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Undergraduate Course Offering Schedule

The guiding principle for the Department of Physics and Geology course offering schedule is the reduction of time to graduation for students by providing timely course offerings. The Department of Physics and Geology offers courses primarily in astronomy, geology, physical sciences and physics in support of the University core requirements of eight (8) hours of natural science. Further, the Department offers an undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Physics, minors in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Earth Science, Physical Science and Physics as well as a graduate program, Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with specialization in Physics.

Undergraduate University Core Curriculum Course Offering Schedule*

     

Yearly

Subject Course Title Fall Spring SSI SSII
ASTR 1401 Intro to Astronomy I X X X  
ASTR 1402 Intro to Astronomy II X X   X
GEOL 1401 Physical Geology X X X  
GEOL 1402 Historical Geology X X   X
PHYS 1401 General Physics I X X X  
PHYS 1402 General Physics II X X   X
PHYS 2401 Physics for Scientists & Engineers I X X X  
PHYS 2402 Physics for Scientists & Engineers II X X   X
PSCI 1421 Physical Science I X X X  
PSCI 1422 Physical Science II X X   X
 
*NOTE: The choice of a course sequence, eight (8) hours, may satisfy the natural science core curriculum requirement.
 
In addition to the core curriculum offering schedule above, other Department
of Physics and Geology course offerings may be viewed by clicking on the
particular major or minor of interest labeled in green above or by navigating to the particular major of minor of interest.

1401 - Introduction to Astronomy I
(Texas Common Course Number is PHYS 1411.)
This course introduces the student to basic concepts in Astronomy and of our Solar System. Telescopes and other instruments, including the planetarium, are used as an integral part of the course. The course includes three (3) laboratory hours a week to emphasize course concepts. Astronomy Course Fee: $20. Technology Fee: $4. Prerequisites: None

1402 - Introduction to Astronomy II
(Texas Common Course Number is PHYS 1412.)
This course exposes the student to information about the stellar universe. Telescopes and other instruments, including the planetarium, are used as an integral part of the course. The course includes three (3) laboratory hours a week to emphasize course concepts. Astronomy Course Fee: $20. Technology Fee: $4. Prerequisites: ASTR 1401

2101 - Astronomy Night Laboratory
This course is a hands-on night-sky-telescopes laboratory. Students work directly with the telescopes studying both solar system objects as well as stars, nebulas, clusters, and other astronomical objects. Students observe and analyze astronomical events such as the phases of Venus, retrograde motion of planets, orbits of Jupiter's moons, etc. Students use sky simulation software as part of this course. Prerequisites: ASTR 1401 and ASTR 1402

2301 - Solar System Astronomy
This is an algebra/geometry/trigonometry/vector-based course in which students study the basic concepts in Astronomy and of our Solar System. Topics include: current understanding of the Universe; general physics applied to Astronomy; current understanding of the formation of our Solar System; planetary surfaces, interiors, atmospheres and magnetospheres; moons, asteroids, and comets. Prerequisites: ASTR 1401

3301 - Stellar and Galactic Astronomy
This is an algebra/geometry/trigonometry/vector-based course in which students study stars and galaxies. Topics include: our Sun; star types, properties and evolution; our Milky Way Galaxy; galaxy types and general properties; Hubble's Law; the expansion of the Universe; the Big Bang Model. Prerequisites: ASTR 1402 and ASTR 2301

3302 - Introductory Astrophysics
This is a calculus-based course that introduces the students to several topics in Astrophysics, including: orbital mechanics; radiative transfer; thermodynamic equilibrium; radiative processes in Astrophysics; stellar structure; galactic dynamics; special relativity. Prerequisites: ASTR 3301 and MATH 1460

3303 - Introduction to Numerical Modeling in Astronomy
This course introduces the student to numerical modeling in Astronomy. Students continuously develop numerical programming codes that represent/simulate given astronomical systems/objects. Prerequisites: ASTR 3301 and MATH 1460

Geography

2313 - Principals of Physical Geography

1401 - Physical Geology
No Description?

