GETTING A PHYSICS DEGREE

Most students get a Bachelor of Science (BS) in physics. It is possible to get a Bachelor of Arts (BA), however. Talk to a faculty member or to the registrar, or check out the Catalog for more information.

The major for a BS includes a minimum of 32 credit hours. Most students headed for graduate school end up taking closer to 40 credit hours and should take the courses listed as "recommended" in the table below in addition to the required courses.

Students interested in double majoring with engineering, chemistry, or meteorology, should please contact us to find out how to accomplish this efficiently.

Below is a table showing all the courses offered and where they might fit into a typical schedule. Explanatory notes are given at the end.

Course Title Semester Suggested Semester hours Required/ Elective
ASTR-101 Astronomy 1 3 Elective
ASTR-101L Astronomy Lab 1 1 Elective
ASTR-221 Observational Astronomy (Spring, odd years) 2 or 4 1 Elective
ASTR-252 Stellar Astrophysics (Spring, even years) 4 or 6 3 Elective
ASTR-253 Galactic Astrophysics (Fall, even years) 5 or 7 3 Elective
PHYS-109 Physics: Mechanics - Statics E/P 3 Elective
PHYS-190 Topics in Physics (Freshman Seminar) 1 1 Recommended
PHYS-141 Physics: Mechanics and Heat (or PHYS-151) 1 3 Required
PHYS-141L Experimental Physics I (Laboratory) 1 1 Required
PHYS-142 Physics: Electricity, Magnetism and Waves (or PHYS-152) 2 3 Required
PHYS-142L Experimental Physics II (Laboratory) 2 1 Required
PHYS-151 Physics: Mechanics and Heat - Honors 1 3 (Required)
PHYS-152 Physics: Electricity, Magnetism and Waves - Honors 2 3 (Required)
PHYS-215 Mechanics of Materials E/P 3 Elective
PHYS-243 Physics: Atoms, Nuclei, and the Solid State 3 3 Required
PHYS-245 Experimental Physics III (Laboratory) 4 1 Required
PHYS-246 Data Reduction and Error Analysis 4 1 Required
PHYS-250 Analytical Mechanics 4 3 Required
PHYS-252 Materials Science 3 1 Elective
PHYS-281 Electricity and Electronics 3 3 Required
PHYS-320 Microprocessor Applications E/P 4 Elective
PHYS-333 Mechanical Measurements Laboratory E/P 4 Elective
PHYS-342 Electronics E/P 4 Elective
PHYS-345 Experimental Physics IV (Laboratory) 5 1 Required
PHYS-360 Thermal Physics (Spring, odd years) 6 or 8 3 Required
PHYS-371 Electromagnetic Fields 5 3 Required
PHYS-372 Electromagnetic Waves (Spring, odd years) 6 or 8 3 Recommended
PHYS-381 Advanced Mechanics (Fall, even years) 5 or 7 3 Recommended
PHYS-421 Quantum Mechanics I (Fall, odd years) 5 or 7 3 Recommended
PHYS-422 Quantum Mechanics II (Spring, even years) 6 or 8 3 Recommended
PHYS-430 Nuclear and Particle Physics (Spring, even years) 6 or 8 3 Recommended
PHYS-430L Nuclear and Particle Physics (Laboratory) (Spring, even years) 6 or 8 1 Recommended
PHYS-440 Condensed Matter Physics (Spring, odd years) 6 or 8 3 Recommended
ASTR-445 Experimental Astronomy (Senior Research in Astronomy)

Or

PHYS-445 Experimental Physics (Senior Research in Physics)

7 and 8 2 Required
PHYS-490 Scientific Endeavor (Spring, odd years) 6 or 8 3 Recommended
PHYS-492 Research and Reading in Physics -- 1-3 Elective
PHYS-499 Physics Colloquium All 0 Required

NOTES:

  • You may view University Catalog descriptions of these courses. (PDF file. Physics and Astronomy begins on page 157).
  • PHYS-490 is recommended but may not be used to fulfill the 32 credits required for the major. It can be used to fulfill the Humanties Philosophy general education requirement.

  • The courses which are included in, and count toward the physics major program are shown in the table. The Honors courses may be substituted for their equivalent:151 for (141) and 152 for (142) if the student meets the entrance requirements

  • Courses whose "Suggested Semester" reads "5 or 7", or "6 or 8", etc., imply that the course is taught in alternate years. Note the semester in which the course is normally taught and select the correct semester for your program.
  • Courses whose "Suggested Semester" reads E/P implies that these are courses cross listed with the College of Engineering.
  • Specific courses of study are worked out with your department faculty academic advisor each semester.