: Quantum Physics

    PHYS 263 - Physics III: Quantum Physics

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to quantum physics. Quantum phenomena, the Schrodinger equation, analysis of one-dimensional potentials, the hydrogen atom and the electronic structure of multi-electron atoms, spin-orbit coupling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162; MATH 253 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 264 - Experimental Quantum Physics

    PHYS 264 - Experimental Quantum Physics

    2.00 credit hours

    An exploration of the experimental foundations of quantum physics. Selected experiments from the photoelectric effect, electron impact spectroscopy, Bragg scattering and x-ray diffraction, single photon two-slit experiment, molecular spectroscopy, muon decay and others.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 263 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 300 - Computational Mechanics

    PHYS 300 - Computational Mechanics

    4.00 credit hours

    Newton's Laws, projectile and charged particle kinematics, conservation laws and oscillations. Advanced methods in mechanics. Mathematical methods introduced as needed. Laboratory required, focuses on computation and modeling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162 and MATH 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 391 - Seminar I

    PHYS 391 - Seminar I

    1.00 credit hours

    Professional development topics such as ethics, job seeking skills and safety. Students, faculty and guest presenters discuss research results in the format of a scientific meeting.

    Prerequisite(s)

    16 credit hours in Physics.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 392 - Seminar II

    PHYS 392 - Seminar II

    1.00 credit hours

    Students learn to search the scientific literature, read primary literature and orally present a journal article. Students, faculty and guest presenters discuss research results in the format of a scientific meeting.

    Prerequisite(s)

    16 credit hours in Physics.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 410 - Advanced Experimental Physics

    PHYS 410 - Advanced Experimental Physics

    2.00 credit hours

    An exploration of advanced experimental techniques and concepts in physics. Experiments selected from optical spectroscopy, x-ray spectroscopy, magnetic resonance, vacuum techniques, solid-state physics, laser physics, nuclear physics. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 200, PHYS 263 and PHYS 264.

    Schedule Of Classes

Electives

Six additional credit hours in Physics at the 300- or 400-level, not including PHYS 395 or internships.

Second Major or Minor

Completion of a second major or minor in a discpline, pre-approved by the department.

Required Support Courses

  • CSCE 160 - Introduction to Computer Programming

    CSCE 160 - Introduction to Computer Programming

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to computer science and programming, emphasizing the development of algorithms and problem solving skills using both procedural and object-oriented approaches. Topics include data types; I/O; arithmetic, relational and logical operators; control structures; functions; simple data structures; different computing environments such as the Linux operating system are also explored. Integrated laboratory.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENGR 120 - Engineering Calculations

    ENGR 120 - Engineering Calculations

    2.00 credit hours

    Develops the student's ability to use MATLAB to solve various engineering problems. Lecture/Laboratory.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 151 - Calculus I

    MATH 151 - Calculus I

    4.00 credit hours

    An exploration of the fundamental concepts of single-variable calculus including limits, continuity, differentiation and integration with applications.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 140 or placement; Four years of math including algebra, geometry and trigonometry recommended.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 152 - Calculus II

    MATH 152 - Calculus II

    4.00 credit hours

    A continuation of single-variable calculus with emphasis on advanced integration techniques and applications, parametric equations, polar coordinates, and infinite series.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 253 - Calculus III

    MATH 253 - Calculus III

    4.00 credit hours

    A continuation of calculus with an emphasis on vectors, vector-valued and multiple-variable functions, partial derivatives, line and multiple integrals, vector analysis, Green's, divergence and Stokes' theorems.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 152.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

One of the following:
  • MATH 255 - Linear Algebra and Differential Equation

    MATH 255 - Linear Algebra and Differential Equation

    4.00 credit hours

    First and second order differential equations, systems of differential equations, matrix and vector algebra, systems of linear equations, eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Students may not receive credit for both MATH 255 and either MATH 300 or MATH 315.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 300 - Linear Algebra

    MATH 300 - Linear Algebra

    4.00 credit hours

    Vector spaces, linear transformations, inner products, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, Gram-Schmidt process and orthogonal transformations. Students may not receive credit for MATH 300 and MATH 255.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 253MATH 280 recommended.

    Schedule Of Classes

Physics, Professional Track, B.S.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Chemistry and Physics.

