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

The computer literacy requirement can be satisfied by:

  • Taking PHY 256: Computational Physics or
  • Taking CSC 171: The Science of Programming or 
  • Taking CSC 161: Intro to Programming or
  • Taking CSC 160: Engineering Computing or 
  • Completing a computing-based problem approved by the department's undergraduate physics advisor or
  • Having a faculty member certify computer literacy
    • (Note: If you take a CSC course to satisfy the requirement, we recommend you take it in your first year. If you take PHY 256, we recommend you take it in your sophmore year.)

One course in a natural science other than physics. This can be an astronomy (ASTR) course, or a course outside of the Department of 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: As a general rule, graduate-level courses cannot be substituted for undergraduate core requirements. Well-prepared students can however consider taking graduate courses for which they are well prepared, as electives. Specific questions can be addressed to the Physics, or Physics and Astronomy major advisor.