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Learning Outcomes for the B.S. in Physics

Learning Outcomes for the B.S. in Physics

The physics major will teach all students core content in classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, and thermal physics. We also expect students to choose from a few more advanced topics. The program learning outcomes do not enumerate the (many) specific content learning outcomes of all those courses, but instead summarizes the cross-cutting learning outcomes that are not the specific content of any one class, but instead are program outcomes intended to be learned through many of our courses.

Make Sense of Physical Systems

Physics majors and minors will be able to investigate physical systems through modeling (mathematical & computational) and measurement.

Performance indicators include the ability of physics majors and minors to

  • Use fundamental physical principles to mathematically or computationally model systems
  • Collect, analyze, and interpret measurements and draw meaningful conclusions from observations of physical systems
  • Recognize the limitations of models or measurements, taking into account idealizations, assumptions, and measurement uncertainties
  • Identify gaps in understanding and ask specific questions to address those gaps
  • Identify potential difficulties in a model or experiment by examining intermediate and end results and then troubleshoot

Share Physical Insights

Physics majors will be able to communicate physical insights through writing, discussion, and presentations.

Performance indicators include the ability of physics majors to

  • Write organized physical and mathematical arguments, interleaving words, equations, graphs, and diagrams effectively
  • Create figures that tell a clear and compelling physical story
  • Give talks and presentations that convey succinct and insightful accounts of physical systems
  • Work collegially and collaboratively in diverse teams pursuing a common goal.
  • Articulate one’s own state of understanding and be persuasive in communicating the worth of one’s own ideas and those of others.