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 Undergraduate Program

Department of Physics

Chairman: Dr. Mohammad Al-Kuhaili 


Burhan Saifaddin
Mekki, M
Michael Vogl
Qing Peng
Adel Abbout
​Sabri Elatresh 


Mekki, A


The Department of Physics at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals is one of the distinguished departments in teaching, research, and community services. The department obtained accreditation from the National Center for Academic Accreditation and Assessment (NCAAA) in 2014. The faculty of the department includes over thirty members who are PhD holders from prestigious international universities. The department undertakes research in a variety of Physics subjects and houses research group that carry out research in Atomic/Molecular/Optical physics, Condensed Matter physics, and Nuclear Physics. The department offers a B.S. degree for undergraduate students as well as M.S. and PhD degrees for graduate students. Physics deals with the study of natural phenomena originating from matter, motion, and energy. It therefore represents the foundation of all scientific, technological, and engineering disciplines. The main purpose of physics is to understand and describe the apparent complexities of nature with as few unifying concepts as possible.


The physics department aspires to be one of the leading departments in teaching, research, and community services.

Program Mission

The physics department at KFUPM aspires to be a leading department in the Kingdom and beyond for
  • Providing high-quality physics education in accordance with international standards to serve the Kingdom with competent and creative physicists,
  • Conducting basic and applied interdisciplinary research for the development of the Kingdom and the world,
  • Contributing to the service and development of the community.

Program Objectives

  • Provide graduates with strong academic credentials, research, and communication skills.
  • Provide graduates with successful careers in academia, research laboratories, and industry
  • Promote the knowledge of physics and highlight its importance to society.

Student Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this program, graduates will be able to:
  • Recognize the laws of classical physics at the basic and intermediate levels
  • Recognize the laws of quantum physics at the basic and intermediate levels
  • Recognize the laws of at least one major specialty area of physics at the basic and intermediate levels
  • Solve problems in classical physics at the basic and intermediate levels
  • Solve problems in quantum physics at the basic and intermediate levels
  • Solve problems in at least one major specialty area of physics at the basic and intermediate levels
  • Solve problems in physics using mathematical skills at the basic and intermediate levels
  • Solve problems in physics using computing tools at the basic and intermediate levels
  • Analyze and interpret experimental data as well as write concise reports
  • Setup and conduct experiments in order to study physical phenomena
  • Search critically for and utilize information on topics in physics from a variety of sources
  • Communicate concepts verbally, graphically, and in writing
  • Be an effective, and ethically responsible, team player
  • Acquire adequate self- learning skills and apply them as needed

Requirements for the B. S. Degree in Physics

The Department expects every student majoring in Physics to acquire a basic knowledge of
     • Classical mechanics
     • Electromagnetism, wave, and optical phenomena
     • Quantum mechanics and its applications to simple physics systems
     • Kinetic theory, thermodynamics, and statistical mechanics
     • Experimental physics

The required courses are designed in such a way to ensure that every student graduating in physics has proficiency in all of the above areas of physics. The introductory sequence of general Physics 101, 102, 204 covers the entire subject matter of physics at an elementary level. Classical mechanics is dealt with in Physics 300 at the intermediate level. Physics 305 and 306 give the required knowledge and competency in classical electrodynamics and wave optics phenomena. Quantum mechanics and its applications is dealt with first in Physics 213 at an elementary level, followed by Physics 310, and Physics 410 at a more advanced level. Physics 430 examines the statistical and thermal descriptions of many particle systems. Students have many opportunities to learn experimental techniques in Physics 205, 309, and 403. Methods of theoretical physics are introduced in Physics 210 while electronics is dealt with in Physics 308. Students are also trained in Research skills in Physics 497.

