Undergraduate Courses

For a listing of all courses offered during a particular semester, check Class Offerings in MyZou or on the Registrar’s Office webpage.

Survey of methods of astronomy; description of the solar system, stellar astronomy, structure of the galaxy and the universe. Three hours of lecture and one hour of lab per week (scheduled by instructor). Satisfies physical science laboratory requirement. Laboratory section: survey of astronomical methods, instruments, observations and measurement techniques. Prerequisite: high school algebra and plane geometry, or Math 1100/1120, or equivalent.

Laboratory supplement to Astronomy 1010. Satisfies physical science laboratory requirement. Survey of astronomical methods, instruments, observations and measurement techniques. Prerequisites: high school algebra and geometry.

Introduction to fundamental concepts of modern cosmology. Topics include Olber’s paradox, Hubble expansion, Big Bang, and the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation.

This course covers the history of some of the most important inventions in science and their impact on past civilizations, current advances in science and inventions, funding and policies, and critical advances in technology required for future generations.

Introduction to fundamental concepts of physics for non-science majors. Concepts include the conservation of energy, the second law of thermodynamics, and the special theory of relativity. Students learn to reason and apply these concepts through writing assignments.

How does an airplane fly? How does a steel boat float? How does your phone know when you are swiping the screen? Many things that seem wondrous can be explained using basic principles of physics. In this course students develop concepts in simple machines, fluids, waves, optics, and electricity as they explore real-world applications using simulations and hands-on experiments. Meets Physical Science Requirement for Gen Ed, approved for Biological or Physical Science Lab.

Astronomy is the oldest and yet the newest science discipline that has far-reaching impact on our civilization. This course aims to provide a brief historical account of the major milestones in Astronomy that have led to our current understanding of the universe. Graded on A-F basis only.

First course in algebra-based physics. Covers kinematics, dynamics, fluids, oscillatory motion, waves and thermodynamics. Three lectures, one lab weekly. Prerequisite: Math 1100/1120 or equivalent. Math Reasoning Proficiency Course. Syllabus for online section.

Continuance of 1210. Covers electricity and magnetism, optics and modern physics. Three lectures, one lab weekly. Prerequisite: grade of C- or better in Physics 1210. Math Reasoning Proficiency Course.

Introduction to the Physics Department and presentation of topics of current interest in physics by faculty and students. Intended for physics majors at the freshman or sophomore level only. Graded on A-F basis only.  Recommended: for physics majors.

This course explores the connection between our everyday existence and the underlying physics’ processes.  Students will look at processes – essential to life – ranging from the very small (atomic level) to the very large (universe), and the many length scales in between (cellular level and human being level) and will make connections between the laws of physics and the numbers that go into them and the prerequisites for the existence of life.

A hands-on course covering topics in Matter, Mechanics, Energy, Light, Sound, Electricity and Magnetism. Pedagogy reflects styles used in K – 12 classrooms; emphasis on inquiry, concept development, quantitative applications and technology. Prerequisites: Math 1100/1120 and sophomore standing required.

This course explores the conceptual structure of modern physics from a humanistic perspective. Rather than describing the natural world "as it is", physical science weaves some key observations in a convincing and memorable narrative. It is not within its power to explain reality, but it can make it understandable, sometimes even predictable. Due to the presence of internal and external constraints, physical theories are akin to myths, i.e., fiction created by many authors over an extended period of time. The mythical character of a theory does not diminish its scientific validity - quite the contrary. Convincing myths are not easily found and better observations demand better myths. The mythical content of the theory is not some extraneous content that we introduce for the sake of popularization, but an essential part of the science itself.

First course in calculus-based physics for science and engineering students. Covers kinematics, dynamics, oscillations, waves, fluids, and thermodynamics. Includes a laboratory. Prerequisite: Math 1500 or equivalent. Co-requisite: Math 1700.

First course in calculus-based physics for science and engineering students. Covers kinematics, dynamics, oscillations, waves, fluids, and thermodynamics. Includes a laboratory. Prerequisite: Math 1500 or equivalent. Co-requisite: Math 1700. Honors eligibility required.

Continuation of Physics 2750. Covers electrostatics, elementary circuits, magnetism, electromagnetic phenomena, optics, matter waves and particles and modern physics. Includes a laboratory. Prerequisite: Math 1700 and a grade of C- or better in Physics 2750. Recommended: Math 2300.

