Bulletin--Physics Program

Physics and Astronomy


College of Science and Engineering
Dean: James C. Kelley

Department of Physics and Astronomy
TH 334
415-338-1659
Chair: Gerald Fisher

Graduate Coordinator: O. Johns

Faculty
Professors—Adler, Bland, Burke, Fisher, Greensite, Hagar, Johns, Lea, Lockhart, Marcy, Neuhauser, Peters, Posin, Rogers, Shapiro

Associate Professor—Gaczi

Programs
B.A. in Physics

B.A. in Physics: Concentration in Astronomy

B.S. in Physics

B.S. in Physics: Concentration in Astrophysics

Minor in Astronomy

Minor in Physics

M.S. in Physics


Program Scope
The Physics and Astronomy Department offers traditional programs that lead to the B.A. or B.S. in physics, astronomy, and astrophysics. In addition, the department specializes in the "hands-on" approach to learning, so important in the 1990's and into the 21st century. The days when employers, graduate schools, technical programs, etc. were satisfied to look over the grades on an applicant's transcript are over and probably have been for quite awhile. Nowadays, the world looks for proof of eligibility and the A in this and A– in that no longer suffice; accordingly, the Physics and Astronomy Department encourages all students at all levels to work on a research project under the direction of a faculty supervisor—the so-called "hands-on" experience. These projects involve experimental laboratory work (naturally) as well as theoretical pursuits and, while most of the participants, are juniors, seniors, and graduates, younger students (even freshmen) are urged to join in as soon as possible.

At the graduate level the "hands-on" experience, which then leads in a natural way to the master's thesis, is strongly encouraged and is a requirement in some specialty areas.

The Master of Science in Physics serves students who seek advanced knowledge in physics: for application in physics-related industries, for preparation to continue graduate work elsewhere towards the doctoral degree, for qualification for teaching credentials for which a master's degree is required. The choice of electives in the master's program may emphasize either physics, astrophysics, or astronomy. Before beginning course work toward the M.S., the candidate must prepare a plan of study in consultation with the graduate coordinator.

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN PHYSICS

Courses for this program are listed in alphabetical sequence (see Physics discipline in the Announcement of Courses section).

The programs in Physics presuppose a background equivalent to two years of high school algebra, one year of plane geometry, and one-half year of trigonometry. One year each of high school physics and chemistry are recommended, as is some experience in computer programming. All students, especially those who have not completed a substantial chemistry course in high school, are strongly urged to take CHEM 111 and 113/114 in their freshman year. At least six units of upper division work for this major must be completed at this university.

It is suggested that students in these programs consult with their adviser before selecting courses to meet General Education requirements. Unnecessary repetition of elementary topics might be avoided by careful selection of courses. A plan of study prepared in consultation with a department adviser is prerequisite to entry into upper division study. Students who are considering teaching physics should see a credential adviser in the Physics and Astronomy Department before planning the major. Specific courses and a competency assessment are required for admission to the credential program.

Lower Division Prerequisites

						Units
MATH 220-223	Calculus and Analytic 
		Geometry I-IV (3 each)		12
PHYS 220/222	General Physics with Calculus I 
		and Laboratory 			 4
		(or PHYS 221/222–Honors)
PHYS 230/232	General Physics w/Calculus II 
		and Laboratory 			 4
		(or PHYS 231/232–Honors)
PHYS 240/242	General Physics w/Calculus III 
		and Laboratory 			 4
		(or PHYS 241/242–Honors)
	Total lower division prerequisites	24
Upper Division Requirements
PHYS 320	Modern Physics I		 3
PHYS 321	Modern Physics Laboratory I	 1
PHYS 330	Analytical Mechanics I		 3
PHYS 360	Electricity in Magnetism I	 3
PHYS 370	Thermodynamics			 3
PHYS 490	Physics Project Lab. (1-3)	 2
One of the following:*				 3
	MATH 374	Advanced Calculus
	PHYS 385	Introduction to 
			Theoretical Physics
Upper division electives on advisement 
	(PHYS 460 recommended)			10
	Total upper division requirements	28
	Total units for the major		52
*It is also recommended that students take MATH 245 or MATH 376.