Requirements for the B.S. Degree in Physics

Every student majoring in PHYSICS must complete the following Courses:



• Bulletin Course Descriptions (English)

PHYS 101 General Physics I (3-3-4)
Particle kinematics and dynamics; conservation of energy and linear momentum; rotational kinematics; rigid body dynamics; conservation of angular momentum; simple harmonic motion; gravitation; the statics and dynamics of fluids.
Prerequisites: None
PHYS 102 General Physics II (3-3-4)
Wave motion and sound; temperature, first and second law of thermodynamics; kinetic theory of gases; Coulomb's law; the electric field; Gauss's law; electric potential; capacitors and dielectrics; D.C. circuits; the magnetic field; Ampere's and Faraday's laws.
Prerequisite: PHYS 101
PHYS 204 General Physics III (3-0-3)
Inductance; magnetic properties of matter, electromagnetic oscillations and waves; geometrical and physical optics. Relativity, introduction to quantum physics, atomic physics, solids, nuclear physics, particle physics and cosmology.
Prerequisites: PHYS 102, MATH 102
PHYS 205 General Physics III LAB (0-3-1)
This is the Lab component of General Physics III. It consists of selected experiments in electrical circuits, geometrical and physical optics as well as modern physics.
Co-requisite: PHYS 204
PHYS 210 Methods of Theoretical Physics (3-0-3)
Vector Calculus, Matrix algebra, Fourier Series and Transforms, Functions of a complex variable; Contour integration and Residue theorem; Orthogonal Polynomials; Partial differential equations; Introduction to tensors.
(Not open for credit to students who have taken MATH 333 or Math 302)
Co-requisite: MATH 202
PHYS 213 Modern Physics (3-0-3)
Quantum mechanics: the particle and wave aspects of matter; quantum mechanics in one and three dimensions, quantum theory of the hydrogen atom; atomic physics; statistical physics; selected topics from molecular Physics, solid state physics, nuclear physics, elementary particle physics, and cosmology.
Prerequisite: PHYS 102

PHYS 215 Introduction to Astronomy (3-0-3)
Celestial mechanics; the solar system; stellar measurement; stellar magnitudes and spectra; galaxies; cosmology, Light and Telescopes, Parallaxes, Early and Modern History of Astronomy including contributions of Arab and Muslim Scientists.
Prerequisite: PHYS 102

PHYS 234 The Physics of How Things Work (3-0-3)
Selected topics from materials engineering, nuclear physics, aerodynamics, energy, electronics, communications, biological systems, terrestrial and celestial natural systems.
Prerequisite: PHYS 102
PHYS 261 Energy (3-0-3)
A survey of energy sources and resources; a quantitative evaluation of energy technologies; the production, transportation, and consumption of energy. Topics covered include Nuclear energy; fossil fuels; solar energy; wind energy; hydropower; geothermal energy; energy storage and distribution; automotive transportation.
Prerequisite: PHYS 102
PHYS 271 Introduction to Special Relativity (3-0-3)
Properties of space-time; the Lorentz transformation; paradoxes; four vector formulations of mechanics and electromagnetism.
Prerequisite: PHYS 102
PHYS 300 Classical Mechanics I (4-0-4)
Newton's laws of motion and conservation theorems, forced damped Oscillations; Coupled Oscillations; Lagrangian Dynamics, Hamilton's equations of motion; Central-force motion; Dynamics of systems of particles, Motion in a non-inertial reference frame, Dynamics of Rigid bodies including properties of Inertia tensor.
Prerequisites: PHYS 101, MATH 202 or MATH 208

PHYS 302 Classical Mechanics II (3-0-3)
Lagrangian formalism in the study of Euler equations for rigid body motion and coupled oscillations; continuous systems and waves; special theory of relativity and relativistic kinematics; Hamiltonian dynamics, Poisson Brackets and conserved quantities, introduction to chaos.
Prerequisite: PHYS 300
PHYS 305 Electricity and Magnetism I (3-0-3)
Electrostatics; Laplace and Poisson's equations; Dielectric media, Magnetostatics and magnetic fields in matter; Electrodynamics.
Prerequisites: PHYS 102, MATH 201, MATH 202 or MATH 208
PHYS 306 Electricity and Magnetism II (3-0-3)
Conservation Laws; Electromagnetic waves; Diffraction and scattering; Potentials and fields, Electromagnetic radiation, Relativity and relativistic electrodynamics.
Prerequisite: PHYS 305

