B.A. in Physics

This program provides an opportunity for a broad and liberal education, which in some cases may be sufficient for graduate work. This program can also be excellent preparation for middle and high school physics teachers, pre-med and pre-law students, and those wishing to pursue a technical career in industry. Because there are fewer required courses than for a B.S., you have to time to pursue other academic interests.



  1. Satisfy the requirements of the Discovery Program.
  2. Satisfy the Writing Requirements. This requirement includes 4 courses, two of which (English 401 and Physics 705) are also Physics B.A. degree requirements. A list of approved writing intensive courses appears on the web.
  3. Satisfy the Bachelor of Arts Requirements; this includes proficiency in a foreign language, and a minimum of 128 credits at the 400-799 level, with a minimum GPA of 2.00.
  4. Minimum Physics requirements: 400, 407-408, 505-506, 508, 601-602, 605, 615-616, 701, 703, 705.
  5. Math 425 and Math 426 and two additional courses, which can be either Math 527 and Math 528 or Math 525 and Math 526. 
  6. Computational requirement (for students starting in Fall 2019 and later): CS 410P or IAM 550
  7. Physics majors can fulfill the University's Capstone Requirement in one of two ways: (1) completing a senior thesis (PHYS799) or (2) taking the Physics capstone course (PHYS798). Students who complete a summer research project in physics after their junior year may submit a petition to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee to have the capstone requirement waived. 

Suggested Curriculum for B.A. in Physics

The following gives a suggested schedule for a student obtaining a B.A. in Physics. Please note that Physics courses numbered 500 and higher are offered only once a year, and elective courses (numbered above 706) are typically offered only every other year. Only 400 level physics courses are offered in the summer (and even these are not guaranteed to be offered at that time.) Also, most courses above 600 have several physics and mathematics prerequisites. All this means that the schedule given below is somewhat rigid (although Physics 508, 701 and 703 can be taken in any order in the last two years). If you feel you need to deviate from this schedule for any reason, it is best to do so in consultation with your Physics advisor.

Regular Program for BA in Physics

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
Fall Spring Fall Spring Fall Spring Fall Spring

Phys 407H1

Phys 408H1

Phys 505/6

Phys 605

Phys 701

Phys 703

Phys 705


Phys 798 or 799

Math 425H1

Math 426H1

Phys 508

Phys 615

Phys 616


Phys 704



CS410P or

IAM 550

Math 5252


Math 527

 Math 5262


Math 528 






Phys 400

Eng 401

Phys 601


Phys 602





There are spaces for fourteen electives. These spaces must be used to fulfill the following requirements:

  • the two writing intensive requirements (in addition to ENG 401 and PHYS 705)
  • the nine Discovery requirements (in addition to ENG 401 and MATH 425)
  • the B.A. language requirement

Note that some courses are both Discovery courses and writing intensive and can therefore fulfill two requirements. The remaining electives can be used to pursue other academic interests.



  1. Phys 407H & Math 425H (Honors Studio Calc/Phys) have to be taken together, same for Phys 408H & Math 426H. Incoming freshmen who do not pass the math placement test will take Math 418 in the fall, regular (lecture-style) Phys 407 & Math 425 in the spring, and Math 426 & Phys 408 in the summer following their freshmen year. Taking the non-honors versions of these courses is also a possibility.
  2. Math 525 & 526 (Linearity) better prepare for upper-level physics courses, but students need to be motivated, independent learners to do well in this class and to have earned a B or better in Calc I and II; Linearity is not for everyone. Linearity is 6 credits each semester, so it is equivalent to three classes. The other option to fulfill this requirement is to take the two independent classes: Math 527 and 528.