Undergraduate Degree Programs in Physics

Physics students study the basic laws of mechanics, heat and thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, optics, relativity, quantum mechanics, and elementary particles. Students also study applications of the basic theories to the description of bulk matter, including the mechanical, electric, magnetic, and thermal properties of solids, liquids, gases, and plasmas, and to the description of the structure of atoms and nuclei. In addition, students develop the laboratory skills and techniques of the experimental physicist, skills that can be applied in the experimental search for new knowledge or in applications of the known theories.

B.S Degree in Physics, College of Arts and Sciences  Students who want a strong fundamental physics and mathematics background may choose the Bachelor of Science in Physics program in the College of Arts and Sciences. This program prepares students not only for employment following graduation, but also for graduate work in physics or other science and engineering fields.

B.A Degree in Physics, College of Arts and Sciences  Students who are interested in pursuing a career that involves physics along with a broader background in other topics may choose the Bachelor of Arts with a major in physics in the College of Arts and Sciences. This is best suited, for example, for students interested in teaching physics in secondary school or in pursuing a career such as technical law or business, or combining physics with another major or minor. The many electives available in this major allow students maximum flexibility in designing programs best suited for their particular interests.

B.S. Degree in Engineering Physics, College of Engineering and Applied Science  The Engineering Physics (EP) major in the College of Engineering and Applied Science is designed for students with an interest in both physics and its applications. Within EP there are two concentrations to choose from, Solid State Electronics and Optical Sciences. Our EP program, which is designed to fit accreditation guidelines for engineering physics, contains a number of engineering courses and has a strong applied flavor.

Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics
College of Arts and Sciences

Program Requirements

Mathematics Courses (18-19)
  MATH 021 Calculus I (4)
  MATH 022 Calculus II (4)
  MATH 023 Calculus III (4)
  MATH 205 Linear Methods (3)
  SELECT One of …
      MATH 208 Complex Variables (3)
      MATH 320 Ordinary Differential Equations (3-4)
      MATH 322 Methods of Applied Analysis I (3)

Basic Science Courses (17)
  SELECT One of …
      PHY 011 Introductory Physics I (4)
      PHY 010 General Physics I (4)
  PHY 012 Introductory Physics Laboratory I (1)
  SELECT One of …
      PHY 021 Introductory Physics II (4)
      PHY 023 Introductory Physics II with Relativity (4)
  PHY 022 Introductory Physics Laboratory II (1)
  PHY 031 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (3)
  CHM 030 Introduction to Chemical Principles (4)

Laboratory and Computing Courses (7)
  CSE 002 Fundamentals of Programming * (2)
  PHY 220 Advanced Physics Laboratory I (3)
  PHY 221 Advanced Physics Laboratory II (2)
  *Or an equivalent course in scientific computing

Intermediate and Advanced Courses (22)
  PHY 212 Electricity and Magnetism I (3)
  PHY 213 Electricity and Magnetism II (3)
  PHY 215 Classical Mechanics I (4)
  PHY 340 Thermal Physics (3)
  PHY 362 Atomic and Molecular Structure (3)
  PHY 364 Nuclear and Elementary Particle Physics (3)
  PHY 369 Quantum Mechanics I (3)

Approved Elective Courses (14-15)
  SELECT Two Courses from Among …
      PHY 363 Physics of Solids (3)
      PHY 352 Modern Optics (3)
        ... or PHY 355 Nonlinear Optics (3)
      PHY 348 Plasma Physics (3)
        ... or PHY 365 Physics of Fluids (3)
      PHY 380 Introduction to Computational Physics (3)
  SELECT Three additional courses in appropriate technical areas in consultation
      with the advisor. Students planning graduate work in physics are advised to
      include PHY 273 (Research) among their electives.
Total Credits 78-80

A total of 123 credit hours are required for the Bachelor of Science in Physics.


Bachelor of Arts Degree With a Major in Physics
College of Arts and Sciences

Program Requirements

  • PHY (10 or 11), (13 or 21), 12, 22, 31
  • MATH 21, 22, 23, 205
  • CHM 30
  • At least one of the two advanced physics laboratories (PHY 220, PHY 221).
  • At least 18 credits of advanced physics courses must be selected from the following list:
  • ASTR 301, PHY 212, 213, 215, 332, 340, 342, 348, 352, 355, 362, 363, 364, 365, 369, 380.

A total of 120 credits are required for the BA in Physics


Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering Physics
College of Engineering and Applied Science

Program Requirements

This program is similar to the B.S. Degree in Physics through the College of Arts and Sciences. Requirements for the two specializations, Solid State Electronics and Optical Sciences, may be found in the University Catalog.

Minor in Physics

The minor in physics requires 15 credits of Physics and Astronomy courses. It must consist of the physics introductory sequence, plus 9 credits of physics courses at or above the 100 level. No more than one course required in a student’s major program can be counted towards the number of credits for the physics minor. To account for this and to ensure a coherent intellectual theme, the program for an individual student is designed in consultation with and approved by the physics department chair. For the purpose of this minor, the physics introductory sequence consists of PHY 10 or PHY 11, PHY 13 or PHY 21, PHY 12, PHY 22, and PHY 31, or equivalent courses.

Departmental Honors in Physics

Students may earn departmental honors by satisfying the following requirements:

  • Grade point average of at least 3.50 in physics courses.
  • Complete 6 credits of Physics 273 (research), or summer REU project, submit a written report, and give an oral presentation open to faculty and students.
  • Complete three courses from the list: Physics (332 or 342), 348, 363, (352 or 355), 369, 380, any 400 level Physics course.