Student Learning Outcomes - Physics and Astronomy courses at UNM

Core SLOs

PHYS 1115. Survey of Physics

Course Description

Overview of the concepts and basic phenomena of physics. This course provides a largely descriptive and qualitative treatment with a minimum use of elementary mathematics to solve problems. No previous knowledge of physics is assumed.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Apply concepts of classical mechanics (such as velocity, acceleration, force, inertia, momentum, torque, work, energy) to simple static and dynamic systems.
  2. Apply concepts of thermodynamics (such as heat, temperature, internal energy, entropy) to simple
    processes.
  3. Apply concepts of electricity and magnetism (such as fields, potential, charge conservation, static and dynamic induction) to simple circuits, motors, and other simple electrical contrivances.
  4. Apply simple geometric and wave optics in simple situations.

Optional Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply quantum theory in simple situations such as the Bohr model of the atom, dual nature of light,
    atomic spectra.
  2. Apply simple concepts of relativity.

PHYS 1115L. Survey of Physics Laboratory

Course Description

A series of laboratory experiments associated with the material presented in PHYS 1115.

Co-requisite: PHYS 1115 Survey of Physics

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Test ideas using modern laboratory equipment.
  2. Estimate experimental uncertainties.
  3. Use computers to analyze and report laboratory results.
  4. Draw appropriate conclusions from quantitative scientific observations.
  5. Accurately and clearly communicate the results of scientific experiments.

PHYS 1125. The Physics of Music

Course Description

Introduction for non-science majors to basic concepts, laws, and skills in physics, in the context of a study of sound, acoustics, and music.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate converting units and other aspects of dimensional analysis in the working of numerical problems.
  2. Apply basic classical mechanics to static and dynamic fluids, including Archimedes’ principle and Bernoulli’s principle.
  3. Apply the general properties of waves to simple models of musical instruments.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of basic operating principles of wind, string, and percussion instruments.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of how objectively measurable properties of sound waves correspond to the perceptions of pitch, loudness, and timbre.
  6. Demonstrate understanding of the description of vibrations and waves in terms of Fourier’s Theorem and normal modes.
  7. Demonstrate understanding of vocalization in terms of physical principles such as resonance and fluid dynamics.
  8. Demonstrate understanding of how the ear works.

Optional Topics:

  1. basics of music theory, modes, temperaments, consonance and dissonance
  2. building acoustics
  3. connections to other physical topics such as but not limited to: cosmology, microwave background radiation, quantum theory, Bohr model, entropy, electromagnetic waves and special relativity, string theory.

PHYS 1125L. Physics of Music Lab

Course Description

Experiments to accompany PHYS 1125.

Co-requisite: Physics of Music

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Draw appropriate conclusions from quantitative scientific experiments.
  2. Accurately and clearly communicate the results of scientific experiments.
  3. Test ideas using modern laboratory equipment.
  4. Use computer to analyze and report laboratory results.

PHYS 1230. Algebra-based Physics I

Course Description

An algebra-based treatment of Newtonian mechanics. Topics include kinematics and dynamics in one and two dimensions, conservation of energy and momentum, rotational motion, equilibrium, and fluids.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate converting units and other aspects of dimensional analysis in the working of numerical problems.
  2. Apply principles of Newtonian mechanics to predict and account for simple phenomena modeled by the motion of particles in one and two dimensions.
  3. Apply principles of Newtonian mechanics to predict and account for simple phenomena modeled by the motion of a rigid body in two dimensions.
  4. Apply Newton’s theory of gravitation to circular orbits and demonstrate understanding of how Kepler’s laws of planetary motion provide the empirical foundation for Newton’s theory.
  5. Apply the mathematics of vectors to the principles of Newtonian mechanics.
  6. Apply principles of Newtonian mechanics to the case of static and dynamic incompressible fluids, including Archimedes’ and Bernoulli’s principles.

Optional topics may include (some schools include these in Physics I, others in Physics II):

  1. sound
  2. waves
  3. heat
  4. oscillatory motion
  5. thermodynamics

Optional Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the fundamental properties of periodic motion.
  2. Explain and apply the basic concepts of sound and wave motion.
  3. Explain the basic concepts of heat and thermodynamics.

PHYS 1230L. Algebra-based Physics I Laboratory

Course Description

A series of laboratory experiments associated with the material presented in PHYS 1230.