Continuation of Physics 2750. Covers electrostatics, elementary circuits, magnetism, electromagnetic phenomena, optics, matter waves and particles and modern physics. Includes a laboratory. Prerequisite: Math 1700 and a grade of C- or better in Physics 2750. Recommended: Math 2300. Honors eligibility required.

Elements of stellar, and galactic astrophysics. Interpretation of observations and physical conditions of various astronomical objects including stars, gaseous nebulae, galaxies. Prerequisite: Physics 2760.

Relativistic kinematics and Lorentz transformations; historical basis for quantum mechanics; atomic structure; physics of solids; nuclear structure and decay. Prerequisite: Physics 2760.

The course provides an overview of the solar system, spaceflight history, a review of Newtonian physics and law of universal gravitation, the application of these laws to spacecraft launch, entry, and orbit, planetary trajectories, and other special topics.  Three focused cased studies of actual space missions are addressed.  Graded on A-F basis only.  Prerequisites:  MATH 1100, College Algebra.

Introduces mathematical methods and theories of physics. Topics usually covered are complex analysis, partial differential equations, integral equations, and tensor analysis. Prerequisite: Phys 2760.

Elements of modern astronomical instruments, observations and analysis, with the emphasis in the optical regime. Prerequisites: Astro 3010.

Acquaints students with techniques for the electronic acquisition and processing of physics data. Digital logic, integrated circuits, microprocessors, and interfacing. Two lectures, two labs weekly. Prerequisite: Physics 2760.

This upper-level undergraduate laboratory course familiarizes students with the methods and procedures of experimental physics at an advanced level. The course covers principles of magnetism, graphic programming and interface techniques, weak-signal detection, and some modern physics discoveries such as, magneto-optical Kerr effect, digital holography and gamma-ray spectroscopy. Students work on research projects in the areas of condensed matter physics, materials science, modern spectroscopy, superconductivity, and quantum physics. Prerequisites: PHYSCS 3150.

Mathematical preliminaries, properties of charge distributions at rest and in motion, the field concept, introduces electromagnetic radiation. Prerequisite: Physics 2760.

Interaction of light with matter, spectroscopic techniques, wave optics, interferometry, multilayer films, polarization, non-linear optics, design of optical instruments, matrix methods, waveguides, fiber optics, acusto-optic and photo-elastic modulation. Includes both lectures and laboratory. Prerequisite: Physics 2760.

Development of the concepts of temperature, heat, work, entropy, enthalpy, and free energy. Applications to gases, liquids, and solids. Statistical methods. Prerequisite: Physics 2760.

Development of fundamental concepts, principles of mechanics using mathematical methods. Many problems used. Prerequisite: Physics 2760.

(same as Geology 4180)
Investigates physical states, interior structures and comparative geology of solar systems bodies: planets, moons, asteroids, comets, sun. Solar system formation and evolution. Prerequisites: Astro 3010.

(same as Nuclear Science and Engineering 4319, and Chemistry 4490)
This course will cover fundamental and applied aspects relating to the Physics, Chemistry and Biology of material with specific emphasis on Nanoscience and Nanomedicine. Consists of lectures and experiments in nanoscience. Prerequisite: Physics 2760 and Chemistry 1320 or equivalent and consent of instructor.

Observational properties of normal galaxies and clusters of galaxies, Seyfert and emission-line galaxies, interacting galaxies, quasi-stellar objects. Introduction to cosmology. Prerequisite: Astro 3010.

This course introduces students to the most basic knowledge of extragalactic astronomy, starting from Milky Way and extending to the most distant universe. Topics covered will include galaxy morphology and classification, groups and clusters of galaxies, active galactic nuclei, and galaxy formation and evolution. Prerequisite: Astro 3010.

This course is designed for graduate and undergraduate students of Physics and Electrical Engineering who have an interest in learning the basic physical idea underlying the operation of electronic devices. The course consists of lectures, handout lecture notes, problem sets, two mid-term and one final exam. Prerequisites: basic knowledge of modern physics (electromagnetism and quantum mechanics) at the level of Physics 3150 or equivalent, or instructor’s consent. Graded on A/F basis only.

This course offers a broad introduction to medical imaging. Topics to be covered include the physics basics and instrumentation of X-rays, CT, PET, SPECT, ultrasound, MRI, and optical imaging, as well as recent developments in biomedical imaging. Prerequisite: Physics 2760.

Develops the physical concepts necessary for understanding the major recent discoveries in cosmology, such as the acceleration of the universe and dark energy . No prior knowledge of general relativity is assumed. Prerequisite: Physics 3150.

