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Major in Physics


The major in physics (reference number 754) requires a minimum of 35 semester hours and leads to a Bachelor of Science degree. A minor or second major is required.

Required Core Courses

The foundation for the undergraduate major is provided by a core sequence of six lecture and five laboratory courses, requiring a total of 29 semester hours. This core sequence consists of the following:

  • PHYS 180 / PHYS 181 (4) Introductory Modern Physics and Lab
  • PHYS 255 / PHYS 256 (5) University Physics I and Lab
  • PHYS 265 / PHYS 266 (5) University Physics II and Lab
  • PHYS 301 (1) Electrical Measurements Lab
  • PHYS 302 (1) Atomic Lab
  • PHYS 316 or PHYS 318 (3) Computational Physics or Data Acquisition
  • PHYS 321 (3) Introductory Modern Physics II 􏰀
  • PHYS 350 (3) Classical Mechanics I
  • PHYS 398 (.5) Junior Seminar
  • PHYS 440 (3) Electricity and Magnetism I
  • PHYS 498 (.5) Senior Seminar

Required Elective Courses

The student majoring in physics must complete, in addition to the core, a minimum of 6 semester hours of selected upper division departmental courses. The selection is determined by the student’s career aspirations, subject to approval by the student’s departmental advisor. The upper division electives must be chosen from the courses listed for departmental majors and minors, excluding PHYS 389, PHYS 399, and PHYS 489. No more than 3 hours of PHYS 475 may be counted toward the 35 hour minimum requirement for the major.

Required Support Courses

Support requirements include MATH 136, MATH 137, MATH 237, MATH 307 (or MATH 370 for applied physics track), and MATH 331; CHEM 120 / CHEM 121. (Support requirements differ for teacher certification; see below.)

Advising Tracks

The Physics Major can, by proper choice of electives, prepare for graduate work in physics, astronomy, biophysics, environmental science, or professional schools such as medicine or law. The student may also choose to work in industry, public service, or teaching. Students can structure the curriculum within the Bachelor of Science in Physics program electing those courses which will satisfy the demands of his or her chosen profession using the following career-oriented tracks:

  • General Physics Track is designed for those students who wish to pursue careers as physicists or are preparing for graduate study in physics.
  • Applied Physics Track combines extensive technical knowledge, related problem-solving skills, and computer techniques to prepare students for positions in industry and governmental laboratories.
  • Physics and Astronomy Track prepares students for careers in astronomy / space science and for graduate study in these areas.
  • Teacher Certification Track prepares students for careers teaching physics at the secondary school level.
  • Other - There are some specified programs such as a suggested pre-medicine curriculum for students wishing to major in physics.

Course recommendations for these tracks are available from the departmental office. In all cases, the student must work closely with the departmental advisor from the beginning to plan a program of study that meets departmental and University requirements and that maximizes preparation to meet career goals.


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 Last Modified 3/26/18