Physics

Rusty Towell, Chair    
ACU Box 27963
Abilene, Texas 79699-7963
Foster Science Building, Room 317

Phone: 325-674-2165
Fax: 325-674-2146
Email: rusty.towell@acu.edu
Web: www.acu.edu/physics

Faculty
Jeff E. Arrington, Associate Professor
Michael Daugherity, Assistant Professor
Tim Head, Assistant Professor
Donald Isenhower, Professor
Paul Edwin Morris, Professor
Michael Ervin Sadler, Professor
Rusty Towell, Professor
Joshua Willis, Assistant Professor

Majors and Tracks:

            Applied Physics (BS)            
            Computational Physics (BS)            
            Engineering Science(BS)            
            Engineering Physics (BS)
            Electrical Engineering (Cooperative)       
            Industrial and Manufacturing 
            Systems Engineering (Cooperative)            
            Physics (BS)            
            Physics and Math Teachers (BS) 

Minors: Engineering Science
                Physics

The Department of Physics offers the Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and Engineering Science, and Physics and Math Teachers. The BS in Physics has four tracks: Physics (PHYS), Applied Physics (PHYA), Engineering Physics (PHYN), and Computational Physics (PHYC). The department works with the Department of Teacher Education and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to offer teacher certification in physical science (see the Chemistry and Biochemistry section of this catalog). A minor in engineering science or physics may be added to other majors.  

Introduction
In the Abilene Christian University Department of Physics, students share in an intellectual atmosphere that promotes the growth of individual abilities. The faculty and students in physics do not confine learning to the classroom, but rather join in a broad spectrum of activities that include doing basic research, teaching in the laboratory, participating in the Society of Physics Students and working in the astronomical observatory.

Many of our graduates have gone into graduate programs with fellowships and assistantships at excellent universities in physics, engineering physics, medicine, medical physics, computer science, astronomy, and many fields of engineering and electrical engineering throughout the country while others have gone directly into industry positions. Our graduates agree that their undergraduate training at ACU was particularly well suited for their endeavors.

Electronics and Instrumentation
The department is well equipped to offer electronics and instrumentation to science majors and others who will need this training. The instrumentation laboratory contains modern equipment and features microprocessor technology. The emphasis is on microprocessor interfacing and hardware techniques. The laboratory includes work with SPICE simulation software for electronic circuits and VME/VXI systems.

Cooperative Pre-Engineering
Most engineering schools maintain a somewhat uniform program for all students for the first two years. An engineering student may elect to stay up to three years at ACU while mastering the basic concepts of science, and then transfer to an engineering school to complete a degree. Most engineering schools require a grade of “C” or better to grant transfer credit for a course taken at another institution.

The pre-engineering program broadens the basic engineering and science background to include courses from the liberal arts fields. A student wishing to spend three years at ACU may, after receiving his or her engineering degree, be awarded the Engineering Science (BS) degree by ACU. To qualify for this degree, a student must complete at least 95 hours at ACU, including at least 17 hours of mathematics, 8 hours of chemistry and 21 hours of physics or engineering course work. All general requirements for the BS degree must also be completed. Course selections are made in consultation with the engineering academic advisor.

Applied Physics M.S. Program at Texas Tech University
Under an 1999 articulation agreement, ACU students are guaranteed acceptance into Texas Tech University’s MS degree program in physics after completing a BS degree at ACU in physics with the following stipulations:

  1. Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 and GPA of 3.25 in advanced physics courses;
  2. Receive at least a “B” in PHYS 432, 491, 472, and 342; and
  3. Meet all of the requirements of the Texas Tech Graduate School.

Special Offerings for Non-Majors
Physics can help students explore the universe with a telescope, consider the stewardship of creation, think about the influence which science has had on the world, and think about the relationship between science and religion. The Department of Physics has courses for non-majors, which explore each of these areas. PHYS 101, Astronomy, uses telescopes to look at the universe. PHYS 102, Physical Science, considers energy resources, and consumer goods in a modern physics context. PHYS 378, History and Philosophy of Science, and PHYS 379, Religion and Science, both explore the relationship between science, religion, literature, social science and the arts.

Any one of these courses will satisfy three hours of the core science requirement, and none of these courses assumes any science background.

 

Study Abroad Expectations
All students are encouraged to participate in ACU’s Study Abroad program. Classes offered at Study Abroad sites vary depending on the site. Academic advisors can assist students in planning ahead for their Study Abroad experience and should be consulted during the freshman year.