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN PHYSICS: CONCENTRATION IN ASTRONOMY

Lower Division Prerequisites
						Units
MATH 220-223	Calculus and Analytic 
		Geometry I-IV (3 each)		12
PHYS 220/222	General Physics w/Calculus I 
		and Laboratory 			 4
		(or PHYS 221/222–Honors)
PHYS 230/232	General Physics w/Calculus II 
		and Laboratory 			 4
		(or PHYS 231/232–Honors)
PHYS 240/242	General Physics w/Calculus III 
		and Laboratory 			 4
		(or PHYS 241/242–Honors)
CSC 210		Introduction to Computer 
		Programming*			 3
	Total lower division prerequisites	27
Upper Division Requirements
ASTR 320	The Solar System		 3
ASTR 321	Observational Astronomy Lab.	 1
ASTR 330	Stars and Stellar Systems	 3
ASTR 390	Observational Project Lab.	 1
PHYS 320	Modern Physics I		 3
PHYS 321	Modern Physics I Laboratory	 1
PHYS 340	Modern Optics			 3
One of the following:**				 3
	MATH 374	Advanced Calculus
	PHYS 385	Introduction to Theore-
			tical Physics
Upper division electives in astronomy		 3
Upper division electives in astronomy, physics, 
	mathematics, or related sciences	 4
	Total upper division requirements	25
	Total for major				52
*Three additional upper division electives in astronomy, mathematics, or physics may be substituted for CSC 210 by students proficient in computer programming subject to approval by the department chair.
**It is also recommended that students take MATH 245 or MATH 376.

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN PHYSICS

Lower Division Prerequisites
						Units
MATH 220-223	Calculus and Analytic 
		Geometry I-IV (3 each)		12
PHYS 220/222	General Physics w/Calculus I 
		and Laboratory 			 4
		(or PHYS 221/222–Honors)
PHYS 230/232	General Physics w/Calculus II 
		and Laboratory 			 4
		(or PHYS 231/232–Honors)
PHYS 240/242	General Physics w/Calculus III 
		and Laboratory 			 4
		(or PHYS 241/242–Honors)
CSC 210		Introduction to Computer 
		Programming*			 3
	Total lower division prerequisites	27
Upper Division Requirements
PHYS 320	Modern Physics I		 3
PHYS 321	Modern Physics Laboratory I	 1
PHYS 330	Analytical Mechanics I		 3
PHYS 357	Principles of Electronics	 4
PHYS 360	Electricity and Magnetism I	 3
PHYS 460	Electricity and Magnetism II	 3
PHYS 370	Thermodynamics and Statistical 
		Mechanics			 3
PHYS 430	Quantum Mechanics I		 3
One of the following:				 3
	MATH 245	Elementary Differential 
			Equations and Linear 
			Algebra
	MATH 376	Ordinary Differential 
			Equations
One of the following:				 3
	MATH 374	Advanced Calculus
	PHYS 385	Introduction to Theore-
			tical Physics
PHYS 490	Physics Project Lab. (1-3)	 3
Upper division electives in astronomy, physics, 
	mathematics, or related sciences	12
	Total upper division requirements	44
	Total for major				71
*Three additional upper division electives in astronomy, mathematics, or physics may be substituted for CSC 210 by students proficient in computer programming subject to approval by the department chair.

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN PHYSICS: CONCENTRATION IN ASTROPHYSICS

