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 Undergraduate Program

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 teaching efforts of the Physics Depart­ment at the undergraduate level have two main objectives:
  • To provide science and engineering students with the basic knowledge of physics principles necessary for their respective studies;
  • To provide advanced and specialized training for students who seek a deeper understanding of the physical world.
The first objective is met by the Depart­ment’s offering of a series of introductory physics courses, and the second by providing an advanced program leading to a bachelor’s degree.
A student pursuing the bachelor degree program will not only become familiar with basic physics principles and applications, but will also study the underlying fundamental concepts of the structure of matter and the nature of the universe. In addition, a Phys­ics graduate is well prepared for a career in any one of the Kingdom’s rapidly expand­ing technological sectors and for possible advanced study either at home or abroad.
Mission and Goals

Mission Statement
To provide high quality fundamental education in physics in accordance with international standards in order to prepare creative young scientists with strong analytical, experimental, and communication skills and who are motivated to serve their country.
  1. Prepare graduates capable of pursuing graduate studies in physics and related fields.
  2. Prepare graduates for a successful career in industry or research labs.
  3. Prepare graduates with communication and teamwork skills that enable them to work in various environments.
  4. Prepare gra​duates capable of being self-learners.
Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Recognize the laws of classical physics at the basic and intermediate levels.
  2. Recognize the laws of modern physics at the basic and intermediate levels.
  3. Recognize the laws in at least one major specialty area of physics at the basic and intermediate levels
  4. Solve problems in classical physics at the basic and intermediate levels
  5. Solve problems in modern physics at the basic and intermediate levels
  6. Solve problems in at least one major specialty area of physics at the basic and intermediate levels 
  7. Analyze and interpret experimental data and write concise report
  8. Be effective and responsible team member
  9. Use the mathematical skills to solve problems in physics at the basic and intermediate levels
  10. Use computing tools to solve problems in physics at the basic and intermediate levels
  11. Search and utilize information on topics in physics from a variety of sources
  12. Communicate physics concepts verbally, graphically and in writing
  13. Setup and Conduct experiments in order to study physical phenomena

Physics Curriculum Flow Chart
Physics Flow chart.jpg

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 physical 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 five areas of physics.
The introductory course sequence of general Physics101, 102, 211 and 212 covers the entire subject matter of physics at an elementary level. Mechanics is dealt with in Physics 301 at the intermediate level. Physics 305 and Physics 306 give the required knowledge and competency in classical electrodynamics. The wave components of Physics 211 and Physics 306 will provide an appreciation of waves in physics. Quantum mechanics and its applications will be dealt with in Physics 401 and Physics 402. Physics 430 will examine the statistical and thermal description of many particle systems. Students will have ample opportunity to learn experimental techniques in Physics 211, 212, 303, 304 and 403.
To qualify for graduation with a B.S. in Physics, a student must fulfill the following:
Each student majoring in physics must complete a total of 123 credit hours according to the following distribution:
General Education Courses (61 credit hours) Credit Hours
Chemistry CHEM 101, 102 8
Computer Programming ICS 101 3
English ENGL 101, 102, 214 9
Islamic & Arabic Studies IAS 101, 111, 201, 212, 301, 322, 4xx 14
Mathematics MATH 101, 102, 201, 202 14
Physics PHYS 101, 102 8
Physical Education PE101, PE 102 2
Social or Behavioral Sciences GS xxx 3
​ ​ ​
Core Courses (33 credit hours) ​
Optics &Modern Physics PHYS 211 & 212 7
Classical Mechanics I PHYS 301 3
Experimental Physics PHYS 303, 304, & 403 7
Electricity & Magnetism PHYS 305 & 306 6
Quantum Mechanics PHYS 401 & 402 6
Physics Seminar PHYS 409 1
Thermal & Statistica lPhysics PHYS 430 3

Physics Elective Courses (12 credit hours)

​​Each student must take a total of 12 credit hours from the following Physics elective courses:
Classical Mechanics II PHYS 302 3
Laser Molecular Spectroscopy PHYS 307 3
Astrophysics PHYS 315 3
Physics of Nuclear Reactors PHYS 323 3
Radiation & Health Physics PHYS 353 4
Introduction to Medical Physics PHYS 365 3
Methods of Theoretical Physics PHYS 371 3
Intro. to Computational Physics PHYS 373 3
Selected Experiments in Physics PHYS 404 2
Advanced Optics PHYS 411 3
Physics of Lasers PHYS 412 3
Cosmology and the Early Universe PHYS 416 3
Nuclear & Particle Physics PHYS 422 3
Introduction to Solid State Physics PHYS 432 3
Intro. to the Physics of Surface PHYS 434 3
Superconductivity PHYS 435 3
Particle Physics PHYS 441 3
Relativistic Quantum Mechanics PHYS 442 3
Introduction to Plasma Physics PHYS 461 3
Selected Topics in Physics PHYS 493 3
Guided Studies PHYS 495 1
Mathematics Electives (6 credit hours)
Free Electives (9 credit hours)
Each student is expected to take 9 credit hours of free electives where at least 6 credit hours should be from outside his program.