Pre- or co-requisite: PHYS 1230 Algebra-based Physics I

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain the scientific method.
  2. Test ideas using modern laboratory equipment.
  3. Estimate experimental uncertainties using statistical methods.
  4. Use computers to analyze and report laboratory results.
  5. Draw appropriate conclusions from quantitative scientific observations.
  6. Accurately and clearly communicate the results of scientific experiments.

PHYS 1231. Problems in Algebra-based Physics I

Course Description

This is a supplemental course for Algebra-based Physics I.

PHYS 1240. Algebra-based Physics II

Course Description

The second half of a two-semester algebra-based introduction to Physics. This course covers electricity, magnetism and optics.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Be able to state Coulomb's Law and Gauss's laws and apply them.
  2. Apply the concepts of electric charge, electric field and electric potential to solve problems.
  3. Analyze simple DC and AC circuits.
  4. Apply the Lorentz force to solve problems.
  5. Apply Faraday’s law of induction (and Lenz’s law) to solve problems.
  6. Apply ray optics to practical lens systems such as microscopes and corrective lenses.
  7. Apply the wave nature of light to the phenomena of reflection, refraction, and diffraction.

Optional Topics (some schools include these in Physics I, others in Physics II):

  1. sound
  2. waves
  3. heat
  4. thermodynamics
  5. oscillatory motion
  6. modern physics

Optional Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the fundamental properties of periodic motion.
  2. Explain and apply the basic concepts of sound and wave motion.
  3. Explain the basic concepts of heat and thermodynamics.
  4. Explain the basic concepts of quantum theory and special relativity.

PHYS 1240L. Algebra-based Physics II Laboratory

Course Description

A series of laboratory experiments associated with the material presented in PHYS 1240.

Pre- or co-requisite: PHYS 1240 Algebra-based Physics II.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain the scientific method.
  2. Test ideas using modern laboratory equipment.
  3. Estimate experimental uncertainties using statistical methods.
  4. Use computers to analyze and report laboratory results.
  5. Draw appropriate conclusions from quantitative scientific observations.
  6. Accurately and clearly communicate the results of scientific experiments.

PHYS 1241. Problems in Algebra-based Physics II

Course Description

This is a supplemental course for Algebra-based Physics II.

PHYS 1310. Calculus-based Physics I

Course description

A calculus level treatment of classical mechanics and waves, which is concerned with the physical motion concepts, forces, energy concepts, momentum, rotational motion, angular momentum, gravity, and static equilibrium.

Prerequisite or Co-requisite: Calculus I

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the relationships among position, velocity, and acceleration as functions of time.
  2. Use the equations of kinematics to describe motion under constant acceleration.
  3. Analyze linear motion using Newton’s laws, force, and linear momentum.
  4. Analyze rotational motion using torque and angular momentum.
  5. Analyze motion using work and energy.

Optional Topics may include (some schools include these in Physics I, others in Physics II):

  1. Oscillations,
  2. Waves,
  3. Sound,
  4. Thermodynamics

Optional Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe and apply the fundamental properties of waves, oscillations, and periodic motion.
  2. Describe and apply the laws of thermodynamics.

PHYS 1310L. Calculus-based Physics I Laboratory

Course description

A series of laboratory experiments associated with the material presented in Calculus-based Physics I.

Students will apply the principles and concepts highlighting the main objectives covered in coursework for Calculus-based Physics I.

Co-requisite: Calculus-based Physics I

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Develop a reasonable hypothesis.
  2. Work effectively as part of a team.
  3. Take measurements and record measured quantities to the appropriate precision.
  4. Estimate error sources in experimental techniques.
  5. Apply appropriate methods of analysis to raw data, including using graphical and statistical methods via computer-based tools.
  6. Determine whether results and conclusions are reasonable.
  7. Present experimental results in written form in appropriate style and depth.
  8. Experience the relationship between theory and experiment.

PHYS 1311. Problems in Calculus-based Physics I

Course Description

This is a supplemental course for Calculus-based Physics I.

PHYS 1320. Calculus-based Physics II

Course description

A calculus level treatment of classical electricity and magnetism. It is strongly recommended that this course is taken at the same time as Calculus-based Physics II laboratory.

Prerequisite: Calculus-based Physics I.

