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  • Astrophysicist John Wallin examines interacting galaxies
  • A special hydrogen alpha telescope protects students' eyes as they study the sun
  • MTSU's classical observatory opens the marvels of the skies to students and the public
  • MTSU's Naked Eye Observatory offers a unique way to study the solar system

Astronomy

Humans have been looking to the stars and trying to understand how it all works since ancient times. Today, the curiosity may be the same, but the tools available have opened up a universe of exciting things to unearth. From discovering new planets and stars to understanding black holes—astronomers  are proving the science fiction of yesterday to be the reality of today! 

A classic approach to sky watching

A classic approach to sky watching

The Uranidrome is a user-friendly naked-eye observatory that enables students to observe sky motions in a manner similar to Greek astronomers. One can actually use the Uranidrome to determine the earth's rate of rotation, the tilt of its axis, the time of day, or the time for the earth to revolve once around the sun (one year). Campus visitors can experience the unusual structure on their own or with guided tours.

Stars for all!

Stars for all!

On the first Friday of each month, the Physics and Astronomy Department hosts a Star Party. Free and open to the public, the Star Party begins with a lecture in the Wiser-Patten Science (WPS) Hall (Room 102) and is followed by telescope observation at the MTSU Observatory, weather permitting. Families from the community join students to view the wonders of the sky. MTSU's telescope has a camera that feeds the images to 61-inch flat panel plasma displays mounted on two walls of the observatory.

There's almost no field of endeavor that doesn't have some part of it touched by physics. Not surprisingly, a B.S. in Physics can be that first step to any number of diverse careers! Examples include

  • Acoustics researcher
  • Architect
  • Astrophysicist
  • Doctor
  • Engineer
  • High school physics teacher
  • Medical physicist
  • Naval mine warfare analyst
  • Patent attorney
  • Pilot
  • Software developer
  • Spacecraft designer
  • Radio Frequency (RF) specialist
  • Video game developer

Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • AFL Global
  • Arlington High School
  • Cheezburger Network
  • Corvel Corporation
  • Energetics Technology
  • Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center
  • Gearbox Software
  • JET Programme, Japan
  • Robert Half Technology
  • RF Signatures
  • Memorial Hospital, Chattanooga
  • Middle Tennessee Medical Center
  • MiraCosta College
  • Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Texas Tech University
  • University of Maryland

For those students with an eye to the stars, a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Physics with a concentration in Astronomy is available. The department offers also a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Physics with a concentration in Physics Teaching or Professional Physics. Within the Professional Physics concentration are tracks in medical physics and astrophysics.

Undergraduate students can pursue a minor in Physics, Electro-Acoustics, or Astronomy.

A minor in Physics is available for graduate students, as well.

Physics, Astronomy Concentration, B.S.

Department of Physics and Astronomy
615-898-2130
Ron Henderson, program coordinator
Ron.Henderson@mtsu.edu

All physics majors must choose to concentrate in Professional Physics, Physics Teaching, Applied Physics, or Astronomy. Each concentration specifies additional upper-division electives in physics and astronomy and other disciplines which vary by concentration. A minimum of 12 upper-division semester hours in the physics major must be taken at MTSU.

The physics core consists of 25 semester hours of physics and astronomy. Other requirements include 8 semester hours of chemistry and 8 semester hours of mathematics.

The Astronomy concentration is designed for students interested in a degree specializing in astronomy, but who do not plan to attend graduate school in astronomy or astrophysics. In addition to the physics common requirements, the following courses are required:

Required Courses

 

  • ASTR 1031 - Observing the Universe  1 credit hour credit hours  

    ASTR 1031 - Observing the Universe

    1 credit hour credit hours

    Prerequisite or corequisite: ASTR 1030. Introduction to observational astronomy through laboratory exercises and outdoor observing activities. Topics include telescopes, the analysis of starlight, and observations of stars and planets.

  • ASTR 2030 - Solar System Astronomy

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1710. Comprehensive study of the solar system including models of solar and planetary formation. Analysis of the chemical makeup and physical nature of the Sun, planets, moons, and comets using mathematics and the scientific method. Focus on planetary interiors, surfaces, atmospheres, solar-planetary interactions, and solar system evolution. Discussion of spacecraft missions, future solar system exploration, and possibilities of extraterrestrial life.

  • ASTR 2040 - Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1710. A comprehensive study of stellar, galactic, and cosmological astronomy. Analyzes the basic theories of stellar and galactic formation and evolution using mathematics and the scientific method. Includes the cataclysmic topics of supernovae, neutron stars, pulsars, and black holes as well as the nature of galaxies including the Milky Way galaxy, active galaxies and quasars, and the formation and evolution of our universe, the big bang theory, and the possibility of other life in the universe.

  • ASTR 3400 - Fundamentals of Astrophysics

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PHYS 2021 or PHYS 2120 and MATH 1910. Modern astronomical knowledge and techniques using classical and modern physical principles. Possible topics include star formation, black holes and neutron stars, galaxy structure and evolution, formation of planetary systems, and large-scale structure of the universe.

