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Physics Course Outcomes

Physics Department Goals

  1. The goal of the physics department is to provide quality required courses for programs.
  2. After taking a course in the physics department, students should be able to…
  • Demonstrate their knowledge of the basic scientific principles and fundamental concepts and skills of the field
  • Solve problems utilizing scientific reasoning, quantitative methods, and acquired knowledge and skills
  • Communicate scientific ideas clearly and effectively

Physics Course Goals

Astronomy 1010 – The Solar System

Students will be able to…

  • Use physical reasoning to explain astronomical phenomena and solve problems pertaining to the solar system. 
  • Synthesize how historical and modern astronomers arrive at their understanding of astronomical phenomena relevant to the solar system 
  • Use celestial charts and models to be able to differentiate objects in the sky connected with solar system observations and beyond 
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the basic physics, and technological advancements, such as telescopes and spacecraft, that pertain to the study of select bodies of the solar system.  
  • Apply concepts in comparative planetology to differentiate between the objects in the Solar System such as evaluating the properties and describe the processes that operate on the terrestrial and Jovian planets
  • Use modern planetary science data to evaluate current theories describing the processes and properties of select objects in the solar system.
  • Demonstrate their knowledge of the process of science by performing science practices. 
  • Communicate scientific ideas clearly and effectively, such as describing how to solve problems utilizing scientific reasoning, use of developmental quantitative methods, and acquired physical science knowledge and skills.

Astronomy 1020 – The Stellar System

Students will be able to…

  • Use physical reasoning to explain astronomical phenomena and solve problems pertaining to the stellar system.
  • Synthesize how astronomers arrive at their understanding of astronomical phenomena with a focus on stars and galaxies.
  • Use celestial coordinates and models to be able to differentiate objects in the sky that are relevant to studying stars and galaxies.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the basic physics, and technological advancements, such as telescopes and spacecraft, that pertain to the study of select stellar and galactic objects.
  • Describe the basic properties and features of our sun, including nuclear energy generation, the sun’s structure, and the solar cycle and contrast these with basic properties and features of stars using the H-R diagram.
  • Compare and contrast different physical properties of stars based on observational data and theory to evaluate current explanations for stellar formation, interstellar medium, changes in stellar evolution and life-cycle processes. 
  • Describe the nature of the Milky Way and be to distinguish between different galaxies and be able to describe the history of the universe and synthesize concepts in modern cosmology from astronomical data.
  • Solve problems utilizing scientific reasoning, quantitative methods, and acquired knowledge and skills.
  • Communicate scientific ideas clearly and effectively. 

Geology 1010– Introduction to Geology - How the Earth Works

Students will be able to…

  • Analyze fundamental processes of plate tectonics. 
  • Analyze fundamental processes of the rock cycle.
  • Analyze fundamental processes of the water cycle.
  • Analyze fundamental processes of the greenhouse effect.
  • Explain how people impact Earth and how Earth impacts people through resources including minerals, rocks, fossil fuels, and groundwater. 
  • Explain how people impact Earth and how Earth impacts people through climate change including climate change causes such as burning fossil fuel and impacts such as sea level rise and floods. 
  • Explain how people impact Earth and how Earth impacts people through natural disasters including earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, and landslides. 
  • Apply the process of science (such as collecting data, analyzing data, interpreting results, and communicating results) to answer geology-related questions. 
  • Apply quantitative data analysis and interpretation (such as constructing graphs, identifying and explaining the trends, and using quantitative data to support and argument) to answer geology-related questions.  

