Physics Major:
Computational Physics Track

The goal of the Computational Physics program is to prepare students for success in applying the power of computers to the solution of physics and engineering problems. Majors take a combination of mathematics, computer science, and physics courses designed to increase their knowledge of physical laws and processes, mathematics, and quantitative abilities, as well as the computational physics courses where they apply these skills to the solution of physical problems where analytic techniques are insufficient.

Computational Physics majors learn a wide variety of practical numerical techniques including curve fitting, approximations of derivatives and integrals, root finding, solutions of ordinary and partial differential equations, Fourier series, Monte Carlo methods, and many more. In addition, they gain experience utilizing important numerical software tools that are used in academic and industrial settings, such as Maple, MATLAB, in addition to gaining competency in programming languages such as FORTRAN and C++.

Computational Physicists at Francis Marion include:

Dr. Larry Engelhardt
Dr. Jordan McDonnell

Course Requirements


  • PHYS 200 – Technical Physics I
  • PHYS 201 – Technical Physics II
  • PHYS 202 – Technical Physics III
  • PHYS 220 – Computational Methods for Physics and Engineering
  • PHYS 301 – Classical Mechanics (
  • PHYS 302 – Electricity and Magnetism (
  • PHYS 314 – Modern Physics
  • PHYS 320 – Computational Statistical and Thermal Physics
  • PHYS 401 – Quantum Mechanics
  • PHYS 406 – Advanced Computational Physics
  • PHYS 410 – Advanced Laboratory in Physics
  • PHYS 419 – Senior Seminar in Physics


  • MATH 201 – Calculus I
  • MATH 202 – Calculus II
  • MATH 203  – Calculus III
  • MATH 301 – Ordinary Differential Equations
  • MATH 304* – Linear Algebra
  • MATH 306 – Multivariable Calculus
  • MATH 312* – Probability and Statistics for Science/Math
  • MATH 425* – Numerical Analysis

*Highly recommended for students in this track


  • CHEM 111/111L – General Chemistry I: General Concepts/Lab
  • CHEM 112/112L – General Concepts II: General Concepts Chemistry/Lab

Computer Science

  • CS 190 – Programming Fundamentals OR CS 226 – Program & Algorithmic Design I OR MATH 213 – Scientific Programming in Python

No additional minor or collateral is required. The minimum number of semester hours required in physics courses for the computational physics concentration is 36. The minimum number of semester hours in all courses (major and non-major) required for a computational physics concentration is 120. Students desiring to take additional hours in physics are strongly encouraged to do so.

Course Descriptions

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