  • ASTR 3401 - Experimental Astronomy  1 credit hour credit hours  

    ASTR 3401 - Experimental Astronomy

    1 credit hour credit hours

    Prerequisites: PHYS 2021 or PHYS 2120 or consent of instructor. Principles and techniques of astronomical data acquisition and reduction. Possible research topics involve photometry, spectroscopy, astronomical applications of electronic detectors, and computer modeling.

Supporting Courses Required

 

  • CHEM 1110 - General Chemistry I  4 credit hours  AND

    CHEM 1110 - General Chemistry I

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: High school chemistry. Corequisite: CHEM 1111. Fundamental concepts of atomic structure, molecular structure and bonding, chemical reactions, stoichiometric relationships, periodic properties of the elements, thermochemistry, and properties of gases. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory.

 

  • CHEM 1120 - General Chemistry II  4 credit hours  AND

    CHEM 1120 - General Chemistry II

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: C- or better in CHEM 1110/CHEM 1111. Corequisite: CHEM 1121. Chemical equilibrium, solid and liquid states of matter, chemistry of acids and bases, principles of chemical kinetics, precipitation reactions, elementary thermodynamics, electrochemistry, and nuclear chemistry. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory.

  • MATH 1910 - Calculus I  4 credit hours  

    MATH 1910 - Calculus I

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1730 with a grade of C or better or Math ACT of 26 or better or Calculus placement test score of 73 or better. An introduction to calculus with an emphasis on analysis of functions, multidisciplinary applications of calculus, and theoretical understanding of differentiation and integration. Topics include the definition of the derivative, differentiation techniques, and applications of the derivative. Calculus topics related to trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic functions also included. Course concludes with the fundamental theorem of calculus; the definition of antidifferentiation and the definite integral; basic applications of integrations; and introductory techniques of integration. Graphing calculator required.

  • MATH 1920 - Calculus II  4 credit hours  

    MATH 1920 - Calculus II

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1910. A topics course providing a wide view of different techniques and applications of calculus in the plane. Techniques of integration and applications of integration fully developed. Power series and Taylor series included. Emphasis on multidisciplinary applications includes Taylor series approximation; applications of integration to physics, biology, and business; and geometric and power series applications. Graphing calculator required.

  • MATH 3120 - Differential Equations I

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1920. The solution and application of ordinary differential equations with emphasis on first order equations, second order linear equations, Laplace Transform method, systems of differential equations, and numerical methods.

  • PHYS 3150 - Topics and Methods of Theoretical Physics I

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: PHYS 2021 or PHYS 2120 and MATH 1920 with a minimum grade of C (2.0). Theoretical techniques used for problem solving in physics. Reference frames and coordinate systems, approximation techniques, solution of electrical circuits and mechanical systems, simple harmonic motion and wave motion, Maxwell's equations.

Physics Common Requirements

The common requirements required of ALL Physics majors consist of

Physics Core (25 hours)

  • PHYS 1010 - Physics Colloquium  1 credit hour credit hours  

    PHYS 1010 - Physics Colloquium

    1 credit hour credit hours

    Introduces new physics and astronomy students to the physics major. Topics include degree requirements, faculty resources, research opportunities, and career options. Half of the meetings will involve one hour lectures during class, and half will involve attending talks, some of which may occur outside the scheduled class meeting time.

 

  • PHYS 2010 - Non-Calculus-Based Physics I

    0 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1710 with a minimum grade of C (2.0) or MATH 1730. Required corequisite: PHYS 2011. Web-based discussion class to be taken in conjunction with cooperative-learning based problems lab PHYS 2011. Classical mechanics traditionally covered in a first-semester college physics course. Kinematics, forces, momentum, angular motion, calorimetry, and sound waves. Class time used for discussion of the Web-lecture material and for the administration of exams.

  • PHYS 2011 - Physics Problems Laboratory I

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1710 with a minimum grade of C (2.0) or MATH 1730. Required corequisite: PHYS 2010. Group-oriented problems course taken in conjunction with the Web-based discussion class PHYS 2010. Students work in groups with the topics presented in the PHYS 2010 discussion class. Covers kinematics, forces, momentum, angular motion, calorimetry, and sound waves. Skills associated with the development of experimental investigations including graphical analysis and estimation of uncertainties emphasized. Two two-and-one-half-hour laboratory sessions.

OR

  • PHYS 2110 - Calculus-Based Physics I

    0 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1910 with a minimum grade of C (2.0). Corequisite: PHYS 2111. A calculus-based introduction to mechanics and wave motion. One and one-half hours lecture.

  • PHYS 2111 - Calculus-Based Physics Laboratory I

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1910 with a minimum grade of C (2.0). Corequisite: PHYS 2110. Laboratory course to accompany PHYS 2110. Experiments in mechanics, waves, and thermodynamics. Data reduction, error analysis, and report writing. Two three-hour sessions.