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Bachelor of Science Degrees (BS)   

General Departmental Requirements
The physics major must develop mathematical skills as well as experimental, theoretical, and computational abilities. When the student takes PHYS 120/121, the student’s mathematics level must at least enable the student to take Calculus I. If the student does not qualify to take Calculus I when the student enters ACU, his or her graduation may be delayed.

Admission Requirements
Before being admitted to one of these programs, students must satisfy the requirements listed in the ACT/SAT Placement Information section of this catalog.

 

PHYSICS (BS)   

BS: PHYSICS DEGREE PLAN (PHYS)  
UNIVERSITY REQUIREMENTS  

Please see the University Requirements section of this catalog.

 
MAJOR REQUIREMENTS  

Mathematics

    MATH 185 Calculus I  

Physics

    PHYS 120 Engineering Physics I  

    PHYS 121 Engineering Physics I Lab  

    PHYS 122 Engineering Physics II  

    PHYS 123 Engineering Physics II Lab  

    PHYS 230/231 Modern Physics Lecture/Lab  

    PHYS 360 Electricity and Magnetism  

    PHYS 362/363 Optics  

    PHYS 371 Classical Mechanics  

    PHYS 385 Math of Physics and Engineering  

    PHYS 481 Thermodynamics  

    PHYS 491 Quantum Mechanics (writing-intensive course)  

Other Required Course

    PHIL 379 Philosophy, Religion and Science  

TOTAL  

¹Hours (in parenthesis) may also fulfill university requirements 
and are not included in total major hours

 

(3)¹

 

(3)¹

1

(3)¹

1

4

3

4

3

3

3

3

 

3

28

CONCENTRATIONS (CHOOSE ONE)  

Physics Track (PHYS)

    12 additional hours from PHYS 300-499 (except 378)  

TOTAL  

Applied Physics (PHYA)    

    CS 130 Programming II and Data Structures  

    DSGN 245 Digital Design Communication  

     MATH 341 Numerical Methods or

         MATH 377 Statistical Methods I  

    PHYS 335/336 Introduction to Electronics Lecture/Lab  

    PHYS 342/343 Instrumentation Lecture/Lab  

    PHYS 388 Network Analysis  

    3 additional hours from PHYS 300-499 (except 378)  

TOTAL  

Engineering Physics (PHYN)   

    CS 130 Programming II and Data Structures  

    DSGN 245 Digital Design Communication 

    ENGR 220 Engineering Mechanics: Statistics  

    ENGR 222 Engineering Mechanics: Dynamics  

    MATH 341 Numerical Methods or

         MATH 377 Statistical Methods I  

    PHYS 335/336 Introduction to Electronics Lecture/Lab  

    PHYS 342/343 Instrumentation Lecture/Lab or

         PHYS 388 Network Analysis  

TOTAL  

Computational Physics (PHYC)    

    CS 130 Programming II and Data Structures  

    MATH 341 Numerical Methods  

    MATH 377 Statistical Methods I  

    PHYS 451 Computational Physics I: Simulation and Modeling  

    PHYS 453 Computational Physics II: Pattern Recognition  

    3 additional hours from CS 300-499 or

         PHYS 300-499 (except 378)  

    3 additional hours from PHYS 300-499 (except 378)  

TOTAL  

 

12

12

 

3

3

 

3

3

3

3

3

21

 

3

3

3

3

 

3

3

 

3

21

 

3

3

3

3

3

 

3

3

21

SUPPLEMENT FOR MAJOR  

Chemistry/Computer Science/Mathematics    

    CHEM 133/131 General Chemistry I Lecture/Lab 

    CHEM 132/134 General Chemistry II Lecture/Lab  

    CS 120 Programming I  

    MATH 186 Calculus II  

    MATH 286 Calculus III  

    MATH 361 Ordinary Differential Equations  

TOTAL  

 

4

4

3

3

3

3

17

ELECTIVES  

Physics Track (PHYS)  

Applied Physics (PHYA)  

Engineering Physics (PHYN)  

Computational Physics (PHYC)  

Minimum Electives  

15

6

6

6

6-15

TOTAL MAJOR HOURS 72          
OTHER GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS  

Minimum grade for PHYS courses  

Minimum GPA for graduation  

Minimum advanced hours  

Minimum total hours  

Courses numbered 0** do not count in
minimum hours required for degree.

