The Department of Physics offers a BSc in Physics degree program that prepares graduates for a wide range of careers and thereby supply the UAE with skilled, scientifically-trained, professionals who can help “power and drive” the UAE’s knowledge-based economy. 

In order to achieve this, the Physics Department’s strategy is to provide a generous number of electives with a lean core curriculum delivering the necessary professional skills, competencies, and physics knowledge.  The degree provides elective options in Engineering Physics, Space Science, and Physics Education.  Alternatively, students will be encouraged to consider taking a minor with their Physics BSc degree, for example in Nuclear Engineering or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. A wide range of elective physics courses, such as in Advanced Instrumentation, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Atomic and Molecular Physics, Biological Physics, Nanotechnology, Nuclear and Particle Physics, Quantum Mechanics, and others will be made available to students.

BSc in Physics Skills & Competencies

The BSc in Physics program involves the development of a great range of knowledge, skills, and competencies.  These may be summarized in terms of:

  • critical thinking, inventiveness and ability to address unforeseen problems
  • core physics knowledge, including basic concepts and the “canon” of physics topics
  • scientific and technical skills, including problem solving, use of advanced mathematics, modelling and simulations, generic experimental skills, coding and software use, data processing and analysis (including use of industry-standard software)
  • communication skills, including scientific presentations and writing (such as for professional conferences and journals) and the ability to communicate science content and outcomes to individuals untrained in science (such as investors, managers, general audience or young people)
  • professional and workplace skills, including problem solving, communication, management, working effectively with others, and dealing with constraints (applicable in a range of careers in industry, government, non-governmental organizations, teaching, or self-employment)

Career Opportunities

Prospects for employment opportunities for physics graduates is excellent. There is a growing demand in almost every sector of the job market.  Physicists are employed in many industries, including energy(nuclear power, oil, and gas), materials (petrochemicals and metals); aviation, aerospace, and defence; pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and life sciences; healthcare equipment and services; transportation, trade, and logistics; education; financial services; and telecommunications. 

Course Description

PHYS103         Physics Orientation (2-3-1-4)

Prerequisite:   None

This course aims to build enthusiasm and readiness for physics challenges by exploring the fields of physics and physics-related careers; introducing basic perspectives and strategies for success when approaching and solving problems and designing projects; and providing a basic introduction to computer programming.  Course problems and projects will require students to work independently and also collaborate and function effectively in teams; make appropriate use of tools and software; and apply methods for effective communication of technical information.

PHYS121         University Physics I (3-2-1-4)

Prerequisite:   MATH111

This course gives a vector-based and calculus-based introduction to fundamental concepts in Newtonian mechanics, mechanical conservation laws, oscillations and waves. The course includes laboratory/studio activities with experiments that cover the concepts discussed in the lectures.

PHYS122         University Physics II (3-2-1-4)

Prerequisites:  PHYS121; MATH112

This course uses basic vector calculus and techniques of integration to determine the spatial and temporal distribution of charges, currents and electromagnetic fields.  Basic elements of electricity and material properties and basic elements of electric circuits are also introduced. Electromagnetic waves and applications to physical optics are discussed.  The course includes laboratory/studio activities, with experiments that cover the concepts discussed in the lectures.

PHYS201         Physics Instrumentation I (2-3-0-3)

Prerequisite:   PHYS122

This is a sophomore-level course covering fundamental physics and engineering related to modern instrumentation and data acquisition.  The topics covered by the course include the techniques and instruments used for AC and DC measurements, measuring the physical properties such as displacement, speed, force, torque, temperature, and pressure. The course also introduces the students to the design of a virtual instrument (VI), a measurement system, and data acquisition using LabVIEW.  The course also includes a semester project and several demonstrations on the topics covered.

PHYS203         Introduction to Astronomy (3-2-1-4)

Prerequisite:   PHYS121

This course is an introduction to astronomy. The topics cover the structure and evolution of the solar system stars. The stellar structure and evolution. History of Astronomy, Astronomical instruments and types of telescopes.

PHYS211         Computational Physics (3-2-0-4)

Prerequisite:   PHYS122

This course introduces numerical and computational tools that are used to simulate physical phenomena. Topics include Monte Carlo techniques, numerical differentiation and integration, and algebraic systems. The course includes a laboratory that covers the concepts discussed in the lectures, in which a strong emphasis will be given to computer exercises.

