Physics

Major: Physics
Degree Awarded: Bachelor of Science (BS)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 180.0
Co-op Options: Three Co-op (Five years); No Co-op (Four years)
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 40.0801
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 19-2012

About the Program

Drexel's undergraduate program provides a solid foundation in physics suitable for graduate study or to branch out into other scientific or technical disciplines. The physics program offers an innovative curriculum in a top-notch learning environment: small class sizes, personal input from faculty, and close interaction with researchers who are leaders in their fields. Students explore the span of universal phenomenon—from the farthest reaches of astrophysics and cosmology, to molecular biophysics and subatomic particle physics— providing a solid foundation for continued study and exploration. Most undergraduates actively participate in research projects, including co-authoring publications and presenting results at conferences.

Virtually every course in the physics major is designed to extend the students' ability to handle real-world problems solved by state-of-the-art techniques. An important feature of the program is the large number of electives, which allow a student to pursue topics of special interest. There are numerous elective courses in areas as diverse as biophysics and cosmology, nanoscience and particle physics. Students can also choose electives to meet teacher certification requirements.
The Laboratory for High-Performance Computational Physics is a venue for students to become proficient in numerical techniques, parallel processing, electronic communication, and the basic computer languages and software relevant to advanced studies and research in physics.

The Department of Physics conducts a broad array of outreach activities including the Kaczmarczik Lecture Series, public observing nights at the Lynch Observatory, and demonstrations in grade school performed by the Drexel Chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS).

In addition to the physics major, the Department also offers a minor in physics as well as a minor in astrophysics and a minor in biophysics.

Degree Requirements

Core Physics Requirements
PHYS 105Computational Physics I3.0
PHYS 113Contemporary Physics I5.0
PHYS 114Contemporary Physics II5.0
PHYS 115Contemporary Physics III5.0
PHYS 128Introduction to Experimental Physics3.0
PHYS 217Thermodynamics4.0
PHYS 311Classical Mechanics I4.0
PHYS 317Statistical Mechanics3.0
PHYS 321Electromagnetic Fields I4.0
PHYS 322Electromagnetic Fields II4.0
PHYS 326Quantum Mechanics I4.0
PHYS 327Quantum Mechanics II4.0
PHYS 328 [WI] Advanced Laboratory3.0
PHYS 491Senior Research I3.0
PHYS 492Senior Research II3.0
PHYS 493 [WI] Senior Research III3.0
PHYS 408Physics Seminar (To be taken 3 times.)3.0
Method Classes: Complete 12.0 credits from the following *12.0
Complex Variables
Partial Differential Equations
Abstract Algebra I
Elements of Modern Analysis I
Introduction to Scientific Computing
Instrumentation for Scientists I
Instrumentation for Scientists II
Observational Astrophysics
Computational Physics II
Topics in Mathematical Physics
Computational Physics III
Advanced Computational Physics
Subject Courses: Complete 15.0 credits from the following: **15.0
Colloquium II (Special Relativity )
Introductory Astrophysics
Introduction to Relativity
Introduction to Biophysics
Introduction to Nuclear Physics
Classical Mechanics II
Quantum Mechanics III
Galactic Astrophysics
Cosmology
Solid State Physics
Nanoscience
Biophysics
Computational Biophysics
Single Molecule Methods
Nonlinear Dynamics
Particle Physics
Math and Technical Requirements
MATH 121Calculus I4.0
MATH 122Calculus II4.0
MATH 200Multivariate Calculus4.0
MATH 201Linear Algebra3.0-4.0
or MATH 261 Linear Algebra
MATH 210Differential Equations4.0
MATH 291Complex and Vector Analysis for Engineers4.0
Sciences
CHEM 101General Chemistry I3.5
CHEM 102General Chemistry II4.5
CHEM 103General Chemistry III (OR Any Bio OR an ENGR class at 200 or higher)5.0
CS 171Computer Programming I3.0
or CS 143 Computer Programming Fundamentals
General Education
CIVC 101Introduction to Civic Engagement1.0
ENGL 101Composition and Rhetoric I: Inquiry and Exploratory Research3.0
ENGL 102Composition and Rhetoric II: Advanced Research and Evidence-Based Writing3.0
ENGL 103Composition and Rhetoric III: Themes and Genres3.0
UNIV S101The Drexel Experience1.0
Liberal electives9.0
Technical elective ***3.0
Business elective4.0
Free electives24.0
Total Credits180.0-181.0
*

At least 6 credits must have a PHYS subject code


**

Except for PHYS 480, courses at the 400 level and above will also be accepted.


***

 Technical electives can be any course in BIO, CHEM, ENVS, GEO, MATH, PHYS, or any course from the College of Engineering.


Writing-Intensive Course Requirements

In order to graduate, all students must pass three writing-intensive courses after their freshman year. Two writing-intensive courses must be in a student's major. The third can be in any discipline. Students are advised to take one writing-intensive class each year, beginning with the sophomore year, and to avoid “clustering” these courses near the end of their matriculation. Transfer students need to meet with an academic advisor to review the number of writing-intensive courses required to graduate.