PHYS 307 Laser Molecular Spectroscopy (3-0-3)
Introduction to lasers; laser in time-resolved and in frequency-resolved spectroscopy; basic elements of spectroscopy; rotational, vibrational, and electronic spectroscopy.
 Prerequisite: PHYS 204 or PHYS 213
PHYS 308 Electronics (3-3-4)
Physics of semi-conductors; junction transistors; amplifiers; feedback circuits; oscillators; nonlinear devices; digital electronics; digital logic; counters and registers; analog-to-digital converters.
Prerequisite: PHYS 205

PHYS 309 Experimental Physics (1-3-2)
Curve fitting processes; fundamentals of the theory of statistics; evaluation of experimental data; estimation of errors; computer interfacing and data acquisition. Selected experiments in physics will be performed in conjunction with lecture material.
Prerequisite: PHYS 308

PHYS 310 Quantum Mechanics and Applications I (3-0-3)
Fundamentals of non-relativistic quantum mechanics. Mathematical tools and basic postulates of Quantum Mechanics. The Schrödinger equation and its applications to various one-and three-dimensional systems. Spin and identical particle effects. Addition of angular momenta.
Prerequisites: PHYS 213 or PHYS 204, MATH 202 or MATH 208
PHYS 311 Optics (3-0-3)
Nature and propagation of light; image formation-paraxial approximation; optical instruments; superposition of waves; standing waves; beats; Fourier analysis of harmonic periodic waves and wave packets; two-beam and multiple-beam interference; polarization; Fraunhoffer and Fresnel diffraction; holography; lasers.
Prerequisite: PHYS 204
PHYS 315 Astrophysics (3-0-3)
Stellar positions, size, luminosity, spectra. Newtonian gravitation, spectral analysis, Doppler shift, interaction of matter and radiation. Modeling the structure of stars. Pulsating stars, novae and supernovae. Collapsed stars (white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes). Stellar systems and clusters, Galaxies, systems of galaxies, filament and voids.
Prerequisite: PHYS 204 or PHYS 213
PHYS 336 Physics of Semiconductor Devices (3-0-3)
Electronic structure of isolated atoms; atoms bonding, crystal structure, energy bands in solids; electrons and holes in semiconductors, drift and diffusion, mobility, recombination and lifetime, conductivity; PN junctions, I(V)characteristic, applications; photo detectors, Light emitting diodes, Solar-cell, Bipolar transistor, MOSFET and JFET, Semiconducting Lasers.
Prerequisite: PHYS 102
PHYS 353 Radiation and Health Physics (3-3-4)
Introduction to atomic and nuclear structure, Radioactivity, Properties of ionizing radiation, interaction of radiation with matter, detection methods, dosimetry, biological effects of radiation, external and internal radiation protection.
Prerequisite: PHYS 102

PHYS 365 Introduction to Medical Physics (3-0-3)
Biomechanics, sound and hearing, pressure and motion of fluids, heat and temperature, electricity and magnetism in the body, optics and the eye, biological effects of light, use of ionizing radiation in diagnosis and therapy, radiation safety, medical instrumentation.
Prerequisite: PHYS102, MATH 202
PHYS 373 Introduction to Computational Physics (2-3-3)
Computer simulation of physical systems; simulation techniques; programming methods; comparison of ideal and realistic systems; limitations of physical theory, behavior of physical systems.
(Not open for students who have taken MATH 371 or CISE 301)
Prerequisites: PHYS 204 or PHYS 213, ICS 104

PHYS 399 Summer Training (0-0-2)
Students are required to spend one summer working in industry prior to the term in which they expect to graduate. Students are required to submit a report and make a presentation on their summer training experience and the knowledge gained. The student may also do his summer training by doing research and other academic activities.
Prerequisite: ENGL 214, Junior Standing, Approval of the Department