 

  • PHYS 2020 - Non-Calculus-Based Physics II

    0 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PHYS 2011. Required corequisite: PHYS 2021. Web-based discussion class taken in conjunction with the cooperative-learning based problems lab PHYS 2021. Fundamentals of optics, modern physics, and electronics traditionally covered in a second-semester college physics course. Reflection and refraction, vision, diffraction effects, quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics, and analog and digital electronics. Scheduled class time is used for discussions of the Web-lecture material and for the administration of exams.

  • PHYS 2021 - Physics Problems Laboratory II

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PHYS 2011. Required corequisite: PHYS 2020. Group-oriented problems course to be taken in conjunction with the Web-based discussion class PHYS 2020. Students work in groups with the topics presented in the PHYS 2020 discussion class. Optics, modern physics, and electronics traditionally covered in a second-semester college physics course. Reflection and refraction, vision, diffraction effects, quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics, and analog and digital electronics. The skills associated with the development of experimental investigations including graphical analysis and estimation of uncertainties emphasized. Two two-and-one-half-hour laboratory sessions.

OR

  • PHYS 2120 - Calculus-Based Physics II

    0 credit hours

    Prerequisites: PHYS 2111; MATH 1920 with a minimum grade of C (2.0). Required corequisite: PHYS 2121. A lecture course that supplements the discussion in PHYS 2121. Topics include a microscopic view of electrical force and field, polarization, electric circuits, magnetic force and field, electric potential, symmetries of fields, Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic radiation, optics, and wave phenomena. One and one-half hours lecture.

  • PHYS 2121 - Calculus-Based Physics Laboratory II

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: PHYS 2111; MATH 1920 with a minimum grade of C (2.0). Required corequisite: PHYS 2120. A laboratory-based course to accompany PHYS 2120. Includes discussions, group problem solving, and hands-on activities. Two three-hour sessions.

 

  • PHYS 3100 - Modern Physics I  3 credit hours  *

    PHYS 3100 - Modern Physics I

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: PHYS 2021 or PHYS 2120 and MATH 1920 with a minimum grade of C (2.0). Introduction to the fundamental principles of modern physics (special relativity and quantum mechanics) and their application to atomic physics.

  • PHYS 3070 - Concepts in Modern Physics I

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: PHYS 2021 or PHYS 2120 and MATH 1920. Introduction to the concepts of twentieth-century physics. Discusses fundamental concepts of modern physics including relativity, atomic physics, wave optics, and quantum mechanics. Not intended to prepare students for graduate school in physics.

  • PHYS 3110 - Modern Physics II  3 credit hours  *

    PHYS 3110 - Modern Physics II

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PHYS 3100. Survey of major topics including molecular physics, statistical physics, solid state physics and solid state devices, nuclear models, nuclear decay and reaction, and elementary particle physics.

  • PHYS 3080 - Concepts in Modern Physics II

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PHYS 3070 or PHYS 3100. Introduction to the concepts of twentieth-century physics. Discusses the fundamental concepts of modern physics including molecular physics, statistical distributions, solid state physics, and nuclear particle physics. Not intended to prepare students for graduate school in physics.

 

  • PHYS 3111 - Modern Physics Laboratory  1 credit hour credit hours  

    PHYS 3111 - Modern Physics Laboratory

    1 credit hour credit hours

    Prerequisite or corequisite:  PHYS 3110. Concepts and ideas which formed the basis for an understanding of the atom and atomic phenomena. One hour lecture and one three-hour independent study laboratory.

  • PHYS 3610 - Thermodynamics  3 credit hours  *

    PHYS 3610 - Thermodynamics

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PHYS 3110 and PHYS 3150 or consent of instructor. Introduction to statistical physics, kinetic theory, and thermodynamics from a unified microscopic point of view. Selected applications to various systems of interest presented.

  • PHYS 3510 - Concepts in Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PHYS 3080 or PHYS 3110. Introduction to the concepts of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Discusses the fundamentals of thermodynamics from both the macroscopic and microscopic points of view including entropy, enthalpy, heat engines, Helmholtz and Gibbs free energy, the partition function, and quantum statistics. Not intended to prepare students for graduate school in physics.

  • PHYS 3400 - Intermediate Physics

    3 credit hours

     Prerequisite: PHYS 2021 or PHYS 2121 and MATH 1920. Provides an intermediated treatment of the principles of thermodynamics, electromagnetics, and oscillatory behavior with applications. Course is not intended for physics majors participating in the Professional Physics concentration. Three hours lecture.

  • PHYS 3800 - Physics Seminar  1 credit hour credit hours  

    PHYS 3800 - Physics Seminar

    1 credit hour credit hours

    Prerequisite:  PHYS 3100. Develops and refines inquiry, communication, and presentation skills through exposure to new developments in physics, technical brief writing, and resume and job interview preparations.

