Physics (B.S.)

The Bachelor of Science program offers several options. Each option is designed to meet the needs of a particular group of students although each is flexible enough to avoid limiting the student to a particular future program. Students take a logically-developed sequence of physics courses on a broad range of topics. The introductory sequence uses calculus, and later courses investigate single areas in greater depth, using more advanced mathematics. In advanced laboratory courses the physics student uses sophisticated equipment and sometimes has an opportunity to join a research team.

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.

Basic Requirements for All Options

PHY 2170(PS) University Physics for Scientists I4
PHY 2171University Physics Laboratory1
PHY 2180University Physics for Scientists II4
PHY 2181University Physics Laboratory II1
PHY 3300Introductory Modern Physics3
PHY 3310Introductory Modern Physics Laboratory2
PHY 5100Methods of Theoretical Physics I3
PHY 5200Classical Mechanics I3
MAT 2010Calculus I4
MAT 2020Calculus II4
MAT 2030Calculus III4
MAT 2150Differential Equations and Matrix Algebra4
CSC 2000Introduction to C++ Programming Language3
CHM 1220(PS) General Chemistry I4
CHM 1230General Chemistry I Laboratory1
Satisfaction of all University and College group and competency requirements
Total Credits45

A minimum grade of C- is required in prerequisite courses.

Advanced Physics Option

This option is primarily for students who intend to go on to graduate study in physics. It also satisfies the requirements of industrial and governmental employers who demand a traditional education in physics.

Additional requirements beyond the Basic Requirements listed above:

PHY 5210Classical Mechanics II3
PHY 6400Quantum Physics I3
PHY 6410Quantum Physics II3
PHY 6500Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics4
PHY 6600Electromagnetic Fields I3
PHY 6610Electromagnetic Fields II3
PHY 6850(WI) Modern Physics Laboratory2
PHY 6860Computational Physics3
Select one of the following:5
Optics
and Optics Laboratory
Electronics and Electrical Measurements
and Electronics and Electrical Measurements Laboratory
Total Credits29

Astrophysics Option

This option is primarily for students who intend to go on to graduate study in astronomy and astrophysics.

Additional requirements beyond the Basic Requirements listed above:

AST 2010
AST 2011
(PS) Descriptive Astronomy
and Descriptive Astronomy Laboratory
5
AST 4100Astronomical Techniques3
AST 4200(WI) Astronomical Laboratory2
AST 4300Planetary Astronomy and Space Science3
AST 5010Astrophysics and Stellar Astronomy3
AST 5100Galaxies and the Universe3
PHY 6400Quantum Physics I3
PHY 6500Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics4
PHY 6600Electromagnetic Fields I3
PHY 6850(WI) Modern Physics Laboratory2
Select one of the following:5
Optics
and Optics Laboratory
Electronics and Electrical Measurements
and Electronics and Electrical Measurements Laboratory
Total Credits36

Engineering and Applied Physics Option

The B.S. degree in the Engineering and Applied Physics option is intended to provide the interdisciplinary training that is required for a variety of applied fields, while still providing an understanding of the physical foundations of those fields. Programs are designed to combine fundamental physics courses with engineering and other science courses, in order to prepare students for careers in industry (particularly engineering fields) as well as graduate programs  in these areas. There is sufficient flexibility in this program that a set of courses can be designed to match a student’s interest in such areas as semiconductor physics, material physics, computational physics, biophysics, optics and laser physics, and other areas. Students interested in enriching their education with on-the-job experience may apply for internships with cooperating research laboratories by contacting the departmental undergraduate advisor.

Additional requirements beyond the Basic Requirements listed above:

PHY 6400Quantum Physics I3
PHY 6500Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics4
PHY 6600Electromagnetic Fields I3
PHY 5340
PHY 5341
Optics
and Optics Laboratory
5
PHY 5620
PHY 5621
Electronics and Electrical Measurements
and Electronics and Electrical Measurements Laboratory
5
PHY 6850(WI) Modern Physics Laboratory2
Select at least twelve additonal credits in engineering, physics, mathematics, or other science/technical courses12
Total Credits34

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.