Physics (B.A.)

This program is intended to meet the needs of several kinds of students:

  1. students wishing to major in physics who have transferred to Wayne State University after one or two years at a community college, but whose background in physics and mathematics does not complement the content, level, or scheduling of remaining course requirements well enough to permit completion of the Bachelor of Science degree curriculum in a reasonable time;
  2. students who wish to pursue a general course of education in the sciences with physics as an area of concentration. Those who undertake such a program are sometimes interested in the study of physics as an integrated part of a broad educational background;
  3. students who decide relatively late in their college careers (for example, during the sophomore year) that they wish to major in physics.

It should be emphasized that completion of the Bachelor of Arts program instead of the Bachelor of Science program does not preclude later graduate work in physics. In most cases, it will mean that the student will spend part or all of his/her first year in graduate school making up deficiencies in his or her physics and mathematics background. Generally speaking, such deficiencies may be determined by consulting the Suggested Course Sequence of the Bachelor of Science degree in physics.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for this program are satisfied by the general requirements for undergraduate admission to the University.


Candidates must complete 120 credits in course work including satisfaction of the University General Education Requirements and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Group Requirements, as well as the Departmental major requirements cited below. All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the University and the College governing undergraduate scholarship and degrees.

Note: In some cases the requirements of a specific program will increase the number of credits above 120.

The University requirement for a writing intensive (WI) course in the major field is satisfied by:

  1. PHY 6850 for the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Physics
  2. AST 4200 for the Bachelor of Arts in Astronomy degree
  3. PHY 6780 for Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Physics degree

It should be noted in each case that the requirement is satisfied by an additional writing project beyond the normal course requirements.

Students must receive a grade of C- or better in all physics and/or astronomy courses. A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher for all course work is required for graduation.

Students should consult with the Undergraduate Academic Advisor in the Physics Research Building for more detailed information concerning the various degrees and options outlined below.

Additionally, student must complete:

PHY 2170(PS) University Physics for Scientists I 14
PHY 2171University Physics Laboratory1
PHY 2180University Physics for Scientists II 14
PHY 2181University Physics Laboratory II1
PHY 3300Introductory Modern Physics3
PHY 3310Introductory Modern Physics Laboratory2
PHY 5100Methods of Theoretical Physics I3
PHY 5200Classical Mechanics I3
PHY 5340
PHY 5341
and Optics Laboratory
PHY 5620
PHY 5621
Electronics and Electrical Measurements
and Electronics and Electrical Measurements Laboratory
PHY 6850(WI) Modern Physics Laboratory2
Select one of the following:3-4
Quantum Physics I
Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics
Electromagnetic Fields I
MAT 2010Calculus I4
MAT 2020Calculus II4
MAT 2030Calculus III4
MAT 2150Differential Equations and Matrix Algebra4
CSC 2000Introduction to C++ Programming Language3
CHM 1220
CHM 1230
(PS) General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Laboratory
Total Credits60-61

A student may present credits in PHY 2130, PHY 2140 or equivalent, in lieu of PHY 2170 and PHY 2180, with the consent of the Departmental Undergraduate advisor.

Physics and Biomedical Physics Honors Program

Undergraduate majors, in both Physics and Biomedical Physics, with a minimum grade point average of 3.3 can enroll in the Honors program of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Prospective students should consult the departmental Undergraduate Academic Advisor as soon as they declare their major to learn about specific requirements.