May 18, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of Physics

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Mathematics and Science Center, Room 190
146 Library Drive
Rochester, MI 48309
(248) 370-3416
Fax: (248) 370-3408

Department Website


Chairperson: Andrei Slavin

Professors emeriti: Abraham R. Liboff, Ralph C. Mobley, Norman Tepley, Paul A. Tipler, W. D. Wallace

Distinguished professors: Michael Chopp, Andrei Slavin, Gopalan Srinivasan, Yang Xia

Professors: Ken Elder, David Garfinkle, Alberto Rojo, Bradley J. Roth

Associate professors: Kapila Clara Castoldi, Evgeniy Khain, Eugene Surdutovich, Yuejian Wang

Assistant professors: Ilias Cholis, Vasyl Tyberkevych, Wei Zhang

Adjunct professors: Jieli Chen, Indrin J. Chetty, Xuanfeng Ding, James R. Ewing, Grant R. Gerhart, Carrie Glide-Hurst, Thomas Guerrero, Quan Jiang, Bryan Shumaker, Hamid Soltanian-Zadeh, George Wilson, Di Yan

Adjunct associate professors: Rao Bidthanapally, Susan M. Bowyer, Kenneth Jenrow, Robert A. Knight

Adjunct assistant professors: Benjamin Buller, Edward Castillo, Steffan Puwal, Chunqi Qian, Somayyeh Sheikholeslami, David Solis

Special Lecturer: Steffan Puwal

Lecturers: Susan Bowyer, Jyothi Raman

Chief Adviser: Eugene Surdutovich


Courses within the Department of Physics are grouped into two categories - pre-professional career programs and experiences in science for students with broad interests in contemporary human culture. The latter are strongly recommended for students planning any of a wide range of careers, including law, business, criminology, art history, music, government, education and journalism. High school students intending to major in physics should refer to the Admissions section of the catalog for specific preparation requirements.

Programs of study lead to the Bachelor of Science degree with majors in physics, medical physics and engineering physics, Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in physics, Master of Science degree in physics, and Doctor of Philosophy degree in biomedical sciences with specialization in medical physics.

The Bachelor of Science in physics is intended for students who plan to become professional scientists. It qualifies students for graduate studies in physical sciences or research positions in government and industry. Students pursuing this degree should consult with faculty members on different available specialties.

The Bachelor of Arts in physics is primarily designed for students who desire a broader, less professionally specialized background in physics. The minor in physics is available for students who want to supplement their work in other fields with an introduction to physics. A secondary teaching minor in physics is available.

The Bachelor of Science in medical physics is based on a group of physics courses plus relevant biology, chemistry and mathematics courses. These students take ”Biological Physics” and ”Medical Physics.” The degree, with the addition of select biology courses, offers an excellent preparation for medical school.  Students should consult an adviser in pre-medical studies regarding the selection of these courses.

The Bachelor of Science in engineering physics, which is offered jointly with the School of Engineering and Computer Science, is intended for well-qualified students who seek a broad education in physics and mathematics along with basic preparation in engineering.

All physics majors, during the semester they plan to graduate, will be required to complete an assessment test. The purpose of this test is to determine how well students are achieving the goals of the learning objectives in their major. The results of this test will have no impact on a student’s graduation status.

Mathematics Requirements for PHY 1010, 1080, 1610, 1620

The various general physics courses (PHY 1010 , PHY 1080 ) are directed to students enrolled in a wide variety of majors having different levels of mathematical preparation. The Physics Department therefore requires that either the students’ ACT math score is 22 or higher or the SAT math score is 550 or higher or that they have taken MTH 0662 , an academic enrichment course intended for students in need of additional preparation for university courses. Another alternative is for students to take a Math Placement Test and place above the MTH 0662  math level. This test is available year round in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics office (368 MSC) between 8 -11 a.m. and 1 - 4 p.m. Student ID number (Grizzly ID) is required. It takes approximately one hour to take the test and receive the results.

Students enrolled in PHY 1510 - Introductory Physics I   are encouraged to have taken MTH 1554 prior to the course.  If they are taking MTH 1554 concurrently with the Physics course, the Physics Department requires that either the student’s ACT math score is 28 or higher or the SAT math score is 660 or higher or that they have taken MTH 1441 (pre-calculus), or that they placed above the MTH 1441 math level in the Math Placement Test.

Students enrolled in PHY 1610 - Fundamentals of Physics I  are required to have already taken MTH 1554 - Calculus I .  Students enrolled in PHY 1620 - Fundamentals of Physics II  are required to have already taken MTH 1555 - Calculus II .


Chief adviser: Eugene Surdutovich

Advisers in the various physics fields are professors David Garfinkle (astrophysics), Alberto Rojo (secondary teacher education program), Bradley Roth (medical physics, biophysics), Andrei Slavin (engineering physics, geophysics), and Gopalan Srinivasan (materials physics). Independent research projects are available in each area.

Departmental Honors

Departmental honors may be awarded to students on the basis of high academic achievement and either independent research or meritorious service to the Department of Physics.

Schedule of classes

Specific offerings for each semester may be found in the Schedule of Classes.




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