Summer Training (2 credit hours)
Summer Training ...................................................... PHYS 399 .................................2
Students are required to spend one summer working in industry prior to the term in which they expect to graduate. They will be required to write a report and present it in a seminar at the Department.
Total Requirements (123 credit hours)
The total requirement for the in Physics is 123 semester-credit-hours.
undergraduate physics Curr.png
Course Description
PHYS 101 General Physics I (3-3-4)
First course of calculus-based, general physics sequence. Topics covered include: particle kinematics and dynamics; conservation of energy and linear momentum; rotational kinematics; rigid body dynamics; conservation of angular momentum; simple harmonic motion; gravitation; the static and dynamics of fluids.
Co requisite: MATH 101
PHYS 102 General Physics II (3-3-4)
A continuation of PHYS 101. Topics covered include: wave motion and sound; temperature, first and second law of thermodynamics; kinetic theory of gases; Coulomb’slaw; the electric field; Gauss’ law; electric potential; capacitors and dielectrics; D.C.circuits; the magnetic field; Ampere’s and Faraday’s laws.
Prerequisite: PHYS 101
Co requisite: MATH 102
PHYS 133 Principles of Physics (3-3-4)
This is an on-calculus based physics course. Topics include: Particle kinematics and dynamics, work, energy, and power. Kinetic theory of gases. Temperature, first and second laws of thermodynamics. Heat transfer. Wave motion and sound. Electricity and magnetism. Light and optics.
Prerequisite: None
PHYS 201 General Physics III (3-3-4)
A continuation of PHYS 101 and 102. Topics covered include: inductance; magnetic properties of matter, electromagnetic oscillations and waves; geometrical and physical optics. Relativity, introduction to quantum physics, atomic and molecular physics, nuclear physics, particle physics and cosmology.
(For non-Physics Majors)
Prerequisites: PHYS 102,  MATH 102
PHYS 203 Electrical and Magnetic Properties of Materials (3-0-3)
The course material includes the following topics: Concepts of Modern Physics: photons, electronic structure of isolated atoms; atoms bonding, crystal structure, energy bands in solids, insulators, semiconductors and conductors; 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, Lasers, Magnetic Properties, Use of computer to simulate the effect of various physical properties of semiconductors on the I(V)characteristics of devices.
Prerequisite: PHYS 102
PHYS 211 Optics (2-3-3)
An introductory course in Geometrical and Physical Optics. Topics covered include: 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; Fraunhofer and Fresnel diffraction; holography; lasers.
Prerequisite: PHYS 102
PHYS 212 Modern Physics (3-3-4)
Special relativity; 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 in solid state physics; nuclear physics.
(Not open for credit to students who have taken PHYS 201).
Prerequisite: PHYS 102
PHYS 215 Introduction to Astronomy (3-0-3)
An elementary introduction to astronomy. Topics covered include: Celestial mechanics; the solar system; stellar measurement; stellar magnitudes and spectra; galaxies; cosmology.
Prerequisite: PHYS 102
PHYS 234 The Physics of How Things Work(3-0-3)
A sophomore level course, free elective for scientists and engineers.  It emphasizes on developing physical intuition.  The chosen topics are related to a variety of fields that may include: 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; MHD; energy storage and distribution; automotive transportation.
Prerequisite: PHYS 102
PHYS 271 Introduction to Special Relativity (3-0-3)
Topics covered include: Properties of space-time; the Lorentz transformation; paradoxes; four vector formulations of mechanics and electromagnetism.
Prerequisite: PHYS 102
PHYS 301 Classical Mechanics I (3-0-3)
Topics covered include: Newton’s laws of motion and conservation theorems, oscillations; non-linear oscillations and chaos; Computational study of forced oscillatory motion and nonlinear motion gravitation; Hamilton’s variational principle – Lagrangian and Hamiltonian Dynamics; Central force; Motion in a non-inertial reference frame.
