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Emphases

There are a wide variety of opportunities available to students after graduating from Colorado College. There are several course emphases available to provide guidance in preparing for your future. An emphasis is a collection of courses designed to help you specialize in a particular field of study. These emphases are only guides to help you select courses, and there is no formal application or obligation to finish an emphasis. Successfully completing the core requirements for the physics major is equivalent to completing a physics degree without a emphasis. Successful completion of an emphasis can be noted on your transcript.

Summary of emphasis requirements

The available emphases are:

 Liberal Arts - ComprehensiveAstrophysics - Environmental

Geophysics - Chemical/Materials Science - Education 


 

Liberal Arts Physics Major

This emphasis is designed to cover core requirements for the physics major while leaving time for a broad liberal arts education. This is the default track and it is appropriate for any student interested in physics as well as those following Pre-Med or education based tracks. 

sample Liberal Arts Major schedule


Requirements:
Introductory Classical Physics I & II (PC241 & PC242)
Modern Physics (PC251)
Electronics (PC261)
Either Techniques of Experimental Physics (PC361) or Techniques of Experimental Astrophysics (PC362)
Senior Seminar (PC450)
Three physics electives numbered 262 or higher
Calculus I, II, & III (MA126, MA129 & MA204) 

 

Comprehensive Major

This emphasis is for students interested in pursuing graduate school in physics or a related field. A broad coverage of major topics of physics is represented, preparing you for graduate school in any field of physics. This emphasis is very comprehensive and includes nearly every available physics course offered at CC. 

sample Comprehensive Major schedule


Requirements:

Introductory Classical Physics I & II (PC241 & PC242)
Modern Physics (PC251)
Electronics (PC261)
At Least One Physics Elective Numbered PC262 or Higher
Either Techniques of Experimental Physics (PC361) or Observational Astronomy (PC362)
Vector Analysis (PC311)
Mechanics (PC341)
Thermal Physics (PC349)
Electricity and Magnetic Theory (PC353)
Quantum Mechanics I (PC441)
Senior Seminar (PC450)
Calculus I, II, & III (MA126, MA129, & MA204)
Linear Algebra (MA220)
Recommendations:
Computer Science I (CP122)
Computational Physics (adjunct, PC253)
Electromagnetic Waves and Optics (PC354)
Advanced Topics (PC420)
Quantum Mechanics II (PC442)

 

Astrophysics Emphasis 

This Astrophysics Emphasis is designed for physics majors who are interested in astronomy and astrophysics. Although this emphasis provides a good preparation for graduate work in astronomy and astrophysics, it is also a good choice for those interested in a liberal arts education with a strong background in the physical sciences.

sample Astrophysics Emphasis schedule


Requirements:
Introductory Classical Physics I & II (PC241 & PC242)
Modern Physics (PC251)
Electronics (PC261)
Observational Astronomy (PC362)
Vector Analysis (PC311)
Mechanics (PC341)
Thermal Physics (PC349)
Stellar Astrophysics (PC357)
Extragalactic Astronomy (PC358)
Quantum Mechanics I (PC441)
Senior Seminar (PC450)
Calculus I, II, & III (MA126, MA129, & MA204)
Linear Algebra (MA220)
Recommendations:
Computational Physics (adjunct, PC253)
Electricity and Magnetism (PC353)
Electromagnetic Waves & Optics (PC354)
Advanced Topics (PC420)
Quantum Mechanics II (PC442)

 

 

Interdisciplinary Emphases: 

The following emphases are interdisciplinary and consist of the liberal arts physics major (the core requirements to complete a physics major) and a minor in another department. It is recommended that students planning on completing one of these emphases consult an adviser in both departments.


Environmental Physics Emphasis

Students who are interested in applying physics to environmental issues should consider this major. 

sample Environmental Physics Emphasis schedule


Requirements:

Introductory Classical Physics I & II (PC241 & PC242)
Modern Physics (PC251)
Electronics (PC261)
Techniques of Experimental Physics (PC361)
Two physics electives numbered 262 or higher
     Recommended Electives:
     Mechanics (PC341)
     Thermal Physics (PC349)
     Solid State (PC333)
     Optics (PC354)
     Quantum Mechanics I (PC441)
Sustainable Development (EV141 or EC141) or Microeconomics (EC151)
Environmental Policy (EV271 or PS321)
Environmental Management (EV321)
Air (EV431)
Environmental Synthesis (EV421), Thesis (EV499), or Senior Seminar* (PC450)
     *Note: Senior Seminar must be relevant to Environmental Physics
Calculus I, II, & III (MA126, MA129, & MA204)
Recommendations:
One or more summer research programs in environmental physics
Additional advanced physics courses
Additional Math courses (particularly MA313, MA220, MA316, MA318)
Introductory Chemistry, Geology, or Biology