1402 - Historical Geology
(Texas Common Course Number is GEOL 1404.)
A Course dealing with the geological history of the earth and its inhabitants as revealed by the fossil record with emphasis in North America. Prerequisite: GEOL 1401. $4 laboratory fee.

3308 - Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
A study of the input, management, manipulation and output of georeferenced information using digital computers. Methods of layering geological, geographic, meteorological, electromagnetic, biological and political knowledge will be presented. Computer data structures including relational databases will be examined. The spatial analysis potential of a GIS will be compared with traditional manual (cartographic) methods.

3310 - Hydrologic Systems
This course is an introduction to surface and subsurface hydrologic systems which emphasizes physical hydrological processes. The course focuses on surface and near surface processes and introduces deeper, groundwater-hydrology. A broad range of specific topics is covered: e.g., the hydrologic cycle, watershed hydrology, runoff-rainfall relationship, erosion and sediment transport, occurrence and movement of groundwater, and aquifer characteristics. The hydrological system will be explained by using examples from the Rio Grande Valley. Prerequisite: GEOL 1401.

3401 - Geomorphology
A course designed for geology minors, chemistry majors or minors, or teachers of earth science. A study of the major mineral groups, their atomic structure, chemical composition, external forms, properties and geological interpretation. Field trips. Prerequisite: GEOL 1401. $4 laboratory fee.

3403 - Oceanography
An introduction to physical oceanography designed for geology minors, biology majors and earth science teachers. A study of the origin, motions and the physical and chemical properties of marine waters. The student is expected to attend field-trip(s). Fees: $4 laboratory; $4 technology.

3404 - Stratigraphy-Sedimentation
A study of sedimentary processes and principles of stratigraphy, followed by a survey of stratified rocks of North America, their correlation, stratigraphic relations and guide fossils. Prerequisites: GEOL 1401 and GEOL 1402. $4 laboratory fee.

4301 - Exploration Geophysics I
An introductory course on seismic refraction and reflection imaging of the subsurface of the earth, including methods of data acquisition, processing, and interpretation in two and three dimensions. Designed for students with a basic geology and/or engineering backgrounds. Prerequisites: PHYS 1401 or equivalent and GEOL 1401 or equivalent. Course is cross listed as PHYS 4311 and GEOL 4301. $4 laboratory fee.

4302 - Environmental Geology
This course explores the human-planet relationship / how earth processes influence human lives, and how human actions, in turn, alter the interactions of Earth systems. Hazardous geologic processes, use and care of energy resources, and the human impacts on the environment are the focus of this course.

4309 - Undergraduate Research in Geoscience
This course explores the human-planet relationship / how earth processes influence human lives, and how human actions, in turn, alter the interactions of Earth systems. Hazardous geologic processes, use and care of energy resources, and the human impacts on the environment are the focus of this course.

4408 - Applications of Geographic Information Systems
New ways of using georeferenced data. Methods of integrating information from multiple sources will be used to analyze the interdependencies of both human and physical systems in a rapidly changing rural to urban environment. Examples will be given of uses in evaluating resource capability units, analyzing hazardous radiation areas, mineral exploration, land management, flood prediction and control, earthquake prediction and hurricane preparation. Attention will be given to problems of data quality, errors, accuracy and logical consistency. Prerequisite: GEOL 3408.

5301 - Geology and Geography
This is an integrated course focusing on physical geology and physical geography. Explores the diverse processes that continually shape our planet. Develops an understanding of earth materials, how the earth works, the causes of natural disasters, the importance of geologic time, and fundamentals of geography. Topics include minerals, rocks, volcanoes, radioactive dating, earthquakes, plate tectonics, rivers and floods, groundwater resources, deserts, glaciers, the nature of maps, map projections, global positioning system, geographic information systems, and fundamental aspects of remote sensing.

6302 - Meteorology and Oceanography
No Description.

6410 - Geoscience for Teachers
This course is specifically designed to provide a broad, intensive overview of the GMO (Geology, Meteorology, Oceanography) subject areas for practicing teachers. It consists of a series of class and laboratory-based modules that will enable teachers to effectively implement GMO sections into their existing curriculum. This course follows an inquiry based approach based on understanding and using the scientific method, data collection, and analysis as appropriate for each of the three modules. Meteorology introduces the teachers to atmosphere, weather, and climate systems; Oceanography covers global oceans, coastal systems, and the effects of human impact; while the Geology module provides overviews of the history of Geology, basic rocks and minerals, fossils, geomorphology, plate tectonics and geologic hazards such as earthquakes and volcanoes.