  • PHYS 3900 - Physics Practicum  1 credit hour credit hours  

    PHYS 3900 - Physics Practicum

    1 credit hour credit hours

    Prerequisite:  PHYS 3100 and consent of instructor. Refines thinking, communication, and interpersonal skills through exposure to on-the-spot technical questions and a laboratory teaching experience as an assistant in an introductory physics laboratory.  One hour lecture and two two-and-one-half  hour experiences as a teaching assistant to be scheduled with department faculty.

 

  • PHYS 4850 - Physics Research  2 credit hours  OR

    PHYS 4850 - Physics Research

    2 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Independent study of a selected research problem in physics. Includes experimental and/or theoretical investigation of an important, yet unexplored, problem. Includes literature research, experiment design/problem formulation and execution, resulting in oral and written presentation of results suitable for submission for publication in a suitable journal. One hour lecture and significant time working with research mentor.

  • ASTR 4850 - Astronomy Research

    2 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Independent study of a selected research problem in astronomy. Includes experimental and/or theoretical investigation of an important yet unexplored problem or experimental design. Includes literature research and experimental design/problem formulation and execution resulting in oral and written presentation of results suitable for submission/presentation to a suitable journal/conference. One hour lecture and significant additional time working with research mentor.

 

  • PHYS 4900 - Physics Senior Thesis

    2 credit hours

    Prerequisites: PHYS 4850 or PHYS 4860 and consent of department chair. Brings undergraduate experience to focus on a specific research problem; chosen with the consent of the thesis committee and with the potential for original discovery or for creative development of a tool or technique applicable to scientific research. Independent pursuit of research objectives outlined in a research proposal results in a written thesis whose approval will include an oral defense. One hour lecture and independent writing of thesis.

  • ASTR 4900 - Astronomy Senior Thesis

    2 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ASTR 4850 and consent of department chair. Focuses on a specific research/experimental design problem chosen with the consent of the thesis committee and with the potential for original discovery or for creative development of a tool, technique, or instrumentation applicable to scientific research. Independent pursuit of research objectives outlined in a research proposal results in a written thesis, the approval of which will include an oral defense. One hour lecture and independent writing of thesis.

NOTE:

* Substitutions are allowed as follows: PHYS 3100 (PHYS 3070), PHYS 3110 (PHYS 3080), and PHYS 3610 (PHYS 3510 or PHYS 3400).

Curriculum: Physics, Astronomy

Curricular listings include General Education requirements in Communication, History, Humanities and/or Fine Arts, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social/Behavioral Sciences categories.

Freshman

 

  • ENGL 1010 - Expository Writing  3 credit hours  (Comm)

    ENGL 1010 - Expository Writing

    3 credit hours

    The first General Education English course. Emphasis on learning to adapt composing processes to a variety of expository and analytic writing assignments. Minimum grade of C- required for credit.

  • ENGL 1020 - Research and Argumentative Writing

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: ENGL 1010. The second General Education English course. Emphasis on analytic and argumentative writing and on locating, organizing, and using library resource materials in the writing. Minimum grade of C- required for credit.

  • PHYS 1010 - Physics Colloquium  1 credit hour credit hours  

    PHYS 1010 - Physics Colloquium

    1 credit hour credit hours

    Introduces new physics and astronomy students to the physics major. Topics include degree requirements, faculty resources, research opportunities, and career options. Half of the meetings will involve one hour lectures during class, and half will involve attending talks, some of which may occur outside the scheduled class meeting time.

  • MATH 1910 - Calculus I  4 credit hours  (Math)

    MATH 1910 - Calculus I

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1730 with a grade of C or better or Math ACT of 26 or better or Calculus placement test score of 73 or better. An introduction to calculus with an emphasis on analysis of functions, multidisciplinary applications of calculus, and theoretical understanding of differentiation and integration. Topics include the definition of the derivative, differentiation techniques, and applications of the derivative. Calculus topics related to trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic functions also included. Course concludes with the fundamental theorem of calculus; the definition of antidifferentiation and the definite integral; basic applications of integrations; and introductory techniques of integration. Graphing calculator required.

  • MATH 1920 - Calculus II  4 credit hours  

    MATH 1920 - Calculus II

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1910. A topics course providing a wide view of different techniques and applications of calculus in the plane. Techniques of integration and applications of integration fully developed. Power series and Taylor series included. Emphasis on multidisciplinary applications includes Taylor series approximation; applications of integration to physics, biology, and business; and geometric and power series applications. Graphing calculator required.

 

  • PHYS 2010 - Non-Calculus-Based Physics I  0 credit hours  (Nat Sci) AND

    PHYS 2010 - Non-Calculus-Based Physics I

    0 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1710 with a minimum grade of C (2.0) or MATH 1730. Required corequisite: PHYS 2011. Web-based discussion class to be taken in conjunction with cooperative-learning based problems lab PHYS 2011. Classical mechanics traditionally covered in a first-semester college physics course. Kinematics, forces, momentum, angular motion, calorimetry, and sound waves. Class time used for discussion of the Web-lecture material and for the administration of exams.

