Program Overview

The physics minor provides students with a broad introduction to the discipline of physics combined with further exploration of at least one area of interest. The minor introduces students to the fundamental laws that govern nature and the universe and complements other majors where additional physics knowledge is of benefit. It prepares students to apply scientific methodology to solve physics problems, to think critically and quantitatively, to relate physics to their daily life and environment, and to understand the experimental and theoretical methods used in modern physics.

Each student must complete 20 credits in the minor including at least 5 upper division credits and at least 10 credits completed at Metropolitan State University. All prerequisite and required courses must be completed with grades of C- or above.

A minor represents significant learning beyond the student's major or program; therefore, each student must include at least 5 credits of coursework in the physics minor that is not counted as part of their major program or any other minor.

Students can be admitted to the physics minor once they have successfully completed the Prerequisite and Foundation courses.

More information about this program

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Requirements

Courses required for your specific program are listed in the right column on this page. They include prerequisite, foundation, core and elective courses. Contact your advisor with questions concerning your degree plan.

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Course List

Prerequisites

Physics Prerequisites

  • One of the following classes is required:
    • MATH 115 College Algebra
      4 credits

      This course develops the fundamental concepts of algebra with an emphasis on the classification and analysis of linear, quadratic, polynomial, exponential and logarithmic functions. Applications to the natural and social sciences are given throughout. It aims to provide insights into the nature and utility of mathematics, and helps students develop mathematical reasoning skills.

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    • MATH 120 Precalculus
      4 credits

      This course is designed to prepare students for calculus. Topics include polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions; the algebra of functions; multiple function representations; and an introduction to analytic geometry.

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  • MATH 210 Calculus I
    4 credits

    Since its beginnings, calculus has demonstrated itself to be one of humankind's greatest intellectual achievements. This versatile subject has proven useful in solving problems ranging from physics and astronomy to biology and social science. Through a conceptual and theoretical framework this course covers topics in differential calculus including limits, derivatives, derivatives of transcendental functions, applications of differentiation, L'Hopital's rule, implicit differentiation, and related rates.

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  • MATH 211 Calculus II
    4 credits

    This is a continuation of Math 210 Calculus I and a working knowledge of that material is expected. Through a conceptual and theoretical framework this course covers the definite integral, the fundamental theorem of calculus, applications of integration, numerical methods for evaluating integrals, techniques of integration and series.

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Requirements ( 20 total credits)

Physics Foundation Courses (10 credits)

  • PHYS 211 Calculus Based Physics I
    5 credits

    This is the first course of a two semester sequence covering the fundamental concepts of physics. This course covers Newton's laws of motion, work, energy, linear momentum, rotational motion, gravity, equilibrium and elasticity, periodic motion, fluid mechanics, temperature, heat, and the laws of thermodynamics. Laboratories emphasize application of physics concepts and quantitative problem solving skills. Intended for science majors and general education students with strong mathematical background.

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  • PHYS 212 Calculus Based Physics II
    5 credits

    This is the second course of a two semester sequence covering the fundamental concepts of physics. This course covers oscillatory motion, waves, superposition and interference of waves, diffraction, electricity and magnetism, electric circuits, light, mirrors and lenses. Laboratories emphasize application of physics concepts and quantitative problem solving skills. Intended for science majors.

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Physics Elective Courses (10 credits)

At least two courses from the following list, or other advanced courses by advisor permission, including at least 5 credits of Physics and combining to reach the total number of credits required for the minor (10 credits Metropolitan State, 5 credits upper division, 19 credits total)

  • PHYS 351 Thermodynamics
    5 credits

    This course introduces the concepts of thermodynamics. Topics include the first law of thermodynamics, the second law of thermodynamics, entropy, statistical mechanics, specific heat capacities of gases and solids, efficiency and the Carnot cycle, chemical potential, chemicals and phase equilibriums, etc. Applications explored will include the behavior of gases and the operation of heat engines. Laboratories emphasize real world applications of the concepts and problem solving skills taught in this course.

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  • PHYS 355 Modern Physics
    3 credits

    This course covers special relativity, elementary quantum theory, atomic structure and spectra. It is intended for students pursuing chemistry and physics major/minor.

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  • PHYS 357 Modern Physics Lab
    2 credits

    This course provides laboratory activities to test the major theories that lead to the understanding of atomic structure and their spectra. It is intended for students pursuing chemistry and physics major/minor.

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  • PHYS 469 Seminars in Physics
    1 credits

    This course takes advantage of scientific presentations offered in the Twin Cities area by educational institutions such as Metropolitan State University and the University of Minnesota. This course can, with instructor permission, be taken more than once for credit. Intended for students minoring in physics.

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  • PHYS 479 Special Topics in Physics
    0 credits

    This course covers advanced topics in physics that vary from semester to semester. Because the content of each section of this course is different, students may take this course more than once for credit. Intended for students minoring in physics in their junior or senior year.

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  • PHYS 489 Directed Research in Physics
    0 credits

    This is a faculty designed independent study (FDIS) which provides students the opportunity to do independent research in the field of theoretical and/or computational physics under the supervision of a resident physics faculty member. This course will improve problem solving, numerical/computational, and mathematical skills of the students. At the end of the course, students must complete a research report which must be approved by the instructor. The number of credits will be decided by the faculty and the student.

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  • MATH 340 Mathematical Modeling
    4 credits

    Mathematical modeling is the investigation of real world phenomena using mathematical tools. This course includes topics such as dynamic and stochastic modeling (differential equations and discrete-time equations), as well as optimization modeling. Applications will include problems from such areas as the physical and biological sciences, business, and industry.

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  • MATH 350 Ordinary Differential Equations
    4 credits

    This course develops the more advanced mathematical tools necessary for an in-depth analysis of dynamic models. Topics include first order differential equations, first order systems, linear systems, nonlinear systems and numerical methods.

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  • MATH 420 Numerical Analysis
    4 credits

    This course addresses the theory and practice of numerical methods as they apply in various areas of mathematics. Possible topics include: numerical solution of systems of linear and nonlinear equations, interpolation, numerical differentiation and integration, numerical solution of initial value problems and boundary value problems, and the finite element method to solve partial differential equations.

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