Prerequisites: MATH 202,  PHYS 101
PHYS 302 Classical Mechanics II (3-0-3)
Topics covered include: Planetary motion; dynamics of a system of particles; motion in a non-inertial reference frames; dynamics of rigid bodies; coupled oscillations; continuous systems; special theory of relativity; computational study of coupled oscillatory motion and Euler’s equations.
Prerequisite: PHYS 301
PHYS 303 Experimental Physics I (2-3-3)
An introductory course in electronic and the methods of experimental physics. The physics of semi-conductors; junction transistor; amplifiers; feedback circuits; oscillators; nonlinear devices; digital electronics; digital logic; counters and registers; analog-to-digital converters.
Prerequisite: PHYS 302
PHYS 304 Experimental Physics II (1-3-2)
Method of experimental physics. Analysis of experimental data. Relationship between theory and experiment. Curve fitting processes; fundamental of the theory of statistics; evaluation of experimental data; estimation of errors. Selected experiments in physics will be performed in conjunction with lecture material.
Prerequisite: PHYS 303
PHYS 305 Electricity and Magnetism I (3-0-3)
Introduction to classical electromagnetic theory based on vector calculus. Electrostatics; Laplace and Poisson’s equations; Dielectric media and magnetostatics fieldsinmatter; Computer will be used to solve electromagnetic problems.
Prerequisites: PHYS 102, MATH 202
PHYS 306 Electricity and Magnetism II (3-0-3)
A continuation of Physics 305. Topics covered include electrodynamics; electromagnetic waves; electromagnetic radiation and relativity.
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 212  or  PHYS 201
PHYS 315 Astrophysics (3-0-3)
Basic methods of obtaining information about stars: stellar positions, size, luminosity, spectra. Methods of deducing stellar parameters from those observations. 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 212  or  PHYS 201
PHYS 323 Physics of Nuclear Reactors (3-0-3)
Nuclear reactions and fission; the multiplication factor and nuclear reactor criticality; homogeneous and heterogeneous reactors; the one-speed diffusion theory; reactor kinetics; multi group diffusion theory; Computer will be used in simple criticality calculations and reactor kinetics.
Prerequisites: PHYS 212  or  PHYS 201; MATH 202
PHYS 353 Radiation and Health Physics (3-3-4)
A survey course in safety from ionizing radiation. Topics covered include: properties of ionizing radiation; interaction of radiation with matter, detection methods, dosimetry, biological effects of radiation, external and internal radiation protection.
Prerequisite: PHYS 212  or  PHYS 201
PHYS 365 Introduction to Medical Physics (3-0-3)
Topics: 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: PHYS 201 or PHYS 212
PHYS 371 Methods of TheoreticalPhysics(3-0-3)
A one-semester course of mathematical topics chosen because of their importance and usefulness to physics. Topics covered may include functions of a complex variable; contour integration; partial differential equations; special functions; numerical techniques.
(Not open for credit to students who have taken MATH 301)
Prerequisite: MATH 202
PHYS 373 Introduction to Computational Physics (2-3-3)
Computer simulation of physical systems. Topics covered include: simulation techniques; programming methods; comparison of ideal and realistic systems; limitations of physical theory; behavior of physical systems.
(Not open for credit to students who have taken MATH 321 or SE 301).
Prerequisites: PHYS 212,  ICS 101  or  ICS 102  or  ICS 103
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. They will be required to write a report and present it in a seminar at the Department.
PHYS 401 Quantum Mechanics and Applications I (3-0-3)
This course deals with the fundamentals of non-relativistic quantum mechanics. Failuresof classical physics in describing microscopic phenomena. Mathematical tools and basic postulates of Quantum Mechanics. Matrix formulation of Quantum Mechanics. The Schrödinger equation and its application to various one-dimensional systems. Orbital angular momentum. Applications of Quantum Mechanics to the study of three-dimensional systems. Wave functions for some of the above systems and related expectation values obtained via computer packages.
Prerequisite: PHYS 301
PHYS 402 Quantum Mechanics and Application II (3-0-3)
This course is continuation of Physics401. Addition of angular momenta. Time-independent perturbation theory. The variational method and its applications. Schrödinger, Heisenbergand Interaction pictures. Time-dependent perturbation theory. Scattering Theory. Identical particles systems. Approximate solutions of several Schrödinger equations obtained via computer packages.
Prerequisite: PHYS 401
PHYS 403 Senior Physics Laboratory (0-6-2)
A number of experiments selected both for their importance in the historical development physics and their educational value in presenting the techniques used in experimental physics correlation of the experimental work with theory are stressed.
