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Department of Physics

  Learning Objectives
Undergraduate Degrees
(BS and BA, Applied and Professional Emphasis)

A physics degree represents more than a collection of courses.  It is a coherent set of competencies and outcomes which emerge from a student's experience with the degree program.  Using a process known as "tuning", physics departments throughout the state of Utah have determined a set of learning objectives for the BA/BS degrees (also with Applied or Professional Emphasis) to which we all aspire.  They are summarized below.  For a detailed discussion of these learning objectives, please visit the Utah Tuning website.

Physics Knowledge
Students will be able to understand and apply the basic physical principles of Newtonian mechanics, relativistic physics, electromagnetic theory, wave phenomena, optics, thermal physics, quantum mechanics.
Problem Solving and Mathematical Analysis
Students will be able to apply algebra, calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations to the formulation, modeling, and solution of physical problems in the areas described under Physics Knowledge.
Laboratory Skills
Students will be proficient in elementary aspects of experimental hardware, experimental design, data collection, data analysis, and error analysis.  Students will be able to disseminate experimental results using written and oral methods.
Computer Skills
Students will be able to use computational resources to help analyze physical models. This can include code written in a language (e.g. Python) and/or existing software packages for statistical/data analysis, graphics, symbolic manipulation, and so forth.
Students will be competent (at a beginner level) in the reading of scientific literature and in the dissemination of scientific knowledge in written and oral formats.
Students will be able to use elements from all the previous Learning Objectives in conjunction with systematic methods of scientific inquiry to ask and answer physics questions about the natural world, thereby demonstrating entry-level ability to create new knowledge.