2022-2023 Undergraduate Academic Catalogue 
    Mar 29, 2023  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Academic Catalogue


Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Loyola College of Arts and Sciences

Office: Donnelly Science, Room 247
Telephone: 410‑617‑2642
Website: www.loyola.edu/academics/physics

Chair: Joseph Ganem, Professor

Professors: Gregory N. Derry (emeritus); Andrea Erdas; Joseph Ganem; Frank R. Haig, S.J. (emeritus); Mary L. Lowe
Associate Professors: Randall S. Jones; Helene F. Perry (emerita)
Senior Lecturer: Inge Heyer
Lecturers: Gary Kapilevich; Grace Yong

The Physics Department focuses on undergraduate physics education. Courses are offered at all levels for physics majors, science majors in other disciplines, and non-science majors. The mission of the department is twofold: to open students' minds to the power, beauty, and utility of the physical sciences; and to help students hone their quantitative skills and problem-solving abilities.

The Physics Department offers two major programs: one leading to a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Physics and the other leading to a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Physics. The BS is intended for students interested in a complete physics curriculum. This program may lead to graduate school in physics or engineering and/or employment in a highly technical field. The applied science track within the BS program in physics enables a student to combine physics with another science or math discipline. The BA is intended for students interested in a physics degree with the flexibility to explore a double major, a minor, or an individually designed program. Students in this program may wish to combine their physics studies with an artistic discipline, humanities, social science, business, education, or pre-health courses.

Learning Aims

The department has developed six learning aims for the physics major (see the department's website for a detailed discussion of these aims):

  • Students will develop a solid understanding of the fundamental principles of physics, including a firm conceptual grasp of the central principles of physics, an ability to work with the concepts mathematically, and a functional understanding of how these ideas play out in the real world.
  • Student will develop a flexible and creative problem-solving ability.
  • Students will develop an integrated understanding of the unity of physics.
  • Students will develop their ability to communicate ideas of science.
  • Students will develop a functional understanding of symbolic and numerical computation.
  • Students will develop an expertise in experimental methodologies.

These attributes are important for many areas of endeavor and can lead to graduate study, professional programs, and a wide variety of careers. In addition to graduate programs in physics, Loyola students have entered into many professions: health, including medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy; engineering, including electrical and mechanical; law; computer science; mathematics; astronomy; meteorology; biophysics; business; the military; education; and other fields.

Major in Physics

A major in Physics leads to a fundamental understanding of nature and technology, an ability to think creatively, and a highly developed set of problem-solving skills. Loyola's program in physics offers a high degree of flexibility and choice, making it ideal for a variety of careers, as well as graduate study in physics. The foundation of the program is a sequence of eight physics courses, four mathematics courses, one computer science course, and six physics laboratories. All of these courses are taken in common by all physics majors. Beyond these foundation courses, students can elect to obtain the BS in physics, which is comprised of two tracks, or the BA in physics. Students can also choose a 3-2 physics-engineering dual-degree program or an interdisciplinary major with physics and biology.

BS in Physics

The BS Analytic Track consists of three advanced physics courses, a senior laboratory course, and a semester of physics research. If the student has a significant research experience during a summer, another advanced physics course may be substituted for the research requirement. This track is ideally suited as preparation for graduate study in physics or a related field. It provides the broadest physics background in preparation for any career choice.

The BS Applied Science Track requires that the student take a coherent program of six courses from other science or math disciplines. This curriculum can be tailored to the interests and career goals of the student. The details must be planned with the physics advisor and approved by the department. Areas of study include computing, engineering, or the health professions.

BA in Physics

The BA in physics consists of the foundation courses only. The student is encouraged to pursue a minor or a double major. This option is suited for students with multiple interests, some of which could be in non-science areas. Students interested in pre-health programs can use electives to fulfill the pre-health requirements or complete a Natural Sciences Minor .

Loyola Physics and Engineering

Physics majors may participate in a dual degree program lasting five years and leading to two bachelor's degrees: a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Physics and a Bachelor of Science (BSE) in Engineering from Loyola University Maryland. This track enables students to obtain a strong liberal arts education and training in physics and an engineering discipline. For more information on the curriculum, consult the department chair and the department's website.

Combined plan with Loyola Physics and Columbia University Engineering

Physics majors may participate in a 3-2 combined degree program leading to two bachelor's degrees: a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Physics from Loyola University Maryland and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Engineering from Columbia University. Students take courses from Loyola for the first three years and then from Columbia for two years. This track enables students to obtain a strong liberal arts education and training in an engineering discipline from a major engineering institution. Students with a minimum of a 3.300 cumulative GPA, as calculated by Columbia, and with a minimum grade in each pre-engineering science and mathematics prerequisite course of a B or the equivalent the first time the course is taken, can apply for admission to Columbia. All pre-engineering courses must be taken at Loyola University Maryland, otherwise Columbia reserves the right to determine whether or not prerequisites and course-specific requirements have been met. For more information on the curriculum, consult the department chair and the department's website.

Minor in Biomedical Physics

According to the Nobel prize-winning scientist Harold Varmus, "...for at least several hundred years, physicists—and especially their principles, methods and machines—have been illuminating our views of the human body and of every other living thing." Starting with the X-ray in the 1900s, new diagnostic and therapeutic instrumentation have been developed that have transformed the health professions. These instrumentations include MRI, CT, PET, gamma camera, ultrasound imaging, laparoscopes, among others. Multidisciplinary teams of people are required to work on the fundamental science, design and test the instruments, and market them.

The aim of the minor in biomedical physics is to enhance a quantitative understanding of the science and technology involved in medical and biological applications. The minor in biomedical physics may be of interest to those on the pre-health track, those wishing to enhance their quantitative skills, and those who want to be introduced to fields that combine physics with medical applications such as medical physics and biomedical engineering.


    MajorInterdisciplinary OptionsMinor



      Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Loyola College of Arts and Sciences