B.S. in Physics

This program prepares students for professional work as a physicist, and is the first step to graduate work in physics. It is also excellent preparation for graduate programs in medicine, law or engineering, as well as for technical jobs in industry.

Options

We offer B.S. options in materials science, chemical physics and astronomy, which require fewer physics courses combined with a concentration in another area.

Requirements

  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.S. degree requirements. A list of approved writing intensive courses appears on the web.
  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, 703-704, and 705; plus two courses selected from PHYS 708, 710, 712, 718, 720, and 764.
  5. Chemistry: Either CHEM 403 or CHEM 405. (Note: to take CHEM 405, a student must have taken chemistry in high school.)
  6. Math: 425-426, and one of the following two options. Option 1 is Linearity (Math 525 and Math 526). Option 2 is Math 527, Math 528, and a course in linear algebra, which can be either Math 545 or Math 645.  Linearity better prepares you 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. 
  7. Computer Science: Either CS 410 or IAM 550.
  8. 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.
  9. 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. 

Optional courses

  1. Physics Electives are usually offered every other year. Students should take this into account when planning their schedules.
  2. Students planning to apply to graduate programs in physics are strongly encourged to take Phys 799 Thesis in their senior year.
  3. Math 647, Complex Analysis for Applications is recommended, but not required.

Regular Program for BS 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 702

Phys 705

 

Math 425H1

Math 426H1

Phys 508

Phys 615

Phys 616

Phys 703

Phys 704

 

Chem 403 or 4052

CS 410 or IAM 550

Math 5253 OR

Math 527

Math 526

OR 528 

 

Math 5453

 

 

 

Phys 400

Eng 401

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alternative Program for BS in Physics (Transfers etc...)

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

Phys 407

Phys 408

Phys 505/6

Phys 605

Phys 701

Phys 702

Phys 705

 

Math 425

Math 426

Phys 508

Phys 615

Phys 616

Phys 703

Phys 704

 

Chem 403 or 4052

CS 410 or IAM 550

Math 5273

Math 5283

Math 6453

 

 

 

Phys 400

Eng 401

 

 

 

 

 

 

Course Overview

Required Courses

CS 410 or IAM 550

Intro Scientific Programming / Introduction to Engineering Computing

Chem 403 or Chem 405

General Chemistry / Chemical Principles for Engineers

Eng 401 Freshman English
Math 425-426 Calculus
Math 525-526 Linearity
Phys 407-408 General Physics + Lab
Phys 505/6 Modern Physics + Lab
Phys 508 Thermodynamics & Statistical Mechanics
Phys 605 Experimental Physics I (laboratory course)
Phys 615-616 Classical Mechanics & Mathematical Physics
Phys 701-702 Quantum Physics
Phys 703-704 Electricity & Magnetism
Phys 705 Experimental Physics II (laboratory course)
Physics Electives (take at least two as Junior or Senior)
Phys 708 Optics (Fall - even years)
Phys 710 Astrophysics (Fall - odd years)
Phys 712 Physics of the Ionosphere (Spring - even years)
Phys 718 Condensed Matter Physics (Spring - odd years)
Phys 720 Nuclear & Particle Physics (Spring - odd years)
Phys 764 General Relativity (Spring - even years)

Physics Honors Requirements

  1. GPA 3.2;
  2. Any three 700-level courses listed above taken for honors;
  3. Senior Thesis (Phys 799);

Notes

  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.
  2. Students who had chemistry in high school may take Chem 405, a more advanced course.
  3. 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 three independent classes: Math 527, 528, and Math 545 or 645, Linear Algebra for Applications.