1401 - General Physics I
(Texas Common Course Number is PHYS 1401.)
An algebra-based introduction to the principles of mechanics, fluids, heat, waves and sound for students fulfilling a natural science requirement and premedical students.The course includes three laboratory hours a week to emphasize course concepts. Prerequisite: MATH 1340. Recommended: Credit for or concurrent enrollment in MATH 1356. $4 laboratory fee.

1402 - General Physics II
(Texas Common Course Number is PHYS 1402.)
A continuation of PHYS 1401 covering the principles of electricity, magnetism, light, and modern physics. The course includes three laboratory hours a week to emphasize course concepts. Prerequisite: PHYS 1401. $4 laboratory fee.

2401 - Physics for Scientists and Engineers I
(Texas Common Course Number is PHYS 2425.)
This course exposes the student to physical oceanography and is designed for geology minors, biology majors and earth science teachers. The origin, motion and the physical and chemical properties of marine waters are discussed. This course includes three laboratory hours per week for reinforcing, through experiment, the concepts taught in the lecture.The student is expected to attend field-trip(s). Fees: $4 laboratory; $4 technology.

2402 - Physics for Scientists and Engineers II
(Texas Common Course Number is PHYS 2426.)
A continuation of PHYS 2401 covering the principles of electricity, magnetism, electromagnetic wave phenomena, and optics. The course includes three laboratory hours a week to emphasis course concepts. Prerequisites: PHYS 2401. $4 laboratory fee.

2411 - Physics for Teachers I
A calculus-based study of mechanics, wave motion, sound and fluids for students in the BSIS in Physical Science program. The course is primarily taught using an inquiry-based approach. This course includes three laboratory hours a week to develop students ability to gather, organize and analyze experimental data. $4 Laboratory fee. Prerequisite: MATH 1401 with concurrent enrollment in MATH 1402.

2412 - Physics for Teachers II
A continuation of PHYS 2411 covering the principles of electricity, magnetism, electromagnetic wave phenomena and optics. The course is primarily taught using an inquiry-based approach. It includes three laboratory hours a week to develop students ability to gather, organize and analyze experimental data. Prerequisite: PHYS 2411. $4 Laboratory fee.

3101 - Junior Laboratory Research I
This course is designed to introduce the student to contemporary methods in scientific research. Students work with faculty on a directed, individual research project. The course also acquaints students with the scientific publication process and literature searches. Prerequisites: PHYS 2402 and consent of instructor. $4 laboratory fee.

3102 - Junior Laboratory Research II
A continuation of PHYS 3101. $4 laboratory fee.

3301 - Electromagnetic Theory I
This course provides an introduction to vector field theory. The differential form of Maxwell's equations governing electromagnetic phenomena are introduced, along with techniques for solving the resulting differential equations. Topics covered include electro statistics and electric fields in matter along with magnetostatics and magnetic fields in matter. Prerequisites: PHYS 2402 and MATH 2401.

3303 - Thermodynamics
This course is designed to provide a basic understanding of the laws of thermodynamics and statistical methods. Concepts covered include basic ideas of conventional thermodynamics including internal energy, entropy, and interactions between systems. The course acquaints students with models and equations of state for various systems. Prerequisites: PHYS 2402 and MATH 2401.

3305 - Classical Mechanics
This course is designed to provide a rigorous understanding of classical dynamics. Concepts covered include the motion of a particle to a system of particles in one, two, and three dimensions; detailed treatment of the conservation laws, rigid body motion, and rotating systems. It introduces students to Lagrange and Hamiltonian dynamics and non inertial reference frames. Prerequisites: PHYS 2402 and MATH 2401.

3306 - Introduction to Biophysics
Topics include the levels of organization within biological systems,flow of energy in living things including an introduction to the thermodynamic systems utilized in biological research, and an introduction to the physical techniques used in the study of biological systems. Prerequisites: PHYS 1401 & 1402.

