The physics department at UVA offers three different degrees. The Bachelors of Arts in Physics (B.A), The Bachelors of Science in Physics (B.S), and the Bachelors of Science in Astrophysics jointly with the Astronomy department (B.S). Depending on what kind of degree you are seeking will determine what courses you should think about taking. Of course you should consult your undergrad advisor for their advice on picking courses.
Here is the link to the pdf the department has that more information about the physics program and an example of a typical course schedule for each degree. Major Brochure 2018-2019
Here are some summaries/descriptions of courses that are required/typically offered:
Intro Physics 1: PHYS 1710
This is often the first physics class someone will take when they begin the physics major at UVA. It is a calculus based introduction that covers the following topics: kinematics, mechanics, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, and simple harmonic motion. This class is 5 credit course (4 credit lecture) and includes a 1 credit discussion session.
The standard text is Physics for Scientists and Engineers, Giancoli, 4th edtion
You can expect to cover chapters 1-21
Prerequisite: Calculus 1 (MATH 1310)
Intro Physics 2: PHYS 1720
This is the second semester of introductory topics in physics and covers the following topics: gravitation, electricity & magnetism, and optics. Like PHYS 1710 this course is 5 credits with a discussion section.
The text is the same as PHYS 1710 and you can expect to cover chapters 21-35.
Here is a copy of the syllabus from when Prof. Basseler taught the course syllabus
Prerequisites: Calculus 1 (MATH 1310) and 2 (MATH 1320), Introductory Physics I (PHYS 1710) or General Physics I (PHYS 1425), and Calculus 3 (MATH 2310) is a corequisite.
Introduction to Physics Research: PHYS 1910
We have a whole page deticated to this course already.
Check it out here
Fundamentals of Scientific Computing: PHYS 2660
This class is an introduction into the C programming language and its purpose is to familiarize students to solving basic physics problems using programming. In this class you will learn the use of external libraries, implementation of basic algorithms with focus on numerical methods, and error analysis & data fitting. Lecture meets once a week and there is a lab session every week.
A fair warning about this course: the material starts off really easy but it progressively gets more difficult, especially the final project. You can ask anyone who took this course and they will all tell you the same thing... START THE FINAL EARLY!
The texts for this course are C Programming for Scientists and Engineers with Applications by Carol Ziegler and Rama Reddy and Statistics for Nuclear and Particle Physicists by Louis Lyons
Prerequisite: One semester of calculus (MATH 1310) and one semester of introductory physics (PHYS 1710, 1425, or 2010).
Modern Physics: PHYS 2620
This class in an introduction into the more modern fields of 20th century physics. The course covers topics such as special relativity, quantum mechanics, nuclear & atomic physics, and particle physics & cosmology.
The standard text is Modern Physics, Krane
Prerequisites: PHYS 2320, General Physics 2 (PHYS 2415) or Intro Phys 2 (PHYS 1720), or PHYS 2610, and Calculus 3 (MATH 2310)
Elementary Lab 1: PHYS 2630
This is an introductory lab course where students first become familiar with running experiments related to the topics covered in PHYS 1710 & 1720. The course focuses on quantification, computation, and data analysis with selected experiments in mechanics, heat, electricity & magnetism, and optics.
One lecture hour and four laboratory hours per week.
Prerequisite: Intro Physics 1 & 2, (PHYS 1710 & 1720).
This course is a lot of work outside of class so although it is a 3 credit course, be prepared to spend a lot of time on the lab reports.
Elementary Lab 2: PHYS 2640
This is the second semester of the introductory lab sequence for physics majors continuing with experiments in mechanics, heat, electricity & magnetism, and optics.
Prerequisite: Intro Physics 1 & 2 (PHYS 1710 & 1720) and Elementary Lab 1 (PHYS 2630).
Classical Mechanics: PHYS 3210
This is usually the first of the core classes that physics majors take and entails a more in-depth and advanced investigation of classical physics. The course begins with an overview of topics covered in PHYS 1710 (kinematics, momentum, and energy) but now with the knowledge of multivariable calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra. Then students are introduced into Lagrangian formalism and the calculus of variations, followed by orbits, rotational motion of rigid bodies, and coupled spring problems.