Geology 1020– The Earth Through Time

Students will be able to…

  • Think critically about the fundamental concept that Earth is 4.6 billion years old through explaining the issue, providing and interpreting evidence, and making conclusions about implications. 
  • Think critically about the fundamental concept that Earth is continually changing through explaining the issue, providing and interpreting evidence, and making conclusions about implications. 
  • Think critically about the fundamental concept that life evolves on a dynamic Earth and continually modifies Earth through explaining the issue, providing and interpreting evidence, and making conclusions about implications. 
  • Use the history recorded in rocks to interpret how Earth’s past landscapes have changed over geologic time by applying rock formation processes. 
  • Use the history recorded in rocks to interpret how Earth’s past life have changed over geologic time by analyzing (fossilized) animal characteristics and relatedness. 
  • Use the history recorded in rocks to interpret why Earth’s past landscapes have changed over geologic time by applying the theory of plate tectonics and climate change. 
  • Use the history recorded in rocks to interpret why Earth’s past life forms have changed over geologic time by applying the theory of evolution and causes of extinctions. 
  • Use the history recorded in rocks, fossils, sediments, and ice cores to interpret how and why Earth’s past climate has changed over geologic time. 
  • Apply the process of science by collecting data, interpreting results, and communicating results to answer historical geology-related questions. 

Geology 1030– Natural Disasters

Students will be able to…

  • Understand, explain, and provide examples of how the Earth’s internal heat drives tectonic movement, volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunami. 
  • Understand, explain, and provide examples of how gravity drives mass wasting and sinkholes. 
  • Understand, explain, and provide examples of how The Sun drives atmospheric and oceanic circulation.  
  • Understand, explain, and provide examples of the atmospheric processes that cause hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, and blizzards. 
  • Explain how natural processes and human activity (population growth, deforestation, climate change, megacities, and so on) can combine to exacerbate natural disasters. 
  • Recommend and defend strategies for minimizing the impacts of natural disasters on people. 

Oceanography 1010– Intro to Oceanography

Students will be able to…

  • Apply the theory of plate tectonics to explain the distribution of the oceans and continents and the formation of major features of the seafloor. 
  • Explain the origin and distribution of the different types of ocean sediment. 
  • Demonstrate and apply knowledge of atmospheric and oceanic circulation systems and their interconnections, driving forces, and effects on marine life. 
  • Explain how waves and tides are generated and evaluate their effects on coastal processes and marine ecosystems. 
  • Demonstrate and apply knowledge of the basic physical and chemical properties of water. 

Oceanography 1030–Oceanography Lab

Students will be able to…

  • Explain the interdisciplinary nature of oceanography, combining geological, physical, chemical, and biological components. 
  • Describe how life in the ocean has changed over time and give examples using the taxonomy of marine organisms. 
  • Describe the effects of human activities including nutrient pollution, climate change, and invasive species on the ocean and the life in it.
  • Collect and interpret scientific data in the field.  

Physics 1000 – Physics of Everyday Life

Students will be able to…

  • Understand Newton’s laws of motion and the role they play in predicting motion and apply them to solve quantitative problems in mechanics. 
  • Understand the two of the major conservation principles; conservation of momentum and conservation of energy as they relate to mechanics and apply them to solve quantitative problems in mechanics.  
  • Explain and apply gas laws, thermal energy, mechanical waves, and pressure through an understanding of the concept of atoms.  
  • Understand and apply basic concepts of electricity and apply the knowledge of electricity to simple circuits. 
  • Understand and apply the wave nature and behavior of sound and light to solve conceptual and quantitative problems. 
  • Understand of how Newton’s law of universal gravitation and apply it to solve quantitative problems.  
  • Demonstrate an ability to work collectively with peers in a lab environment. 
  • Demonstrate the ability to collect and analyze experimental data. 

Physics 1030 – General Physics I

Students will be able to…

  • Understand and apply Newton’s laws of motion to verbally and mathematically explain various physical situations within mechanics. 
  • Understand and apply conservation principles to verbally and mathematically explain various physical situations within mechanics. 
  • Understand and apply basic thermodynamic principles to verbally and mathematically explain various physical situations involving energy transfer. 
  • Display critical thinking skills in applying physics knowledge to solve trigonometry and algebra-based physics problems. 
  • Understand and describe how physics relates to our everyday lives and informs us as consumers and citizens. 
  • Demonstrate ability to collect, process, and analyze scientific data. 
  • Display critical thinking skills in applying physics knowledge in the experimental process. 
  • Develop the ability to collaborate with peers in a scientific/lab atmosphere. 

