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Physics (2005-2006)

Admission | Courses | Program | Requirements

Graduate Committee Chairperson: Mark S. Boley
Department Office: Currens Hall 212
Department Telephone: 309/298-1596 Fax: 309/298-2850
Department E-mail:
WWW Address:
Location of Program Offering: Macomb

Graduate Faculty

  • Professors
    • Mark S. Boley, Ph.D., University of Missouri-Columbia
    • Keh-Chang Chu, Ph.D., University of Michigan
    • Yan Naing Lwin, Ph.D., University of Illinois
  • Associate Professor
    • James A. Rabchuk, Ph.D., University of Illinois-Chicago

Associate Graduate Faculty

  • Instructor
    • Doug Franklin, M.S., Western Illinois University

Program Description

The Department of Physics offers a program of graduate study leading to the Master of Science degree. The program serves as preparation for a) further advanced study in physics or related fields, b) a career in government or industrial research, or c) teaching at the secondary or postsecondary level.

Admission Requirements

Students entering the program should have received their bachelor's degree with a major in physics. At the discretion of the Departmental Graduate Committee, other students may be admitted to the program; however, they may have to remedy deficiencies in their undergraduate preparation. The Graduate Record Examination is not required in physics.

Applications for admission are accepted at any time, but decisions concerning graduate assistantships are generally made by March 1 for the following academic year.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete 30 semester hours of graduate credit including

  • Core Courses: 16 s.h.
    • PHYS 510 Classical Mechanics I: 3 s.h.
    • PHYS 520 Electromagnetic Theory I: 3 s.h.
    • PHYS 530 Quantum Mechanics I: 3 s.h.
    • PHYS 567 Mathematical Physics: 3 s.h.
    • PHYS 600 Seminar: 1 s.h.
    • One of the following courses:
      • PHYS 554 Thermal Physics: 3 s.h.
      • PHYS 560 Topics in Solid State Physics: 3 s.h.
      • PHYS 570 Experimental Techniques in Physics: 3 s.h.
  • Select one of the following plans of study:
    • Internship
      • PHYS 572 Internship Preparation (to be completed before the internship is begun): 1 s.h.
      • PHYS 578 Graduate Physics Internship: 8 s.h.
      • Directed Electives: 5 s.h.
      • Oral report to the Graduate Committee following the internship is required.
    • Thesis Plan
      • PHYS 571 Introduction to Thesis (must take prior to Thesis): 1 s.h.
      • PHYS 601 Thesis/Thesis Research: 3 s.h.
      • PHYS 577 Special Problems in Physics: 1-7 s.h.
      • Directed Electives: 3-9 s.h.
    • Course Work Plan
      • Two additional physics courses numbered from 510 to 570 inclusive: 6 s.h.
      • Directed Electives: 8 s.h.
      Total Program: 30 s.h.

Only the following 400-level physics courses can be counted toward the 30 credit hour requirement:

  • PHYS 410G Application of Computer Programming in the Physical Sciences and Engineering
  • PHYS 427G Advanced Electronics
  • PHYS 428G Applied Optics
  • PHYS 431G Atomic Physics and Quantum Mechanics II
  • PHYS 440G Applied Nuclear Physics
  • PHYS 468G Mathematical Methods of Physics II
  • PHYS 477G Special Problems in Experimental and Theoretical Physics

Course Descriptions

410G Application of Computer Programming in the Physical Sciences and Engineering. (3) Designed to introduce the student to basic computer techniques frequently used in the physical sciences and engineering. Applications of FORTRAN to the programming of numerical calculations, data fitting, simulation of physical problems, and individualized work on problems chosen from the student's field of interest. Prerequisite: Basic knowledge of FORTRAN, one year of general physics, one year of calculus, or permission of the instructor.

427G Advanced Electronics. (3) Mathematical and practical treatment of electronic devices with emphasis on digital circuitry. Prerequisite: PHYS 115 or 125 or 198.

