2013 - 2014
Undergraduate Catalogue


Office: Donnelly Science, Room 247

Telephone: 410-617-2642

Website: www.loyola.edu/physics


Chair: Joseph Ganem, Professor

Professors: Gregory N. Derry; Joseph Ganem; Frank R. Haig, S.J. (emeritus); Mary L. Lowe; Bernard J. Weigman (emeritus)

Associate Professors: Andrea Erdas; Randall S. Jones; Helene F. Perry (emerita)

Affiliate Faculty: Charles A. Gehrman

The Physics Department focuses on undergraduate physics education. Courses are offered at all levels for physics majors, science majors in other disciplines, and nonscience majors. The mission of the department is twofold: to open students' minds to the power, beauty, and utility of the physical sciences; and to help students hone their quantitative skills and problem-solving abilities.


The department has developed six learning aims for the physics major (see the department's website for a detailed discussion of these aims):

  • Students will develop a solid understanding of the fundamental principles of physics, including a firm conceptual grasp of the central principles of physics, an ability to work with the concepts mathematically, and a functional understanding of how these ideas play out in the real world.
  • Student will develop a flexible and creative problem-solving ability.
  • Students will develop an integrated understanding of the unity of physics.
  • Students will develop their ability to communicate ideas of science.
  • Students will develop a functional understanding of symbolic and numerical computation.
  • Students will develop an expertise in experimental methodologies.

These attributes are important for many areas of endeavor and can lead to graduate study, professional programs, and a wide variety of careers. In addition to graduate programs in physics, Loyola students have entered into many professions: health, including medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy; engineering, including electrical and mechanical; law; computer science; mathematics; astronomy; meteorology; biophysics; business; the military; education; and other fields.


A Major in Physics leads to a fundamental understanding of nature and technology, an ability to think creatively, and a highly developed set of problem solving skills. Loyola's program in physics offers a high degree of flexibility and choice, making it ideal for a variety of careers, as well as graduate study in physics. The foundation of the program is a sequence of eight physics courses, four mathematics courses, one computer science course, and six physics laboratories. All of these courses are taken in common by all physics majors. Beyond these foundation courses, students can elect one of three tracks: analytic, applied science, or general.

The analytic track consists of three advanced physics courses, a senior laboratory course, and a semester of physics research. If the student has a significant research experience during a summer, another advanced physics course may be substituted for the research requirement. This track is ideally suited as preparation for graduate study in physics or a related field. It provides the broadest physics background in preparation for any career choice.

The applied science and general tracks require that the student take a coherent program of six courses from other disciplines. This curriculum can be tailored to the interests and career goals of the student. The details must be planned with the physics advisor and approved by the department. The applied science track is for majors interested in technical subjects such as computing, engineering, or the health professions, while the general track allows for a focus in nontechnical areas such as finance, education, or science writing. It is possible to complete either the applied science or general track in three years with careful planning.

Physics majors may participate in a 3-2 combined degree program leading to two bachelor's degrees: a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Physics from Loyola University Maryland and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Engineering from Columbia University. Students take courses from Loyola for the first three years and then from Columbia for two years. This track enables students to obtain a strong liberal arts education and training in an engineering discipline from a major engineering institution. Students with a 3.000 average at Loyola are guaranteed admission to Columbia. For more information on the curriculum, consult the department chair and the department's website.

Physics majors may participate in a five-year program resulting in a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Physics and a Master of Science (M.S.) in Computer Science. This program enables students to take graduate computer science courses in the senior year that count toward both the bachelorís and masterís degrees. CS201 and CS202 should be taken in the freshman year. Interested students should speak with the physics department chair as soon as possible, preferably in the freshman year. Consult the graduate catalogue for more information on the graduate program in computer science.

In the event a student is interested in a physics or astronomy course that is not offered at Loyola, the student may take that course at one of the participating institutions in the Baltimore Student Exchange Program at no additional tuition charge (fees are not included) during the fall and spring semesters. For more information, see the Baltimore Student Exchange Program under Curriculum and Policies.

Requirements for the major are as follows:

Foundation Courses

  • CS201 Computer Science I
  • MA251 Calculus I
  • MA252 Calculus II
  • MA304 Ordinary Differential Equations
  • MA351 Calculus III
  • PH201 General Physics I
  • PH202 General Physics II
  • PH291 General Physics Lab I (1 credit)
  • PH292 General Physics Lab II (1 credit)
  • PH293 Intermediate Laboratory I (1 credit)
  • PH294 Intermediate Laboratory II (1 credit)
  • PH307 Mathematical Methods in Physics
  • PH312 Modern Physics
  • PH316 Classical Mechanics
  • PH317 Thermal Physics
  • PH397 Experimental Methods I (2 credits)
  • PH398 Experimental Methods II (2 credits)
  • PH415 Quantum Mechanics I
  • PH417 Electricity and Magnetism I

Analytic Track

  • PH391 Physics Research
  • PH416 Quantum Mechanics II
  • PH418 Electricity and Magnetism II
  • PH480 Advanced Topics in Physics or
  • PH484 Methods of Theoretical Physics
  • PH493 Advanced Laboratory I

Applied Science or General Tracks

Six courses selected in consultation with the physics advisor.