C

2.00

33

128

 

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PHYSICS/MATHEMATICS 8-12 CERTIFICATION (BS)    

BS: PHYSICS/MATHEMATICS (8-12 TEACHER CERTIFICATION) DEGREE PLAN (PHMT)
UNIVERSITY REQUIREMENTS  

Please see the University Requirements section of this catalog.

 
MAJOR REQUIREMENTS  

Physics

    PHYS 120 Engineering Physics I  

    PHYS 121 Engineering Physics I Lab  

    PHYS 122 Engineering Physics II  

    PHYS 123 Engineering Physics II Lab  

    PHYS 230/231 Modern Physics Lecture/Lab  

    12 additional hours (9 must be advanced from PHYS 300-499 (except 378)  

Mathematics

    MATH 185 Calculus I  

    MATH 186 Calculus II  

    MATH 187 Calculus Computer Lab  

    MATH 227 Discrete Mathematics  

    MATH 286 Calculus III  

    MATH 309 Algebraic Concepts for Teachers I  

    MATH 311 Geometric Concepts for Teachers I  

    MATH 361 Ordinary Differential Equations 

    MATH 377 Statistical Methods I  

    MATH 397 Mathematics Seminar 

    MATH 497 Mathematics Capstone (writing-intensive course) 

TOTAL  

¹Hours (in parenthesis) may also fulfill university requirements 
and are not included in total major hours

 

(3)¹

1

(3)¹

1

4

12

 

(3)¹

3

1

3

3

3

3

3

3

2

2

44

OTHER REQUIREMENTS  

Teacher Education Requirements

    EDUC 211 Educational Foundations and Multicultural Perspectives 

    EDUC 221 Educational Psychology  

    EDUC 412 Secondary Curriculum and Media  

    EDUC 432 Secondary Management and Methods  

    EDUC 490 Student Teaching  

    READ 322 Reading in Secondary Content Areas  

    SPED 371 Teaching Students With Special Needs

         (writing-intensive course)  

Other Required Course

    PHIL 379 Philosophy, Religion and Science    

TOTAL  

¹Hours (in parenthesis) may also fulfill university requirements 
and are not included in total major hours

 

3

(3)¹

3

3

6

3

 

3

 

(3)¹

21

 

ELECTIVES  
Minimum   7         
TOTAL MAJOR HOURS 72         
CRITERIA FOR ADMISSION TO TEACHER EDUCATION  

In accordance with Texas state law, the ACU Teacher Education Program has established the following criteria for admission to Teacher Education. Before taking more than 6 hours EDUC a student must first be admitted to the Teacher Education Program. To be admitted to the Teacher Education Program, a student must:

  1. Complete and submit an application for admission into the Teacher Education Program;
  2. Have completed the first 45 semester hours of credit;
  3. Successfully complete with a C or better 12 hours in the candidate’s chosen content field;
  4. Have a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.75 (2.75 or higher in the content field);
  5. Complete 6 hours of University Requirements English with no grade lower than a “C” (In order to maintain admission status the candidate must earn a C or better in all university required  English courses.);
  6. Pass all three sections of the Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA) test, with a score on the reading section of 260 or higher, a score on the math section of 230 or higher and a score on the writing section of 240 or higher; Students may retake the THEA once if the required level is not earned in the first administration. Acceptance of scores from a third administration of the THEA are subject to review by the Teacher Education Admissions Committee;
  7. Successfully complete (C or better) EDUC 211 - Educational Foundations and Multicultural Perspectives;
  8. Successfully complete the ACU Teacher Education formal writing sample administered in EDUC 211;
  9. Successfully complete first submission of the Teacher Education E-portfolio as described in the ACU Teacher Education Student Handbook;
  10. A declared major that includes certification;
  11. Receive approval from the Teacher Education Admissions and Review Committee. An interview with the committee may be required.

English Language Proficiency Requirement for International Students: International students with primary languages other than English must demonstrate English language proficiency by the following:

Obtain an official TOEFL score of at least 600 (computer-based score of 250, iBT of 100).

