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Undergraduate Program

BS in Physics

The BS degree is an intensive program that prepares students for graduate school in physics or a related field. Students planning to pursue graduate study normally elect the BS program.

Four Year Worksheet: Bachelor of Science in Physics

Pre-Concentration Requirements

Before starting with the requirements for the BS degree, each student must complete the following pre-concentration requirements:

One of the following calculus sequences:

  • MTH 161, 162, 164, and 165
  • MTH 171, 172, 173, and 174

Three introductory physics courses*:

  • PHY 121: Mechanics or PHY 141: Mechanics (Honors)
  • PHY 122: Electricity and Magnetism or PHY 142: Electricity and Magetism (Honors)
  • PHY 123: Waves and Modern Physics or PHY 143: Waved and Modern Physics (Honors)

*PHY 141, 142, and 143 are encouraged for Physics majors

Concentration Requirements

The following six physics courses or their close equivalents:

  • PHY 217: Electricity and Magnetism I
  • PHY 218: Electricity and Magnetism II
  • PHY 227: Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
  • PHY 235W: Classical Mechanics
  • PHY 237: Quantum Mechanics of Physical Systems
  • PHY 246: Quantum Theory

One of the following writing courses:

  • PHY 243W: Advanced Experimental Techniques I
  • PHY 244W: Advanced Experimental Techniques II
  • PHY 245W: The Advanced Nuclear Science Education Laboratory

One four-credit 200-300 level physics and/or astronomy course.

Two courses in advanced mathematics:

  • MTH 281: Applied Boundary Value Problems is required
  • MTH 282: Introduction to Complex Variables with Applications or OPT 287: Mathematical Methods for Optics and Physics is recommended

Computer literacy can be satisfied by:

  • Taking PHY 256: Computational Physics during sophomore year
  • Taking CSC 171: The Science of Programming, CSC 161: Intro to Programming or CSC 160: Engineering Computing during the first year
  • Completing a computing-based problem approved by the department's undergraduate physics advisor
  • Having a faculty member certify computer literacy

One course in astronomy or a course in a natural science other than physics and astronomy.

At least a 2.0 (C) average in astronomy, physics and mathematics courses must be maintained and all choices must be approved by the undergraduate physics advisor.

Note: Equivalent graduate-level courses may be substituted when appropriate. Well-prepared students might consider taking the graduate quantum mechanics sequence (PHY 407/408) in their senior year in place of PHY 246.