Co-requisite: Calculus II

Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Apply the concepts of electric charge, electric field and electric potential to solve problems.
  2. Sketch the electric field in the vicinity of point, line, sheet, and spherical distributions of static electric charge.
  3. Sketch the magnetic field in the vicinity of line, ring, sheet, and solenoid distributions of steady current.
  4. Describe the relationship between electric field and electric potential.
  5. Calculate the Lorentz force on a moving charge for simple geometries of the fields and use it to analyze the motion of charged particles.
  6. Apply the integral forms of Maxwell’s equations.
  7. Calculate the energy of electromagnetic fields.
  8. Analyze DC circuits.

Optional Topics may include

  1. Oscillations, Waves, and Sound
  2. Thermodynamics
  3. Optics

Optional Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the function of simple lenses.
  2. Describe two-slit interference
  3. Describe interference by a slit and a circular aperture
  4. Analyze AC circuits
  5. Describe and apply the fundamental properties of waves, oscillations, and periodic motion
  6. Describe and apply the laws of thermodynamics

PHYS 1320L. Calculus-based Physics II Laboratory

Course Description

A series of Laboratory experiments associated with the material presented in Calculus-Based Physics II.

Students will apply the principles and concepts highlighting the main objectives covered in coursework for Calculus-Based Physics II.

Co-requisite: Calculus-based Physics II

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Develop a reasonable hypothesis.
  2. Work effectively as part of a team.
  3. Take measurements and record measured quantities to the appropriate precision.
  4. Estimate error sources in experimental techniques.
  5. Apply appropriate methods of analysis to raw data, including using graphical and statistical methods via computer-based tools.
  6. Determine whether results and conclusions are reasonable.
  7. Present experimental results in written form in appropriate style and depth.
  8. Experience the relationship between theory and experiment

PHYS 1321. Problems in Calculus-based Physics II

Course Description

This is a supplemental course for Calculus-based Physics II.

PHYS 2310. Calculus-based Physics III

Course Description

This course, the third in the calculus based sequence for science and engineering students, is a study of optics and topics in modern physics.

Student Learning Outcomes

The overall objective is that the students can describe physical phenomena using a variety of models and develop certain analytical skills associated with problem solving. By the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  1. recognize Maxwell’s equations
  2. describe the nature of electromagnetic radiation in terms of electric and magnetic fields
  3. solve new and different problems dealing with the propagation, polarization and energy transport of electromagnetic radiation
  4. sketch ray diagrams showing the geometrical behavior of light in reflection and refraction
  5. use the wave nature of light to solve new and different interference and diffraction problems
  6. state the postulates of special relativity and solve related problems
  7. analyze experimental evidence for the quantum nature of matter and energy
  8. appreciate and predict the consequences of the wave nature of matter
  9. identify the Schrodinger equation and interpret its solutions
  10. describe the basic principles of nuclear physics (time permitting)

PHYS 2310L. Calculus-based Physics III Laboratory

Course Description

Physics 2310L is a companion course to Physics 2310 covering topics in geometrical optics, wave optics and modern physics at the calculus level. Lab activities mirror and enhance lecture topics. Hands on experiments involving data collection and analysis give students a better conceptual framework for understanding physics. Geometrical and wave optical phenomena are deeply probed.

Student Learning Outcomes

This course serves to reinforce concepts presented in lecture and to familiarize you with various experimental techniques. Lab students will:

  1. Communicate and cooperate as a team to accomplish technical goals
  2. Read and interpret procedural instructions
  3. Gather and analyze data using electronic and optical devices
  4. Observe optical, wave and particle phenomena
  5. Relate observed phenomena to mathematical and physical models
  6. Use basic laboratory equipment (e.g., timer, balance, rods, clamps, etc.)

PHYS 2311. Problems in Calculus-based Physics III

Course Description

Problem solving and demonstrations related to General Physics.

PHYS 2415. Computational Physics

Course Description

This class is designed as an introduction to programming for the undergraduate physics major. The class begins with no assumption of prior programming experience. An emphasis will be on building strong programming skills using the MATLAB programming environment. Applications and examples will include data analysis (curve fitting and optimization), simulating physical systems, solving systems of linear equations and Monte Carlo techniques.

