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Materials Physics Program

 The Materials Physics program is designed to enhance the academic and professional possibilities of USF students, furthering the University's mission of educating leaders who will make a societal difference. It seeks to prepare USF students for positions in the high-technology sector of the global economy. As the modern world escalates its dependence on technology, and as the commercial world continues to make inroads into university settings, a proper response from the University of San Francisco is to prepare students of Ignatian values to enter and positively affect the realm of high technology.

This Physics track is nearly unique in American academia, with its emphasis on modern advanced commercial materials, and drawing from several scientific areas, include Computer Science and Chemistry. This program includes real-life training in industry settings and is supported locally at USF by a heavy infrastructure made possible by a grant from the prestigious Fletcher-Jones Foundation.

Program Objectives

In addition to the general goals of the Physics Major, the Bachelor of Science in Materials Physics is designed to provide USF students with a comprehensive education in the Natural Sciences that will meet the following specific goals:

    • Prepare students for careers in high technology by providing relevant training and coursework.
    • Prepare students with a strong scientific foundation so that they will be able to follow the technological advances to come.
    • Prepare interested students for graduate-level work in Materials Science, Condensed Matter Physics, or Physical Chemistry.


Physics Courses
  • PHYS - 110 General Physics I
  • PHYS - 210 General Physics II
  • PHYS - 240 Modern Physics
  • PHYS - 215 Electronics
  • PHYS - 371 Methods of Mathematical Physics
  • PHYS - 340 Optics
  • PHYS - 320 Electromagnetism
  • PHYS - 330 Quantum Mechanics
  • PHYS - 341 Upper-Division Laboratory I
  • PHYS - 342 Upper-Division Laboratory II
  • PHYS - 299 Directed Research for Advanced Undergraduates (2 credits required) or
  • PHYS - 399 Directed Research for Advanced Undergraduates (2 credits required)
  • PHYS - 350 Physics Colloquium (1 credit required)
  • PHYS - 333 Solid State Physics
  • PHYS - 450 Advanced Materials

Note: In addition to the required courses, students on this track will be required to do an industry internship in the summer following their junior year.

Required Math Support Courses (MSC) - 12 credits
    • Three (3) courses in Calculus and Analytical Geometry
Other Support Courses (8 credits)
  • CHEM - 111 General Chemistry I
  • CS - 110 Introduction to Computer Science I
Outside of Major Required Courses (OMRC)
    • Eleven (11) Core Courses
College Requirements (for Science Students) -
    • Foreign Language I and II
Recommended Elective Courses for Materials Physics:
  • PHYS - 301 Computational Physics
  • PHYS - 310 Analytical Mechanics
  • PHYS - 312 Statistical and Thermal Physics
Comparison of Materials Physics Track to Typical Physics Major

The Materials Physics track differs from the typical Physics track in several ways. Materials Physics students are required to take the following courses that standard Physics students do not have to take: Solid State Physics, Electronics, Advanced materials, General Chemistry I, and Computer Science I. On the other hand, the students in this track are not required to take the following courses that are typically required in the Physics major: Statistical and Thermal Physics, Computational Physics, and Analytical Mechanics.

Another important difference in this track is the appearance of an internship for the Materials Physics students in the summer following their junior year.