Physics and Astronomy


College of Science and Engineering
Dean: James C. Kelley

Department of Physics and Astronomy
TH 334
415-338-1659
Fax: 415-338-2178
E-mail: physics@stars.sfsu.edu
Chair:

Graduate Coordinator: Oliver Johns

Faculty

University Distinguished Professor of Science--Geoffrey Marcy

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

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 (consult Index for page reference).

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) or
MATH 226-228	Calculus I-III (4 each)					12
PHYS 220/222	General Physics with Calculus I and Laboratory
		(or PHYS 221/222-Honors)				4
PHYS 230/232	General Physics with Calculus II and Laboratory
		(or PHYS 231/232-Honors)				4
PHYS 240/242	General Physics with Calculus III and
		Laboratory (or PHYS 241/242-Honors)			4

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 Laboratory (1-3)			2

One of the following:56 							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

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN PHYSICS: CONCENTRATION IN ASTRONOMY

Lower Division Prerequisites

MATH 220-223	Calculus and Analytic Geometry I-IV (3 each) or
MATH 226-228	Calculus I-III (4 each)					12
PHYS 220/222	General Physics with Calculus I and Laboratory
		(or PHYS 221/222-Honors)				4
PHYS 230/232	General Physics with Calculus II and Laboratory
		(or PHYS 231/232-Honors)				4
PHYS 240/242	General Physics with Calculus III and Laboratory
		(or PHYS 241/242-Honors)				4
CSC 210	Introduction to Computer Programming57				3
Total lower division prerequisites					27

Upper Division Requirements

ASTR 320	The Solar System					3
ASTR 321	Observational Astronomy Laboratory			1
ASTR 330	Stars and Stellar Systems				3
ASTR 390	Observational Project Laboratory			1
PHYS 320	Modern Physics I					3
PHYS 321	Modern Physics I Laboratory				1
PHYS 340	Modern Optics						3

One of the following:56							3
MATH 374	Advanced Calculus
PHYS 385	Introduction to Theoretical 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

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN PHYSICS

Lower Division Prerequisites

MATH 220-223	 Calculus and AnalyticGeometry I-IV (3 each) or
MATH 226-228	Calculus I-III (4 each)					12
PHYS 220/222	General Physics with Calculus I and Laboratory
		(or PHYS 221/222-Honors)				4
PHYS 230/232	General Physics with Calculus II and Laboratory
		(or PHYS 231/232-Honors)				4
PHYS 240/242	General Physics with Calculus III and Laboratory
		(or PHYS 241/242-Honors)				4
CSC 210	Introduction to Computer Programming57				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 Theoretical Physics
PHYS 490	Physics Project Laboratory (1-3)			3
Upper division electives in astronomy, physics, mathematics,
or related sciences							12

Total upper division requirements					44
Total for major								71

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN PHYSICS: CONCENTRATION IN ASTROPHYSICS

Lower Division Prerequisites

MATH 220-223	 Calculus and Analytic Geometry I-IV (3 each) or
	MATH 226-228	Calculus I-III (4 each)				12
PHYS 220/222	General Physics with Calculus I and Laboratory
		(or PHYS 221/222-Honors)				4
PHYS 230/232	General Physics with Calculus II and Laboratory
		(or PHYS 231/232-Honors)				4
PHYS 240/242	General Physics with Calculus III and Laboratory
		(or PHYS 241/242-Honors)				4
CSC 210	Introduction to Computer Programming 57				3
Total lower division prerequisites					27

Upper Division Requirements

ASTR 330	Stars and Stellar Systems				3
ASTR 390	Observational Projects Laboratory			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 Theoretical 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

MINOR IN PHYSICS

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

MINOR IN ASTRONOMY

PHYS 111	General Physics I (4) and
PHYS 121	General Physics II (4) or
PHYS 220/222	General Physics with Calculus I and Laboratory (4) and
PHYS 230/232	General Physics with Calculus II and Laboratory (4) and
PHYS 240/242	General Physics with Calculus III and Laboratory (4)	8-12
ASTR 320	The Solar System					3
ASTR 330	Stars and Stellar Systems				3
Upper division electives on advisement					6
Total									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 706	Quantum Mechanics					3

One of the following:							3
PHYS 703	Electromagnetic Theory
PHYS 704	Electricity and Magnetism I

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.



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