A "WI" next to a course in this catalog may indicate that this course can fulfill a writing-intensive requirement. For the most up-to-date list of writing-intensive courses being offered, students should check the Writing Intensive Course List at the University Writing Center. Students scheduling their courses can also conduct a search for courses with the attribute "WI" to bring up a list of all writing-intensive courses available that term. Transfer students need to meet with an academic advisor to review the number of writing-intensive courses required to graduate.


Sample Plan of Study

Term 1Credits
ENGL 101Composition and Rhetoric I: Inquiry and Exploratory Research3.0
MATH 121Calculus I4.0
PHYS 113Contemporary Physics I5.0
PHYS 128Introduction to Experimental Physics3.0
UNIV S101The Drexel Experience1.0
 Term Credits16.0
Term 2
CS 143Computer Programming Fundamentals3.0
ENGL 102Composition and Rhetoric II: Advanced Research and Evidence-Based Writing3.0
MATH 122Calculus II4.0
PHYS 114Contemporary Physics II5.0
 Term Credits15.0
Term 3
CIVC 101Introduction to Civic Engagement1.0
ENGL 103Composition and Rhetoric III: Themes and Genres3.0
MATH 200Multivariate Calculus4.0
PHYS 105Computational Physics I3.0
PHYS 115Contemporary Physics III5.0
 Term Credits16.0
Term 4
CHEM 101General Chemistry I3.5
MATH 201
or 261
Linear Algebra
Linear Algebra
4.0
MATH 291Complex and Vector Analysis for Engineers4.0
PHYS 217Thermodynamics4.0
 Term Credits15.5
Term 5
CHEM 102General Chemistry II4.5
MATH 210Differential Equations4.0
PHYS 311Classical Mechanics I4.0
Subject course*3.0
 Term Credits15.5
Term 6
One of the following:3.0-5.0
General Chemistry III 
Any Biology (BIO) course
 
Any ENGR course 200-level or higher
 
PHYS 326Quantum Mechanics I4.0
Method course*3.0
Free elective3.0
 Term Credits13.0-15.0
Term 7
PHYS 317Statistical Mechanics3.0
PHYS 327Quantum Mechanics II4.0
Method course3.0
Business elective3.0
Liberal studies elective3.0
 Term Credits16.0
Term 8
PHYS 321Electromagnetic Fields I4.0
Two Subject courses6.0
Technical elective3.0
Free elective3.0
 Term Credits16.0
Term 9
PHYS 322Electromagnetic Fields II4.0
PHYS 328 [WI] Advanced Laboratory3.0
Method course3.0
Liberal studies elective3.0
Business elective3.0
 Term Credits16.0
Term 10
PHYS 408Physics Seminar1.0
PHYS 491Senior Research I3.0
UNIV S201Looking Forward: Academics and Careers (Recommended only. For students persuing graduate study.)1.0
Subject course3.0
Liberal studies elective3.0
Free elective3.0
 Term Credits14.0
Term 11
PHYS 408Physics Seminar1.0
PHYS 492Senior Research II3.0
Subject course3.0
Free electives6.0
 Term Credits13.0
Term 12
PHYS 408Physics Seminar1.0
PHYS 493 [WI] Senior Research III3.0
Method course3.0
Free electives7.0
 Term Credits14.0
Total Credit: 180.0-182.0
*

 See degree requirements.

Co-op/Career Opportunities

Students who complete a degree in physics have many options. Some enter graduate school with the intention of obtaining a master’s or a PhD. Others attend medical school. Engineering is yet another option, and graduates of an undergraduate physics program can enter this field with an unusually solid background in fundamental physical principles, mathematics, and computation. It is also possible for physics graduates to work in business and finance; for example, Wall Street employs many analysts trained in such “hard sciences” as physics.

Many Drexel physics graduates proceed directly into graduate schools, or medical or other professional programs. Physics graduates have attended some of the best graduate programs in the United States, including Columbia, Harvard, and CalTech. Other graduates have found jobs in engineering and business, and with such government agencies as the National Bureau of Standards.

Visit the Drexel Steinbright Career Development Center for more detailed information on co-op and post-graduate opportunities.

Minor in Physics

Physics is a science that studies the natural phenomena at all scales, from that of the universe to elementary particles. This minor exposes the students to some of the basic principles of physics and would easily complement any other discipline—from engineering to other sciences.

The minor in physics requires a total of 10.0 credits from the elective list in addition to the prerequisite and core courses.

Because of the overlap in requirements between the astrophysics minor and the physics minor, students cannot minor in both.

Required Prerequisite Courses *
Contemporary Physics I
Contemporary Physics II
Contemporary Physics III
Required Courses
PHYS 311Classical Mechanics I4.0
PHYS 321Electromagnetic Fields I4.0
PHYS 217Thermodynamics4.0
PHYS 326Quantum Mechanics I4.0
Electives
Select at least 10 credits from PHYS courses at the 300 level or above10.0
Total Credits26.0

*

PHYS 101, PHYS 102 and PHYS 201 will also satisfy the prerequisite requirements.


