PHYSICS - Xavier University

PHYSICS - Xavier University



PHYSICS seeks to understand the properties and behavior of matter

and energy, the fundamental elements of nature. Equipped with tools

and skills to solve complex problems, students can explore the world

and the universe beyond—from the smallest of atoms and nuclei

(particle physics) to the cosmic scale of the galaxies (astrophysics).

Students examine natural phenomena, obtain a broad education in

science, learn the historical development of physical science and the

application of physical laws, and become knowledgeable scientists

with a deep appreciation for the arts and the humanities.

Bachelor of Science (BS) in:


Applied Physics/Engineering

Applied Physics/Natural Science

Applied Physics/Alternate Concentration

Minor: Physics

The Xavier Advantage:

Work side-by-side with expert faculty on research.

Use sophisticated equipment, including an evaporation

deposition system and a holographic optical trapping system.

Prepare for a career, or graduate or medical school, in a profession

expected to grow faster than average in the coming years.

Join the Physics Club for academic and social events with

peers and faculty.

Xavier physics graduates go on to:

U.S. Department of State

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

Argonne National Laboratory


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers



Johns Hopkins

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These schedules serve as a guideline for progress toward a degree. Students should consult with their academic advisor.

First Semester Sem. Hrs. Second Semester Sem. Hrs.


PHYS 170, University Physics I 3 PHYS 172, University Physics II 3

PHYS 171, Explorations in Physics I 1 PHYS 173, Explorations in Physics II 1

MATH 170, Calculus I 4 MATH 171, Calculus II 4

PHIL 100, Ethics 3 CSCI elective 3

Foreign Language elective 3 Foreign Language elective 3

ENGL 101 OR 115, Engl Comp/Rhetoric 3

Total 14 Total 17


PHYS 242, Electronics I 3 PHYS 340, Modern Physics II 3

PHYS 243, Electronics I Lab 1 PHYS 341, Modern Physics II Lab 1

PHYS 330, Modern Physics I 3 MATH 230, Differential Equations 3

PHYS 331, Modern Physics I Lab 1 PHIL 290, Theory of Knowledge 3

MATH 220, Calculus III 4 Fine Arts elective 3

THEO 111, Theological Foundations 3 History elective II 3

History elective I 3

Total 18 Total 16


PHYS 350, Theoretical Mechanics 3 PHYS 382, Thermodynamics 3

PHYS 360, Electromagnetism I 3 PHYS 364, Physical Optics 3

PHYS 355, Advanced Physics Lab 2 PHYS 365, Physical Optics Lab 1

Mathematics elective 3 Literature elective 3

CHEM/BIOL elective + Lab 4/5 Theo Scrip/Hist OR Christ Sys elective 3

Total 15/16 Total 13


PHYS 376, Quantum Mechanics I 3 PHYS 377, Quantum Mechanics II 3

PHYS 395, Physics Research 1 PHYS 398, Physics Thesis 1

PHYS, MATH, OR CSCI elective 1 3 Physics elective - Capstone 3

Philosophy elective 3 Theology Ethics OR Rel/Cult elective 3

Social Science elective 3 Social Science elective 3

ENGL/CLAS/SPAN/FREN 205 Lit & Moral Imagination 3 E/RS Focus elective 3

Total 16 Total 16

Scheduling notes: 1 Not required, but strongly recommended for those who plan to attend graduate school.

• Consult the undergraduate Core Curriculum requirements.

• The E/RS Focus elective requirement may be used to satisfy another element of the Core or the major.

• A minimum of 120 credit hours is required for the degree.

• Students are required to take 6 hours of approved courses representing two different disciplines to fulfill the Core Diversity requirement.

For additional degree class schedule information, see


The Department of Physics offers the Bachelor of Science (BS)

in Physics and Applied Physics with concentrations in engineering,

natural sciences, or an alternate concentration designed by

the student.

Three times since 1982, the Xavier class valedictorian has been a

physics major. The national average for the number of bachelor’s

degrees in physics granted annually per institution (by BS/

BA granting institutions) is 4.3. Xavier’s physics program has

averaged 8.4 per year over the past 40 years.

Physics: Students learn the techniques of mathematical and

experimental physics relevant to pursuing industrial research or

engineering careers; teaching physics; or going on to graduate

work in any of the varied fields of physics, astronomy, space

science, biophysics, computer science, engineering, geophysics,

medicine or law.

Applied Physics: Majors develop a strong foundation in physics

and add a breadth of knowledge across sub-disciplines of

engineering or many other areas by customizing a program with

one of the following concentrations:

Engineering: Consists of three years of study at Xavier,

followed by a fourth year at the University of Cincinnati

(UC) School of Engineering. Most students, however, elect

to stay at Xavier for their fourth year and take engineering

courses at UC through the consortium. Students wishing to

continue education in a field of engineering can ultimately

complete a master’s degree at UC. Fields of specialization

include: aerospace, civil, mechanical, electrical and computer,

industrial and material science engineering.

Natural Sciences: Designed as an alternative to the

natural sciences major, and allowing students to study

physics while preparing for medical school, this program may

also be of interest to those pursuing careers in biophysics,

biomedical engineering, medical physics and other health

physics programs.

Alternate Concentration: Designed for students desiring

a strong foundation in physics while also pursuing study in

other fields, this program enables students to minor in any

other discipline, such as English, art, business, theology

and so on.