The course discusses observational properties and physical and chemical processes occurring in the interstellar medium. Topics include interstellar diffuse and molecular clouds, HII regions, dust grains, interstellar chemistry, star formation, supernova remnants, and interstellar shock waves. Prerequisites: Astro 3010.

Provides a practical introduction (hands-on approach) to the study of the structure and function of bio molecular systems by employing computational methods and theoretical concepts familiar from the physical sciences. Prerequisites: physics 1220 or 2760 or instructor’s consent.

The course provides an overview of the biophysics of enzymes, nucleic acids and the cytoskeleton. Topics covered will include diffusion, molecular motors, polymerization of the cytoskeleton and the polymer properties of nucleic acids and microtubules. Prerequisites: Physics 2760

This course introduces the study of biological systems from the perspective of a physicist. Students will learn how to relate the structure of a particular system and its constituents to its function. The treatment of molecular and cellular phenomena will be based on physical principles quantified through the necessary analytical tools. Prominent biophysical methods and their fundamental operating principles will also be discussed. Graded on A-F basis only. Prerequisites: Physics 1220 or Physics 2760 or instructor's consent.

Cosmic dust, stardust, spectra, energy, interstellar medium, meteorites, astromineralogy. Prerequisites: Astro 3010.

It is an introductory-level course in the field of optical processes in semiconductors (both inorganic and organic) and solid-state optoelectronics, designed both for graduate and undergraduate students of Physics, Chemistry, and Electrical engineering. Prerequisite: Physics 3150 or instructor’s consent. Graded on A/F basis only.

This course on the science and technology of materials explores the interrelationship between processing, structure, properties (electrical, optical, magnetic), and performance. Observable properties of materials will be used to explore and understand the consequences of atomic- and molecular-level events. Structure-property correlations, including electronic, thermal, and mechanical properties, will be presented for different classes of materials including nanoscale materials. Graded on A-F basis only. Prerequisites: PHYSCS 3150.

Introduces the basic concepts and gives an overview of the latest developments of modern condensed matter physics at the forefront of (nano)science and technology. Combines lectures and computational laboratory, where students use and develop interactive computer simulations. Prerequisite: Physics 3150 or instructor’s consent. Graded on A/F basis only.

This course provides an introduction to nonlinear dynamical systems and chaos, with examples from physics, chemistry, biology and engineering. The emphasis will be on applications, using a combination of analytical, computational and intuitive geometrical methods. Topics covered include phase portraits, fixed point analysis, bifurcations, limit cycles, strange-attractors, iterated maps, period doubling, chaos, fractals, scaling and universality. Graded on A-F basis only.  Prerequisites: MATH 4100 or instructor's consent.  Recommended: MATH 4140.

Foundations of wave mechanics, wave packets, Schrodinger equation and 1-D problems, operators and eigenfunctions, spherically symmetric systems. Prerequisite: Physics 3150 and Math 4100.

Review of quantum mechanics and units, forms of radiation, radiation detectors, spacetime symmetries, internal symmetries, nuclear structure, and form factors, low energy nuclear models, recent developments. Prerequisite: Physics 4800 or equivalent.

Use of modern computational techniques in solving a wide variety of problems in solid state, nuclear, quantum and statistical physics. Prerequisites: Physics 4800.

This internship course will provide students with work experience in a public/private company/lab organization that is relevant to the physics major. It will enable students to apply their academic knowledge and critical thinking skills in a work environment, while enhancing personal and professional development. The internship is coordinated by a faculty member. Graded on S/U basis only. Prerequisites: Instructor's Consent.

Special studies for advanced undergraduate students in physics, covering subjects not included in courses regularly offered. Prerequisite: instructor’s consent.

Special studies in astronomy; covers subjects not included in courses regularly offered. Prerequisite: instructor’s consent.

Special studies for senior undergraduate students in physics. The course requires an oral or poster presentations, or faculty-guided writing of a senior thesis involving independent research. Prerequisite: instructor’s consent, 3 units of physics 4950. Departmental consent for repetition.

Special studies for senior undergraduate students in astronomy. The course requires an oral or poster presentations, or faculty-guided writing of a senior thesis involving independent research. Prerequisite: instructor’s consent, 3 units of astronomy 4950, departmental consent for repetition.

This course provides an introduction to density-functional theory (DFT), the most widely used technique for calculating the electronic structure of materials. The course covers the basic formalism of DFT and practical applications, including hands-on computational exercises. Graded on A-F basis only. Prerequisites: PHYSCS 3150 or instructor's consent.