Prerequisite: PHYS 304
PHYS 404 Physics Project Laboratory (0-6-2)
A laboratory course, which offers an opportunity for student to carry out experimental projects, based on their special interests and ideas to study physical phenomena. Faculty helps students to determine the feasibility of proposed projects.
Prerequisite: Senior Standing
PHYS 409 Physics Seminar (1-0-1)
Students are given the opportunity to present and attend lectures on topics of current research interest.
Prerequisite: Senior Standing
PHYS 411 Advanced Optics (3-0-3)
An advanced study of Physical Optics. Topics covered are: 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 opticalimages, interaction of light with matter, crystal optics, nonlinear optics, lasers.
Prerequisite: PHYS 211  and  PHYS 306
PHYS 412 Physics of Lasers (3-0-3)
Topics covered are: Stimulated emission and coherence; population inversion; Gaussian beam propagation; optical resonators and cavity modes; stability criteria; unstable resonators; phase conjugate resonators; oscillation threshold and gain; line broadening; gain saturation; density matrix formulation and semi-classical theory of laser; lasers without inversion; Q-switching, mode-locking and pulse compression.
Prerequisite: PHYS 211  and  PHYS 212
PHYS 416 Cosmology and the Early Universe (3-0-3)
Distance scale of the universe. Hubble expansion and modeling by non-Euclidean spaces. The steady state models: Einstein, DeSitter, Lemaitre. Continuous creation models: Bondi, Hoyle-Harlikar.  The relativistic evolution equation and Friedmann’s expanding models.Cosmology and nucleosyn thesis. Gamow’s big bang model. Phase transitions and the thermal history of the universe. Problems of the standard model of cosmology: horizons and structure formation. Solution by inflationary models using grand unified field theories, their problems and the revised inflationary scenarios.
Prerequisites: PHYS 212  or  PHYS 201,  Math 202
PHYS 422 Nuclear and Particle Physics (3-0-3)
Study of Nuclear and Particle Physics with the help of Quantum Mechanics. Topics covered include: nuclear properties, forces between nucleons, nuclear models, radioactive decays and detectors, nuclear reactions, accelerators. Fundamental particles, forces, the subnuclear zoo. Two-body bound and scattering problems, nuclear forces, models, etc. studied both analytically and via computer packages.
Prerequisite: PHYS 401
PHYS 430 ThermalandStatisticalPhysics(4-0-4)
Statistical physics, developing both thermodynamics and statistical mechanics simultaneously. Concepts of temperature, laws of thermodynamics, entropy, thermodynamic relations, free energy. Applications to phase equilibrium, multicomponent systems, chemical reactions, and thermodynamic cycles. Application of statistical mechanics to physical systems; introduction to treatment of Maxwell-Boltzmann, Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac statistics with applications. Computational aspects of free-energy entropy magnetization for various classical and quantum distributions.
Co requisite: PHYS 401
PHYS 432 Introduction to Solid State Physics (3-0-3)
Introductory concepts in crystal diffraction and the reciprocallattice. Crystalbonding; latticevibrations; 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 401
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. Topics covered include: preparation of clean surfaces; experimental methods such as XPS, UPS, Auger, and LEED; thin films; surface states; temperature effects.
Co requisite: PHYS 432
PHYS 435 Superconductivity (3-0-3)
Experiment and phenomenology, the two fluid model. Perfect conductance and electrodynamics of superconductors. Thermodynamics of the phase transition, typeI and type II superconductors. Ginzburg Landau phenomenological theory of type II superconductors: coherence length, vortices, Abrikosov vortex lattice, critical fields and vortex flow dynamics. The microscopic theory of BCS and the concept of electron pairing. High Tc superconductivity.
Prerequisite: PHYS 432
PHYS 441 Particle Physics (3-0-3)
Topics covered include: accelerators and detectors; the subnuclear zoo; symmetries and conservation laws; the quark model; the gauge principle.
Prerequisite: PHYS 401
PHYS 442 Relativistic Quantum Mechanics (3-0-3)
Topics covered include: relativistic spin zero particle; the Klein-Gordon equation; relativistic spin one-half particles; the Dirac equation; propagation theory.
Prerequisite: PHYS 402
PHYS 461 Introduction to Plasma Physics (3-0-3)
An introduction to plasmas. Topics covered include: 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 493 Selected Topics in Physics (1-3 credits)
Selected topics of special interest to students. This course may be repeated forced it as an investigation in depth of a single topic or as a survey of several topics.
Prerequisite: Consent of the Instructor.
PHYS 495 Guided Studies (1-0-1)
Guided reading and reporting on special topics by individual students under the guidance of faculty members.
Prerequisite: Consent of the Instructor.