BS in Physics and Astronomy
The BS degree is an intensive program that helps prepare students for graduate studies in astronomy, physics, or a related field. Students planning to attend graduate school normally elect the BS program.
Before starting with the requirements for the BS degree, each student must also 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
- PHY 122: Electricity and Magnetism
- PHY 123: Waves and Modern Physics
*PHY 141, 142, and 143 are also acceptable and encouraged for Physics and Astronomy majors
We also strongly recommend that all students take AST 111: Elementary Astronomy I freshmen year, and AST 142: Elementary Astrophysics sophomore year.
Three of the following:
- AST 231: Gravitation and General Relativity
- AST 232: The Milkyway Galaxy
- AST 241: Astrophysics I
- AST 242: Astrophysics II
Six of the following*:
- 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 243W: Advanced Experimental Techniques I
- PHY 244W: Advanced Experimental Techniques II
- PHY 245W: The Advanced Nuclear Science Education Laboratory
- PHY 246: Quantum Theory
- AST 393W: Senior Thesis
*PHY 218 or 243W are recommended.
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 freshman year
- Completing a computing-based problem approved by the department's undergraduate physics advisor
- Having a faculty member certify computer literacy
At least a 2.0 (C) average in astronomy, physics and mathematics courses must be maintained. The undergraduate astronomy advisor must approve all course choices.
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.