  • PHYS 2011 - Physics Problems Laboratory I  4 credit hours  (Nat Sci)

    PHYS 2011 - Physics Problems Laboratory I

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1710 with a minimum grade of C (2.0) or MATH 1730. Required corequisite: PHYS 2010. Group-oriented problems course taken in conjunction with the Web-based discussion class PHYS 2010. Students work in groups with the topics presented in the PHYS 2010 discussion class. Covers kinematics, forces, momentum, angular motion, calorimetry, and sound waves. Skills associated with the development of experimental investigations including graphical analysis and estimation of uncertainties emphasized. Two two-and-one-half-hour laboratory sessions.

OR

  • PHYS 2110 - Calculus-Based Physics I  0 credit hours  (Nat Sci) AND

    PHYS 2110 - Calculus-Based Physics I

    0 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1910 with a minimum grade of C (2.0). Corequisite: PHYS 2111. A calculus-based introduction to mechanics and wave motion. One and one-half hours lecture.

  • PHYS 2111 - Calculus-Based Physics Laboratory I

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1910 with a minimum grade of C (2.0). Corequisite: PHYS 2110. Laboratory course to accompany PHYS 2110. Experiments in mechanics, waves, and thermodynamics. Data reduction, error analysis, and report writing. Two three-hour sessions.

 

  • PHYS 2020 - Non-Calculus-Based Physics II

    0 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PHYS 2011. Required corequisite: PHYS 2021. Web-based discussion class taken in conjunction with the cooperative-learning based problems lab PHYS 2021. Fundamentals of optics, modern physics, and electronics traditionally covered in a second-semester college physics course. Reflection and refraction, vision, diffraction effects, quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics, and analog and digital electronics. Scheduled class time is used for discussions of the Web-lecture material and for the administration of exams.

  • PHYS 2021 - Physics Problems Laboratory II

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PHYS 2011. Required corequisite: PHYS 2020. Group-oriented problems course to be taken in conjunction with the Web-based discussion class PHYS 2020. Students work in groups with the topics presented in the PHYS 2020 discussion class. Optics, modern physics, and electronics traditionally covered in a second-semester college physics course. Reflection and refraction, vision, diffraction effects, quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics, and analog and digital electronics. The skills associated with the development of experimental investigations including graphical analysis and estimation of uncertainties emphasized. Two two-and-one-half-hour laboratory sessions.

OR

  • PHYS 2120 - Calculus-Based Physics II

    0 credit hours

    Prerequisites: PHYS 2111; MATH 1920 with a minimum grade of C (2.0). Required corequisite: PHYS 2121. A lecture course that supplements the discussion in PHYS 2121. Topics include a microscopic view of electrical force and field, polarization, electric circuits, magnetic force and field, electric potential, symmetries of fields, Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic radiation, optics, and wave phenomena. One and one-half hours lecture.

  • PHYS 2121 - Calculus-Based Physics Laboratory II

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: PHYS 2111; MATH 1920 with a minimum grade of C (2.0). Required corequisite: PHYS 2120. A laboratory-based course to accompany PHYS 2120. Includes discussions, group problem solving, and hands-on activities. Two three-hour sessions.

 

  • CHEM 1110 - General Chemistry I  4 credit hours  (Nat Sci)

    CHEM 1110 - General Chemistry I

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: High school chemistry. Corequisite: CHEM 1111. Fundamental concepts of atomic structure, molecular structure and bonding, chemical reactions, stoichiometric relationships, periodic properties of the elements, thermochemistry, and properties of gases. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory.

 

  • CHEM 1120 - General Chemistry II  4 credit hours  AND

    CHEM 1120 - General Chemistry II

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: C- or better in CHEM 1110/CHEM 1111. Corequisite: CHEM 1121. Chemical equilibrium, solid and liquid states of matter, chemistry of acids and bases, principles of chemical kinetics, precipitation reactions, elementary thermodynamics, electrochemistry, and nuclear chemistry. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory.

Subtotal: 31 Hours

 

Sophomore

 

  • ASTR 2030 - Solar System Astronomy

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1710. Comprehensive study of the solar system including models of solar and planetary formation. Analysis of the chemical makeup and physical nature of the Sun, planets, moons, and comets using mathematics and the scientific method. Focus on planetary interiors, surfaces, atmospheres, solar-planetary interactions, and solar system evolution. Discussion of spacecraft missions, future solar system exploration, and possibilities of extraterrestrial life.

  • ASTR 2040 - Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1710. A comprehensive study of stellar, galactic, and cosmological astronomy. Analyzes the basic theories of stellar and galactic formation and evolution using mathematics and the scientific method. Includes the cataclysmic topics of supernovae, neutron stars, pulsars, and black holes as well as the nature of galaxies including the Milky Way galaxy, active galaxies and quasars, and the formation and evolution of our universe, the big bang theory, and the possibility of other life in the universe.