Physics 1040 – General Physics II

Students will be able to…

  • Understand and apply physical principles and laws that describe phenomena related to acoustics, electromagnetism, and optics. 
  • Convert relevant information into a mathematical form in order to describe the phenomena related to acoustics, electromagnetism, and optics. 
  • Perform computations in order to quantify physical quantities. 
  • Demonstrate the ability to measure, record, analyze and interpret experimental data in a laboratory setting in order to verify physical principles. 
  • Create written documents that demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively and present organized, coherent concepts that are suitable for the intended audience. 
  • Function effectively with peers and demonstrate collaboration. 
  • Display ability to think critically while discussing complex ideas, questioning assumptions and drawing conclusions. 
  • Create computer-generated graphs and charts in order to support claims and conclusions derived during the experimentation process 

Physics 1110 – Radiographic Physics

Students will be able to…

  • Explain elementary physical principles of force, energy, electricity, magnetism, and electronics used as a foundation for circuit theory
  • Analyze a simplified circuit of an x-ray machine by explaining what each component is, what it does, its principle of operation, and its role in the x-ray circuit
  • Explain the atomic processes involved in the production of x-rays within an x-ray tube

Physics 1150 – University Physics I

Students will be able to…

  • Develop and apply a conceptual and quantitative understanding of Measurement and Vectors. 
  • Develop and apply a conceptual and quantitative understanding of kinematics and Newton’s Laws to solve linear and rotational mechanics problems.  
  • Solve linear and rotational mechanics problems in physics using a conceptual and quantitative understanding of the work-energy theorem and momentum-impulse theorem. 
  • Develop and apply a conceptual and quantitative understanding to solve physics problems relating to fluid mechanics. 
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply mathematical analysis (including the use of calculus) to solve problems in classical mechanics. 
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate the scientific ideas clearly and effectively.

Physics 1151 – University Physics I Laboratory

Students will be able to…

  • Effectively communicate physics concepts to other orally and in writing.  
  • Demonstrate ability to collect, process, and analyze scientific data. 
  • Display critical thinking skills in applying physics knowledge in the experimental process. 
  • Develop the ability to collaborate with peers in a scientific/lab atmosphere. 

Physics 1500 – University Physics II 

Students will be able to…

  • Develop an understanding of the basic concepts of electricity and magnetism; including electric and magnetic fields and their effects on matter, Maxwell’s equations, electronic circuits, and electromagnetic waves.
  • Demonstrate the ability to successfully apply a conceptual understanding to specific problems in electricity and magnetism.
  • Apply problem-solving strategies to problems electricity and magnetism
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform mathematical analyses of problems in electricity and magnetism.
  • Understand and communicate the role electricity and magnetism play daily life and in commonly used technologies.

Physics 1501 – University Physics II Laboratory

Students will be able to…

  • Demonstrate ability to collect, process, and analyze scientific data relating to electricity and magnetism.
  • Display critical thinking skills in applying physics knowledge in the experimental process involving electricity and magnetism.
  • Develop the ability to collaborate with peers in a scientific/lab environment.

Physics 2000 – University Physics III

Students will be able to…

  • Develop and apply a conceptual and quantitative understanding of Temperature & Kinetic Theory of Gases, Heat and the First Law of Thermodynamics, and Heat Engines and the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
  • Develop a conceptual and quantitative understanding of Oscillations and Simple Harmonic Motion, and
    Damped and Forced Oscillations.
  • Develop and apply a conceptual and quantitative understanding of Travelling Waves, Superposition and Standing Waves.
  • Develop and apply a conceptual and quantitative understanding of Sound Waves, Resonance, Beat and Harmonics, Acoustics and physics of musical sounds.
  • Develop and apply a conceptual and quantitative understanding of Properties of Light, Geometric optics, including optical Images and optical instruments, Wave optics phenomena such as Interference and Diffraction.
  • Demonstrate the ability to successfully apply conceptual understanding and mathematical analysis to solve problems thermodynamics, optics, and acoustics.

Physics 2001 – University Physics III Laboratory

Students will be able to…

  • Analyze the behavior of idealized systems by applying the basic physical concepts and principles
  • Describe concepts in the acoustic, optic, and thermodynamic branches of physics
  • Make calculations of simple systems using concepts learned in class