Undergraduate Physics Curriculum

Click on this link to get the latest University undergraduate bulletin.

Students who entered UAlbany before Fall 2023 should look at the bulletin for that year - click on the link above, and on this new page, you will see at the bottom of the left panel "Previous Bulletins" - click on it and choose the year that applies to you. If you are not sure which year applies to you, please look at your DARS audit and at the very top you will see a field "BULLETIN YR"

We will help you design your curriculum, especially if you are transferring in from elsewhere or are switching your major to Physics. We are flexible.

Degree Requirements for Physics Major

Starting Fall 2023, we have added four concentrations, i.e., areas of mini-specializations (see https://www.albany.edu/undergraduate_bulletin/department_physics.html for a description of each concentration). Depending on your choice of concentration, credit requirements for the major range from 69-81 credits.

 

Required core courses: (minimum 49 credits)

  • Introductory physics sequence: A PHY 140 or T PHY 141 or A PHY 142; A PHY 150 or T PHY 151 or A PHY 152; and A PHY 240
  • Lab sequence for introductory courses: A PHY 145 or 106, 155 or 109, and 245
  • Higher level physics courses: A PHY 235 or A MAT 314 and 315, 250, 320 or 410, 335Z, 340 or 470, 440, 460
  • Chemistry: A CHM 115 or 120/124 (or T CHM 130/124)
  • 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
majors
Additional courses are tailored for each concentration:
General Physics – this is the current curriculum for a B.S. in Physics

General: (minimum 20 credits)

  • A PHY 350 or 480, 450
  • A CHM 116 or 121/125 (or T CHM 131/125)
  • Computer: A PHY 277 or I ECE/I CSI 201 
  • Mathematics elective: A MAT 220, 314, 367, or 412
  • An additional physics course numbered 300 or higher and appended with a Y suffix, e.g. 415(Y), 426(Y), 430(Y), etc.
Computational Physics

Computational Physics: (minimum 29 credits)

  • Computer: A PHY 277 and I ECE/I CSI 201 
  • A MAT 220
  • A PHY 449(Y), 451(Y), 477(Y)
  • Three courses from I CSI 333, 401, 410, 431, 436, A PHY 353 or 453, 415(Y), 416, 433, 454, 497, A MAT 367
Astronomy and Particle Astrophysics

Astronomy & Particle Astrophysics: (minimum 25 credits)

    • Computer: A PHY 277 or I ECE/I CSI 201 
    • A MAT 220
    • Four courses from A PHY 300, 426(Y), 443(Y), 452(Y), 471(Y)
    • Two courses from A PHY 100, 103, 112, 409(Y), 430(Y), 442, 458(Y), 497(Y) (only one at 100 level)
    Bio-imaging

    Bio-imaging: (minimum 20 credits)

    • Computer: A PHY 277 or I ECE/I CSI 201 
    • A CHM 116 or 121/125 (or T CHM 131/125)
    • Four courses from A PHY 404, 430(Y), 446(Y), 448(Y), 458(Y), 466(Y)

    The schedule for electives can be used to plan your coursework.

    The suggested sequence of courses for all Physics majors can be found further down the page.

     

    Students who declared Physics as their major before Fall 2023:

    1. If you don’t make a choice, your transcript (and degree audit) will simply say “Physics major”
    2. You can choose one of the new concentrations. Please talk to your departmental advisors if you are not sure. After that you will need to send an e-mail, declaring your concentration, to [email protected], and they will make the change within 24 hours of receiving the email. Your transcript (and degree audit) will then say “Physics major with a concentration in XYZ”.          

     

    Students who have NOT declared a major as yet:

    1. When you decide to do so, you will be prompted to choose a concentration. Please talk to your departmental advisors if you are not sure. After that you will need to send an e-mail, declaring their concentration, to [email protected].

    Your transcript (and degree audit) will then say “Physics major with a concentration in XYZ”.

    Once your degree audit reflects your choice of a concentration it will keep track of what courses need to be taken. We will offer the relevant courses for the new concentrations on a rotating basis to ensure that you can complete the coursework in time. This means that the sooner you declare a Concentration, the greater the flexibility you will have.

     

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

     
    Course Number Description Credits Course Number Description Credits
    Semester 1 (Fall) Semester 2 (Spring)
    APHY 140/142 or TPHY 141 Intro mechanics 3 APHY 150/152 or TPHY 151 Intro Electricity &
    Magnetism
    3

    APHY 145 or APHY 106

    Lab I 1

    APHY 155 or APHY 109

    Lab II 1
    AMAT 112 or TMAT 118 Calculus I 4

    AMAT 113 or TMAT 119

    Calculus II 4

    ACHM 115 or ACHM 120 & ACHM 124 or TCHM 130 & ACHM 124

    Chemistry I

    (lecture and lab combined
    or taken separately)

    4 Chemistry II is not required
    in all concentrations. Check in bulletin for your case
    Chemistry II 0 or 4
    General Education 3-6 Gen Ed 3-6
    Semester 3 (Fall) Semester 4 (Spring)
    APHY 240 Modern Physics 3 APHY 250 Oscillations and Waves 3
    APHY 235 Mathematical Methods in
    Physics
    3 APHY 245 Lab III 1
    AMAT 214 Calculus III 4

    AMAT 220 or Math Elective

    (Bio-imaging concentration
    does not require a Math
    elective)

    Math course 0-3

    APHY 277 and/or ICSI 201

    (Computational Physics
    concentration requires
    both)

    Basic course(s) in
    computing
    4 or 8

     

       

    General Education or Elective

    Choice of courses

    If you need to take both
    APHY 277 and ICSI 201, you
    can take them in the same
    semester or different ones

    3-6

    General Education or Elective

    Choice of courses

    7-10
    Semester 5 (Fall) Semester 6 (Spring)
    APHY 320 or APHY 410 Classical Mechanics 3 APHY 335Z Advanced Lab 3
    APHY 440 Quantum Mechanics I 3 APHY 460 Thermodynamics and
    Statistical Mechanics
    3

    Concentration Elective or
    any other elective or

    General Education

    Choice of courses 9-12

    Concentration Elective or
    any other elective or

    General Education

    Choice of courses, e.g.,
    APHY 450 (QM II) is not
    required for all
    concentrations
    9-12
    Semester 7 (Fall) Semester 8 (Spring)
    APHY 340 or APHY 470 Electricity & Magnetism I 3

    Concentration Elective or
    any other elective or General Education

    Choice of courses, e.g.,
    APHY 350 or 480 (E&M II) is
    not required for all
    concentrations
    15-18

    Concentration Elective or
    any other elective or General Education

    Choice of courses 12-15

    Honors Program

    The Honors program in Physics is designed for outstanding students. Students should apply for admission to the Honors program before November 15 of their Junior year, by writing to Prof. Jesse Ernst in the Physics Department. More details can be found at https://www.albany.edu/undergraduate_bulletin/department_physics.html 

    honors

    Combined B.S./M.S. Program

    The 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 ten semesters. More details can be found at https://www.albany.edu/undergraduate_bulletin/department_physics.html

    BSMS

    Combined BS(Physics)/MS (Secondary Education)

    If you are interested in teaching Physics in Middle and High Schools, a new program has been developed. It is a combined BS (Physics)/MS (Secondary Education) degree. For details, write to Prof. Vivek Jain in the Physics Department, or speak to your departmental advisor.

    teaching

    Minor in Physics

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

    minor_physics

    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.

    minor_electronics