Undergraduate Degree Programs in Physics

Physics students study the basic laws of mechanics, heat and thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, optics, relativity, quantum mechanics, and elementary particles. Students also study applications of the basic theories to the description of bulk matter, including the mechanical, electric, magnetic, and thermal properties of solids, liquids, gases, and plasmas, and to the description of the structure of atoms and nuclei. In addition, students develop the laboratory skills and techniques of the experimental physicist, skills that can be applied in the experimental search for new knowledge or in applications of the known theories.

B.S Degree in Physics, College of Arts and Sciences  Students who want a strong fundamental physics and mathematics background may choose the Bachelor of Science in Physics program in the College of Arts and Sciences. This program prepares students not only for employment following graduation, but also for graduate work in physics or other science and engineering fields.

B.A Degree in Physics, College of Arts and Sciences  Students who are interested in pursuing a career that involves physics along with a broader background in other topics may choose the Bachelor of Arts with a major in physics in the College of Arts and Sciences. This is best suited, for example, for students interested in teaching physics in secondary school or in pursuing a career such as technical law or business, or combining physics with another major or minor. The many electives available in this major allow students maximum flexibility in designing programs best suited for their particular interests.

B.S. Degree in Engineering Physics, College of Engineering and Applied Science  The Engineering Physics (EP) major in the College of Engineering and Applied Science is designed for students with an interest in both physics and its applications. Within EP there are two concentrations to choose from, Solid State Electronics and Optical Sciences. Our EP program, which is designed to fit accreditation guidelines for engineering physics, contains a number of engineering courses and has a strong applied flavor.

Core Courses

The following courses are common to all three of the physics and engineering physics programs:

  • Chem. 21, 22
  • Math. 21, 22, 23, 205, 322
  • Phys. 11, 12, 21, 22, 31, 190, 212, 213, 215, 171, 362.

College of Arts and Sciences
Bachelor of Arts Degree with a Major in Physics
Program Requirements

  • PHY (10 or 11), (13 or 21), 12, 22, 31
  • MATH 21, 22, 23, 205
  • CHM 30
  • At least one of the two advanced physics laboratories (PHY 190, PHY 262).
  • At least 18 credits of advanced physics courses must be selected from the following list:
  • PHY 301, 212, 213, 215, 332, 340, 342, 348, 352, 355, 362, 363, 364, 365, 369, 380.

A total of 120 credits are required for the BA in Physics

College of Arts and Sciences
Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics
Program Requirements

  • PHY (10 or 11), 21, 12, 22, 31
  • MATH 21, 22, 23, 205, 322
  • CHM 30
  • ENGR 1 or an equivalent course in scientific computing
  • PHY 190, 262
  • PHY 212, 213, 215, 362, 364, 340

At least 17 credits of approved electives in physics, physical sciences or technical areas must be selected in consultation with the advisor. Included in this group must be three of the following courses: PHY 363, 369, (352 or 355), and (348 or 365) and 380. Students planning graduate work in physics are advised to include PHY 273 and 369 among their electives.

A total of 123 credits are required for the BS in Physics

The recommended sequence of courses for the two physics degree programs are indicated below. General electives are not indicated, but they should be selected in consultation with the advisor so that educational goals and total credit hour requirements are satisfied.

College of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics
Program Requirements

This program is similar to the B.S. Degree in Physics through the College of Arts and Sciences. Requirements for the two specializations, Solid State Electronics and Optical Sciences, may be found in the University Catalog.

Minor in Physics

The minor in physics consists of 15 credits of physics courses, excluding Physics 5 and 7. No more than one physics course required in a student’s major program may be included in the minor program. The minor program must be designed in consultation with the physics department chair.

Departmental Honors in Physics

Students may earn departmental honors by satisfying the following requirements:

  • Grade point average of at least 3.50 in physics courses.
  • Complete 6 credits of Physics 273 (research), or summer REU project, submit a written report, and give an oral presentation open to faculty and students.
  • Complete three courses from the list: Physics (332 or 342 or 350)348, 363, (352 or 355), 369, 380, any 400 level Physics course.