Department of Physics

Computational Track

Purpose

Each year, approximately 20% of all Physics graduates enter fields related to computer science. Physics graduates with skills in this area have some advantages over pure Computer Science majors: experience in data and experimental analysis, higher levels of mathematical reasoning, and knowledge of the physical world. UNI strongly incorporates computer related skills into the basic curriculum which include a required course in computational physics as well as involving students in computational software for mathematics, electronics, and computer interfacing throughout their undergraduate classes. To further enhance computation skills – we have developed a Computational Advising Track, which includes the following electives listed below. Students who wish to become even more specialized should consider a B.S. Physics / B.A. Computer Science dual degree. Current Computer Science majors in their sophomore or junior year should also consider a Physics minor if they would not have enough time to complete a full physics degree..

Suggested Electives: CS 1410, 1510, 1520, 1800, 2420 and MATH 2500 and 3440

Plan of Study

The following plan of study is a suggested guide to best prepare students to work in a technical field requiring a high level of skill in computational techniques in addition to the standard quantitative skills mastered by all physics majors. The plan is based on the Standard Track for a B.S. Physics major incorporating the the suggested electives listed above. Course descriptions can be found in the UNI Course Catalog.

1st Year, Fall Semester - 15 hrs 1st Year, Spring Semester - 14 hrs
MATH 1420 - Calculus I 4 MATH 1421 - Calculus II 4
PHYSICS 1100 - 1st Year Projects in Physics 1 PHYSICS 1702 -  Physics II for Science & Eng. 4
PHYSICS 1701 - Physics I for Sci. & Engineering 4 Cornerstone II or Oral Communications 3
Cornerstone I or Coll. Read. & Writing 3 CS 1510 - Introduction to Computing 3
University Elective 3    
       
2nd Year, Fall Semester - 17 hrs 2nd Year, Spring Semester - 15 hrs
MATH 2422 - Calculus III 4 PHYSICS 4100 - Modern Physics 4
PHYSICS 2300 - Physics III Theory & Simulation 3 PHYSICS 4110 - Modern Physics Lab 2
PHYSICS 4300 - Introduction to Electronics 4 PHYSICS 2700 - Math Methods of Phys. 3
Humanities I 3 Humanities II 3
CS 1410 - Computer Organization 3 Math 2500 - Linear Algebra 3
       
3rd Year, Fall Semester - 17 hrs 3rd Year, Spring Semester - 16 hrs
PHYSICS 4600 - Classical Mechanics 4 PHYSICS 4860 - Computational Physics 3
PHYSCIS 4900 - Thermo. & Stat. Mechanics 4 CS 1520 - Data Structures 4
Non-Western Cultures 3 Literature, Philosophy, or Religion 3
CS 1800 - Discrete Structures 3 Social Science 3
MATH 3440 - Numerical Analysis 3 Fine Arts 3
       
4th Year, Fall Semester - 15 hrs 4th Year, Spring Semester - 17 hrs
PHYSICS 3700 - Physics Seminar 1 Capstone 2
PHYSICS 3000/Physics 3500 - Research 2 Social Science 3
Life Science 3 University Electives 8
Personal Wellness 3  PHYSICS 4310 - Digital Elect. & Robotics 4
 Social Science 3    
 CS 2420 - Computer Architecture 3    

 

Required courses are in bold..

Liberal Arts Core classes are in italics. See the Liberal Arts Core Link for more details.

Science & Math electives for B. S. Physics major are in bold.

University electives are in black. (Some have been selected as specific courses to best prepare students)

Notes:

  1. Students should perform research or internship in a computationally relevant area. Research could be performed with either Physics or Computer Science faculty depending on the project.

  2. MATH 3440, Numerical Analysis, is offered every other year so some students will take this course in the 4th year.

  3. Students should also consider a dual B.S. Physics and B.A. Computer Science Degree. Given that PHYSICS 4310, MATH 3440, and MATH 2500 are not required for either degree, students could essentially replace these three courses and fill in university electives with required CS courses to achieve a dual degree in the standard four years. Students interested in such a dual degree should plan to begin taking both CS and Physics courses no later than the Fall of their 2nd year and carefully consult with advisors from both Physics and CS.