PHYS213         University Physics III (3-2-1-4)

Prerequisite:   PHYS122

This course is a survey of the advances of physics during the 20th century. It clarifies the two failures of classical physics – the realms of the very fast and the very small. Students will learn the basics of relativity and the basic nature of light.  They will gain a modern understanding of atoms. They will be introduced to quantum mechanics, solid state physics, elemental particles, and basic nuclear processes.

PHYS231         Optics (3-3-0-4)

Prerequisite:   PHYS122

This course covers the geometrical optics including ray-tracing, mirrors, lenses, stops, optical instruments, and wave optics including, interference, diffraction, Maxwell’s equations, wave guides, polarization, absorption, scattering, and dispersion.  The course includes a semester project and several laboratory demonstrations on the topics covered in the course.

PHYS250         Mathematical Physics (4-0-0-4)

Prerequisites: MATH204; MATH206; MATH231; PHYS122

This course covers important mathematical methods used in physics modeling and theory development. The course reviews and introduces topics such as series, matrix algebra, complex analysis, series and integral transforms, ordinary and partial differential equations in addition to introducing major topics in probability and statistics.

PHYS295         Introduction to Quantum Mechanics for Scientists and Engineers (3-0-3)

Prerequisites:  MATH204; MATH206; PHYS122

This course is designed to give undergraduate students in engineering and science an introductory background in modern physics and elementary quantum mechanics. The first part of the course will consider topics in modern physics that led to the development of quantum mechanics. The second part of the course will be devoted to introductory wave mechanics and quantum mechanics.

PHYS311         Intermediate Mechanics (3-0-0-3)

Prerequisites:  PHYS213; PHYS250

This course gives a rigorous mathematical foundation to Newtonian mechanics, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics, linear oscillations, motion in non-inertial reference frames, systems of particles, rotations, and conservation laws.

PHYS321         Electricity and Magnetism I (4-0-0-4)

Prerequisite:   PHYS250

This course provides a vector-calculus based theoretical introduction to the fundamental concepts of electrostatics and magnetostatics using grad, div and curl in Cartesian, cylindrical and spherical coordinate systems.  Topics include the electric field, potential and electrostatics in the presence of matter. In magnetostatics, the magnetic field and vector potential are developed.  Electromotive force and electromagnetic induction lead on to Maxwell’s equations, which are discussed in detail.

PHYS331         Quantum Physics I (3-0-0-3)

Prerequisite:   PHYS250

Co-requisite:   PHYS321

This course gives an introduction to Quantum Mechanics. The need for a fundamental revision of physics is explained and the Schrodinger equation is introduced and applied. The full operator formalism and Dirac notation is introduced. These techniques are applied to some important systems such as the harmonic oscillator. Some important modern ideas such as entanglement and decoherence are introduced.

PHYS340         Thermal and Statistical Physics (3-0-0-3)

Prerequisites: PHYS211; PHYS250

This course is designed for use in a typical introductory undergraduate course in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, at the junior level. The course provides a balanced theoretical treatment of classical thermodynamics and then extends to statistical mechanics. Both the macroscopic and microscopic viewpoints are discussed in detail.

PHYS350         Introduction to Nanophysics (3-0-0-3)

Prerequisite:   PHYS122

This is an introduction to the key concepts and principles of the emerging field of Nanotechnology. The course is intended for a multidisciplinary audience with emphasis on the nanophysics. It will introduce topics such as size and scale dependent properties of Nanostructures, their synthesis, fabrication and characterization using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM).  Special focus will be given to nanoscale-devices and applications.

PHYS351         Advanced laboratory I (1-5-0-3)

Prerequisite:   PHYS331

This laboratory-course focuses on the advanced techniques and experiments drawn from the full range of physics classes. The student will understand the role of experimental design, advanced data analysis and reduction, error analysis, and the use of computers while investigating physical phenomena. In some experiments students apply what was learned in previous lectures and courses, but in some other experiments it is expected that student independently searches for theoretical information related to the experiment. You will often be expected to figure things out on your own in consultation with your lab partner and will be graded on the quality of those decisions.

PHYS361         Engineering Physics I (2-4-0-3)

Prerequisite:   MATH111

This is the first course in a two-semester sequence that helps students learn to deal with open-ended, applied physics design problems.  The problems will involve researching context and background, development and comparison of alternative solutions, testing, use of feedback about solutions, appropriate use of tools and software, and effective communication of technical information orally, written, and through prototype demonstrations.

PHYS362         Engineering Physics II (2-4-0-3)

Prerequisite:   PHYS361

This is the second course in a two-semester sequence that helps students learn to deal with open-ended, applied physics design problems.  The problems will involve researching context and background, development and comparison of alternative solutions, testing, iterative refinement, and use of feedback about solutions, team collaboration, workplace practices, appropriate use of tools and software, and effective communication of technical information orally, written, and through prototype demonstrations.

