Undergraduate Physics Curriculum


Degree Requirements for the Major in Physics

The B.S. program requires the following 66 credits:

  1. The introductory physics sequence of Phy 140, 150, and 240 (or the honors sequence 141, 151, 241).
  2. The lab sequence which accompanies these courses which is Phy 145, 155, 245.
  3. Higher-level physics courses , Phy 235, 250, 320, 335Z, 340, 350, 440, 450, and 460.
  4. Chemistry couses Chm 120 and 121 (or the more advanced 130 and 131).
  5. Mathematics calculus courses, Mat 112 and 113 (or the honors courses 118 and 119; or Mat 101 and 111 and 113) and Mat 214.
  6. A mathematics elective. This is an additional math course chosen from A Mat 220, 314, 367, or 412.
  7. An additional Physics course numbered 300 or higher.
  8. An additional science elective. This is a course in Atmosphereic Science, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Schience, or Geology, which is required of a major in these dsciplines.

Suggested Sequence for Physics Majors (Courses In Boldface Are Required)

Course Number Description Credits
Semester 1 (Fall)  
Phy 140 or Phy 141 Intro Mechanics 3
Phy 145 Lab 1
Mat 112 or Mat 118 Calculus 4
Chm 120 or Chm 130 General Chemistry I 3
Gen Ed, Bio or Computer Science 3-6
Course Number Description Credits
Semester 2 (Spring)  
Phy 150 or Phy 151 Intro Electromag. 3
Phy 155 Lab 1
Mat 113 or Mat 119 Calculus II 4
Chm 121 or Chm 131 Gen Chemistry II 3
Gen Ed

3-6
Semester 3 (Fall)  
Phy 240 or Phy 241 Modern Physics 3
Phy 245 Lab 1
Phy 235 Intro Math Methods In Physics 3
Mat 214

Calculus III 4
Gen Ed or Science Elective 3-6
Semester 4 (Spring)  
Phy 250 Waves 3
Csi 101, 201, Etc Computer Science 3-4
Mat 220 or Math
Elective
Linear Algebra 3
Science Elective   3
Gen Ed   3-6
Semseter 5 (Fall)  
Phy 320

Mechanics 3
Phy 440 Quantum Mechanics I 3
Mat 314, Etc Math Elective 3
Phy 415, 353, Etc Physics Elective 3
Research (Phy 497) or Science Elective 3
Semester 6 (Spring)  
Phy 460 Thermo And Statistical Physics 3
Phy 450 Quantum II 3
Phy 335Z Advanced Lab 3
Phy 354, 416, Etc Physics Elective 3
Research or Gen Ed or Science Elective 3
Semester 7 (Fall)  
Phy 340 E&M I 3
Phy 497 Research Project 3-6
Phy 532, Etc. Physics Elective 3
Physics, Math or Sci Elec 3
Gen Ed or Elective 3
Semester 8 (Spring)  
Phy 350 E&M II: Optics 3
Phy 497 Research Project 3-6
Phy 532, Etc. Physics Elective 3
Physics, Math or Sci Elec 3
Gen Ed or Elective 3

General Program B.S.: The following 66 credits are required: 
Substitutions may be possible

  • Introductory physics sequence:  A PHY 140 , 150, and 240 (or the honors sequence 141, 151, and 241).
  • Lab sequence for introductory courses: A Phy 145 or 106, 155 or 109, and 245.
  • Higher level physics courses: A Phy 235, 250, 320, 335Z, 340, 350, 440, 450, and 460.
  • Chemistry: A Chm 120 and 121 (or the more advanced 130 and 131).
  • Calculus sequence: A Mat 112 and 113 (or the honors courses 118 and 119, or A Mat 101 and 111 and 113) and A Mat 214.
  • Mathematics elective: A Mat 220, 314, 367, or 412. 
  • An additional physics course numbered 300 or higher.
  • An additional science elective. This is a course in Atmospheric Science, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, or Geology, which is required of a major in these disciplines.

See the University bulletin for more information on General Education Requirements.

Honors Program

The honors program in physics is designed for outstanding students enrolled in the general program. 

Students may apply for admission to the honors program by submitting a letter of request to the department chair no later than April 15 of the sophomore year (for admission in the fall) or November 15 of the junior year (for admission in the spring). Junior transfers may apply at the time of their admission to the University. Primary emphasis will be placed on indications of academic ability and maturity sufficient for applicants to pursue with distinction a program involving independent research. 

