Physical Sciences

Students majoring in Physical Sciences will explore some of the fundamental processes in matter, space and time. How did the universe emerge? What is the structure of matter? What physical laws determine the motions, temperatures, and chemistry of the matter that comprises our planet and its life forms? Students will extend their interdisciplinary preparation in science provided by the Common Curriculum with a rigorous, in-depth sequence of courses that explore advanced topics in physics, chemistry, earth and space sciences. The major adopts an approach to science that integrates multiple disciplines in ways that enable students to continuously question and refine their understanding of scientific issues. The major emphasises the ability to understand physical concepts deeply and to solve real world scientific problems, which necessitates clear critical thinking on different levels. Thus, students who major in physical sciences will be well-equipped for both scientific and non-scientific careers in a wide range of fields. The major also offers excellent preparation for graduate study in the sciences as well as for graduate study in engineering, law and medicine.

STRUCTURE

Students will design a pathway in close consultation with a faculty advisor for approval by the Head of Studies. Pathways leading to graduate study in particular disciplines will be available, as will pathways leading to careers outside the university that require scientific expertise.

Requirements for Class of 2017 and 2018

All students in the Physical Sciences major are required to complete 50 modular credits (MC) in the following:

1. Integrated Science
2. Either Principles Of Organic Chemistry or Classical Mechanics
3. Either Mathematical Methods For Physical Scientists or an appropriate upper division mathematics course
4. Statistical Thermodynamics
5. At least five other courses (a minimum of 25 MC) in the Physical Science major, with at least one full course or two half-courses that are laboratory-based
6. A year-long capstone project (10 MC)

Requirements for Class of 2019 and beyond

All students in the Physical Sciences major are required to complete 54 MC in the following:

1. Either Organic Chemistry or Classical Mechanics
2. Either Mathematical Methods For Physical Scientists or an appropriate upper division mathematics course
3. Statistical Thermodynamics
4. At least five other courses (a minimum of 25 MC) in the Physical Science major, with at least one course that is laboratory-based, and no more than 2 modules that are introductory
5. A year-long research seminar in physical science course (4 MC)
6. A year-long capstone project (10 MC)

Notes:

[1] Students can create an individual pathway in consultation with their Academic Advisor and/or Head of Studies. Study abroad is encouraged. Courses taken away from Yale-NUS can count towards the major if it overlaps significantly with a core Physical Sciences module (and taken in its place) or if the course can be considered a sufficiently advanced module in a Physical Sciences -related discipline.

[2] The following are considered laboratory-based courses:  YSC3213 (Experimental Physics Laboratory); YSC2212 (Instrumental Analysis With Lab); YSC32328 (Inorganic Chemistry With Lab); and YSCXXXX (Organic Chemistry With Lab).

[3] A maximum of 2 introductory Physical Sciences courses can be counted towards the Physical Sciences major or minor.  The current offering of introductory courses include: YSC2214 Introduction To Optics and Imaging, YSC3202 Advanced Chemistry Laboratory, YSC1207 Chemistry: Molecular Structure And Reactivity, YSC1213 Electronics And Non-Linear Dynamics, and YSC2217 Observational Astronomy And Astrophysics.

Example pathways include the following:

Physics: Applied Calculus (or high-school calculus), Classical mechanics, Mathematical Methods For Physical Scientists, Electromagnetism, Quantum Mechanics, Statistical Thermodynamics, Experimental Methods In Physics, plus two advanced physical science courses at the 3000 or 4000 level.

Chemistry: Applied Calculus (or high-school calculus), Molecular Structure And Reactivity (or high-school general chemistry), Organic Chemistry With Laboratory, Physical Chemistry, Mathematical Methods For Physical Scientists, Instrumental Analysis With Laboratory, Statistical Thermodynamics, Inorganic Chemistry With Laboratory, plus two advanced physical science courses at the 3000 or 4000 level.

Engineering Focus: Applied Calculus (or high-school calculus), two introductory physical science courses, Classical Mechanics, Mathematical Methods For Physical Scientists, Quantum Mechanics, Statistical Thermodynamics, Experimental Methods In Physics, and Materials Engineering.

CAPSTONE

In their fourth year, students will complete a guided independent research project in Physical Sciences in consultation with a faculty advisor. The capstone can comprise a new experiment in physics and chemistry of the student’s design, an investigation of astrophysics using international telescope facilities, or a theoretical simulation of chemistry, physics, or earth science. This academic experience will be an opportunity for the students to engage in cutting-edge research in physical sciences while synthesising what they have learned in their courses. The results of the capstone will also be communicated to their peers and faculty, using the presentations and writing styles consistent with practice in the professional scientific disciplines.

MINOR

A minor requires five courses (a total of 25 MC) in the Physical Sciences.