Major Requirements

  • PHYS 160 - Einstein and Heisenberg: Physics of the Fast and the Small

    PHYS 160 - Einstein and Heisenberg: Physics of the Fast and the Small

    2.00 credit hours

    Introduction to the special theory of relativity: Galilean relativity, spacetime diagrams, Lorentz transformations, relativistic collisions and conservation of four-momentum. Introduction to the principles of quantum physics, Heisenberg's matrix mechanics, Pauli's spin matrices.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Precalculus (Algebra & Trigonometry) competence.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    4.00 credit hours

    Newton's Laws of motion, energy conservation, rotational motion, thermodynamics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and an introduction to computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 131 and PHYS 161.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160; MATH 151 or concurrent enrollment.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    4.00 credit hours

    Oscillations, waves, electricity, magnetism, optics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 132 and PHYS 162.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160, MATH 151 and PHYS 161.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 200 - Electronic Instrumentation for Scientists

    PHYS 200 - Electronic Instrumentation for Scientists

    4.00 credit hours

    Survey of electronics with focus on application to scientific instrumentation. Topics include digital principles, combinational and sequential logic, digital applications, DC and AC circuits, discrete semiconductors, operational amplifiers. Focus is on applied learning in the laboratory. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151; PHYS 132 or PHYS 162 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 263 - Physics III: Quantum Physics

    PHYS 263 - Physics III: Quantum Physics

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to quantum physics. Quantum phenomena, the Schrodinger equation, analysis of one-dimensional potentials, the hydrogen atom and the electronic structure of multi-electron atoms, spin-orbit coupling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162; MATH 253 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 264 - Experimental Quantum Physics

    PHYS 264 - Experimental Quantum Physics

    2.00 credit hours

    An exploration of the experimental foundations of quantum physics. Selected experiments from the photoelectric effect, electron impact spectroscopy, Bragg scattering and x-ray diffraction, single photon two-slit experiment, molecular spectroscopy, muon decay and others.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 263 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 300 - Computational Mechanics

    PHYS 300 - Computational Mechanics

    4.00 credit hours

    Newton's Laws, projectile and charged particle kinematics, conservation laws and oscillations. Advanced methods in mechanics. Mathematical methods introduced as needed. Laboratory required, focuses on computation and modeling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162 and MATH 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 391 - Seminar I

    PHYS 391 - Seminar I

    1.00 credit hours

    Professional development topics such as ethics, job seeking skills and safety. Students, faculty and guest presenters discuss research results in the format of a scientific meeting.

    Prerequisite(s)

    16 credit hours in Physics.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 392 - Seminar II

    PHYS 392 - Seminar II

    1.00 credit hours

    Students learn to search the scientific literature, read primary literature and orally present a journal article. Students, faculty and guest presenters discuss research results in the format of a scientific meeting.

    Prerequisite(s)

    16 credit hours in Physics.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 410 - Advanced Experimental Physics

    PHYS 410 - Advanced Experimental Physics

    2.00 credit hours

    An exploration of advanced experimental techniques and concepts in physics. Experiments selected from optical spectroscopy, x-ray spectroscopy, magnetic resonance, vacuum techniques, solid-state physics, laser physics, nuclear physics. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 200, PHYS 263 and PHYS 264.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 440 - Quantum Mechanics

    PHYS 440 - Quantum Mechanics

    4.00 credit hours

    The physical interpretation and mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics. Schrodinger equation, one-dimensional and three-dimensional potentials, angular momentum, the hydrogen atom, operator methods, matrix mechanics, Dirac notation and approximation methods.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 263 or CHEM 345; MATH 253 and MATH 300.

    Schedule Of Classes

Electives

One of the following:
  • PHYS 420 - Electromagnetic Theory

    PHYS 420 - Electromagnetic Theory

    4.00 credit hours

    The theory of electromagnetism, including electrostatics, magnetostatics and electrodynamics. May include applications to electromagnetic waves, guided waves and transmission lines, plasmas, radiation theory and relativistic electrodynamics.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162 and MATH 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 490 - Topics (minimum four credit hours)

    PHYS 490 - Topics

    2.00-4.00 credit hours

    Advanced topics in physics, such as biophysics, astrophysics and cosmology, particles and nuclei, general relativity, advanced mechanics.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Varies by topic.