  • PHYS 3100 - Modern Physics I  3 credit hours  OR

    PHYS 3100 - Modern Physics I

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: PHYS 2021 or PHYS 2120 and MATH 1920 with a minimum grade of C (2.0). Introduction to the fundamental principles of modern physics (special relativity and quantum mechanics) and their application to atomic physics.

  • PHYS 3070 - Concepts in Modern Physics I

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: PHYS 2021 or PHYS 2120 and MATH 1920. Introduction to the concepts of twentieth-century physics. Discusses fundamental concepts of modern physics including relativity, atomic physics, wave optics, and quantum mechanics. Not intended to prepare students for graduate school in physics.

  • PHYS 3110 - Modern Physics II  3 credit hours  OR

    PHYS 3110 - Modern Physics II

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PHYS 3100. Survey of major topics including molecular physics, statistical physics, solid state physics and solid state devices, nuclear models, nuclear decay and reaction, and elementary particle physics.

  • PHYS 3080 - Concepts in Modern Physics II

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PHYS 3070 or PHYS 3100. Introduction to the concepts of twentieth-century physics. Discusses the fundamental concepts of modern physics including molecular physics, statistical distributions, solid state physics, and nuclear particle physics. Not intended to prepare students for graduate school in physics.

  • PHYS 3111 - Modern Physics Laboratory  1 credit hour credit hours  

    PHYS 3111 - Modern Physics Laboratory

    1 credit hour credit hours

    Prerequisite or corequisite:  PHYS 3110. Concepts and ideas which formed the basis for an understanding of the atom and atomic phenomena. One hour lecture and one three-hour independent study laboratory.

  • PHYS 3150 - Topics and Methods of Theoretical Physics I

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: PHYS 2021 or PHYS 2120 and MATH 1920 with a minimum grade of C (2.0). Theoretical techniques used for problem solving in physics. Reference frames and coordinate systems, approximation techniques, solution of electrical circuits and mechanical systems, simple harmonic motion and wave motion, Maxwell's equations.

  • MATH 3120 - Differential Equations I

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1920. The solution and application of ordinary differential equations with emphasis on first order equations, second order linear equations, Laplace Transform method, systems of differential equations, and numerical methods.

  • COMM 2200 - Fundamentals of Communication

    3 credit hours

    Principles and processes of effective public oral communication including researching, critical thinking, organizing, presenting, listening, and using appropriate language. Emphasis on informative, persuasive, special occasion, and extemporaneous (impromptu) speaking. Counts as part of the General Education Communication requirement.

  • Electives 9 credit hours
  • ENGL 2020 - Themes in Literature and Culture

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020. Traces a specific theme or idea through a number of literary texts that reflect different historical and cultural contexts. Subject will vary.

  • ENGL 2030 - The Experience of Literature  3 credit hours  (Hum/FA)

    ENGL 2030 - The Experience of Literature

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020. The reading of a variety of literary types which illuminate themes and experiences common to human existence.

  • HUM 2610 - Foreign Literature in Translation

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020. Representative works of French, German, and Hispanic authors in English translation. No foreign-language proficiency required. Carries General Education credit.

Subtotal: 28 Hours

 

Junior

 

  • ASTR 3400 - Fundamentals of Astrophysics

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PHYS 2021 or PHYS 2120 and MATH 1910. Modern astronomical knowledge and techniques using classical and modern physical principles. Possible topics include star formation, black holes and neutron stars, galaxy structure and evolution, formation of planetary systems, and large-scale structure of the universe.

Elective 3 credit hours

  • PHYS 3610 - Thermodynamics  3 credit hours  OR

    PHYS 3610 - Thermodynamics

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PHYS 3110 and PHYS 3150 or consent of instructor. Introduction to statistical physics, kinetic theory, and thermodynamics from a unified microscopic point of view. Selected applications to various systems of interest presented.

  • PHYS 3510 - Concepts in Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PHYS 3080 or PHYS 3110. Introduction to the concepts of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Discusses the fundamentals of thermodynamics from both the macroscopic and microscopic points of view including entropy, enthalpy, heat engines, Helmholtz and Gibbs free energy, the partition function, and quantum statistics. Not intended to prepare students for graduate school in physics.

  • PHYS 3900 - Physics Practicum  1 credit hour credit hours  

    PHYS 3900 - Physics Practicum

    1 credit hour credit hours

    Prerequisite:  PHYS 3100 and consent of instructor. Refines thinking, communication, and interpersonal skills through exposure to on-the-spot technical questions and a laboratory teaching experience as an assistant in an introductory physics laboratory.  One hour lecture and two two-and-one-half  hour experiences as a teaching assistant to be scheduled with department faculty.

