Program Highlights

If you're considering a career in engineering, Millikin will prepare you for that path through our pre-engineering curriculum. This program is affiliated with our Physics Department. Because of the myriad options that students with physics degrees have after graduation, you would work with you advisor to choose a program of courses that will best serve your post-graduation plans.

If you plan on advanced work in physics, engineering, or astrophysics, your coursework would be heavier on physics and mathematics. On the other hand, if you want to pursue a career in another field, but still want all the advantages of a strong background in physics, you would take a core group of physics courses as well as certain upper-level courses in other areas. For example, you might focus on biology courses if you were planning to go into biophysics or medicine, or you might take more business courses if you wanted to pursue a career in consulting.

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Dr. Daniel Miller

What Is a 2-2 Program?

Under this program, you would attend Millikin for the first two years of study, then transfer to a larger university, such as the University of Illinois, for the final two years. You would ultimately earn a degree in Engineering from the school you where you complete your degree.

Cooperative 3-2 Dual-Degree Pre-Engineering Program

This program allows students to spend three years at Millikin and two years at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Upon graduation, you will receive two undergraduate degrees:

  1. Liberal arts degree from Millikin University, and
  2. Engineering degree from Washington University.

In the field of engineering, a strong background in physics is often considered a great asset among graduate schools and employers. This popular program allows you to get a broad education in many fields at a small school before moving on to focus on a particular field of engineering as you take final steps to prepare for a career in your chosen discipline.

Departmental Course Offerings

Courses change each semester, so this list should not be considered a commitment to these individual topics. However, this does represent a list of many of our current and popular courses. The list is provided so that you can begin to imagine your academic career at Millikin in this major.

The Planets Basic sky phenomena, cultural aspects of astronomy and history of astronomy to Newton, the solar system. Emphasis given to principles underlying diversity of astronomical objects, as well as the processes by which astronomical knowledge has been gained. A general education course. Three lectures per week. (PY100)
Stars and Galaxies Astronomical optics; gravity; the structure, composition and evolution of stars; galaxies and cosmology. Emphasis given to principles underlying structure and behavior of stars and galaxies, as well as processes by which astronomical knowledge has been gained. A general education course. Three lectures per week. (PY101)
Modern Physics A study of the revolutions in physics since the late 19th century. Topics include special relativity, radioactivity, atomic and nuclear physics, and introductions to quantum mechanics and particle physics. The laboratory includes an introduction to Mathematica, Latex, journal articles, and seminar presentations. Three lectures and one laboratory period per week. Prerequisite: PY 152. (PY253)
Astrophysics Calculus-based intermediate level course in astronomy and astrophysics. Topics include celestial mechanics, electromagnetic radiation and matter, distances and magnitudes, binary systems, Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, stellar evolution, and the large-scale structure of the universe. Includes observing project. Prerequisite: PY 253 and MA 240. (PY300)
Physical Chemistry I The first course in physical chemistry. Topics include the laws of thermodynamics, elementary statistical thermodynamics, equilibrium, surface chemistry and physical chemistry of macromolecules. CH 351 and 353 are companion laboratory courses. Cross-listed with CH 303. Prerequisite: MA 240 and PY 253. (PY303)
Physical Chemistry II Continuation of CH 303. Emphasis on quantum mechanics as applied to theories of chemical bonding and spectroscopy. Chemical kinetics also is covered. Three lectures per week. Cross-listed with CH 304. CH 351 and 353 are companion laboratory courses. Prerequisite: CH 303. (PY304)
Classical Mechanics An intermediate-level survey of classical Newtonian mechanics. Conservative forces, damped and forced oscillations, momentum and energy theorem, central force problem, orbits, two-body collisions, special coordinate systems, and scattering and coupled oscillations. Vector analysis, axial rotating rigid bodies, gravitation, moments of inertia, rotating coordinate systems, continuous media, and Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics. Prerequisite: PY 152. Corequisite: MA 340 or consent of instructor. (PY352)
Experimental Physics II A more advanced laboratory course where students will only do 2 or 3 experiments, going into much more detail, and focusing on experimental design, data analysis, and written and oral presentation of results.  The course will include an introduction to National Instruments? LabView.  Prerequisite: PY 262 or consent of the instructor. (PY362)
Mathematical Physics Applications of mathematics to various areas of physics. Topics may include vector calculus, matrices, differential equations, Fourier series, and coordinate transformations. Prerequisites: PY 253 and MA 250, or consent of Department Chair. (PY401)
Electromagnetism I The first half of a two-semester sequence covering the basis of classic electromagnetic theory as well as special relativity.  Topics include vector analysis, electrostatics and energy, boundary value problems, dielectric media, electric currents, magnetism, and concludes with Maxwell's Equations. Prerequisite: PY 152 and MA 305 or PY 325, or consent of the instructor. (PY403)
Electromagnetism II The second half of a two-semester sequence covering the basis of classic electromagnetic theory as well as special relativity. Topics include applications of Maxwell's equations, such properties of electromagnetic waves in vacuo and in matter, vector and scalar potentials, Lorentz transformations, and other topics in special relativity. Prerequisite: PY 403. (PY404)
Quantum Mechanics As an introduction to the methods of quantum mechanics, this course will cover Schrodinger's wave equation, wave mechanics, the hydrogen atom, spin and quantum dynamics. Prerequisite: PY 253 and MA 305 or PY 325, or consent of instructor. (PY406)
Senior Research An advanced research project performed under the supervision of a faculty member.  Research should include a literature search, written report, and oral presentation.  Research may be either theoretical or experimental.  PY 482 (offered in the spring) is required for all physics majors.  Those planning to do a senior honors thesis or who intend to perform more extensive research should take both 481 and 482. Prerequisite: consent of instructor and Department Chair. (PY482)