3307 - Introduction to Solid State Physics
An introduction to the field of solid state physics. Topics includes crystal structure, bonding in condensed matter, x-ray diffraction,crystal binding energies, free electron theory of solids, energy bands, boundaries and interfaces, and mechanical, electronic,optical, magnetic, and superconducting properties of materials.Prerequisite: PHYS 2402.

3308 - Introduction to Nanotechnology
This course is an introduction to nanoscale physics in order to understand nano science and nano technology. It will investigate size effects and fabrication methods of nanoscale systems.Topics covered in the course include the role of size effects on the physical, chemical,and biological properties of nano particles, nano tubes, and catalysts and self-assembly approachesfor nano particle-biomaterials hybrid systems in nano biotechnology and medical treatment.The course will also examine the uses of nano technology and the impact it has on our society. Prerequisites: MATH 1340 and either one of the following courses PHYS 1402,PHYS 2402, PSCI 1422, CHEM 1302, BIOL 1402.

3309 - Introduction to Medical Imaging
This course will look at the wide range of techniques used for medical imaging and the underlying physical principles they are based on. This course is an introduction to medical diagnosis imaging techniques, e.g. magnetic resonance imaging,scanning tomography, and general imaging by x-rays. Topics covered also include the interaction of light on living cells and use of ionizing radiation in diagnosis and therapy.Prerequisites: Math 1340 and any one of the following courses PHYS 1402,PSCI 1422, CHEM 1302, OR BIOL 1402.

3310 - Radiation Biophysics
This is an advanced course in Radiation Biophysics. It will coverRadiation Chemistry, Radiation Carcinogenesis, Genetic Effect of Ionizing Radiation,Metabolism and Biological Effects of Deposited Radionuclides, Radiation Inactivationof Enzymes, Nucleic Acids and Viruses, Biological Effects of Ultraviolet Radiation,Photosensitization, Radiation Protection and Sensitization, Radiation Effects in Vivo,Cancer Radiation Therapy and Phototherapy. Prerequisite: PHYS 1402 or PHYS 2402.

3311 - Math Methods in Physics
This course provides an introduction to the mathematical tools used to describephysical systems and techniques for solving the resulting systems of equations.Topics may include vector analysis, complex analysis, Fourier series and linear algebra.Prerequisite: MATH 3349.

3402 - Modern Physics
This course provides an introduction to 21st century physics. Topics may includea wide range of modern physics subjects of atoms, molecules, clusters, and nanomaterials,theory of solids. Also described will be the rudiments of quantum mechanics withsimple applications, relativity, radioactive decay, particle physics, modern optics,and other recent research areas. Laboratory exercises illustrate key course principlesand reproduce historic experiments. Prerequisite: PHYS 2402. $4 laboratory fee.

3404 - Optics
This course is designed to provide a basic understanding ofphysical optics. Concepts covered include diffraction,interference, polarization, geometrical optics, andspectroscopy. The course includes three laboratory hours a weekto emphasis course concepts. Prerequisites: PHYS 2402 and MATH2401. $4 laboratory fee.

4101 - Senior Laboratory Research I
This course is designed to acquaint the student with advancedresearch techniques. The student performs experiments of greatercomplexity and difficulty than those in Junior Laboratory.Students work with faculty on a directed, individualresearch project. Prerequisites: PHYS 3101 and consent ofinstructor. $4 laboratory fee.

4102 - Senior Laboratory Research II
A continuation of PHYS 4101. Prerequisites: PHYS 4101 and consent of instructor.$4 laboratory fee.

4303 - Quantum Mechanics I
This course provides an introduction to the basic ideas of quantum mechanics.Concepts to be covered include wave functions, operator-eigenvalue formalism,bound states of the potential well, the harmonics oscillators.Selected examples such as solutions of the hydrogen atom, angular momentum,and spin will also be discussed. Prerequisites: PHYS 3305 and PHYS 3311.

4304 - Quantum Mechanics II
This course explores more advanced concepts in Quantum Mechanics.Topics to be covered include time-dependent and time-independentSchrodinger equations, addition of angular momenta, perturbation theory,relativistic quantum theory and group theory and quantum mechanics.Applications to physics and chemistry will also be explored.Prerequisite: PHYS 4303.