  • ASTR 1031 - Observing the Universe  1 credit hour credit hours  OR

    ASTR 1031 - Observing the Universe

    1 credit hour credit hours

    Prerequisite or corequisite: ASTR 1030. Introduction to observational astronomy through laboratory exercises and outdoor observing activities. Topics include telescopes, the analysis of starlight, and observations of stars and planets.

  • ASTR 3401 - Experimental Astronomy  1 credit hour credit hours  

    ASTR 3401 - Experimental Astronomy

    1 credit hour credit hours

    Prerequisites: PHYS 2021 or PHYS 2120 or consent of instructor. Principles and techniques of astronomical data acquisition and reduction. Possible research topics involve photometry, spectroscopy, astronomical applications of electronic detectors, and computer modeling.

  • ASTR 2040 - Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1710. A comprehensive study of stellar, galactic, and cosmological astronomy. Analyzes the basic theories of stellar and galactic formation and evolution using mathematics and the scientific method. Includes the cataclysmic topics of supernovae, neutron stars, pulsars, and black holes as well as the nature of galaxies including the Milky Way galaxy, active galaxies and quasars, and the formation and evolution of our universe, the big bang theory, and the possibility of other life in the universe.

  • ASTR 2030 - Solar System Astronomy

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: MATH 1710. Comprehensive study of the solar system including models of solar and planetary formation. Analysis of the chemical makeup and physical nature of the Sun, planets, moons, and comets using mathematics and the scientific method. Focus on planetary interiors, surfaces, atmospheres, solar-planetary interactions, and solar system evolution. Discussion of spacecraft missions, future solar system exploration, and possibilities of extraterrestrial life.

  • Electives 9 credit hours
  • Social/Behavioral Sciences (2 rubrics) 6 credit hours
  • Humanities and/or Fine Arts (2 rubrics) 6 credit hours

Subtotal: 32 Hours

 

Senior

 

  • ASTR 3401 - Experimental Astronomy  1 credit hour credit hours  OR

    ASTR 3401 - Experimental Astronomy

    1 credit hour credit hours

    Prerequisites: PHYS 2021 or PHYS 2120 or consent of instructor. Principles and techniques of astronomical data acquisition and reduction. Possible research topics involve photometry, spectroscopy, astronomical applications of electronic detectors, and computer modeling.

  • ASTR 1031 - Observing the Universe  1 credit hour credit hours  

    ASTR 1031 - Observing the Universe

    1 credit hour credit hours

    Prerequisite or corequisite: ASTR 1030. Introduction to observational astronomy through laboratory exercises and outdoor observing activities. Topics include telescopes, the analysis of starlight, and observations of stars and planets.

  • ASTR 4850 - Astronomy Research

    2 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Independent study of a selected research problem in astronomy. Includes experimental and/or theoretical investigation of an important yet unexplored problem or experimental design. Includes literature research and experimental design/problem formulation and execution resulting in oral and written presentation of results suitable for submission/presentation to a suitable journal/conference. One hour lecture and significant additional time working with research mentor.

  • ASTR 4900 - Astronomy Senior Thesis

    2 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ASTR 4850 and consent of department chair. Focuses on a specific research/experimental design problem chosen with the consent of the thesis committee and with the potential for original discovery or for creative development of a tool, technique, or instrumentation applicable to scientific research. Independent pursuit of research objectives outlined in a research proposal results in a written thesis, the approval of which will include an oral defense. One hour lecture and independent writing of thesis.

  • PHYS 3800 - Physics Seminar  1 credit hour credit hours  

    PHYS 3800 - Physics Seminar

    1 credit hour credit hours

    Prerequisite:  PHYS 3100. Develops and refines inquiry, communication, and presentation skills through exposure to new developments in physics, technical brief writing, and resume and job interview preparations.

  • Electives 14 credit hours

 

  • Elective 3 credit hours OR
  • ASTR 3400 - Fundamentals of Astrophysics

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PHYS 2021 or PHYS 2120 and MATH 1910. Modern astronomical knowledge and techniques using classical and modern physical principles. Possible topics include star formation, black holes and neutron stars, galaxy structure and evolution, formation of planetary systems, and large-scale structure of the universe.

 

Choose 6 hours from:

  • HIST 2010 - Survey of United States History I

    3 credit hours

    Survey of the political, economic, social, cultural, and diplomatic phases of American life in its regional, national, and international aspects. HIST 2010 discusses the era from the beginning to 1877. HIST 2020 discusses the era from 1877 to the present. These courses are prerequisite for all advanced courses in American history and satisfy the General Education History requirement. HIST 2010 is NOT a prerequisite for HIST 2020.

  • HIST 2020 - Survey of United States History II

    3 credit hours

    Survey of the political, economic, social, cultural, and diplomatic phases of American life in its regional, national, and international aspects. HIST 2010 discusses the era from the beginning to 1877. HIST 2020 discusses the era from 1877 to the present. These courses are prerequisite for all advanced courses in American history and satisfy the General Education History requirement. HIST 2010 is NOT a prerequisite for HIST 2020.