Physics Faculty

Alexey Aprelev, PhD (St Petersburg State University). Assistant Teaching Professor. Experimental biophysics.
Shyamalendu Bose, PhD (University of Maryland). Professor. Nanoscience, high-temperature superconductivity, theory of surfaces and interfaces, disordered systems, electron and X-ray spectroscopies of solids.
Luis R. Cruz Cruz, PhD (MIT). Associate Professor. Computational studies of confinement effects on the folding of amyloidogenic proteins, spatial correlations of neurons in the brain, firing dynamics of neuronal networks, fluid flow through porous media.
N. John DiNardo, PhD (University of Pennsylvania) Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. Professor. Vibrational and electron dynamics at semiconductor surfaces and interfaces, metal-semiconductor interfaces, polymer surfaces and interfaces, diamond-like carbon thin films, and protein and cell interactions with biomaterials surfaces.
Michelle Dolinski, PhD (University of California, Berkeley). Assistant Professor. Neutrino physics, rare nuclear decays, cryogenic detector technologies.
Frank A. Ferrone, PhD (Princeton University). Professor. Experimental and theoretical protein dynamics, kinetics of biological self-assembly, including sickle cell and Alzheimer's disease, sickle cell testing and diagnostic devices.
Robert Gilmore, PhD (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Professor. Applications of compact and non-compact Lie algebras for problems in nuclear, atomic, and molecular physics; nonlinear dynamics and chaos and the analysis of chaotic data.
David M. Goldberg, PhD (Princeton University) Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education, Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Studies. Professor. Theoretical and computational cosmology, extragalactic astrophysics, gravitational lensing.
Maher Harb, PhD (University of Toronto). Assistant Professor. Solid state physics, ultrafast electron diffraction, time-resolved X-ray diffraction, ultrafast lasers, nanofabrication, nano/microfluidics, instrument development, vacuum technologies.
Goran Karapetrov, PhD (Oregon State University). Associate Professor. Experimental solid state physics, scanning probe microscopy, nanoscale catalysis, mesoscopic superconductivity.
Rachael M. Kratzer, PhD (Drexel University). Assistant Teaching Professor. Quasars, active galactic nuclei
Charles Lane, PhD (California Institute of Technology). Professor. Experimental tests of invariance principles and conservation laws, neutrino oscillations and properties.
Teck-Kah Lim, PhD (University of Adelaide). Professor. Structures and dynamics of small nuclear and molecular systems, spin-polarized quantum systems, physics in two dimensions. Physics education.
Christina Love, PhD (Temple University). Assistant Teaching Professor. Educational methods and technology, STEM education, science literacy and outreach, particle physics, astrophysics.
Stephen L. W. McMillan, PhD (Harvard University) Department Head. Professor. Stellar dynamics, large-scale computations of stellar systems, and high-performance special-purpose computers.
Naoko Kurahashi Neilson, PhD (Stanford University). Assistant Professor. Neutrino physics, high energy astro-particle physics.
Russell Neilson, PhD (Stanford University). Assistant Professor. Dark matter, neutrino physics.
Gordon Richards, PhD (University of Chicago). Professor. Quasars, active galactic nuclei, supermassive black holes, galaxy evolution, sky surveys, infrared/X-ray/radio astronomy
Jonathan E. Spanier, PhD (Columbia University) Associate Dean, Strategic Planning, College of Engineering. Professor. Light-matter interactions in electronic materials, including ferroelectric semiconductors, complex oxide thin film science; laster spectroscopy, including Raman scattering.
Richard I Steinberg, PhD (Yale University). Professor. Neutrino physics.
Somdev Tyagi, PhD (Brigham Young University) Associate Head of Non-Major Studies in Physics. Professor. Nanobiophysics, Raman spectroscopy, magnetic materials.
Brigita Urbanc, PhD (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia). Associate Professor. Computational and experimental biophysics of protein folding and assembly, relevant to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease; discrete molecular dynamics of coarse-grained protein and lipid models.
Michel Vallières, PhD (University of Pennsylvania). Professor. Shell-model and mean field studies of nuclei on and off beta-stability, chaotic scattering, computational physics.
Michael Vogeley, PhD (Harvard University) Associate Department Head for Graduate Studies. Professor. Cosmology; galaxy formation and evolution; statistical analysis of large data sets; active galactic nuclei.
Jian-Min Yuan, PhD (University of Chicago). Professor. Protein folding, signal transduction pathways, computational biophysics, nonlinear dynamics and chaos in atomic and molecular systems, protein folding.

Emeritus Faculty

Leonard D. Cohen, PhD (University of Pennsylvania). Professor Emeritus.
Leonard X. Finegold, PhD (University of London). Professor Emeritus. Biological physics and granular physics.
Richard D. Haracz, PhD (Wayne State University). Professor Emeritus.
Frederick House, PhD (University of Wisconsin). Professor Emeritus.
Arthur P. Joblin, PhD (Drexel University). Professor Emeritus.
Donald C. Larson, PhD (Harvard University). Professor Emeritus.
Arthur E. Lord, PhD (Columbia University). Professor Emeritus.
James McCray, PhD (California Institute of Technology). Professor Emeritus.
T. S. Venkataraman, PhD (Worcester Polytechnic Institute). Professor Emeritus. Material engineering and physics.
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