Physics

Chairperson: Allan Greer
Professors: J. Bierman, J. Byrne (Emeritus), E. Kincanon, A. Greer
Assistant Professors: C. LaSota, E. Aver

The Department of Physics offers Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in physics. Students are expected to declare their major in this area in their freshman year. Students in their sophomore year and students in the Florence program can be accommodated by special arrangement with the department.

The Bachelor of Science is designed as a terminal degree. Students who are considering graduate school studies should plan on taking additional course work. Students should be able to work out a four-year course of study with their advisor that will satisfy graduate school requirements. Physics majors interested in careers in health sciences should discuss course requirements and potential accommodations with a physics faculty member.

Majors in physics are expected to achieve a familiarity with scientific computation and the use of computers to solve physical problems.

Students planning on majoring in physics and attending medical school should meet with a physics faculty member as early as possible to discuss course scheduling and potential course substitutions for particular degree requirements. Students may rather elect to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in physics. The basic degree requirements for the B.A. are essentially the same as the B.S. degree except that rather than choosing two additional upper division PHYS courses, as the B.S. degree requires, the B.A. degree requires two courses from any area that are agreed to by the department chair. The B.A. degree is intended to better allow College of Arts and Sciences students to complete double majors, therefore, students who earn a B.A. degree with a physics major must also be earning a B.A. degree in another College of Arts and Sciences department. More information is available on the department’s website at http://www.phy.gonzaga.edu/.


B.S. Major in Physics: 53 Credits
Lower Division
PHYS 103 and PHYS 103L Scientific Physics I 4 credits
PHYS 204 and PHYS 204L Scientific Physics II 4 credits
PHYS 205 20th Century Physics 3 credits
PHYS 217 Modern Physics Lab 2 credits
CHEM 101 and CHEM 101L General Chemistry 4 credits
CPSC 121 Computer Science I 3 credits
MATH 157 Calculus and Analytical Geometry I 4 credits
MATH 258 Calculus and Analytical Geometry II
4 credits
PHYS 210 Introduction to Linear Electronics 2 credits
Upper Division
PHYS 300 Mathematical Methods 3 credits
PHYS 301 Intermediate Mechanics 3 credits
PHYS 306 Electricity and Magnetism 3 credits
PHYS 310 Intermediate Laboratory 2 credits
PHYS 464 Introduction to Quantum Physics 3 credits
MATH 350 Elementary Numerical Analysis 3 credits
In addition, at least two of the following courses:
   PHYS 307 Physical Optics
   PHYS 402 Advanced Mechanics
   PHYS 407 Electricity and Magnetism II
   PHYS 409 Nuclear and Particle Physics
   PHYS 450 Statistical Physics
   PHYS 468 Solid State Physics
Physics majors are also encouraged to take:
   MATH 259 Calculus and Analytical Geometry III
   MATH 260 Ordinary Differential Equations
   MATH 339 Linear Algebra
  and additional CPSC courses.

Minor in Physics: 28 Credits
Lower Division
PHYS 103 and PHYS 103L and PHYS 103R Scientific Physics I 4 credits
PHYS 204 and PHYS 204L and PHYS 204R Scientific Physics II 4 credits
PHYS 205 Modern Physics 3 credits
MATH 157 Calculus and Analytical Geometry I 4 credits
MATH 258 Calculus and Analytical Geometry II 4 credits
Upper Division Courses
PHYS—Electives 9 credits
Courses that can be counted as a minor elective are any 300 or 400 level course other than PHYS 300. For chemistry and engineering students, consideration of their course work for their major has led to credit for part of the minor. These students, after finishing PHYS 205, need only get the following PHYS credits:
Chemistry:
(Assuming that physical chemistry is taken for the major.)
6 credits
Civil Engineering: 8 credits
Mechanical Engineering: 8 credits
Computer Engineering: 9 credits
Electrical Engineering:
( Electrical Engineering students must take courses other than PHYS 306 to satisfy the minor elective.)
5 credits

The core curriculum or common body of knowledge of the College of Arts and Sciences consists of 59 to 62 credits which are common to and required of all degree programs in the College: the first 31 credits (of which there is a more complete description in the General Degree Requirements and Procedures section of this catalogue) form the University Core, while the remaining 28 to 31 credits are common to all Arts and Sciences degrees.
Students should attempt to spread the core curriculum over their entire fours years at Gonzaga.

  1. Thought and Expression (7 credits): ENGL 101, SPCO 101, and PHIL 101 (preferably in the same semester).
  2. Philosophy (9 credits): PHIL 201, PHIL 301, and  PHIL  400 level elective.
  3. Religious Studies (9 credits): RELI 100, 200, and 300 levels: one course from each level.
  4. Mathematics (3 credits): one MATH (not CPSC) course on the 100 level or above; NURS 320 is substituted for a MATH course for BSN students; MATH 203 fulfills this requirement only for students who graduate with certification in Elementary Education.
  5. English Literature (3 credits): ENGL 102 or 103H or 105 or 106.
  6. History (6 credits): HIST 101 and either HIST 102 or HIST 112 in their first year. If they are unable to complete all six 100-level HIST credits in their first year, HIST 201 or 202 may be substituted for one 100-level course after the first year.
  7. Fine Arts (3 credits): one course in either VART, MUSC, or THEA from courses approved by Dean of Arts and Sciences.
  8. Laboratory Science (4 credits): one course with laboratory in either BIOL, CHEM, or PHYS.
  9. Mathematics or Natural Science (3 credits): one course in either MATH, CPSC, BIOL, CHEM, PHYS, or ITEC.
  10. Literature (3 credits): one British or American literature course (ENGL 201 - 285).
  11. Social Science (6 credits): CRIM 101, ECON, SOCI, POLS, or PSYC: two courses from these departments.
  12. Foreign Language or Culture (3 credits): one course in any foreign language (classical or modern) or one (foreign culture) course approved by the Dean of Arts and Sciences.  Foreign-language speaking students from foreign cultures who have completed the nine English core credits at Gonzaga prior to their fourth year (last thirty credits) may petition the Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences for a waiver of the foreign language or Culture requirement..
  13. Social Justice (3 credits): One course on Social Justice issues related to experiences of difference (like race, class, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation), from courses approved by the Dean of Arts & Sciences; (may be combined with other core or major requirements).