Baylor University
Department of Physics
College of Arts and Sciences

Baylor > Physics > Undergraduate Programs > Course Descriptions
Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Baylor Course Listings

The Course Descriptions provide detailed information about the undergraduate courses.

For information on the courses that are offered in a particular semester, please use the Baylor Course Listings link in the box to the right.

TCCNS refers to the Texas Common Course Numbering System.

1000 Level

PHY 1404 Light, Vision and Optics
A conceptual course on the physics of light, optics, photography, vision, color, and other visual phenomena.

PHY 1405 General Physics for B.A. Students
Concepts and historical development of physics; selected topics. (Does not apply toward a major in physics.)
TCCNS: PHYS 1410

PHY 1407 Sound and Acoustics
Physics of sound and sound production, including the nature of sources of sounds. Introduction to the primary instrumentation used in recording, reproduction, and analysis of the physical properties of sound, and a study of the principal physical properties of architectural acoustics.

PHY 1408 General Physics for Natural and Behavioral Sciences I
Prerequisite(s): MTH 1304, 1321 or 1322, or equivalent or concurrent enrollment in MTH 1321 or 1322.
The fundamentals of mechanics, heat, and sound, with emphasis on physical concepts, problem solving, notation, and units. (PHY 1408 and 1409 or PHY 1420 and 1430 satisfy premedical, predental, and liberal arts requirements.)
TCCNS: PHYS 1401

PHY 1409 General Physics for Natural and Behavioral Sciences II
Prerequisite(s): PHY 1408 or 1420.
The fundamentals of electricity, magnetism, light, and modern physics, with emphasis on physical concepts, problem solving, notation, and units. (PHY 1408 and 1409 or PHY 1420 and 1430 satisfy premedical, predental, and liberal arts requirements.)
TCCNS: PHYS 1402

PHY 1420 General Physics I
Prerequisite(s): MTH 1321 or concurrent enrollment.
Principles and applications of mechanics, wave motion, sound, and heat with emphasis on fundamental concepts, problem solving, notation, and units.
TCCNS: PHYS 2425

PHY 1430 General Physics II
Prerequisite(s): PHY 1408 or 1420; and MTH 1322 or concurrent enrollment.
Principles and applications of electricity, magnetism, light, and modern physics, with emphasis on fundamental concepts, problem solving, notation, and units.
TCCNS: PHYS 2426

PHY 1455 Descriptive Astronomy
The fundamentals of astronomy and its relationship to human development. Emphasis on the solar system, planets, asteroids, meteoroids, and comets.

PHY 1V95 Independent Study in Physics(1 to 3 semester hours)
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor.
Independent study under the supervision of a faculty member in the department. May be repeated once for credit up to a maximum of six semester hours.

2000 Level

PHY 2135 Basic Electronics Laboratory
Prerequisite(s): PHY 1430.
Principles and applications of electrical circuits and electronics for physical science majors.

PHY 2190 Introduction to Research in Physics
Prerequisite(s): PHY 2350.
Preparation for undergraduate research. Includes an introduction to research techniques, identification of a research supervisor, and completion of a research prospectus.

PHY 2350 Modern Physics
Prerequisite(s): PHY 1430 and MTH 1322.
Special relativity, introduction to quantum mechanics, atomic and molecular structure, nuclear and particle physics.

PHY 2360 Mathematical and Computational Physics
Prerequisite(s): PHY 1430 and MTH 2321; and MTH 2311 or concurrent enrollment.
Topics normally include matrices and vector calculus, coordinate transformations, numerical solutions using Matlab and Mathematica, chaos and fractals, special functions defined by solutions to differential equations.

PHY 2455 Foundations of Astronomy
Prerequisite(s): PHY 1420 and MTH 1321.
The physical and mathematical foundations of modern astronomy with an emphasis on techniques, history, and the development of our current picture of the universe including galaxies, stars, planets, planetoids, and comets.

3000 Level

PHY 3175 Intermediate Physics Laboratory I
Prerequisite(s): PHY 2350 and 2360.
Study of experimental planning, data analysis, and elementary error analysis. Experiments include the Millikan oil-drop experiment, the determination of the Faraday constant, bubble chamber photographic measurements, the study of GM counters, and radioactive half-life determination.

PHY 3176 Intermediate Physics Laboratory II
Prerequisite(s): PHY 3175.
Continuation of PHY 3175 with emphasis on nuclear counting and measurements.

PHY 3305 History of Invention and Technology
History of invention and technology including biographical study of scientists. Does not apply toward a major or minor in physics.

PHY 3320 Intermediate Classical Mechanics
Prerequisite(s): PHY 2360 and MTH 3325; or consent of instructor.
Topics normally include vectors, linear transformations, Newtonian mechanics for a single particle, linear and nonlinear oscillations, Euler's equation, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics, central forces, and orbital motion.