Lower Division Prerequisites
						Units
MATH 220-223	Calculus and Analytic 
		Geometry I-IV (3 each)		12
PHYS 220/222	General Physics w/Calculus I 
		and Laboratory 			 4
		(or PHYS 221/222–Honors)
PHYS 230/232	General Physics w/Calculus II 
		and Laboratory 			 4
		(or PHYS 231/232–Honors)
PHYS 240/242	General Physics w/Calculus III 
		and Laboratory 			 4
		(or PHYS 241/242–Honors)
CSC 210		Introduction to Computer 
		Programming*			 3
	Total lower division prerequisites	27
Upper Division Requirements
ASTR 330	Stars and Stellar Systems	 3
ASTR 390	Observational Projects Lab.	 1
ASTR 420	Introduction to Astrophysics	 3
ASTR 697	Senior Project			 3
One of the following:				 3
	MATH 245	Elementary Differential 
			Equations and Linear 
			Algebra
	MATH 376	Ordinary Differential 
			Equations
One of the following:				 3
	MATH 374	Advanced Calculus
	PHYS 385	Introduction to Theore-
			tical Physics
PHYS 320	Modern Physics I		 3
PHYS 321	Modern Physics I Laboratory	 1
PHYS 330	Analytical Mechanics I		 3
PHYS 360	Electricity and Magnetism I	 3
PHYS 460	Electricity and Magnetism II	 3
PHYS 370	Thermodynamics and Statistical 
		Mechanics			 3
PHYS 430	Quantum Mechanics		 3
PHYS 485	Theoretical Physics		 3
Electives chosen from PHYS 325, 327, 328, 331, 
	340, 341, 431, 475, ASTR 390, 490, 699	 6
	Total upper division requirements	44
	Total for major				71
*Three additional upper division units in astronomy, mathematics, or physics may be substituted for CSC 210 by students proficient in computer programming subject to approval by the department chair.

MINOR IN PHYSICS

						Units
PHYS 111	General Physics I (4) and
	PHYS 121	General Physics II (4) or
PHYS 220/222	General Physics w/Calculus I and 
		Laboratory (4) and
	PHYS 230/232	General Physics w/Calcu-
			lus II and Lab. (4) and
	PHYS 240/242	General Physics w/Calcu-
			lus III and Lab. (4)	 8-12
Upper division electives on advisement		   12
		Total for minor			20-24

MINOR IN ASTRONOMY

						Units
PHYS 111	General Physics I (4) and
	PHYS 121	General Physics II (4) or
PHYS 220/222	General Physics w/Calculus I and 
		Laboratory (4) and
	PHYS 230/232	General Physics w/Calcu-
			lus II and Lab. (4) and
	PHYS 240/242	General Physics w/Calcu-
			lus III and Lab. (4)	 8-12
ASTR 320	The Solar System		    3
ASTR 330	Stars and Stellar Systems	    3
Upper division electives on advisement		    6
		Total for minor			20-24

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN PHYSICS

Graduate Advisers: Johns, Marcy

Admission to Program
Applicants to the master's program must have a bachelor's degree in physics or a related subject, with a 3.0 grade point average in physics and mathematics courses, for admission to classified standing. Those with undergraduate degrees in other subjects, or requiring remedial work, should contact the graduate coordinator or department chair to discuss possible admission to conditional classified status.

Group I: Core Courses

						Units
PHYS 701	Classical Mechanics		 3
PHYS 704	Electricity and Magnetism I	 3
PHYS 706	Quantum Mechanics		 3
Group II: Graduate Physics Electives
Elective graduate physics courses with numbers 
in the range from PHYS 700 to 729 only (note 
that PHYS 730, 897, 898, and 899 do not count 
in this category)				 9
Group III: General Electives
Elective advanced upper division or graduate 
courses in physics or appropriately related 
subjects, selected on advisement and with 
approval of graduate coordinator (note that 
PHYS 730, 897, 898, and 899 count in this 
category)					12
Group IV: Thesis and/or Oral Examination
PHYS 898	Master's Thesis and Oral Defense 
		of Thesis (units to be included 
		in Group III) or
	Master's Comprehensive Oral Examination
		Minimum total			30
NOTE: degree total to include no more than six units of PHYS 897 and 899 together, nor more than four units of PHYS 730.

Examinations
The Oral Defense of Thesis is delivered to the student's advisory committee and includes responses to questions from the committee on subjects related to the thesis topic. The Master's Comprehensive Oral Examination is delivered to the student's advisory committee and covers all areas of theoretical and experimental physics deemed appropriate by the committee. The Oral Defense of Thesis or Master's Comprehensive Oral Examination may be repeated once, at the discretion of the committee, upon petition by the student.


Bulletin 1994-96 Table of Contents, SFSU Home Page

last modified July 21, 1995


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