Physics B.A./B.S.

This program is recommended for students who wish to obtain industrial employment or who wish to continue their studies for an advanced degree in physics, engineering, science or applied mathematics. Students who successfully complete this program will have a good understanding of the role of physics within the sciences and within society. Graduates of this program will have a solid understanding of the principles and foundations of classical and modern theories of physics. They will have practiced the methods and techniques of experimental physics; they will have practical experience in utilizing the analytical and modeling tools of physics. This rigorous program of study develops analytical, problem solving and communication skills which are valuable in a wide range of employment areas.  This program requires a second major or minor.

Physics is commonly held as the most fundamental science.  Physicists work to understand the dynamics of our universe from the smallest scales to the largest, and to express this understanding using the smallest possible number of laws and principles.  Physics students develop a facility with mathematics and an intuition for solving complicated physical problems using fundamental principles.  The curriculum for physics majors includes core courses in physics, mathematics and related sciences, plus a selection of core curriculum requirements.  Physics prepares students for careers in industry, education, and advanced study in nearly any technical or engineering field.  Physics is also an excellent choice of major for pre-medical or pre-law students.

The faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy are active researchers in nuclear physics, condensed matter physics, organic semi conducter physics, astronomy and astrophysics, and physics education research.  Participation in research programs by undergraduates is strongly encouraged.  Facilities include our Organic Semiconductor Physics Laboratory, Surface Physics Laboratory, Campus Observatory, and research grade telescopes (located in Arizona, Chile, and on the island of La Palma) available via our membership in the SARA Telescope Consortium.

The Physics with Emphasis in Biophysics is an interdisciplinary program for students who love physics and math and who want to work on the complex problems related to biology and medicine.  Biophysics involves the frontiers of both physics and biology, where the toolbox of physics and math is applied to quantitative problems in biology.  This program provides excellent undergraduate preparation for graduate work in biophysics, bioengineering, biology, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, computational biology, medical physics, and neurobiology.  The chemistry courses comprise a minor in chemistry.

Core Curriculum Courses
See the Core Curriculum Requirements42
Required courses in the major
PHYS 101Physics and Astronomy Seminar1
PHYS 119Introduction to Python Computer Programming for the Physical Sciences1
University Physics I *
PHYS 2426University Physics II4
PHYS 317Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering3
PHYS 319Computational Physics with Python3
PHYS 321Modern Physics3
PHYS 332Electronics for Scientists and Engineers4
PHYS 333Wave Motion, Acoustics, and Optics4
PHYS 335Advanced Physics Laboratory3
PHYS 401Current Topics in Physics and Astronomy (1 sh, must be repeated for total of 2 sh)2
PHYS 411Classical Mechanics3
PHYS 412Electricity and Magnetism3
PHYS 414Thermodynamics and Kinetic Theory3
PHYS 420Quantum Mechanics3
PHYS or ASTR or MATH (Adv)9
Required support courses
Calculus I *
Calculus II *
MATH 2415Calculus III4
MATH 2320Differential Equations3
MATH 2318Linear Algebra3
General and Quantitative Chemistry I *
CHEM 1111General and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I1
Second Major or Minor or Electives Required
18- 23 semester hours required in second major or minor or electives18-23
Total Hours120-125

  This course should be taken to fulfill Core Curriculum Requirements.


These courses may apply on the second major or minor.

A grade of “C” or higher must be earned in all courses in this Major.

  • Suggested second majors include mathematics, chemistry, computer science, and biology. Other choices are possible.
  • Planning for a second major should not be delayed beyond the middle of the sophomore year. A minor in a second subject may be chosen instead of a second major. The choice of mathematics as second major allows for four additional courses to be elective. Many students select minors in both mathematics and computer science.

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