    Schedule Of Classes

300- or 400-level Physics

Four additional credit hours of Physics at the 300- or 400-level, not including PHYS 395 or internships.

Required Support Courses

  • CSCE 160 - Introduction to Computer Programming

    CSCE 160 - Introduction to Computer Programming

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to computer science and programming, emphasizing the development of algorithms and problem solving skills using both procedural and object-oriented approaches. Topics include data types; I/O; arithmetic, relational and logical operators; control structures; functions; simple data structures; different computing environments such as the Linux operating system are also explored. Integrated laboratory.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENGR 120 - Engineering Calculations

    ENGR 120 - Engineering Calculations

    2.00 credit hours

    Develops the student's ability to use MATLAB to solve various engineering problems. Lecture/Laboratory.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 151 - Calculus I

    MATH 151 - Calculus I

    4.00 credit hours

    An exploration of the fundamental concepts of single-variable calculus including limits, continuity, differentiation and integration with applications.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 140 or placement; Four years of math including algebra, geometry and trigonometry recommended.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 152 - Calculus II

    MATH 152 - Calculus II

    4.00 credit hours

    A continuation of single-variable calculus with emphasis on advanced integration techniques and applications, parametric equations, polar coordinates, and infinite series.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 253 - Calculus III

    MATH 253 - Calculus III

    4.00 credit hours

    A continuation of calculus with an emphasis on vectors, vector-valued and multiple-variable functions, partial derivatives, line and multiple integrals, vector analysis, Green's, divergence and Stokes' theorems.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 152.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

One of the following:
  • MATH 255 - Linear Algebra and Differential Equation

    MATH 255 - Linear Algebra and Differential Equation

    4.00 credit hours

    First and second order differential equations, systems of differential equations, matrix and vector algebra, systems of linear equations, eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Students may not receive credit for both MATH 255 and either MATH 300 or MATH 315.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 300 - Linear Algebra

    MATH 300 - Linear Algebra

    4.00 credit hours

    Vector spaces, linear transformations, inner products, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, Gram-Schmidt process and orthogonal transformations. Students may not receive credit for MATH 300 and MATH 255.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 253MATH 280 recommended.

    Schedule Of Classes

Engineering Physics, B.S.

The Engineering Physics major is designed for students who are participating in our dual-degree engineering program. Because many students in the dual-degree engineering program will typically spend three years at North Central College followed by two years at a partnering institution, the Engineering Physics major is designed to be completed in approximately three years at North Central College.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Chemistry and Physics.

Major Requirements

  • PHYS 160 - Einstein and Heisenberg: Physics of the Fast and the Small

    PHYS 160 - Einstein and Heisenberg: Physics of the Fast and the Small

    2.00 credit hours

    Introduction to the special theory of relativity: Galilean relativity, spacetime diagrams, Lorentz transformations, relativistic collisions and conservation of four-momentum. Introduction to the principles of quantum physics, Heisenberg's matrix mechanics, Pauli's spin matrices.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Precalculus (Algebra & Trigonometry) competence.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    4.00 credit hours

    Newton's Laws of motion, energy conservation, rotational motion, thermodynamics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and an introduction to computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 131 and PHYS 161.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160; MATH 151 or concurrent enrollment.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    4.00 credit hours

    Oscillations, waves, electricity, magnetism, optics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 132 and PHYS 162.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160, MATH 151 and PHYS 161.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 200 - Electronic Instrumentation for Scientists

    PHYS 200 - Electronic Instrumentation for Scientists

    4.00 credit hours

    Survey of electronics with focus on application to scientific instrumentation. Topics include digital principles, combinational and sequential logic, digital applications, DC and AC circuits, discrete semiconductors, operational amplifiers. Focus is on applied learning in the laboratory. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151; PHYS 132 or PHYS 162 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 211 - Engineering Statics

    PHYS 211 - Engineering Statics

    4.00 credit hours

    Classical mechanics with application to engineering problems. Topics include equivalent systems of forces, centroids, analysis of trusses and frames, machines and forces due to friction, virtual work, hydrostatic pressure.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 161 and MATH 152; MATH 253 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 251 - Mechanics of Materials

