College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences2021-2022

Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science

Physics and Astrophysics, Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

The astrophysics B.S. is physics-intensive providing a strong fundamental physics foundation as well as a strong foundation in astrophysics and the physical rules guiding the universe.

Student Learning Outcomes

The B.S. in Physics and Astrophysics program is designed to prepare students for a career in a technical field or for graduate studies in physics, applied physics, astrophysics or astronomy.. 
Physics Content
Students will have an understanding of the laws of physics in the areas of:

  • classical mechanics
  • electricity and magnetism
  • special relativity
  • waves
  • optics
  • atomic physics
  • nuclear physics
  • quantum physics
  • thermodynamics
  • statistical mechanics
Astrophysics Content
Students will be able to apply the laws of physics in order to understand the:
  • origin and evolution of the Solar System and other planetary systems
  • origin and evolution of stars
  • origin and evolution of galaxies
  • evolution of the Universe, i.e. cosmology
Laboratory Skills
Students will:
  • understand how to take good data with increasingly sophisticated equipment in introductory, intermediate, and advanced physics laboratories
  • be able to take good data with research grade telescope and a CCD imaging system
  • know how to identify random and systematic errors, and propagate errors
  • be able to synthesize an appropriate conclusion from a physics experiment or an astronomical observation
Computational Skills
Students will:
  • be able to apply mathematical tools such as elementary probability theory, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, differential and integral calculus, vector calculus, ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations, and linear algebra to solve physics and astronomy problems
  • become proficient in a computing language such as MATLAB
  • be able to write code in a computing language in order to explain or predict the behavior of a complex physical system
  • be able to reduce and analyze data from a research grade telescope and a CCD imaging system using professional astronomical software such as IRAF
Problem Solving Skills
Students will develop problem-solving capacities. In particular, a student will be able to:
  • ascertain the known and unknown aspects of a problem
  • describe the fundamental physical principles in the problem
  • articulate a pathway toward solving the problem
  • successfully follow the path and solve the problem
Communication Skills
Students will be able to:
  • clearly communicate and defend their work in verbal, written, and visual formats to scientific and non-scientific audiences

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