Majors and Minor
The Physics Major is a 4-year program with a strong emphasis on fundamental physics concepts and hands-on experience in state-of-the-art teaching laboratories. Students will learn how to analyze complex problems and will gain a strong quantitative background that can be applied in any technical field. Our graduates follow a wide range of career tracks, including graduate studies in physics and engineering, direct entry into the technology sector, and other careers that benefit from sharp analytical and problem solving skills.
Physics B.S. majors are required to complete coursework in physics as well as co-requisite coursework in mathematics and an additional approved science.
Among these courses, the following are required
- PHYS2200 (or PHYS2100*) & PHYS2050 Introductory Physics I with Lab
- PHYS2201 (or PHYS2101*) & PHYS2051 Introductory Physics II with Lab
- PHYS3100 Vibrations and Waves with Lab
- PHYS3300 Intro to Modern Physics
- PHYS4100 Mechanics
- PHYS4200 Electricity and Magnetism
- PHYS4400 Quantum Physics I
- PHYS4401 Quantum Physics II
- PHYS4600 Statistical Mechanics & Thermodynamics
* Physics majors are strongly recommended to take the PHYS2200-2201 sequence. PHYS2100-2101 is typically for Biology, Pre-med, and students fulfilling science requirements.
Choose one of the following
- PHYS4300 Numerical Methods and Scientific Computing
- PHYS4350 Experiments in Physics
- PHYS4951 Senior Thesis*
* Senior Thesis is recommended for students planning graduate work in Physics.
Choose at least two elective courses (course offerings vary from year to year)
- PHYS4407 Optical Spectroscopy
- PHYS4515 Physics of Conventional and Alternative Energy
- PHYS4535 Nano Integrated Science
- PHYS4545 Introduction to Condensed Matter Physics
- PHYS4565 Cosmology and Astrophysic
- PHYS4570 Topics in High Energy Astrophysics
- PHYS5540 General Relativity
- MATH4440 Dynamical Systems
The following courses are required
- PHYS4500 Applied Math for Physical Scientists (or MATH2210 Linear Algebra and MATH4410 Diff. Eq.)
- MATH2202 Multivariable Calculus
- CSCI2227 Intro. to Scientific Computation
Students without advanced math placement will need to take introductory calculus courses, such as MATH1103 or MATH1105, that are prerequisites for MATH2202.
Choose two additional science courses with lab
- CHEM1109 & 1111 General Chemistry I with Lab
- CHEM1110 & 1112 General Chemistry II with Lab
- Other Approved Science I with Lab
- Other Approved Science II with Lab
Advanced undergraduate Physics majors may, with departmental approval, enroll in first-year graduate courses, such as PHYS7711, 7732, or 7741.
- PHYS2200 Introductory Physics I (4)
- PHYS2050 Intro Lab I (1)
- MATH2202 Multivariable Calculus (3)
- PHYS2201 Introductory Physics II (4)
- PHYS2051 Intro Lab II (1)
- MATH2210 Linear Algebra (3)
- PHYS3100 Vibrations and Waves w/Lab (4)
- CHEM1109 General Chemistry I (3) + CHEM1111 General Chemistry Lab I (1)
- CSCI2227 Intro. to Scientific Computation
- PHYS3300 Modern Physics w/Lab (4)
- CHEM1110 General Chemistry II (3) + CHEM112 General Chemistry Lab II (1)
- MATH4410 Differential Equations
- PHYS4100 Classical Mechanics (4)
- PHYS4400 Quantum Physics I (3)
- PHYS4200 Electricity and Magnetism (3)
- PHYS4401 Quantum Physics II (3)
- PHYSXXXX Elective (3)
- PHYS4600 Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics (4)
- PHYSXXXX Elective (3)
- PHYS4350 Experiments in Physics (3) or PHYS4300 Numerical Methods and Scientific Computing* (4) or PHYS4951 Senior Thesis** (3)
* Students planning to take PHYS4300 need to take CSCI2227 Introduction to Scientific Computation in preparation for this course.