    PHYS 251 - Mechanics of Materials

    4.00 credit hours

    Analysis of stress and deformation of materials. Applications to the design of machine and structural elements subjected to static, dynamic and repeated loads.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 211 and MATH 152.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 263 - Physics III: Quantum Physics

    PHYS 263 - Physics III: Quantum Physics

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to quantum physics. Quantum phenomena, the Schrodinger equation, analysis of one-dimensional potentials, the hydrogen atom and the electronic structure of multi-electron atoms, spin-orbit coupling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162; MATH 253 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 264 - Experimental Quantum Physics

    PHYS 264 - Experimental Quantum Physics

    2.00 credit hours

    An exploration of the experimental foundations of quantum physics. Selected experiments from the photoelectric effect, electron impact spectroscopy, Bragg scattering and x-ray diffraction, single photon two-slit experiment, molecular spectroscopy, muon decay and others.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 263 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 300 - Computational Mechanics

    PHYS 300 - Computational Mechanics

    4.00 credit hours

    Newton's Laws, projectile and charged particle kinematics, conservation laws and oscillations. Advanced methods in mechanics. Mathematical methods introduced as needed. Laboratory required, focuses on computation and modeling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162 and MATH 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 391 - Seminar I

    PHYS 391 - Seminar I

    1.00 credit hours

    Professional development topics such as ethics, job seeking skills and safety. Students, faculty and guest presenters discuss research results in the format of a scientific meeting.

    Prerequisite(s)

    16 credit hours in Physics.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 392 - Seminar II

    PHYS 392 - Seminar II

    1.00 credit hours

    Students learn to search the scientific literature, read primary literature and orally present a journal article. Students, faculty and guest presenters discuss research results in the format of a scientific meeting.

    Prerequisite(s)

    16 credit hours in Physics.

    Schedule Of Classes

Required Support Courses

  • CSCE 160 - Introduction to Computer Programming

    CSCE 160 - Introduction to Computer Programming

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to computer science and programming, emphasizing the development of algorithms and problem solving skills using both procedural and object-oriented approaches. Topics include data types; I/O; arithmetic, relational and logical operators; control structures; functions; simple data structures; different computing environments such as the Linux operating system are also explored. Integrated laboratory.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 121 - General Chemistry I

    CHEM 121 - General Chemistry I

    4.00 credit hours

    A discussion of chemical principles through examples from the chemistry of carbon compounds and the molecules found in living systems. Major topics include atomic and electronic structure, ions, molecules, Lewis structures, VSEPR, hybridization, intermolecular forces, chromatography, equilibria, kinetics, stereochemistry and polymer chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One year of high school chemistry and two years of high school algebra.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 122 - General Chemistry II

    CHEM 122 - General Chemistry II

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to chemical principles within the context of the environmental issues of fuel and energy, water treatment and acid rain. Major chemical topics include gas laws, aqueous reactions and solubility, equilibria, acid/base chemistry, buffers, thermochemistry, redox, electrochemistry and nuclear chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CHEM 121.

    iCon(s)
    Sustaining Our World.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENGR 110 - The Engineering Method

    ENGR 110 - The Engineering Method

    2.00 credit hours

    Methods and practices employed to develop, commercialize and distribute products and services dependent on engineering will be presented. Includes descriptions of the four major career paths available to engineers. Lecture/Laboratory.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENGR 120 - Engineering Calculations

    ENGR 120 - Engineering Calculations

    2.00 credit hours

    Develops the student's ability to use MATLAB to solve various engineering problems. Lecture/Laboratory.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 151 - Calculus I

    MATH 151 - Calculus I

    4.00 credit hours

    An exploration of the fundamental concepts of single-variable calculus including limits, continuity, differentiation and integration with applications.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 140 or placement; Four years of math including algebra, geometry and trigonometry recommended.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 152 - Calculus II

    MATH 152 - Calculus II

    4.00 credit hours

    A continuation of single-variable calculus with emphasis on advanced integration techniques and applications, parametric equations, polar coordinates, and infinite series.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 253 - Calculus III

    MATH 253 - Calculus III

    4.00 credit hours

    A continuation of calculus with an emphasis on vectors, vector-valued and multiple-variable functions, partial derivatives, line and multiple integrals, vector analysis, Green's, divergence and Stokes' theorems.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 152.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 300 - Linear Algebra

    MATH 300 - Linear Algebra

    4.00 credit hours

    Vector spaces, linear transformations, inner products, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, Gram-Schmidt process and orthogonal transformations. Students may not receive credit for MATH 300 and MATH 255.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 253MATH 280 recommended.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 315 - Ordinary Differential Equations

    MATH 315 - Ordinary Differential Equations

    4.00 credit hours

    First and second order differential equations; algebraic, numerical and graphical solutions; series solutions; Laplace transforms; applications. Students may not receive credit for MATH 315 and MATH 255.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 253MATH 300 recommended.