Any exemptions or modification to the above requirements due to special circumstances must be requested through the chair of the Department of Teacher Education. All requests will be reviewed and must be approved by the Teacher Education Admissions and Review Committee. In addition, admission to teacher education is not the final step in the process. In order to remain in the program the prospective teacher must continue to meet the GPA requirement (2.75). Approval to take Education Block classes (411/412 and 431/432) and to enroll in student teaching must be obtained from the Teacher Education Admissions and Review Committee before enrolling in those classes.

Additional requirements for maintaining program admission status:

  1. In order to remain in the Teacher Education Program, an overall GPA of 2.75, 2.75 in the content field, and continued approval of the Teacher Education Admissions Committee must be maintained.
  2. A grade of C or better is required for all majors courses.
  3. Junior and senior transfer students must take the THEA and be admitted to the Teacher Education Program during their first semester at Abilene Christian University to continue in professional education course work. Arrangements to take the THEA should be made as quickly as possible by contacting the Office of Career and Academic Development.

Note:

A candidate who does not have an overall GPA of 2.75 or higher may be conditionally admitted to the program if all other admissions criteria are met and if all of the following are true:

  1. An overall GPA of 2.75 or higher in the last 60 hours
  2. A GPA of 2.75 in the teaching content field
  3. No university disciplinary actions filed – academic or otherwise
  4. A formal letter of request submitted to the admissions committee describing the candidate’s academic history and articulating motivations for wanting to enter the teaching profession
  5. An interview with the Teacher Education Admissions Committee
 
OTHER GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS  

Minimum GPA in major requirements  

Minimum GPA for graduation  

Minimum advanced hours  

Minimum total hours  

Courses numbered 0** do not count in
minimum hours required for degree.

2.75

2.75

33

128

 

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Cooperative Bachelor of Science Degrees    

Admission Requirements
Before being admitted to a program, a student must satisfy the requirements listed in the ACT/SAT Placement Information section of this catalog.

ENGINEERING SCIENCE (BS)      

The Department of Physics at Abilene Christian University offers two cooperative degrees in association with the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). The ACU degree is a 128-hour Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science. The student will receive a BS degree in engineering science after the successful completion of three years at ACU and one year (29 hours of “C” or better) of specified course work (or approved substitutions) at UTA. Courses taken at ACU to satisfy this degree also satisfy part of the requirements toward a degree in engineering at UTA in electrical engineering (BSEE) or industrial and manufacturing systems engineering (BSIE). The total number of hours for the BSEE is 156 (100 at ACU and 56 at UTA). The total number of hours for the BSIE is 159 (100 at ACU and 59 at UTA).

The ACU-UTA cooperative program in engineering offers students the opportunity to take advantage of the strengths of each of the participating schools resulting in a solid well-rounded education in engineering. Graduates from these programs will be well prepared to pursue employment in industry or to pursue graduate degrees in engineering or other fields.

A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.50 is required.  A grade of “C” or better is required for any course to transfer from ACU to UTA.

The degrees in electrical and industrial engineering at UTA are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

  

BS: (COOPERATIVE) ENGINEERING SCIENCE DEGREE PLAN (ENGS)    

BSIE: Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington

 
UNIVERSITY REQUIREMENTS  

Please see the University Requirements section of this catalog.

 
MAJOR REQUIREMENTS  

Physics

    PHYS 120 Engineering Physics I  

    PHYS 121 Engineering Physics I Lab  

    PHYS 122/123 Engineering Physics II Lecture/Lab 

Engineering

    ENGR 220 Engineering Mechanics: Statics  

    ENGR 222 Engineering Mechanics: Dynamics  

    ENGR 335/336 Introduction to Electronics Lecture/Lab  

    ENGR 388 Network Analysis  

Successful completion of 32 hours of engineering courses at the 
University of Texas at Arlington (≥C)  

TOTAL  

1Hours (in parenthesis) may also fulfill university requirements
and are not included in total major hours

 

(3)¹

1

4

 

3

3

3

3

 
32

49

SUPPLEMENT FOR MAJOR  

Chemistry

    CHEM 133 General Chemistry I  

    CHEM 131 General Chemistry I Lab  

    CHEM 132/134 General Chemistry II Lecture/Lab  

Computer Science

    CS 120 Programming I  

    CS 130 Programming II and Data Structures  

Mathematics

    MATH 185 Calculus I  

    MATH 187 Calculus Computer Lab  

    MATH 186 Calculus II  

    MATH 286 Calculus III  

    MATH 287 Projects in Calculus  

    MATH 361 Ordinary Differential Equations  

History

    HIST 221 American History I  

    HIST 222 American History II  

TOTAL  

¹Hours (in parenthesis) may also fulfill university requirements 
and are not included in total major hours