Bachelor of Science

An example of a typical program of courses in the analytic track is as follows:

Freshman Year

Fall Term

    MA251 Calculus I*
    PH201 General Physics I*
    PH291 General Physics Lab I*
    WR100 Effective Writing
    Language Core
    Social Science Core

Spring Term

    CS201 Computer Science I*
    HS101 Europe and the World Since 1500
    MA252 Calculus II*
    PH202 General Physics II*
    PH292 General Physics Lab II*
    Language Core or

Sophomore Year

Fall Term

    EN101 Understanding Literature
    MA351 Calculus III*
    PH293 Intermediate Laboratory I*
    PH307 Mathematical Methods in Physics*
    PH312 Modern Physics*
    PL201 Foundations of Philosophy

Spring Term

    MA304 Ordinary Differential Equations*
    PH294 Intermediate Laboratory II*
    PH316 Classical Mechanics*
    PH317 Thermal Physics*
    PL200-Level Philosophical Perspectives Course
    English Core

Junior Year

Fall Term

    PH397 Experimental Methods I*
    PH415 Quantum Mechanics I*
    PH417 Electricity and Magnetism I*
    TH201 Introduction to Theology
    Fine Arts Core

Spring Term

    PH398 Experimental Methods II*
    PH418 Electricity and Magnetism II*†
    Ethics Core
    History Core
    Theology Core
    Nondepartmental Elective

Senior Year

Fall Term

    PH493 Advanced Laboratory*†
    Social Science Core
    Nondepartmental Elective

Spring Term

    PH391 Physics Research*†
    PH416 Quantum Mechanics II*†
    PH480 Advanced Topics in Physics or
    PH484 Methods of Theoretical Physics*†
    Nondepartmental Elective

* Required for major

† For the applied science or general track, these courses are replaced by six courses approved by the Physics Department. It is possible to complete either track in three years with careful planning.

  1. PH202 (or PH102 with written permission of the department chair) is a prerequisite for all PH300- and 400-level courses.
  2. EG331/EG031 may be counted in lieu of PH397.
  3. PH416 and PH418 may not be offered every year, so it is important to plan ahead, particularly if the student is considering spending a semester abroad.
  4. Students must complete the diversity core requirement through a designated diversity core, major, or elective course (see Diversity Core Requirement under Curriculum and Policies).

The following are a few examples of areas of study within the applied science and general tracks. More examples can be found on the department's website. Students should consult an advisor in the Physics Department to design their particular program.

Applied Science Track: Mathematics

  • MA301 Introduction to Linear Algebra
  • MA395 Discrete Methods
  • MA402 MATLAB Programming in Mathematics
  • MA424 Complex Analysis
  • MA427 Numerical Analysis
  • ST210 Introduction to Statistics

Applied Science Track: Prehealth

  • BL118 Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology and
  • BL119 Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology Lab
  • BL121 Organismal Biology and
  • BL126 Organismal Biology Lab
  • CH101 General Chemistry I and
  • CH105 General Chemistry Lab I
  • CH102 General Chemistry II and
  • CH106 General Chemistry Lab II
  • CH301 Organic Chemistry I and
  • CH307 Organic Chemistry Lab I
  • CH302 Organic Chemistry II and
  • CH308 Organic Chemistry Lab II

General Track: Business

General Track: Physics Teaching

Note: To complete the coursework needed to become certified to teach at the secondary level, students must take additional courses that fulfill a Minor in Secondary Education (see requirements under Teacher Education).


This major is jointly offered by the Physics and Biology Departments. The curriculum allows students to apply the principles of physics, math, and chemistry to their study of the molecular mechanisms of biological systems. This major prepares students for careers in medicine, other health-related professions, and graduate school in biophysics. For program details and course requirements, visit the department's website.


  • MA251 Calculus I
  • MA252 Calculus II
  • MA304 Ordinary Differential Equations
  • MA351 Calculus III
  • PH201 General Physics I
  • PH202 General Physics II
  • Four PH300- or 400-Level Courses*
  • Four laboratory course credits (any combination)

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