  • HIST 2030 - Tennessee History

    3 credit hours

    The role of the state in the development of the nation. May be used to satisfy one part of the General Education History requirement.

Subtotal: 29 Hours

 

Total hours in program: 120

 

Academic Map

Following is a printable, suggested four-year schedule of courses:

Physics, Astronomy, B.S., Academic Map

Dr. Daniel Erenso
Associate Professor
daniel.erenso@mtsu.edu

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Jana Ford
Instructor
janaruth.ford@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Brian Frank
Assistant Professor
brian.frank@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Ron Henderson
Department Chair
ron.henderson@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Chuck Higgins
Associate Professor
chuck.higgins@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Eric Klumpe
Professor
eric.klumpe@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Victor Montemayor
Professor
victor.montemayor@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Suman Neupane
http://www.mtsu.edu/faculty/sneupane/index.php
Suman.Neupane@mtsu.edu

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Dr. William Robertson
Professor
william.robertson@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Nat Smith
Assistant Professor
nat.smith@mtsu.edu

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Dr. John Wallin
Professor
john.wallin@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Martha Weller
Professor
martha.weller@mtsu.edu

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Astronomy

ASTR 1030 - Exploring the Universe
3 credit hours

A general introduction to astronomy through an overview of planets, stars, systems of stars, and the overall structure of the universe. Topics will be discussed by answering questions such as "How do you weigh stars?" and "Will the universe die?"

ASTR 1031 - Observing the Universe
1 credit hour credit

Prerequisite or corequisite: ASTR 1030. Introduction to observational astronomy through laboratory exercises and outdoor observing activities. Topics include telescopes, the analysis of starlight, and observations of stars and planets.

ASTR 2030 - Solar System Astronomy
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: MATH 1710. Comprehensive study of the solar system including models of solar and planetary formation. Analysis of the chemical makeup and physical nature of the Sun, planets, moons, and comets using mathematics and the scientific method. Focus on planetary interiors, surfaces, atmospheres, solar-planetary interactions, and solar system evolution. Discussion of spacecraft missions, future solar system exploration, and possibilities of extraterrestrial life.

ASTR 2040 - Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: MATH 1710. A comprehensive study of stellar, galactic, and cosmological astronomy. Analyzes the basic theories of stellar and galactic formation and evolution using mathematics and the scientific method. Includes the cataclysmic topics of supernovae, neutron stars, pulsars, and black holes as well as the nature of galaxies including the Milky Way galaxy, active galaxies and quasars, and the formation and evolution of our universe, the big bang theory, and the possibility of other life in the universe.

ASTR 3050 - Directed Study in Astronomy
1 to 4 credit hours

Prerequisite: PHYS 2021 or PHYS 2120 and approval of department chair. Individualized intensive study of a specific topic in astronomy or astrophysics not normally covered  in the standard undergraduate physics and astronomy curriculum. Arrangements must be made with an approved faculty member prior to registration.

ASTR 3400 - Fundamentals of Astrophysics
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: PHYS 2021 or PHYS 2120 and MATH 1910. Modern astronomical knowledge and techniques using classical and modern physical principles. Possible topics include star formation, black holes and neutron stars, galaxy structure and evolution, formation of planetary systems, and large-scale structure of the universe.

ASTR 3401 - Experimental Astronomy
1 credit hour credit

Prerequisites: PHYS 2021 or PHYS 2120 or consent of instructor. Principles and techniques of astronomical data acquisition and reduction. Possible research topics involve photometry, spectroscopy, astronomical applications of electronic detectors, and computer modeling.

ASTR 4800 - Special Topics in Astronomy
3 credit hours

Prerequisites: PHYS 3100 and PHYS 3150 or approval of department chair. In-depth, organized study of a contemporary topic of interest not normally covered in the undergraduate physics and astronomy curriculum. Possible topics include planetary geology, radio astronomy, stellar atmospheres or interiors, space physics, pulsating stars, dark matter and energy, galactic evolution, and general relativity and cosmology.

ASTR 4850 - Astronomy Research
2 credit hours

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Independent study of a selected research problem in astronomy. Includes experimental and/or theoretical investigation of an important yet unexplored problem or experimental design. Includes literature research and experimental design/problem formulation and execution resulting in oral and written presentation of results suitable for submission/presentation to a suitable journal/conference. One hour lecture and significant additional time working with research mentor.

ASTR 4900 - Astronomy Senior Thesis
2 credit hours

Prerequisites: ASTR 4850 and consent of department chair. Focuses on a specific research/experimental design problem chosen with the consent of the thesis committee and with the potential for original discovery or for creative development of a tool, technique, or instrumentation applicable to scientific research. Independent pursuit of research objectives outlined in a research proposal results in a written thesis, the approval of which will include an oral defense. One hour lecture and independent writing of thesis.

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