B.S. Option in Chemical Physics

B.S. Option in Chemical Physics


This option combines courses from the Physics and Chemistry Departments to provide training in Chemical Physics. It includes most courses that are required for a regular BS in Physics and adds several courses in Physical Chemistry/ Analytical Chemistry. The option prepares you for research into the structure of matter using a wide range of spectroscopic and computational methods, and for graduate studies in Chemical Physics, Physical Chemistry, and Atomic and Molecular Physics.

This option has a very full schedule, and the first deviation from the standard B.S. schedule is in spring of sophomore year with the addition of Chem 404, so student should choose this option by fall of their sophomore year to stay on track with no summer or j-term courses.

Advisors:  Prof. Olof Echt, Prof. Shawn Hollen, Prof. Karsten Pohl



  1. Satisfy the requirements of the Discovery Program.
  2. Satisfy the Writing Requirements. This requirement includes 4 courses, two of which (ENGL 401 and PHYS 705) are also requirements for the chemical physics option.  To finish on time with no summer or J-term courses, two WI courses must also be Discovery courses.
  3. Satisfy the Bachelor of Science Requirements:  a minimum of 128 credits at the 400-799 level and at a GPA of at least 2.00.
  4. Minimum Physics requirements: PHYS 400, 407, 408, 505&506, 508, 605, 615, 616, 701, 702, 703, 705.
  5. Minimum Chemistry requirements: CHEM 403, 404, 683&685, 684&686, 762&763, 776.
  6. MATH 425, MATH 426, and one of the following two options. Option 1: MATH 525 and MATH 526. Option 2: MATH 527, MATH 528, and a course in linear algebra (preferably MATH 645).
  7. Computer Science: Either CS 410  or IAM 550.
  8. Electives in Option: One course selected from CHEM 547&549, or PHYS 718. Other courses may count upon petition, e.g. MATH 753, ME 730, ME 761, MS 762, ME 763, PHYS 708.
  9. A student must have a minimum grade of C in each 400- or 500- level course specifically required for the B.S. degree and an overall grade-point average of 2.33 in these courses in order to continue in the B.S. program).
  10. Physics majors can fulfill the University's Capstone Requirement in one of two ways: (1) completing a senior thesis (PHYS 799) or (2) taking the Physics senior project course (PHYS 798). 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. PHYS 799 requires that you have done some research in a prior semester or during the summer, so this will take some careful planning.


Suggested Curriculum for B.S. Option in Chemical Physics


Year 1   Year 2  
Fall Spring Fall Spring
Phys 407H
GenPhys I Honors
Phys 408H
GenPhys II Honors
Phys 505/506
GenPhys3: ModPhys+Lab
Phys 615
Math 425H
Honors Calculus I
Math 426H
Honors Calculus II
Math 525
Linearity I


Math 527
Differential Equations

Math 645 (preferred) OR 545
Linear Algebra2

Math 526
Linearity II


Math 528 
MulitiDimensional Calculus
Math 645 (preferred) OR 545
Linear Algebra2

Chem 403
General Chemistry I
Engl 401
Phys 508
Thermal Physics
Phys 605
ExpPhys I: Electronics Lab
Discovery/Inquiry IAM 550 or CS 410
Intro to Eng. Computing
Discovery/Inquiry Chem 404
General Chemistry II
Phys 400
Freshman Seminar


Year 3   Year 4  
Fall Spring Fall Spring
Phys 616
Classical Mechanics
Phys 702
Quantum Physics II
Phys 705
ExpPhys II: Senior Lab
Phys 703
Chem 683/685
PChem I + Lab
Chem 684/686
PChem II + Lab
Chem 776
PChem III with lab
Chem 762/763
Instr. Methods w/ Lab
Phys 701
Quantum Physics I
Elective1 or Discovery Elective1 or Discovery Phys 798 or 799
Elective1 or Discovery Elective1 or Discovery Elective1 or Discovery Elective1 or Discovery

1) At least one Electives in Major, taken from Chem 547/549 (OrgChem I + Lab), or Phys 718 (Intro to Solid State). Other courses may count upon petition, e.g. Math753, ME730, ME761, MS 762, ME763

2) Either the fall or spring of sophomore year are very full.  You can alleviate this by taking one or more courses in the summer or J-term; Discovery courses and 400 level required courses are often offered at these times.