Student Learning Outcomes

ASTR 1115. Introduction to Astronomy

Course Description

This course surveys observations, theories, and methods of modern astronomy. The course is predominantly for non-science majors, aiming to provide a conceptual understanding of the universe and the basic physics that governs it. Due to the broad coverage of this course, the specific topics and concepts treated may vary. Commonly presented subjects include the general movements of the sky and history of astronomy, followed by an introduction to basic physics concepts like Newton’s and Kepler’s laws of motion. The course may also provide modern details and facts about celestial bodies in our solar system, as well as differentiation between them – Terrestrial and Jovian planets, exoplanets, the practical meaning of “dwarf planets”, asteroids, comets, and Kuiper Belt and Trans-Neptunian Objects. Beyond this we may study stars and galaxies, star clusters, nebulae, black holes, clusters of galaxies and dark matter. Finally, we may study cosmology – the structure and history of the universe.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course,

  1. Students will discuss the night sky as seen from Earth, including coordinate systems, the apparent daily and yearly motions of the sun, Moon, and stars, and their resulting astronomical phenomena.
  2. Students will list and apply the steps of the scientific method.
  3. Students will describe the scale of the Solar System, Galaxy, and the Universe.
  4. Students will explain telescope design and how telescopes and spectra are used to extract information about Astronomical objects.
  5. Students will describe the formation scenarios and properties of solar system objects.
  6. Students will describe gravity, electromagnetism, and other physical processes that determine the appearance of the universe and its constituents.
  7. Students will describe methods by which planets are discovered around other stars and current results.
  8. Students will describe the structure, energy generation, and activity of the sun.
  9. Students will compare our sun to other stars and outline the evolution of stars of different masses and its end products,including black holes.
  10. Students will describe the structure of the Milky Way and other galaxies and galaxy clusters.
  11. Students will describe the origin, evolution, and expansion of the universe based on the Big Bang Theory and recent Astronomical observations.
  12. Students will describe conditions for life, its origins, and possible locations in the universe.

ASTR 1115L. Introduction to Astronomy Laboratory

Course Description

Introduction to Astronomy Lab will include hands-on exercises that work to reinforce concepts covered in the lecture, and may include additional components that introduce students to the night sky.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course,

  1. Students will discuss the night sky as seen from Earth, including coordinate systems, the apparent daily and yearly motions of the sun, Moon, and stars, and their resulting astronomical phenomena.
  2. Students will list and apply the steps of the scientific method.
  3. Students will describe the scale of the Solar System, Galaxy, and the Universe.
  4. Students will explain telescope design and how telescopes and spectra are used to extract information about Astronomical objects.
  5. Students will describe the formation scenarios and properties of solar system objects.
  6. Students will describe gravity, electromagnetism, and other physical processes that determine the appearance of the universe and its constituents.
  7. Students will describe methods by which planets are discovered around other stars and current results.
  8. Students will describe the structure, energy generation, and activity of the sun.
  9. Students will compare our sun to other stars and outline the evolution of stars of different masses and its end products, including black holes.
  10. Students will describe the structure of the Milky Way and other galaxies and galaxy clusters.
  11. Students will describe the origin, evolution, and expansion of the universe based on the Big Bang Theory and recent Astronomical observations.
  12. Students will describe conditions for life, its origins, and possible locations in the universe.

ASTR 2110. General Astronomy I

Course Description

An introductory course covering the basics of the night sky, relevant physics, and the Solar System. The level of math is trigonometry and pre-calculus. First of a two-semester sequence. Grade based on homework and tests.

Student Learning Outcomes

ASTR 2110L. General Astronomy I Laboratory

Course Description

Students learn how to carry out astronomical observations using actual telescopes. Students learn the basics of the celestial sphere, telescope design and characteristics planning observations, astronomical data reduction, how to make measurements from astronomical data, interpreting results, and writing reports. The topics of the lab are aligned with General Astronomy I. The level of math is trigonometry and pre-calculus.

Student Learning Outcomes

ASTR 2115. General Astronomy II

Course Description

An introductory course covering the Sun, stars, the Milky Way, galaxies and cosmology. The level of math is trigonometry and pre-calculus. First of a two-semester sequence. Grade based on homework and tests.

Student Learning Outcomes

ASTR 2115L. General Astronomy II Laboratory

Course Description

Students learn how to carry out astronomical observations using actual telescopes. Students learn the basics of the celestial sphere, telescope design and characteristics planning observations, astronomical data reduction, how to make measurements from astronomical data, interpreting results, and writing reports. The topics of the lab are aligned with General Astronomy II. The level of math is trigonometry and pre-calculus.

Student Learning Outcomes