 

(3)¹

1

4

 

3

3

 

(3)¹

1

3

3

1

3

 

(3)¹

3

25

ELECTIVES  
Minimum   1         
TOTAL MAJOR HOURS 75         
OTHER GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS  

Only courses ≥C transfer to UTA

Only courses ≥C at UTA can be used toward completion

Minimum GPA for acceptance to UTA  

Minimum advanced hours  

Minimum total ACU hours  

Minimum total hours  

Courses numbered 0** do not count in
minimum hours required for degree.

 

 

2.50

33

96

128

 

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BS: (COOPERATIVE) ENGINEERING SCIENCE  DEGREE PLAN (ENGS)

BSEE: Electrical Engineering From The University of Texas at Arlington

UNIVERSITY REQUIREMENTS  
Please see the University Requirements section of this catalog.  
MAJOR REQUIREMENTS  

Physics

    PHYS 120 Engineering Physics I   

    PHYS 121 Engineering Physics I Lab  

    PHYS 122/123 Engineering Physics II Lecture/Lab  

    PHYS 230/231 Modern Physics Lecture/Lab  

Engineering

    ENGR 220 Engineering Mechanics: Statics  

    ENGR 222 Engineering Mechanics: Dynamics  

    ENGR 335/336 Introduction to Electronics Lecture/Lab  

    ENGR 388 Network Analysis  

Successful completion of 32 hours of engineering courses at the 
University of Texas at Arlington (≥C)  

TOTAL  

¹Hours (in parenthesis) may also fulfill university requirements 
and are not included in total major hours

 

(3)¹

1

4

4

 

3

3

3

3

  
32

53

SUPPLEMENT FOR MAJOR  

Chemistry

    CHEM 133 General Chemistry I   

    CHEM 131 General Chemistry I Lab  

    CHEM 132/134 General Chemistry II Lecture/Lab  

Computer Science

    CS 120 Programming I  

    CS 130 Programming II and Data Structures  

Mathematics

    MATH 185 Calculus I   

    MATH 187 Calculus Computer Lab  

    MATH 186 Calculus II  

    MATH 286 Calculus III  

    MATH 287 Projects in Calculus  

    MATH 361 Ordinary Differential Equations  

History

    HIST 221 American History I  

    HIST 222 American History II  

TOTAL  

¹Hours (in parenthesis) may also fulfill university requirements 
and are not included in total major hours

 

(3)¹

1

4

 

3

3

 

(3)¹

1

3

3

1

3

 

(3)¹

3

25

ELECTIVES

 

Minimum  

0

TOTAL MAJOR HOURS

78

OTHER GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

 

Only courses ≥C transfer to UTA

Only courses ≥C at UTA can be used toward completion

Minimum GPA for acceptance to UTA  

Minimum advanced hours  

Minimum total ACU hours  

Minimum total hours  

Courses numbered 0** do not count in minimum hours required for degree.

 

 

2.50

33

99

131

 

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Pre-Engineering Program   

After completing this program of study, a student can transfer to an engineering school. A student may even elect to have conferred the BS from ACU in addition to the engineering degree. Also, if a student decides to remain at ACU after having been in the pre-engineering program for some time, he or she will be able to fit all of his or her course work into the engineering physics degree program. ACU has a program designed to fit his or her needs and desires for future employment. 

Minor in Engineering Science   

 

MINOR: ENGINEERING SCIENCE (ENGS)  

ENGR 220 Engineering Mechanics: Statics  

ENGR 222 Engineering Mechanics: Dynamics  

PHYS 335/336 Introduction to Electronics Lecture/Lab  

Additional hours approved by engineering academics advisor  

TOTAL  

3

3

3

9

18

 

Minor in Physics    

MINOR: PHYSICS (PHYS)  

PHYS 120/121 Engineering Physics I Lecture/Lab  

PHYS 122/123 Engineering Physics II Lecture/Lab  

PHYS 230/231 Modern Physics Lecture/Lab  

Choose from:  PHYS 300-499  

TOTAL  

4

4

4

6

18

 

Course Descriptions

Please see the Course Descriptions section of this catalog. Courses offered by the Department of Physics include those with the following designations: ENGR, PHYS. 

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