4305 - Statistical Mechanics
This course explores the development of the macroscopic thermodynamicalproperties of physical systems from the behavior of their microscopic constituents.Topics include the partition function and its applications: entropy of an ideal gas,Maxwell velocity distributions and heat capacities of solids. Other topics will includeblackbody radiation, Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics.Prerequisites: PHYS 3303 and PHYS 3311.

4308 - Seminar in Physics
Investigations of problems and progress in contemporary physics willbe undertaken, based on the expertise of the instructor. Course maybe repeated once for credit. Prerequisites: consent of instructor.

4309 - Nuclear & Particle Physics
A study of atomic nuclei and the fundamental constituents of matter.Topics include nuclear structure, natural and artificial radioactivity, nuclear reactions, fission, fusion, particles, and heir interactions, standard model of particle physics, particle accelerators, cosmic rays, experimental methods, and examples from current research topics. Prerequisite: PHYS 3402.

4310 - Introduction to Atomic Physics
This elective course will introduce to the undergraduate students a variety of topics in atomic and nuclear physics such as properties of atoms, atomic models, the periodic system of elements, modern atomic spectroscopy, quantum mechanical probabilities, properties of stable nuclei, nuclear decays and excitations, nuclear reactions,nuclear models, particles, applications of nuclear techniques and nuclear and atomic energy. Prerequisite: PHYS 4303.

4311 - Exploration Geophysics I
An introductory course on seismic refraction and reflection imaging of the subsurface of the earth, including methods of data acquisition, processing, and interpretation in two and three dimensions. Designed for students with a basic geology and/or engineering backgrounds. Prerequisites: PHYS1401 or equivalent; GEOL1401 or equivalent. $4 laboratory fee. Course is cross listed as GEOP 4301.

4401 - Physics Education
This is a capstone course primarily designed for students intending to become high school physics teachers. It aims at providing these pre-service teachers with strong pedagogical content knowledge. Through the use of research-based teaching strategies and assessments, students gain better understanding of difficult-to-grasp concepts of physics and develop better problem solving skills. Students will develop teaching/learning materials appropriate for high school students. The course is taught in an integrated lecture and laboratory style.Prerequisites: PHYS 2411, PHYS 2412, PHYS 3303, PHYS 3402, and PHYS 3404. $4 laboratory fee. Course is cross listed as GEOP 4301.

5404 - Physics by Inquiry I
Physics by Inquiry I is a set of laboratory-based modules that are specifically designed to prepare prospective and practicing teachers (K-12) to teach science as a process of learning by discovery. The modules are also suitable for liberal arts students and for under-prepared students who aspire to science-related careers. Physics by Inquiry I emphasizes the process of science rather than the presentation and explanation of facts. This course will deal with mechanics, thermodynamics and wave motion.

5405 - Physics by Inquiry II
Physics by Inquiry II is a set of laboratory-based modules that are specifically designed to prepare prospective and practicing teachers (K-12) to teach science as a process of learning by discovery. The modules are also suitable for liberal arts students and for under-prepared students who aspire toscience-related careers. Physics by Inquiry II emphasizes the process of science rather than the presentation and explanation of facts. This course will deal with electricity, magnetism and modern physics.

6301 - Topics in Physics for Teachers
A course that incorporates many different topics in physics.Guest lectures, student participation and basic concept presentation will be utilized to teach each topic. Prerequisite: PHYS 5404 or PHYS 5405 or consent of instructor.

6302 - Environmental Physics for Teachers
An enhanced understanding of environmental concepts and principles regarding pollution, air, water, and waste management. The course will also address local issues and resources to help teachers providing students with opportunity for real world critical thinking and problem solving. It includes in- depth industry site visits and guided field trips to environmentally sensitive areas.All kinds of both renewable and non-renewable energy resources with the concept of energy conservation,waste management, and disposal methods.Prerequisite: PHYS 5404 or PHYS 5405 or consent of instructor.