    Schedule Of Classes

Second Major

Completion of a second major in an engineering discipline at a partnering institution.

Physics Minor

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Chemistry and Physics.

Minor Requirements

A minimum of 36 credit hours, including:

Introductory Classical Physics

One of the following Physics sequences:

  • PHYS 131 - Physics I (Non-Calculus)

    PHYS 131 - Physics I (Non-Calculus)

    4.00 credit hours

    Kinematics, Newton's Laws, conservation laws, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 131 and PHYS 161.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Precalculus (Algebra & Trigonometry) competence.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 132 - Physics II (Non-Calculus)

    PHYS 132 - Physics II (Non-Calculus)

    4.00 credit hours

    Oscillations, waves, sound, electricity and magnetism, and optics. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 132 and PHYS 162.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 131 and Precalculus (Algebra & Trigonometry) competence.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • -or-

  • PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    4.00 credit hours

    Newton's Laws of motion, energy conservation, rotational motion, thermodynamics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and an introduction to computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 131 and PHYS 161.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160; MATH 151 or concurrent enrollment.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    4.00 credit hours

    Oscillations, waves, electricity, magnetism, optics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 132 and PHYS 162.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160, MATH 151 and PHYS 161.

    Schedule Of Classes

Introductory Quantum Physics

One of the following:

  • PHYS 263 - Physics III: Quantum Physics

    PHYS 263 - Physics III: Quantum Physics

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to quantum physics. Quantum phenomena, the Schrodinger equation, analysis of one-dimensional potentials, the hydrogen atom and the electronic structure of multi-electron atoms, spin-orbit coupling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162; MATH 253 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 345 - Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy

    CHEM 345 - Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy

    4.00 credit hours

    Quantum theory, electronic structure of atoms and molecules, chemical bonding, computational chemistry, spectroscopic methods used to study molecular structure and reactions, statistical thermodynamics. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151; PHYS 132 or PHYS 162.

    Schedule Of Classes

Experimental and Advanced Physics

Eight credit hours to include:

One of the following:
  • PHYS 200 - Electronic Instrumentation for Scientists

    PHYS 200 - Electronic Instrumentation for Scientists

    4.00 credit hours

    Survey of electronics with focus on application to scientific instrumentation. Topics include digital principles, combinational and sequential logic, digital applications, DC and AC circuits, discrete semiconductors, operational amplifiers. Focus is on applied learning in the laboratory. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151; PHYS 132 or PHYS 162 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 264 - Experimental Quantum Physics

    PHYS 264 - Experimental Quantum Physics

    2.00 credit hours

    An exploration of the experimental foundations of quantum physics. Selected experiments from the photoelectric effect, electron impact spectroscopy, Bragg scattering and x-ray diffraction, single photon two-slit experiment, molecular spectroscopy, muon decay and others.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 263 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

At least one of the following:
  • PHYS 300 - Computational Mechanics

    PHYS 300 - Computational Mechanics

    4.00 credit hours

    Newton's Laws, projectile and charged particle kinematics, conservation laws and oscillations. Advanced methods in mechanics. Mathematical methods introduced as needed. Laboratory required, focuses on computation and modeling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162 and MATH 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 310 - Data Acquisition with LabVIEW

    PHYS 310 - Data Acquisition with LabVIEW

    2.00 credit hours

    Computer-assisted measurement and automation of experiments using the LabVIEW graphical programming platform. Hands-on experience through laboratory exercises and projects. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 200, MATH 151 and CSCE 160.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 320 - Physics of Solids

    PHYS 320 - Physics of Solids

    2.00 credit hours

    Properties of crystalline solids. Crystal structure, reciprocal lattice, x-ray diffraction, electrical conduction, band theory, semiconductors and semiconductor devices. Other topics may include thermal properties, magnetic properties of solids.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151; PHYS 263 or CHEM 345.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 340 - Thermal Physics I

