Physics With an Engineering Science Emphasis Major

This program is particularly suited to a student who comes to Saint Mary's for a pre-engineering program, with the intention of transferring to an engineering school after the first two years.

If a student decides to stay at Saint Mary's to complete the bachelor's degree, this major remains a good preparation for a master's degree program in electrical or computer engineering.

Career Options

Students gain preparation to go on in a wide array of careers in the engineering field, including electrical engineering, computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and nuclear engineering.

High School Preparation

Good preparation for the physics with an engineering emphasis major includes high school exposure to Calculus, Chemistry, Computer Science, Physics, and Industrial Technology.

Enriching Your Experience

Students who major in physics with an engineering emphasis sometimes pursue a second major or minor in the areas of chemistry, biochemistry, other natural sciences, mathematics, computer science, or the multidisciplinary scientific computing minor.

Degree Requirements

A. All of the following courses

Please note: Students may take either M148 and M149, or M151

C131 General Chemistry I (3 cr.)

This course covers the fundamental principles upon which the study of chemistry is based. Stoichiometry, atomic structure, molecular structure, chemical bonding, behavior of gases, kinetic molecular theory, properties of solutions, chemical reactivity and thermochemistry are included.

C133 General Chemistry I Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory is an inquiry-based approach to understanding the process of doing chemistry. Each week, as a team member with a specific role working for a consulting company, the student receives a letter from a "chemical client" requesting the solution to a chemical problem. It is the responsibility of the team to design a solution, collect data, and report the results to the client in report form.

C142 General Chemistry II (3 cr.)

This course includes the study of the chemistry of molecular forces, redox reactions, chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium theory, electrochemistry, chemical dynamics, organic chemistry, phase behavior and solution chemistry.

C144 General Chemistry II Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory is an inquiry-based approach to understanding the process of doing chemistry. Each week, as a team member with a specific role working for a consulting company, the student receives a letter from a "chemical client" requesting the solution to a chemical problem. It is the responsibility of the team to design a solution, collect data, and report the results to the client in report form.

M148 Calculus I with Precalculus (part 1) (4 cr.)

This course, followed by M149, provides a two-semester sequence that covers the material of M151 along with built-in coverage of precalculus topics. Topics in M148 include: solving equations, functions, classes of functions (polynomial, rational, algebraic, exponential, logarithmic), right triangle trigonometry, angle measure, limits and continuity, derivatives, rules for derivatives. Credit is not granted for this course and M151 or courses equivalent to college algebra and college trigonometry.

M149 Calculus I with Precalculus (part 2) (4 cr.)

This course completes the two-semester sequence that begins with M148, and together with M148 provides a two-semester sequence that covers the material of M151 along with built-in coverage of precalculus topics. Topics in M149 include: trigonometric and inverse trigonometric functions, rules for derivatives, applications of derivatives, and definite and indefinite integrals. Credit is not granted for this course and M151.

M151 Calculus I (4 cr.)

This course provides an introduction to the differential and integral calculus. Topics include: the concepts of function, limit, continuity, derivative, definite and indefinite integrals, and an introduction to transcendental functions. Credit is not granted for this course and M148 and M149.

M152 Calculus II (4 cr.)

This course is a continuation of M151. Some of the topics of M151 are revisited at a higher mathematical level. Topics include: applications of the definite integral, techniques of integration, improper integrals, introduction to differential equations, numerical methods for integration and approximation, curves in the plane given parametrically, polar coordinates, and vectors in 2-space and 3-space.

M251 Calculus III (4 cr.)

This course continues the development of Calculus from M151 and M152. Topics include: sequences and series, and differentiation and integration of vector-valued functions and functions of several variables.

P201 Introductory Physics I (3 cr.)

This course is the first half of a two-semester introductory, calculus-based, physics course for all students planning to enter one of the scientific professions. It covers the fundamental principles of mechanics, oscillations, and fluid mechanics.

P202 Introductory Physics I Laboratory (1 cr.)

One three-hour laboratory is held each week covering topics studied in the lectures.

P211 Introductory Physics II (3 cr.)

This course is the second half of a two-semester introductory, calculus-based, physics course for all students planning to enter one of the scientific professions. It covers the fundamental principles of waves, physical and geometrical optics, and electricity and magnetism.

P212 Introductory Physics II Laboratory (1 cr.)