PHY 3330 Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism
Prerequisite(s): PHY 2360; and MTH 3326 or concurrent enrollment; or consent of instructor.
Topics normally include electrostatics, Laplace's equation, method of images, multipole expansion, magnetostatics, and Maxwell's electromagnetic field equations.

PHY 3350 Topics in Astronomy
Prerequisite(s): PHY 2455; and MTH 1322 or concurrent enrollment.
Topics in contemporary research in astronomy and astrophysics.

PHY 3372 Introductory Quantum Mechanics I
Prerequisite(s): PHY 2350, 2360 and MTH 2311; and MTH 3326 or concurrent enrollment; or consent of instructor.
Postulates of quantum mechanics, operators in Hilbert space, superposition principle and compatible observables, time development, conservation theorems, one-dimensional bound and unbound state problems, WKB approximation, and theory of conduction in solids.

PHY 3373 Introductory Quantum Mechanics II
Prerequisite(s): PHY 3372 and MTH 3326.
Problems in three dimensions, perturbation theory, unitary transformations, quantum statistics, atomic spectroscopy, and introductory solid state, nuclear, and elementary particle physics.

PHY 3455 Observational Astronomy
Prerequisite(s): PHY 2455.
Fundamentals of practical sky observing including visual, photographic, and photometric techniques using local telescopes and CCD cameras. Introduction to the methods for finding and identifying celestial objects, making observations, and operating an observatory, telescopes, and related equipment.

PHY 3V95 Undergraduate Research in Physics (1 to 3 semester hours)
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor.
Research conducted under the supervision of a faculty member in the department. May be repeated up to a maximum of six semester hours.

4000 Level

PHY 4001 Exit Exam
Prerequisite(s): Senior standing.
An exit examination, designated by the department, is required of all physics majors. This examination will be chosen by the department from the GRE Subject Test or another similar examination.

PHY 4150 Instructional Observing
Prerequisite(s): PHY 3455.
Teaching astronomy techniques and assisting on observing nights for the PHY 3455 class and campus outreach events.

PHY 4190 Dissemination of Research Results in Physics
Prerequisite(s): Departmental approval required.
Culmination of an undergraduate research project including presentation of research results.

PHY 4322 Advanced Topics in Classical Physics
Prerequisite(s): PHY 3320, 3330, and MTH 3326.
Continuation of PHY 3320 and 3330. Topics normally include: dynamics of systems of particles: rigid-body motion; coupled oscillations; the wave equation in one dimension; gauge
transformations; electromagnetic waves in conductors and nonconductors; dispersion; multiple radiation; Linard-Wiechert potentials; relativistic electrodynamics.

PHY 4340 Statistical and Thermal Physics
Prerequisite(s): PHY 3372 and MTH 3326.
Topics normally include: basic probability concepts; macroscopic thermodynamics; statistical thermodynamics; kinetic theory; quantum statistics.

PHY 4350 Introduction to Stellar Structure and Evolution
Prerequisite(s): PHY 2455; and MTH 3326 or concurrent enrollment.
A quantitative study of the physics of stars and stellar systems. Topics include observed properties of stars and the physics underlying those properties, radiation and stellar spectra, the interior structure of stars, the life cycles of stars, white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes.

PHY 4351 Introduction to Modern Cosmology
Prerequisite(s): PHY 4350 and MTH 3326.
An introduction to modern cosmology, including observational cosmology, Newtonian gravity, relativistic cosmological models, thermal history of the universe, dark matter and dark energy, inflationary models, the origin of the light elements, structures in the universe, and the cosmic microwave background radiation. The principles of Einstein's general theory of relativity and observations in experiments will also be covered.

PHY 4360 Computer Models in Physics
Prerequisite(s): PHY 3320, 3372, and CSI 3324.
Application of contemporary computer methods to the solution of physics and engineering problems. Theory and applications of fi nite difference equations. Deterministic, discrete, and
continuous models. Computer graphics. Waves in classical and quantum physics. Monte Carlo calculations, electric circuits, partial differential equations in physics and engineering.

PHY 4372 Introductory Solid State Physics
Prerequisite(s): PHY 3373.
Topics normally include: crystal structure; reciprocal space; elastic and thermal properties; electronic structure; the Fermi surface; elementary semiconductor physics; dielectric and magnetic properties of solids.

PHY 4373 Introductory Nuclear and Particle Physics
Prerequisite(s): PHY 3373.
Topics normally include: nuclear structure and models; angular momentum and isospin; conservation laws and discrete symmetries; electromagnetic and weak interactions; quark model; nuclear and particle astrophysics.

PHY 4374 Introduction to Relativistic Quantum Mechanics
Prerequisite(s): PHY 3373.
Dirac's equation, its covariance properties, its solutions; Foldy-Wouthuysen transformation and exact results; propagator theory; applications in various areas of physics.