The minimum requirements for admission follow:

  • Completion of A Phy 140N, 150N, 240, 250 or their equivalents; 
  • An overall grade point average of 3.30; 
  • A grade point average of 3.60 in physics courses required for the major; 
  • Written recommendations from at least three faculty members, one of whom, preferably, should be from outside the Department of Physics. 
  • Students in the program must maintain both a minimum grade point average of 3.30 overall and of 3.60 in physics courses taken to satisfy major requirements during the junior and senior years. The progress of participants in the honors program will be reviewed at the end of the junior year by the Departmental Honors Committee. Students not meeting the standards above at that time may be precluded from continuing in the program during their senior year. 
  • Students in the honors program are required to complete a minimum of 72 credits as follows: the 66 credits specified for the general program in physics; 3 credits of Honors Seminar in Physics (A Phy 498); and 3 credits of Research and/or Independent Study in Physics (A Phy 497). The independent study must include an honors research project culminating in a written report by the end of the student's last semester.After completion of the requirements above, the records of candidates will be reviewed by the Departmental Honors Committee. 

After consideration of overall academic record, performance and accomplishments in the independent study project(s), the quality of the Honors Seminar, and the evaluations of departmental faculty members who have supervised these activities, a recommendation for or against a degree with honors will be made by the committee to the departmental faculty. The final recommendation will be made by the departmental faculty and transmitted by the chair.

Combined B.S./M.S.

ProgramThe combined B.S./M.S. program in physics provides an opportunity for students of recognized academic ability and educational maturity to fulfill integrated requirements of undergraduate and master's degree programs at the beginning of the junior year. A carefully designed program can permit a student to earn the B.S. and M.S. degrees within nine semesters. 

The combined program requires a minimum of 138 credits, of which at least 30 must be graduate credits. In qualifying for the B.S., students must meet all University and college requirements including the requirements of the undergraduate major described previously, the minimum 60-credit liberal arts and sciences requirement, general education requirements, and residency requirements. In qualifying for the M.S., students must meet all University and college requirements as outlined in the Graduate Bulletin, including completion of a minimum of 30 graduate credits and any other conditions such as a research seminar, thesis, comprehensive examination, professional experience, and residency requirements. Up to 12 graduate credits may be applied simultaneously to both the B.S. and M.S. programs. 

A Phy 519 may be substituted for A Phy 335 or 335Z in meeting the B.S. requirements, enabling Phy 519 to be one of the graduate courses applied simultaneously to the undergraduate and graduate programs. 

Students are considered as undergraduates until completion of 120 graduation credits and satisfactory completion of all B.S. requirements. Upon meeting B.S. requirements, students are automatically considered as graduate students. 

Students may apply to the Graduate Committee for admission to the combined degree program in physics at the beginning of their junior year or after the successful completion of 56 credits, but no later than the accumulation of 100 credits. A cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher and three supportive letters of recommendation from faculty are required for consideration.Return to parent page.

Suggested Sequence for 3/2  Majors

(Courses In Boldface Are Required)

Course Number Description Credits Course Number Description Credits
Semester 1 (Fall) Semester 2 (Spring)
Phy 140 or Phy 141 Intro Mechanics 3 Phy 150 or Phy 151 Intro Electromag. 3
Phy 145 Lab 1 Phy 155 Lab 1
Mat 112 or Mat 118 Calculus 4 Mat 113 or Mat 119 Calculus II 4
Chm 120 or 130 GenChemistry I 3 Chm 121 or 131 Gen Chemistry II 3
Chm 124 Lab 1 Chm 125 Lab 1
Language, Gen eds 3 Gen Ed 3
Semester 3 (Fall) Semester 4 (Spring)
Phy 240 Modern Physics 3 Phy 250 Waves 3
Phy 245 Lab 1 Csi 204, or other CS Computer Science 3
ICsi 101 or other CS Computer Sci 3 Mat 220 Linear Algebra 3
Mat 214 Calculus III 4 Mat 311 (or 314) ODE 3
Phy 353 Microprocessor 3 Gen Ed 3-6
Gen Ed or Elective 3
Semseter 5 (Fall) Semester 6 (Spring)
Phy 320 Mechanics 3 Phy 460 Thermo And Statistical Physics 3
Phy 340 E&M I 3 Phy 415 Electronics 3
Mat 367, 314, Etc Math Elective 3 Phy 462 (or substitute) Materials 3
Phy 440, Etc Physics Elective or substitute 3 Phy 335Z, 350, 450, Etc Physics Elective 3-6
Gen Ed 3-6 Gen Ed 3

See the University bulletin for more information on General Education Requirements.

Minor in Physics

A minimum of 18 graduation credits as follows: A PHY 140 or 141, 150 or 151, 240 or 241, and 250; and at least two courses with an A PHY prefix at the 300-level or above.

Minor in Electronics

A minimum of 20 graduation credits as follows: A PHY 140 or 141, 145, 150 or 151, 155, 240 or 241, 415, 416, and 353.