PHYS 403 Senior Physics Lab (0-6-2)
Students are introduced to some experiments that are selected both for their importance in the historical development of physics and their educational value in presenting the techniques used in experimental physics, correlation of the experimental work with theory is stressed.
Prerequisite: PHYS 309
PHYS 405 Physics Project Laboratory (1-6-3)
A laboratory course which offers an opportunity for students to carry out experimental projects, based on their special interests and ideas to study physical phenomena. Faculty help students determine the feasibility of proposed projects.
Prerequisite: Senior Standing
PHYS 410 Quantum Mechanics and Applications II (3-0-3)
Time-independent perturbation theory. The variational method and its applications; WKB Approximation, The adiabatic approximation, Time-dependent perturbation theory. Scattering Theory. Approximate solutions of several Schrödinger equations obtained via computer packages.
Prerequisite: PHYS 310
PHYS 413 Advanced Optics (3-0-3)
Fourier transforms and applications, theory of coherence, interference spectroscopy, auto-correlation function, fluctuations, optical transfer functions, diffraction and Gaussian beams, Kirchhoff diffraction theory, theory of image formation, spatial filtering, aberrations in optical images, interaction of light with matter, crystal optics, nonlinear optics, lasers.
Prerequisites:  PHYS 306, PHYS 311 
PHYS 414 Physics of Lasers (3-0-3)
Stimulated emission and coherence; population inversion; Gaussian beam propagation; optical resonators and cavity modes; stability criteria; phase conjugate resonators; oscillation threshold and gain; line broadening; gain saturation; density matrix formulation and semi-classical theory of laser; lasers without inversion; mode-locking and pulse compression.
Prerequisites: PHYS 213, PHYS 311
PHYS 416 Cosmology and the Early universe (3-0-3)
Relativity, Gravitational phenomena, Cosmological models, Thermal history of the universe, Cosmic Inflation, Cosmic Microwave Background, Cosmic Structures and Dark Matter.
Prerequisites: PHYS 204 or PHYS 213, MATH 202 or MATH 208
PHYS 417 Introduction to General Relativity (3-0-3)
Review of Special Relativity, Tensor Calculus and Spacetime curvature, Equivalence Principle, Einstein Field Equations and their spherical solution, Black Holes; Experimental Tests of General Relativity
Prerequisite: PHYS 306 or Consent of Instructor

PHYS 422 Nuclear and Particle Physics (3-0-3)
Nuclear properties, forces between nucleons, nuclear models, radioactive decays and detectors, nuclear reactions, accelerators. Selected Applications.
Prerequisite: PHYS 310
PHYS  423 Physics of Nuclear Reactors (3-0-3)
Introduction to fundamental properties of the neutron. Reactions induced by neutrons, nuclear fission, slowing down of neutrons in infinite media, diffusion theory, the few-group approximation, point kinetics, and fission-product poisoning. The bases of thermal reactor design and its relationship to reactor engineering problems.
Prerequisites: PHYS 102, MATH 202 or MATH 208 

PHYS 430 Thermal and Statistical Physics (4-0-4)
Concepts of temperature, laws of thermodynamics, entropy, thermodynamic relations, free energy. Applications to phase equilibrium, multicomponent systems, chemical reactions, and thermodynamic cycles. Introduction to Kinetic theory and transport phenomena. Introduction to Maxwell-Boltzmann, Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac statistics.
Prerequisite: PHYS 213 or PHYS 204
PHYS 431 Monte Carlo Simulations in Statistical Mechanics (3-0-3)
Review of pertinent topics in classical and quantum physics. Gibb's statistical ensembles, MB, BE, and FD statistics with simple applications to solids. Theoretical foundations of Monte Carlo simulation, Markov chains, random walks. Study of phase transitions in the 2D and 3D Ising models as well as in the Landau Ginsburg Model using Monte Carlo simulations. Selected Topics in Kinetic Monte Carlo Simulations.
Prerequisite: Senior Standing
PHYS 432 Introduction to Solid State Physics (3-0-3)
Crystal bonding; lattice vibrations; thermal properties of insulators; free electron theory of metals; band theory; semiconductors, introduction to superconductivity. Simple band structure calculations using computer software packages.
Prerequisite: PHYS 310