PHYS363         Physics Instrumentation II (2-3-0-3)

Prerequisite:   PHYS201

This is a second course in instrumentation.  The basic digital circuits used in instrumentation will be introduced using SIMULINK in addition to ADC and DAC applications.  Magnetic, optical, and phase measurements are covered. It also covers the recent advances and applications of instrumentation and sensors in the industry.  Smart sensors, wireless sensors, and wireless sensor networks are also introduced.  The course includes a semester project and several demonstrations and simulations on the topics covered.

PHYS371         Introduction to Physics Education (3-0-0-3)

Prerequisites:  PHYS122; Junior Standing

This is the first course in a two-part sequence on introductory physics education. This course introduces fundamental concepts and theoretical frameworks of student cognitive development and motivation and their implications for learning and teaching of introductory physics. Methods of instruction and assessment, the learning context/environment, and instructional technology choices will be explored. Based on information from a variety of assigned readings and other media presentations, the course will include discussions, class activities, student presentations and other assignments, and both written and oral examinations.

PHYS372         Physics Teaching Methods (3-0-0-3)

Prerequisite:   PHYS371

This is the second course in a two-part sequence on introductory physics education. This second course surveys introductory physics topics and analyzes instructional choices for teaching these topics, including aspects such as pedagogy, curriculum design, learning contexts/environments, technology choices, and types of assessments.  Based on information from a variety of assigned readings and other media, the course will include discussions, class activities, student presentations, other assignments, and both written and oral examinations.

PHYS381         Introduction to Biological Physics (3-0-0-3)

Prerequisite:   PHYS250

The course offers a macroscopic and microscopic view of elementary biological systems that are useful in engineering problem solving, following the Energy-Information-Life paradigm and its potential applications. The course combines the pre-existing knowledge of general science and treats cells and nerves through their chemo-electro-mechanical model from energy and information processing viewpoint. The course relies on general science concepts of dissipation, diffusion, random walks, and entropy to introduce processes of engineering interest such as self-assembly, molecular motors, and neural networks.

PHYS399         Physics Internship (0-0-0-1)

Prerequisite:   A minimum of 70 credits earned by the end of the preceding Fall semester, including at least 24 credits in core major courses

Students are required to spend a minimum of 8 continuous weeks* on an approved internship program. The internship provides students with practical, on-the-job experience which allows them to integrate theory with “real world” situations. It is academically supervised by a faculty member and professionally supervised by the company’s designated internship supervisor who provides feedback to the university about the student’s progress. The student must keep a detailed log book and prepare a formal report that documents the work undertaken during the internship period, and both must be submitted to the Department within the first two weeks of the semester following the internship. The report and the complete course activities are graded on Pass/Fail basis by the supervising faculty member, with input from the internship supervisor.

PHYS403         Observational Stellar and Galactic Astrophysics (2-2-0-3)

Prerequisite:   PHYS203

This course is an introduction to Observational and Stellar Astrophysics. Topics will cover the characteristics of stars and that of our galaxy the “Milky Way”. We will take a deeper look into the innerworkings of stars, their structure and evolution, the death of stars: supernovae, planetary nebulae, white dwarfs, neutron stars, pulsars, binary stars, x-ray stars, and black holes. In addition to better understanding stars we will highlight the instrumentation and techniques that allows us to probe our galactic environment; interstellar medium, molecular clouds, HI and HII regions, star formation, element abundances, and, Galactic structure.

PHYS412         Advanced Mechanics (2-0-2-3)

Prerequisites:  PHYS311

This is a continuation of PHYS311 Intermediate Mechanics, focusing on Newtonian, Hamiltonian, and Lagrangian formalisms of mechanics to explore advanced topics in mechanics and dynamics of particles and systems.  Emphasis will be placed on nonlinear phenomena and chaos, coupled mechanical systems and their applications to real systems, wave mechanics, and special relativity and spacetime.

PHYS420         Atomic and Molecular Physics (3-0-0-3)

Prerequisite:   PHYS331

This course gives an introduction to the basics of atomic and molecular structure, as a direct application to quantum mechanics. It includes topics such as the hydrogen and helium atoms, angular momenta, spin and group theory- the course will also deal with the electronic structure of atoms, diatomic and polyatomic molecules. It will finally present the different methods that are presently used to calculate the electronic structure of atomic and molecular species. A written paper/ group project about the structure of a molecule will be presented at the end of the course.