The standard text is Taylor Classical Mechanics
You will cover chapters 1-11
Prerequisite: Differential Equations (MATH 3250), and Intro Phys 2 (PHYS 1720)
Electricity and Magnetism 1: PHYS 3420
This course entails a more thorough and extensive investigation into electrostatics, magnetostatics, and electrodynamics. You will cover a treatment of electromagnetic phenomena with the use of vector calculus, including Maxwell's equations.
The standard text is Introduction to Electrodynamics, by Griffiths
You can expect to cover chapters 1-7
Prerequisite: Mathematics for Physics (MATH 4210), and Intro Physics 2 (PHYS 1720) or General Physics 2 (PHYS 2415).
Electricity and Magnetism 2: PHYS 3420
Continuing where you left off in E&M 1, you will cover topics such as; electomagnetic waves, gauge theory, electromagnetic radation, and relativistic electrodynamics. The integrals in this course are a lot of "fun."
The text is the same as E&M 1 and you will cover chapters 8-12
Prerequisite: E&M 1 (PHYS 3420)
Statistical Physics: PHYS 3310
This course is an introduction in statisical mechanics that begins with an overview of the laws of thermodynamics and treatment of kinetic theory, then introduces the theory and applications of Boltzmann, Bose-Einstein, and Fermi-Dirac statistics.
The standard text is Introduction to Thermal Physics, Schroder
You can expect to cover chapters 1-8 Prerequisite: Differential Equations (MATH 3250) and Modern Physics (PHYS 2620).
Quantum Physics 1: PHYS 3650
This course is an introduction to the laws of Quantum Mechanics and focuses on introducing students to wave mechanics, Dirac notion, and solving the schrodinger equation for various potentials.
The standard text is Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, by Griffiths
You can expect to cover chapters 1-4
Prerequisite: Differential Equations (MATH 3250), Modern Physics (PHYS 2620): Corequisite: Classical Mechanics (PHYS 3210)
Quantum Physics 2: PHYS 3660
The second half of Quantum Mechanics focuses less on the formalism, and more on the applications of quantum mechanics to modern problems. Depending on the instructor you might use a different textbook and learn different material, but you should certainly learn perturbation theory.
There isn't a standard text but I would expect them to use Griffiths, but it depends on who your instructor is.
Prerequisite: Quantum Mechanics 1 (PHYS 3650).
Intermediate Lab (1 or 2): PHYS 3170 or 3180
Intermediate lab 1 and 2 are the same course, just offered during different semesters. These courses are designed to teach students on how to run more complicated and modern experiments that are based on quantum mechanics, solid state physics, and optics. Students will also learn on how to write extensive and thorough lab reports that require reading peer reviwed literature. Students will be paired up in partners and will choose 5 experiments to do that take about 2.5 weeks each. You will write a lab report for 4 of them and will then present the last one for a presentation grade.
Like most labs, you can expect a lot of work outside of class.
Prerequisite: Elementary Lab 2 (PHYS 2640) or General Physics II Workshop (PHYS 2419). Intermidate Lab 1 (PHYS 3170) is an independent course, and not a prerequisite for PHYS 3180
Research: PHYS 3995
All physics students seeking the bachelors of science must take PHYS 3995 under the guidance of a professor. This usually includes doing a small project over the course of the semester and then writing a small summary at the end that will be turned into the department. For more information check out the research page here
Widely Applied Physics: PHYS 3995
Applications of physical principles to a diverse set of phenomena: order of magnitude estimates, dimensional analysis, material science and engineering, astrophysics, aeronautics and space flight, communications technology, meteorology, sound & acoustics and fluid dynamics. Not all topics will be covered in every course.
