Physics education in American universities

Oregon State University restructured its junior and senior physics curriculum with the aid of a grant from the National Science Foundation . This curriculum represents a departure from the traditional one that is firmly rooted in courses of equal difficulty devoted to a particular sub-field of physics. The approach teaches physics as physicists think about it, namely in terms of concepts that broadly underlie the various sub-fields: energy, symmetry, wave motion, rotations and so forth. The major structural change during the junior year is that two separate traditional course sequences, running in parallel, have merged to form a single intensive sequence, to encourage mastery of the concepts as you go along. These "paradigm" courses, taken typically in the junior year, are followed by senior year "capstone" courses in each of the major sub-disciplines of physics.