    PHYS 340 - Thermal Physics I

    2.00 credit hours

    Interrelationships among temperature, energy, entropy, and other properties of a physical system, examined at the macroscopic level using the tools of thermodynamics. Topics covered include equations of state, the laws of thermodynamics, energy, enthalpy, entropy, Gibbs energy, Maxwell relations, phase equilibrium. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 132 or PHYS 162MATH 151; CHEM 122 or CHEM 125.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 341 - Thermal Physics II

    PHYS 341 - Thermal Physics II

    2.00 credit hours

    Interrelationships among temperature, energy, entropy and other properties of matter, examined at the microscopic level using the tools of statistical mechanics. Topics include macrostates and microstates, entropy, Boltzmann and quantum distribution functions; selected applications from paramagnetism, Einstein solids, blackbody radiation and others.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 263 or CHEM 345; PHYS 340 or CHEM 340.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 410 - Advanced Experimental Physics

    PHYS 410 - Advanced Experimental Physics

    2.00 credit hours

    An exploration of advanced experimental techniques and concepts in physics. Experiments selected from optical spectroscopy, x-ray spectroscopy, magnetic resonance, vacuum techniques, solid-state physics, laser physics, nuclear physics. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 200, PHYS 263 and PHYS 264.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 420 - Electromagnetic Theory

    PHYS 420 - Electromagnetic Theory

    4.00 credit hours

    The theory of electromagnetism, including electrostatics, magnetostatics and electrodynamics. May include applications to electromagnetic waves, guided waves and transmission lines, plasmas, radiation theory and relativistic electrodynamics.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162 and MATH 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 440 - Quantum Mechanics

    PHYS 440 - Quantum Mechanics

    4.00 credit hours

    The physical interpretation and mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics. Schrodinger equation, one-dimensional and three-dimensional potentials, angular momentum, the hydrogen atom, operator methods, matrix mechanics, Dirac notation and approximation methods.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 263 or CHEM 345; MATH 253 and MATH 300.

    Schedule Of Classes

Note:

PHYS 264 is a two credit course. If a student elects to take PHYS 264, another course must be taken from the options above.

Required Support Courses

  • CSCE 160 - Introduction to Computer Programming

    CSCE 160 - Introduction to Computer Programming

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to computer science and programming, emphasizing the development of algorithms and problem solving skills using both procedural and object-oriented approaches. Topics include data types; I/O; arithmetic, relational and logical operators; control structures; functions; simple data structures; different computing environments such as the Linux operating system are also explored. Integrated laboratory.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 151 - Calculus I

    MATH 151 - Calculus I

    4.00 credit hours

    An exploration of the fundamental concepts of single-variable calculus including limits, continuity, differentiation and integration with applications.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 140 or placement; Four years of math including algebra, geometry and trigonometry recommended.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 152 - Calculus II

    MATH 152 - Calculus II

    4.00 credit hours

    A continuation of single-variable calculus with emphasis on advanced integration techniques and applications, parametric equations, polar coordinates, and infinite series.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 253 - Calculus III

    MATH 253 - Calculus III

    4.00 credit hours

    A continuation of calculus with an emphasis on vectors, vector-valued and multiple-variable functions, partial derivatives, line and multiple integrals, vector analysis, Green's, divergence and Stokes' theorems.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 152.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

Physics Internships and Jobs

A North Central education integrates career preparation with rich academic study. Our faculty encourages you to refine and apply your knowledge in an interconnected world. Here you'll learn to think independently and work globally to solve problems and lead.

Internship

Recent graduates in physics have interned at:

  • Argonne National Laboratory, near Lemont, IL
  • Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, IL

Graduate Schools

Recent graduates in physics have been accepted at:

  • University of Minnesota
  • University of New Mexico
  • Vanderbilt University
  • University of Tennessee
  • University of Illinois-Chicago

Careers

Recent graduates in physics are employed as:

  • Scientist, Computer Sciences Corporation
  • Physicist, Argonne National Laboratory
  • Physicist, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)
  • Physics teacher, Hinsdale Central High School
  • Physics teacher, Cretin-Derham High School, St. Paul, MN
     

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