No standard text
Prerequisite: Modern Physics (PHYS 2620)
Electronics Lab: PHYS 3150
The course begins by covering the fundamentals of analog and digital electronics, including the use of transistors, FET's, operational amplifiers, TTL, and CMOS integrated circuits. Following this students conduct projects with modern microcontroller boards (Arduino and Raspberry Pi) using the concepts and the experience gained from the prior fundamentals. Six laboratory hours
Prerequisite: Elementary Lab 2 (PHYS 2640) or Basic Physics Labratory 2 (PHYS 2040) or General Physics II Workshop (PHYS 2419)
Optics: PHYS 5310
This course introduces topics such as reflection and refraction at interfaces, geometrical optics, interference phenomena, diffraction, Gaussian optics, and polarization. For students who do not want to take E&M 2 they can take this course instead and still be awarded the Bachelors of Science.
Standard text is Optics by Klien & Furtak
Prerequisite: General Physics 2 (PHYS 2415) or an equivalent college-level electromagnetism course; knowledge of vector calculus and previous exposure to Maxwell's equations.
Solid State Physics: PHYS 5620
In this course you will study various phenomena in condensed matter physics, including crystallography, basic group theory, x-ray and neutron diffraction, lattice vibrations, electrons in a metal, electronic band theory, electrons under an external magnetic field, semiconductors, magnetism and superconductivity. Not only the topics but also the theoretical and experimental techniques that are covered in this course are essential for PhD students as well as advanced Undergraduate students in Physics, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering to excel in their research career.
Standard text is TBD
Prerequisite: Quantum Mechanics I (PHYS 3650) or an equivalent course
Computational Physics 1: PHYS 5630
Review of computational methods for differentiation, integration, interpolation, finding zeroes, extrema, etc. proceeding to a concentration on numerical solutions of differential equations, basic spectral analysis, numerical methods for matrices and Monte Carlo simulation applied to problems in classical and modern physics.
Prerequisite: PHYS 2660; pre or corequisite: Clssical Mechanics (PHYS 3210) and Quantum Mechanics (PHYS 3650)
Introduction to Nuclear and Particle Physics: PHYS 5720
Students will study subatomic structure, basic constituents, and their mutual interactions.
The standard text is Griffiths Intro to Particle
You can expect to cover chapters 1-4, 6, and 7
Physics of the Human Body: PHYS 3040
Application of basic physics principles to functions of the human body: biomechanics, metabolism, cardiovascular, cognitive & respiratory systems, and the senses. Medical diagnosis and therapy technologies (e.g., PET, MRI, CT) are discussed.
No textbook for this class so its important that you go to class and take good notes.
Prerequisite: a semester of calculus and Principles of Physics 1 (PHYS 2010) or General Physics 1 (PHYS 1425) or Intro Physics 1 (PHYS 1710).
Corequisite: Principles of Physics 2 (PHYS 2020) or General Physics 2 (PHYS 2415) or Intro Physics 2 (PHYS 1720)
Applied Physics Energy: PHYS 3120
Basic physics principles involved in energy production, distribution and storage: engines, generators, photosynthesis, fossil fuels, solar energy, photovoltaics, thermoelectrics, geothermal, wind & hydro power, fuel cells, batteries, nuclear energy, and the power grid.
No textbook for this class so make sure you take good notes.
Prequiste: Modern Physics (PHYS 2620). PHYS 3110 is not a prerequsite.
Applied Nuclear Physics: PHYS 3250
Applications of nuclear physics and nuclear energy: Introduction to nuclear physics, radioactivity, radiation standards and units,interaction of radiation with matter, accelerators, x-ray generators, detectors, biological effects, nuclear medicine, nuclear fission and reactors, nuclear fusion.
The standard text is Nuclear Physics, Principles and Applications by Jhon Lilley.
Prerequisite: Modern Physics (PHYS 2620)
Intro to String Theory: PHYS 5160
This course introduces a modern topic in theoretical high energy physics to an advanced undergraduate / beginner graduate student audience. Among the directions which are being explored are the physics of extra dimensions, and a unified treatment of gravity and electromagnetism in the context of string theory
The standard text is A First Course in String Theory by Barton Zwiebach
You can expect to cover chapters 1-14
Prerequisite: Classical Mechanics (PHYS 3210), Electricity & Magnetism II (PHYS 3430) and Quantum Mechanics II (PHYS 3660)
Intro to General Relativity: PHYS 5240
Reviews special relativity and coordinate transformations. Includes the principle of equivalence, effects of gravitation on other systems and fields, general tensor analysis in curved spaces and gravitational field equations, Mach's principle, tests of gravitational theories, perihelion precession, red shift, bending of light, gyroscopic precession, radar echo delay, gravitational radiation, relativisitic stellar structure and cosmography, and cosmology.