PHYS422         Electricity and Magnetism II (3-0-0-3)

Prerequisite:   PHYS321

This course forms a direct continuation and expansion of electromagnetism from PHYS321 Electricity and Magnetism I.  The subjects covered include conservation laws and electromagnetic waves in vacuum and materials, including absorption and dispersion. Potentials and their relation to fields are studied for static and moving charges. Electric and magnetic dipolar radiation is discussed in detail, followed by relativistic electrodynamics.

PHYS431         Solid State Physics (3-0-1-3)

Prerequisites: PHYS321; PHYS331

This course represents an introductory survey of Solid-State Physics and will integrate theory with experimental results examples from textbook and references.  The course will provide a valuable theoretical introduction and an overview of the fundamental applications of the physics of solids. This course includes theoretical description of crystal and electronic structure, lattice dynamics, and optical properties of different materials (metals, semiconductors, dielectrics, magnetic materials and superconductors), based on the classical and quantum physics principles.

PHYS432         Quantum Physics II (3-0-1-4)

Prerequisite:   PHYS331

This course builds on, and extends, the techniques learned in Quantum Physics I. Students will learn how to apply quantum mechanics to many-body systems and how to apply the standard approximation methods. An introduction to the quantum mechanics of light and atom-field interactions is given and applied to some important systems. This is then extended to examine how quantum mechanics can be applied to model open systems and includes an introduction to master equation techniques. Finally, the important topic of entanglement is addressed in detail.

PHYS441         Space Physics (2-2-0-3)

Prerequisite:   PHYS403

This course is an introduction to cosmology. In this course we will probe the origins, structure, and evolution of the Universe – and how we came to know these details by understanding the techniques used in cosmology. We will explore the Astrophysical tools and techniques used to learn about the Universe. We will learn topics such the Thermal history of the Universe, the origin of all matter and the elements, cosmological distances and times, the expansion of space, dark matter and dark energy, the underlying structure of the universe and why it exists, and introduce some open questions in cosmology.

PHYS450         Nuclear and Particle Physics (3-0-0-3)

Prerequisite:   PHYS331

This course serves as an introductory level nuclear and particle physics course. It covers important topics dealing with global properties of nuclei, radioactive decay and nuclear reactions, geometric shapes of nuclei, nuclear structure, fundamental forces and interactions (strong, electromagnetic, and weak), quark model, nucleons structure, force mediators, and applications of nuclear science such as cross section measurements and scattering (elastic and inelastic).

PHYS452         Advanced Laboratory II (1-5-0-3)

Prerequisite:   PHYS351

Advanced Laboratory II is a course structured around experiments and laboratory work relevant to student interests. The course places high emphasis on the development of student’s experimental skills, trouble-shooting and problem-solving skills, ability to handle sophisticated equipment, ability to handle different roles within a diverse team, analytical and modeling skills, and ability to present and explain scientific and technical work in various formats.

PHYS471         Physics Education Practicum I (3-0-0-3)

Prerequisite:   PHYS372

This is the first part of a two-course sequence providing students with practicum experiences in physics teaching.  In this first practicum course, students will explore current topics in physics and science teaching while they explore and develop their teaching, presentation, and communication skills.

PHYS472         Physics Education Practicum II (1-0-0-3)

Prerequisite:   PHYS471

This is the second part of a two-course sequence providing students with practicum experiences in physics teaching.  In this second practicum course, students will explore current topics in physics and science teaching while improving their teaching, presentation, and communication skills.

PHYS482         Introduction to Medical Physics (3-0-2-4)

Prerequisites:  PHYS321; PHYS340; PHYS381

This course focuses on making connection between intermediate physics courses and their biomedical applications. Topically, biological and medical instrumentation, its design principles and applications are at the heart of the course. The course bridges fundamental physical principles and medical application in a way that contemporary medical instrumentation and its future developments are heavily reliant on the knowledge of physics.

PHYS497         Senior Project I  (0-0-0-3)

PHYS498         Senior Project II (0-0-0-3)

Prerequisite:   Senior Standing and PHYS321; PHYS331

Participation in team projects dealing with research and development of a new device or a system. Number of project will be offered each year by the faculty of Physics department, some of which will have a multidisciplinary nature. This will be an opportunity to exercise initiative, scientific judgment, self-reliance and creativity, in a team environment similar to Research and Development. The senior projects require students to draw upon their scientific background, experience, and other pertinent resources. Oral and written presentations are required.