Undergraduate Courses

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

Physics 1002: Topics in Physics and Astronomy (1-3)

Study of selected topics in physics and astronomy. Subjects and earnable credit may vary from semester to semester.

Astronomy 1010: Introduction to Astronomy (4)

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.

Astronomy 1020: Introduction to Laboratory Astronomy (2)

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.

Physics 1050: Concepts in Cosmology (3)

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

Physics 1100: Science and Inventions (1)

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.

Physics 1150: Concepts in Physics (3)

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.

Physics 1210: College Physics I (4)

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.

Physics 1220: College Physics II (4)

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.

Physics 2002: Topics in Physics and Astronomy (1-3)

Study of selected topics in physics and astronomy. Subjects and earnable credit may vary from semester to semester.

Physics 2100: Thinking Physics (3)

This course investigates motion and force and the relationship between them. Problem solving skills will be emphasized in addition to hands-on inquiry and deep conceptual understanding. This course is intended to help prepare students for College physics I or University Physics I. Prerequisites: College Algebra, Math 1100.

Physics 2200: Life and the Universe (2)

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.

Physics 2330: Exploring the Principles of Physics (4)

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.

Physics 2400: The Physics Around Us (4)

This course will address the basic physics principles behind commonly accepted technology. Examples include microwave ovens, rockets and LED lights. The course will be taught using hands-on activities combined with lecture and discussion. Graded on A-F basis only. Prerequisites: MATH 1100.

Physics 2500: The Beautiful Invisible: Exploring Physics, Fiction, and Reality (3)

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.

Physics 2750: University Physics I (5)

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.

Physics 2750H: University Physics I Honors (5)

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.

Physics 2760: University Physics II (5)

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.

Physics 2760H: University Physics II Honors (5)

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.

Physics 2800: Undergraduate Seminar in Physics (2)

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.

Physics 3002: Topics in Physics and Astronomy (1-3)

Study of selected topics in physics and astronomy. Subjects and earnable credit may vary from semester to semester.

Astronomy/Physics 3010: Introduction to Modern Astrophysics (3)

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

Physics 3100: Teaching Physics (3)

Introduces modeling and inquiry methods of teaching about force, motion, energy, electricity and magnetism. Students learn research-based physics teaching methods, including eliciting prior understanding, facilitating conceptual change, and active learning strategies. Prerequisites: Physics 1220 or Physics 2760.

Physics 3150: Introduction to Modern Physics (3) Writing Intensive Course

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

Physics 3200: Physics of Space Flight (3)

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.

Physics 3700: Introduction to Methods in Mathematical Physics (3)

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

Astronomy/Physics 4020: Astrophysical Techniques (3)

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

Physics 4050: Electronic Laboratory (4)

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.

Physics 4060: Advanced Physics Laboratory I (3)

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.

Physics 4080: Major Themes in Classical Physics (3)

Introduction to classical physics: mechanics, electromagnetism and thermodynamics, emphasizing the unity and the connections between different parts of it. Prerequisites: Physics 2760

Physics 4100: Electricity and Magnetism I (3)

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

Physics 4102: Topics on Physics and Astronomy (1-3)

Organized study of selected topics. Subjects and earnable credit may vary from semester to semester. Prerequisite: Physics 2760 or instructor’s consent, departmental consent for repetition.

Physics 4110: Light and Modern Optics (4)

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.

Physics 4120: Introduction to Thermodynamics (3)

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

Physics 4130: Electricity and Magnetism II (3)

Application of Maxwell’s equations. Prerequisite: Physics 4100.

Physics 4140: Mechanics (3)

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

Astronomy/Physics 4180: Solar System Science (3)

(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.

Physics 4190: Physics and Chemistry of Materials (3)

(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.

Physics 4230: Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Microanalysis (3)

This course is designed for senior undergraduate/graduate students. This course covers the basic principles and practical considerations using the scanning electron microscope (SEM) and energy-dispersive spectrometry (EDS) in the characterization of materials. Prerequisite: Physics 3150 and instructor’s consent. Graded on A/F basis only.

Astronomy/Physics 4250: Stellar Astrophysics (3)

Basic astrophysics of stable and unusual stars, stellar systems. Investigates stellar dimensions, radiation, spectra, energy, evolution, populations; interstellar medium, stellar motions and aggregation. Prerequisite: Astro 3010.

Physics 4310: Physics in Cell and Developmental Biology (3) (same as Biological Sciences 4310)

Discusses the role of physical mechanisms in specific cellular and developmental processes and phenomena, in particular those characterizing the embryonic stage of multicellular organisms. Each process and phenomenon is first described in biological terms and then within a physical model, with special emphasis on the interplay between the two descriptions. Prerequisite – Physics 1220 or Physics 2760 and Biology 2300 or instructor’s consent.

Astronomy/Physics 4350: Galactic Astronomy (3)

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.

Astronomy/Physics 4360: Extragalactic Astronomy (3)

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.

Physics 4390: Problems in Physics (cr. arr.)

No description.

Physics 4400: The Physics of Electronic Devices (3)

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.

Physics 4410: Analysis of Biological Macromolecules and Biomaterials (3)

This interdisciplinary, team-taught course introduces basic concepts and experimental techniques for studying bio-macromolecules and biomaterials. A problem based learn / writing intensive approach uses four modules: proteins, membranes, Cellular Interactions, and Biomaterials. Prerequisite: Physics 2760.

Physics 4420: Introduction to Biomedical Imaging (3)

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.

Physics 4450: Introduction to Cosmology (3)

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.

Astronomy/Physics 4460: Interstellar Medium (3)

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.

Physics 4500: Computational Biological Physics (3)

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.

Physics 4510: Single Molecule Biophysics (3)

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

Physics 4520: Introduction to Biophysics (3)

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.

Astronomy/Physics 4550: Cosmochemistry (3)

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

Physics 4600: Semiconductor Optics (3)

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.

Physics 4620: Introduction to Materials Science (3)

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.

Physics 4650: Modern Condensed Matter Physics (3)

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.

Physics 4800: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics I (3)

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

Physics 4810: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics II (3)

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.

Physics 4850: Computational Methods in Physics (3)

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

Physics 4885: Problem-Based Learning in Physics Using Case Studies (3)

Using case studies from frontiers of physics research, students in this course will develop skills on leadership, team-work, communication, deductive reasoning, writing and oral presentation skills.  A combined Problem-Based Learning/ Writing Intensive approach will be used.  Prerequisites:  PHYSCS 3150; senior standing.

Physics 4950: Undergraduate Research in Physics (cr. arr.)

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

Astronomy 4950: Undergraduate Research in Astronomy (cr. arr.)

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

Physics 4960: Senior Thesis (3)

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.

Astronomy 4960: Senior Thesis (3)

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.

Physics 4985: Issues in Modern Physics and Engineering (3)

Students are expected to write a major paper on a selected topic from modern physics or engineering. The paper will review the current state of the experimental and theoretical research on the topic at a level appropriate to their peers. Prerequisite: Physics 3150 or instructor’s consent.