The standard text is A First course in Genreal Relativity by Bernard Schutz
You can expect to cover the entire book.
I (Matt Walker) personally wasn't too much of a fan of Schutz and I think Spacetime and Geometry by Sean Carrol is a much better book, and I recommend buying this book for your personal bookshelf.
Prerequisite: Advanced calculus through partial differentiation and multiple integration; vector analysis in three dimensions.
Computational Physics 2: PHYS 5640
Continuing from the first semester of Computational Physics you will study advanced topics in computational physics including numerical methods for partial differential equations, Monte Carlo modeling, advanced methods for linear systems, and special topics in computational physics
Prerequisite: Computational Physics 1 (PHYS 5630)
Quantum Computing: PHYS 5880
An introduction to quantum computation, a modern discipline looking for ways to harness the power of quantum mechanics to gain exponential speedup of computations and simulations. We will go through the basic algorithms, discuss error correction and various physical platforms suggested for a possible implementation of such a computer.
Students in the PHYS UGRD career must take Quantum Mechanics 1 (PHYS 3650) before they can enroll in PHYS 5880. This does NOT apply to students in ALL other careers
The course assumes a knowledge of linear algebra, basic probability and familiarity with quantum mechanics
Calculus 2: MATH 1320
A second calculus course for natural-science majors, students planning additional work in mathematics, and students intending to pursue graduate work in the applied social sciences. Topics include applications of the integral, techniques of integration, differential equations, infinite series, parametric equations, and polar coordinates.
Standard text is Stewart, Early Transcedenals 7th Edtion
Prerequisite: Calculus 1 (MATH 1310) or equivalent; at most one of Survey of Calculus 1 (MATH 1220) and Calculus 2 (MATH 1320) may be taken for credit.
Calculus 3: MATH 2310
A continuation of Calc I and II, this course is about functions of several variables. Topics include finding maxima and minima of functions of several variables/surfaces and curves in three-dimensional space/integration over these surfaces and curves. Additional topics: conservative vector fields/Stokes' and the divergence theorems/how these concepts relate to real world applications.
The standard text is Stewart Multivariable Calclus, 8th edtion
Prerequisite: Calculus 2 (MATH 1320) or the equivalent.
Ordinary Differential Equations: MATH 3250
Intoduces the methods, theory, and applications of differential equations. Includes first-order, second and higher-order linear equations, series solutions, linear systems of first-order differential equations, and the associated matrix theory. May include numerical methods, non-linear systems, boundary value problems, and additional applications.
The standard text is Elementary Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems, 10th Edition Do not buy this book from their website, it is way too expensive and not worth the price.
Prerequisite: Calculus 2 (MATH 1320) or its equivalent.
Mathematics for Physics: MATH 4210
This course covers linear algebra/complex analysis/vector differential & integral calculus. Thus it is a compressed version of MATH 3351 & MATH 3340 and a review of some of the material in MATH 2310. Emphasis is on the physical interpretation. [This course does not count as a Mathematics elective for Mathematics majors if both MATH 3351 and MATH 3340 are to be counted.]
The standard text book is Advanced Engineering Mathematics, Peter O'neil
You can expect to cover chapters 6-12 and 19-22
Prerequisite: Calculus 3 (MATH 2310) or Advanced Calculus and Linear Algebra I (MATH 2315) or APMA 2120
Partial Differential Equations: MATH 4220
This course is a beginning course in partial differential equations/Fourier analysis/special functions (such as spherical harmonics and Bessel functions). The discussion of partial differential equations will include the Laplace and Poisson equations and the heat and wave equations
The standard text is Advanced Engineering Mathematics, Peter O'neil
You will cover chapters 13-18
Prerequisites: Differential Equations (MATH 3250) and either Elementary Linear Algebra (MATH 3351) or Mathematics for Physics (MATH 4210)
Below you can find information about courses at UVA!