6303 - Quantum Information The Heisenberg
uncertainty principles and implications.Observation and measurement. Introduction to quantum mechanics,four quantum numbers, and hands-on experiment will be provided.The Schrodinger Equation and its application to bound, and free particles, the hydrogen atom.Prerequisite: PHYS 3402 or consent of instructor.

6310 - Classical Mechanics
The Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulation of mechanics.Selected topics include variational principles, tensor algebra as applied to rigid body motion, the theory of small amplitude vibrations as well as mulipole expansions and Green's functions. Prerequisites: the equivalent of Physics 3305 or the consent of the instructor.

6312 - Math Methods in Physics I
Topics to be covered include matrices, groups, tensors, vector calculus, ordinary,and partial differential equations, special functions, Green's functions and probability theory.Prerequisites: the equivalent of Math 3349 or the consent of the instructor.

6313 - Quantum Mechanics I
A review of the Schrodinger equation and its properties. Applications to both bound and scattering states of quantum systems.Prerequisites: the equivalent of Physics 4303 and consent of the instructor.

6320 - Special Topics in Physics
A study of recent developments in physics. Subject matter varies from semester to semester.May be repeated when subject matter changes.Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor.

6400 - Astronomy by Sight
Astronomy by Sight is a set of laboratory-based modules that are specifically designed to prepare prospective and practicing teachers (K-12) to teach science as a process of learning by discovery. The modules are also suitable for liberal arts students and for under-prepared students who aspire to science-related careers. Astronomy by Sight emphasizes the process of science rather than the presentation and explanation of facts. This course will deal with the sun, moon and stars, which will help predict and explain daily/monthly changes in the appearance of the sky. It will also deal with the earth, solar system and possibility of extraterrestrial life.

1421 - Physical Science I
(Texas Common Course Number is PHYS 1415.)
This course is designed to introduce the student to the concepts and principles of physical science for non-science and elementary school teacher majors.The topics include: mechanics, energy, astronomy, and meteorology.This course includes three laboratory hours per week for reinforcing, through experiment,the concepts taught in the lecture. Fees: $20 laboratory, $4 technology.

1422 - Physical Science II
(Texas Common Course Number is PHYS 1417.)
This course is a continuation of PSCI 1421 and is designed to introduce the student to the concepts and principles of physical science for non-science and elementary school teacher majors.The topics include: waves, the nature of matter, chemistry, and earth science.This course includes three laboratory hours per week for reinforcing, through experiment,the concepts taught in the lecture. Prerequisites: PSCI 1421.Fees: $20 laboratory, $4 technology.

3310 - Planet Earth and its Place in the Solar System
Through this course the student is exposed to information about the formation and interaction of the solar system and the Earth. The evolution of the Earth's atmosphere and surface are discussed as well as the impact that these have had on the origin of life.Prerequisites: PSCI 1421, 1422 and GEOG 2313. Fees: $4 technology.

3408 - Survey of Physical Science
Introduction to topics of the physical sciences drawn from physics, chemistry and geology.Basic concepts from mechanics, electricity, magnetism, light, atomic structure, the elements and compounds,and simple reactions will be covered. The study of rocks, minerals and geological processes will be included.$4 laboratory fee.

4311 - Topics in Physical Science As Scheduled
A course that incorporates many different topics in physical science. Guest lecturers, student participation and basic concept presentation will be utilized for each topic. The course may be taken more than one semester for different topics. Prerequisites: MATH 1334 and 8 hours of a physical science, or consent of instructor.

4404 - Advanced Physical Science I
This course will be designed to cover the concepts and principles of Physical Science at an advanced level. The Topics covered include: Force, Motion, Work, energy, Temperature,Heat, Waves, and its motion. The course will address methods of teaching inquiry-based science.Prerequisite: PSCI 1421.

4405 - Advanced Physical Science II
This course will be designed to cover concepts and principles of Physical science at an advanced level. The topics covered include: Electricity and Magnetism, Atomic, Molecular,and Nuclear Physics, Chemical Elements Chemical Bonding, Chemical Reactions, Chemical Properties,Chemical Principles, and Organic Chemistry. The course will address methods of teaching inquiry-based science. Prerequisite: PSCI 1421.