The physics faculty is committed to superior teaching, supported

by a 13-to-1 student-faculty ratio and close faculty-student

interaction promoting discussion and exploration.


The physics program is located in the Carl H. Lindner Family

Physics Building, which is part of the Xavier Science Center that

includes Logan Hall (chemistry) and Albers Hall (biology).

Lindner Hall houses lecture rooms, classrooms, faculty offices

and a variety of research facilities, including laboratories for

electronics, holography, optical trapping, quantum optics,

device physics, superconductivity, atomic and nuclear physics,

and biophysics.

The building also includes an astronomical observatory and a

complete machine shop.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment

of physicists and astronomers is expected to grow 16 percent,

faster than the average for all occupations, through 2018.

In addition to pursuing graduate study, physics/applied physics

majors are prepared for a range of employment opportunities in

science, industry and research. Here are some of the positions

held by Xavier physics graduates:

• Attaché, U.S. Department of State

• Comptroller, ITT Corp.

University professor

• High-school teacher

• Researcher, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

• Researcher, Argonne National Laboratory

• Medical doctor

• Lawyer

• Vice president, IBM

• Vice president, Macy’s

• Veterinarian

• Product developer, Procter & Gamble

• Nuclear naval officer

• NASA engineer

• Venture capitalist

• Executive officer, Army Corps of Engineers

More than 40 percent of graduates have earned a doctorate

or are presently studying in a doctoral program. Xavier physics

graduates have gone on to graduate programs at:

• Harvard

• Stanford

• Johns Hopkins

• Carnegie-Mellon

• Ohio State

University of Michigan

• Michigan State

• Purdue

• Illinois

• Georgia Institute of Technology

University of California-Berkeley

• Yale

A dedicated student lounge offers a place to relax, socialize and

study. Students also have extensive use of computer facilities and

wireless network access.

Physics majors are encouraged to work side-by-side with faculty

in one of the department’s numerous research programs. The

department also provides funding to support student research

activities during the academic year as well as fellowships to

support summer research efforts.

Every physics major must complete a senior research project

under the supervision of a faculty member as a requirement of

graduation. Recent student projects have included:

u Enhancement of two-dimensional images using optical spatial filtering

u The fabrication and measurement of normal metal tunnel junctions

u Development of a potocol to study the conformational stability of protein

using the model protein cytochrome c

u Ambipolar diffusion in star forming regions

All undergraduate physics/applied physics majors are members of the Physics

Club, which provides opportunities to meet, socialize and discuss a wide range

of topics, from class work to world politics.

Students who demonstrate excellence in the study of physics are invited to join

Sigma Pi Sigma ∑∏∑, the national physics honor society.

Opened in August 2010, the Conaton Learning Commons is the heart of

the James E. Hoff, S.J., Academic Quad on Xavier’s campus. The Commons

provides students with the facilities, technologies and services to help them

master essential skills and gain a competitive advantage in their respective

disciplines and careers.

u Features 84,000 square feet, five floors and 24/7 environment.

u Equips students with all the latest academic and technological tools in a

wireless setting.

u Offers ample space for individual study and group work in a wireless setting

with access to plasma screens, movable white boards—and a café.

u Houses centers for academic advising and career services and labs for math,

writing and modern languages.

Resources include a digital media lab, classrooms, auditorium and a centralized

location for reference and technology assistance.


The foundation of Xavier’s success is its commitment to its Jesuit heritage.

The Core Curriculum embodies Xavier’s mission and philosophy of education

and serves as a valuable foundation for all undergraduate students. Within

the Core, the four-course Ethics/Religion and Society (E/RS) Focus fosters

students’ understanding of socially significant issues through study of the

humanities, especially literature, philosophy and theology, as well as the social

and natural sciences. Along with courses in their major, Xavier students also

take Core courses in: cultural diversity, English composition, fine arts, foreign

language, history, literature, mathematics, philosophy, science, social science

and theology.


Core Curriculum: Minimum 64 credit hours

Major in physics: 46 semester hours of specific physics courses, 15 semester

hours of specific math courses, and four semester hours of biology or

chemistry courses.

Major in applied physics/natural sciences: These programs combine 32 or

more semester hours of courses in physics, 27 semester hours in chemistry and

biology, and 15 hours in mathematics to provide an interdisciplinary program

fulfilling the requirements necessary for acceptance to medical school as well

as other career options.

Major in applied physics/engineering: This program exchanges 12 semester

hours of physics courses with 12 hours of program electives, including biology,

chemistry, mathematics, computer science and engineering courses taken at

the University of Cincinnati through the consortium. Specific programs are

designed in consultation with the department chair.

Each program also includes a senior research project, with a recommended

sequence of courses, as a requirement for graduation.


Founded in 1831, Xavier University is a Jesuit

Catholic university in Cincinnati, Ohio, annually

ranked among the nation’s best universities.

Its three colleges offer 85 undergraduate majors,

54 minors and 11 graduate programs to 7,019

total students, including 4,368 undergraduates.



Phone: 513-745-3301

877-XUADMIT (982-3648)

Fax: 513-745-4319




Marco Fatuzzo, PhD, Chair

Phone: 513-745-3621



On Campus: 110 Lindner Hall

Office of Admission

3800 Victory Parkway

Cincinnati, Ohio 45207-5131

Xavier is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Information in this brochure is correct as of 11/12.

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