 

Geophysics Emphasis 

Students who are interested in going into geophysics in employment or graduate school may be interested in this emphasis, which combines a liberal arts major in physics with five or more courses in geology. We recommend that you discuss this career path with Dick Hilt in the Physics Department and Megan Anderson in the Geology Department. 

sample Geophysics Emphasis schedule


Requirements:
Introductory Classical Physics I & II (PC241 & PC242)
Modern Physics (PC251)
Electronics (PC261)
Techniques of Experimental Physics (PC361)
Three physics electives numbered 262 or higher
     Recommended Electives:
     Mechanics (PC341)
     Thermal Physics (PC349)
     Solid State (PC333)
     Optics (PC354)
Senior Seminar (PC450)
Introductory Geology (GY130, two units) or Physical Geology (GY140, one unit)
Introduction to Geophysics (GY308)
     Two of the following three geology courses:
     Tectonics (GY 240)
     Structural Geology (GY315)
     Geomorphology (GY320)

Calculus I, II, & III (MA 126, MA 129, & MA 204)

Recommendations:

One or more summer research programs in physics or geophysics
Additional advanced Physics and Geology courses
Additional Math courses (particularly MA313, MA220, CP122, MA316, MA318)
General Chemistry I (CH107)

 

Chemical Physics or Material Science Emphasis

Students who are interested in employment or graduate school in chemical physics or material science may be interested in the Chemical Physics Emphasis, which combines a liberal arts physics major with a minor in chemistry. We recommend that you seek advice from Phillip Cervantes, Stephanie DiCenzo, or Kristine Lang in the Physics Department and Ted Lindeman or Sally Meyer in the Chemistry Department. 

sample Chemical Physics Emphasis schedule


Requirements:
Introductory Classical Physics I & II (PC241 & PC242)
Modern Physics (PC251)
Electronics (PC261)
Techniques of Experimental Physics (PC361) or Techniques of Experimental Astrophysics (PC362)
Three physics electives numbered 262 or higher
     Recommended Electives:
     Solid State (PC333)
     Thermal Physics (PC349)
     Optics (PC354)
     Quantum Mechanics I and II (PC441 and PC442)
Senior Seminar (PC450)
General Chemistry I & II (CH107 & CH108)
Physical Chemistry I & II (CH366 & CH367)
Calculus I, II, & III (MA126, MA129, & MA204)
Recommendations:
One or more summer research programs in physics or physical chemistry
Analytical Chemistry (CH241)
Organic Chemistry I (CH250)
Additional advanced Physics, Chemistry, and Math courses

 

Teaching Emphasis

The Teaching Emphasis is intended for students interested in teaching physics at the high school level. In Colorado, physics teachers are certified to teach all sciences. This means that you need to major in physics, but also take at least two courses in biology chemistry, and earth sciences. CC has two options for becoming a certified physics teacher. One is completed as an undergraduate: you major in physics, take the introductory courses in the other sciences, plus the education courses (essentially a minor) and student-teach. You can also be a 9th semester student where you graduate in May, then delay student teaching until the following fall, with a substantial reduction in tuition for the 9th semester. The second option is to focus on majoring in physics and completing the science requirements. You should take ED100 and ED120, then apply for the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program, which is a 14 month certification and Master's degree program in the Education Department. For more information, contact Mike Taber or Deb Mortenson in the Education Department for advising. 

sample Education Emphasis schedule


Requirements:
Introductory Classical Physics I & II (PC241 & PC242)
Modern Physics (PC251)
Electronics (PC261)
Techniques of Experimental Physics (PC361)
Three physics electives numbered 262 or higher
Senior Seminar (PC450)
College Aids in Colorado Springs Schools (ED100)
Experience Aids in Colorado Springs Schools (ED120)
Two lab based introductory science courses chosen from Biology, Chemistry, and Geology
Calculus I, II, & III (MA126, MA129, & MA204)
Recommendations:
Astronomy (PC133)
Additional education courses,such as ED 203 or 275(ED 275 is particularly useful for those interested in Teach for America)