One three-hour laboratory is held each week covering topics studied in the lectures.

P304 Introduction to Modern Physics with Laboratory (4 cr.)

This course considers atomic and nuclear physics and studies the experimental evidence that led to the development of the theories of quantum mechanics. The special theory of relativity, wave particle duality, and atomic structure are also examined.

B. All of the following:

CS106 Introduction to Programming for Sciences (3 cr.)

This course teaches introductory programming within a problem solving framework applicable to the sciences. The course emphasizes technical programming, introductory data storage techniques, and the processing of scientific data. There is an emphasis on designing and writing correct code using an easy to learn scientific programming language such as Python. Advanced excel spreadsheet concepts will be taught and utilized during the programming process.

M252 Linear Algebra (4 cr.)

This course provides an introduction to techniques and applications of linear algebra. Topics include: systems of linear equations, matrices, determinants, Euclidean n-space, real vector spaces, basis and dimension, linear transformations, inner products, and eigenvalues and eigenvectors.

P314 Digital Systems with Laboratory (4 cr.)

This is a course on digital electronics and its applications in modern electronic instrumentation. Emphasis is placed on gaining experience with the use of individual digital integrated circuits and programmable arrays. The course covers Boolean algebra, simple gates, combinational and sequential logic circuits, counters, shift registers, state machines, astable multivibrators, encoding, decoding, multiplexing, and conversion between analog and digital representations. Coursework involves both circuit simulation and actual hardware implementations. The course targets applications in the natural sciences, mathematics, and computer science.

P340 Classical Mechanics (3 cr.)

This course is an analytical study of Newtonian mechanics, including the harmonic oscillator, central force motion, nonlinear oscillators, and an introduction to the Lagrangian formulation.

P390/391 Advanced Laboratory I, II (1 each cr.)

This course is generally taken during the senior year, although it may be taken earlier. Students either submit a project to be explored or constructed, perform a series of measurements and subsequent data analysis on an already-existing apparatus, or undertake a computational or theoretical project under the guidance of the laboratory instructor. The project must include a significant writing component.

C. Two of the following:

M341 Differential Equations with Applications (3 cr.)

This course provides an introduction to the theory, methods, and applications of ordinary differential equations. Topics include: first order differential equations, linear differential equations with constant coefficients, and systems of differential equations.

P344 Mathematical Methods for Science (3 cr.)

This course serves physics majors as well as those mathematics majors whose area of interest is analysis. Topics include: Fourier series, complex numbers, analytic functions, and derivatives and integrals of complex functions.

P356 Introduction to Scientific Computing (3 cr.)

A course designed to provide undergraduates students with the basic computational tools and techniques needed for their study in science and mathematics. Students learn by doing projects that solve problems in physical sciences and mathematics using symbolic and compiled languages with visualization. By use of the Sage problem-solving environment and the Python programming language, the students learn programming and numerical analysis in parallel with scientific problem solving.

P360 Electricity and Magnetism I (3 cr.)

This course is an introduction to the physics of electricity and magnetism at the intermediate undergraduate level. It examines the experimental evidence that led to the development of the theories of electromagnetism (electrostatics, polarization and dielectrics, magnetostatics and magnetization, electrodynamics, electromagnetic waves, potentials and fields, and radiation) and the development of Maxwell's laws. The mathematical analysis of electromagnetic situations uses vector calculus to a great degree, so students also are exposed to working with a variety of vector operators.

P370 Microcontroller Organization and Architecture with Laboratory (4 cr.)

The course covers the PIC18F4520 and Arduino microcontrollers as a paradigmatic microprocessor; other devices may be used as well. A brief survey of number systems, logic gates and Boolean algebra are followed by a study of the structure of microprocessors and the architecture of microprocessor systems. Programming microprocessorsand the use of an assembler and a higher-level language (C) is covered. Peripheral interface devices are studied along with some wired logic circuits. Students gain experience through the use of microprocessor simulators and hardware implementations.

P380 Quantum Mechanics I (3 cr.)

This course expands on the ideas of quantum mechanics introduced in P304, and develops the necessary formalisms and tools for further work. Topics include the Schrödinger equation in its time independent and time-dependent forms, an introduction to operators, square-well and harmonic oscillator potentials, scattering, the hydrogen atom, angular momentum, and perturbation theory.