PHYS 434 Introduction to the Physics of Surface (3-0-3)
A course may be offered in conjunction with current research at the Surface Science Laboratory. Preparation of clean surfaces; experimental methods such as XPS, UPS, Auger, and LEED; thin films; surface states; temperature effects.
Pre-requisite: PHYS 432
PHYS 435 Superconductivity (3-0-3)
The two-fluid model, electrodynamics of superconductors. Thermodynamics of phase transition in type I and type II superconductors. Landau-Ginzburg phenomenological theory of type II superconductors: coherence length, vortices, Abrikosov vortex lattice, critical fields and vortex flow dynamics. The microscopic theory of BCS, electron pairing.
Prerequisite: PHYS 432
PHYS 441 Particle Physics (3-0-3)
Symmetries and conservation laws; the quark model, Bound States, Feynman diagrams; Selected topics in Quantum Electrodynamics, Weak Interactions, Quantum Chromodynamics, and Gauge theories. Survey of particle accelerators and particle detectors.
Prerequisite: PHYS 310
PHYS 442 Relativistic Quantum Mechanics (3-0-3)
Relativistic spin zero particles and the Klein-Gordon equation; relativistic spin one-half particles and the Dirac equation; propagator theory; Selected Applications.
Prerequisite: PHYS 410

PHYS 451 Nanophysics and Nanotechnology (3-0-3)
Physical concepts, techniques and applications of nanoscale systems. Quantum Mechanics in the nano-regime. Special properties of Nano-materials: nano-slabs, nano-wires and quantum dots. Magnetism at the nano-level and characterization techniques
Prerequisite: PHYS 213

PHYS 461 Introduction to Plasma Physics (3-0-3)
Single-particle motions; plasmas as fluids; waves in plasmas; diffusion and resistivity; equilibrium and stability; a simple introduction to kinetic theory; nonlinear effects; controlled fusion.
Prerequisite: PHYS 306

PHYS 471 Introduction to Quantum Information and Computing 3-0-3
Review of relevant Quantum Mechanics concepts including linear vector spaces, Entanglement, the EPR paradox, and Bell's inequality. Quantum Computation including the qubit, quantum gates and search algorithms. Quantum Communication including cryptography and teleportation. Overview of some experimental implementations.
Prerequisites: PHYS 210 or MATH 208 or MATH 225
PHYS 472 Qubits and Circuit Quantum Electrodynamics (3-0-3)
Introduction to ion trap, spin, NV-center, and circuit qubit, Quantum electrical circuits, superconductivity, Josephson Junction (JJ)-based non-linear harmonic oscillators, JJ-based superconducting circuit-qubits, noise and decoherence, cavity and circuit quantum electrodynamics (QED), microwave-based measurements in circuit QED
Prerequisite: PHYS 471
PHYS 473 Materials Informatics 3-0-3
The course provides an introduction to materials informatics, which is an intersection between materials science, computational methods, and big-data sciences. The emphasis will be toward foundational backgrounds including machine and statistical learning, ML-based materials science modeling, and implementations. As the field is expanding, a short overview of the contemporary trends in the field will be provided.
Prerequisite: Senior Standing
PHYS 493 Selected Topics in Physics (3-0-3)
Selected topics of special interest to students. This course may be repeated for credit as an in-depth investigation of a single topic or as a survey of several topics.
Prerequisite: Consent of the Instructor
PHYS 497 Undergraduate Research I (0-0-3)
The Student is trained in the process of carrying out scientific research under the supervision of a faculty member. This includes carrying out literature search, writing research proposal, and conducting experimental or theoretical research. The student is expected to present his work at the end of the semester.
Prerequisite: Senior Standing

PHYS 498 Undergraduate Research II (0-0-3)
This is a continuation of PHYS 497. The student carries out research, writes a thesis, and defends it at the end of the semester.
Prerequisite: PHYS 497

PHYS 499 Seminar (1-0-1)
Students have the opportunity to present and attend seminars on topics of current research interest.
Prerequisite: Senior Standing.