2019-2020 Catalog 
    
    Oct 22, 2020  
2019-2020 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics Major


Major Requirements


The major in physics requires a minimum of 12 courses, distributed as follows:

1. Mathematics (2 courses)


3. Senior Thesis (1 or 2 courses)


Physics majors must complete a 1- or 2-semester thesis in physics. For further information, see Senior Thesis in Science, below.

Notes:


Senior Thesis in Science


The senior thesis is a general education requirement and the capstone experience of a student’s undergraduate education. Students must complete a senior thesis in at least one of their majors under supervision of a faculty reader who teaches within that major, unless granted a special exception.

Science majors have the following senior thesis options. Refer to the major requirements above for major-specific senior thesis requirements.

1-Semester Library Thesis without Lab (1 course, 1 credit)


Students interested in a 1-semester library thesis without lab complete an extensive library research thesis in the 1st or 2nd semester of the senior year, chosen from:

Note:


The Senior Thesis Research Project course (188L) or the Summer Research Project course (189L) may  not be counted as elective courses in the major.

Special Options for Majors in Physics


Dual Major in Physics


The dual major in physics requires a minimum of 10 courses, distributed as follows:

1. Mathematics (2 courses)


3. Senior Thesis (1 or 2 courses)


Students completing a dual major in physics must complete a 1- or 2-semester thesis in physics (which may be on an interdisciplinary topic if approved by a physics faculty advisor).

For further information, see Senior Thesis in Science.

Honors in Science


To be eligible for departmental honors in a science major, students must:

  • Achieve a minimum GPA of 10.5 in courses in the major;
  • Complete a 1- or 2-semester thesis project in which the student has demonstrated excellence by making a significant contribution to the progress of the research, by producing a thesis document judged to be of honors quality by the department, by presenting the work in a cogent fashion, and by engaging in the departmental seminar program.

Study Abroad for Science Majors


The Keck Science Department supports study abroad for science majors, however majors need to be aware that spending a semester off-campus requires careful advanced planning and program selection. Science majors interested in study abroad should discuss their interest with their major advisors as soon as possible.

General Education Requirements for Science Majors


General Education Requirement in Science

Every CMC student must complete one (1) laboratory science course offered by the Keck Science Department or elsewhere within the Claremont Consortium. This requirement must by satisfied by the end of the 2nd year at CMC.

General Education Requirements in the Social Sciences and the Humanities

For students with science majors, general education requirements in the social sciences and humanities must be met by courses outside of a student’s major field(s). Students in most science majors, including this major, must take courses in 3 of the 4 fields of the social sciences and in 2 of the 4 fields of the humanities for a total of 5 courses. 

Science majors with a dual or double major in either the humanities or the social sciences will be required to take an additional general education course in those categories.

Learning Goals of the Program in Physics


The objectives for the program in physics are to prepare students for:

  1. When confronted with an unfamiliar system or situation, physics students should be able to:
    1. Develop a conceptual framework for understanding the system by identifying the key physical principles and relationships underlying the system;
    2. Translate that conceptual framework into a quantitative/mathematical model suitable for analysis;
    3. Investigate the model via a variety of analytical and/or numerical methods;
    4. Intelligently analyze, interpret, and assess the reasonableness of the model’s predictions;
    5. Effectively communicate their findings (either verbally and/or via written expression) to diverse audiences.
  2. In a laboratory setting, physics students should be able to:
    1. Design an appropriate experiment to test out a hypothesis of interest;
    2. Make basic order-of-magnitude estimates, identify and address the sources of error and uncertainty in an experiment;
    3. Demonstrate a working familiarity with standard laboratory equipment (e.g. oscilloscopes, DMMs, signal generators, etc.);
    4. Demonstrate proficiency with standard methods of data analysis (e.g. graphing, curve-fitting, statistical analysis, Fourier analysis, etc.);
    5. Intelligently analyze, interpret, and assess the reasonableness of their experimental results;
    6. Effectively communicate their findings (either verbally and/or via written expression) to diverse audiences.