428G Applied Optics. (4) Geometrical optics, diffraction, interferometry, polarization, laser construction, optical materials, holography. Modern optical techniques and instrumentation are emphasized. Prerequisite: PHYS 125 or 200.

430G Atomic Physics and QuantumMechanicsI. (3) Atomic nature of matter, atomic models introduction to quantum mechanics including the Schroedinger equation. Prerequisite: PHYS 201.

439G Physics Methods. (3) Preparation for student teaching. Includes analysis of objectives; new approaches; development of laboratory experiences; resources and utilization of instructional materials; test and evaluation; prestudent-teaching instructional experiences. Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of instructor.

467G Mathematical Methods of Physics I. (3) Vector analysis, matrices, determinants, infinite series, applications of differential equations, numerical solutions. Prerequisite: PHYS 201, MATH 333, or permission of the instructor.

470G Modern Experimental Physics. (2) Laboratory experiments including both those fundamental to the development of modern physics and those which illustrate modern experimental systems techniques. Prerequisite: PHYS 201.

476G Special Topics in Physics. (1-4, repeatable) Lecture course in topics of current interest are given under this number. Topics based on the student's previous training and interests. Subjects announced in the class schedule. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

477G Special Problems in Experimental and Theoretical Physics. (1-4, repeatable) Individual investigations or studies of any phase of physics not provided for in the regular subjects. Opportunity for undergraduates to engage in experimental or theoretical research under the supervision of staff member. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

490G Seminar. (2) Reading, discussion, and criticism of selected topics. Oral presentation and formal paper on a chosen topic. Writing Instruction in the Discipline (WID) course. Prerequisite: ENG 280.

510 Classical Mechanics I. (3) Variational principles: Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of mechanics; applications to central force motion, dynamics of rigid bodies, and small oscillations. Prerequisite: PHYS 311 or equivalent.

520 Electromagnetic Theory I. (3) General solutions of boundary-value problems in electrostatics and magnetostatics, multipoles, macroscopic media, Maxwell's equations, conservation laws, plane EM waves, wave guides, resonant cavities. Prerequisite: PHYS 320 or equivalent.

530 Quantum Mechanics I. (3) Mathematically sophisticated treatment of the basic concepts of quantum mechanics. The Schroedinger equation is applied to one- and three-dimensional problems, stationary perturbation theory, and other selected topics. Prerequisite: PHYS 430 or equivalent.

554 Thermal Physics. (3) A survey of thermodynamic principles and the statistical approach to classical and quantum systems. Applications to kinetic theory, transport phenomena, entropy, specific heat, and phase changes for systems of practical interest. Prerequisite: PHYS 354 or equivalent.

560 Topics in SolidState Physics. (3) A study of the electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties of crystalline solids, including lattice bonding, phonon dynamics, band theory, electrons in metals, semiconductors, and superconductivity. Prerequisite: PHYS 430 or equivalent.

567 Mathematical Physics. (3) Distributions, Green Functions, complex variables and special functions, ordinary and partial differential equations. Prerequisite: PHYS 468 or equivalent.

570 Experimental Techniques in Physics. (3) Introduction to experimental research techniques including equipment design, machining, vacuum techniques, cryogenics, and practical electronics.

571 Introduction to Thesis. (1) A course intended to familiarize the student with technical literature searches, selection of research areas, and thesis writing techniques. Graded S/U.

572 Internship Preparation. (1) A course intended to prepare the student for PHYS 578, Graduate Physics Internship. Graded S/U.

576 Special Topics in Physics. (1-4, repeatable) Lecture courses in topics of current interest.

577 Special Problems in Physics. (1-8, repeatable) Individual problems in the field of physics are selected according to the interest and needs of the student. (No more than seven hours of PHYS 577 may be applied toward the 30 hour degree requirement.) Graded S/U.

578 Graduate Physics Internship. (8) A one-semester on-the-job experience in an industrial facility or research laboratory. Graded S/U. Prerequisite: PHYS 572.

600 Seminar. (1, repeatable)

601 Thesis/Thesis Research. (3) Graded S/U.

Western Illinois University.

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