** Students need prior approval from a faculty mentor.
B.S. Applied Physics
The Applied Physics major provides a flexible platform for students to combine a strong interest in the concepts and analytical tools of physics with the any one of the varied applications of those tools to societal problems. In consultation with our Undergraduate Program Director, students will tailor an interdisciplinary program of study to focus on topical areas such as quantum computation, materials science, energy and the environment, biophysics, mathematical physics, financial modeling, and more. The curriculum will culminate in a research project with a physics faculty member, or jointly supervised by faculty members from multiple departments. This track is recommended for students planning to enter the workforce after graduation rather than applying to graduate school in physics or related disciplines.
Requirements for the Applied Physics major.
|Introductory Physics I & II PHYS2200/1 + labs PHYS2050/1||10|
|Vibrations & Waves PHYS3100||4|
|Modern Physics PHYS3300||4|
|Intro. to Scientific Computation CSCI2227 a||3|
|Survey of Applied Physics PHYS4700||3|
|Advanced Physics Courses (2 of 5): Classical Mechanics PHYS4100 Electricity & Magnetism PHYS4200 Quantum Mechanics I PHYS4400 Quantum Mechanics II PHYS4401 (QM I prerequisite) Statistical Physics PHYS4600||6 to 8|
|Electives b (3 courses) Physics 4000 level or above, may include courses from Advanced Physics Course list above||9 to12|
|Applied Physics Capstone Project PHYS4955||3|
|Two introductory science courses c outside of physics d||6 to 8|
|Mathematics Multivariable Calculus e MATH2202 Applied Math for Physical Scientists f PHYS4500||8|
- a Students who have taken Computer Science I & II may request a waiver of this requirement.
- b One approved elective course from another department is possible and encouraged.
- c Introductory courses required for that major, e.g., General Chemistry I&II plus labs or Computer Science I & II
- d A variety of introductory STEM and social science courses are possible with departmental approval
- e Students must have taken Calculus I & II or have equivalent AP credit.
- f Students may replace with both Linear Algebra MATH2210 and Differential Equations MATH4410
Department of Physics Rev. July 10, 2022 Applied Physics Major
Typical sequence for a student with AP credit for Calculus I.
|First||Intro. Physics I plus lab Calculus II||Intro. Physics II plus lab Multivariable Calculus|
|Second||Vibrations & Waves Other science intro course I Scientific Comp.||Modern Physics Other science intro course II Applied Math for Physical Sciences|
|Third||Advanced physics course 1 Survey Applied Physics||Advanced physics course 2 Elective 1|
|Fourth||Elective 2 Elective 3||Applied Physics Capstone|
|TOTAL||17 courses||60+ credits, 40+ in Physics|
Possible elective courses inside the Department of Physics
|PHYS4300||Numerical Methods & Scientific Computing|
|PHYS4407||Optical Spectroscopy of 2 Dimensional Systems|
|PHYS4515||Physics of Conventional and Alternative Energy|
|PHYS4545||Condensed Matter Physics|
|PHYS4595||Intro. To Quantum Computing|
|PHYS4535||Nanoscale Integrated Science|
Possible elective courses outside the Department of Physics
|Course Number||Course||Listed Prerequisites|
|CHEM4475||Physical Chemistry||PHYS2200/1, MATH2202|
|CSCI2291||Intro. to Data Science|
|CSCI3340||Intro. to Machine Learning w/Applications||CSCI1102|
|EESC3391||Introduction to Geophysics|
|MATH4470||Mathematical Modeling||MATH2202, MATH2210|
|ECON2229||Economic and Business Forecasting|
The minimum requirements for a minor in physics include the following courses:
- The following introductory courses:
- PHYS2200, PHYS2201 and accompanying labs PHYS2050 and PHYS2051.
- The following intermediate level courses:
- PHYS3100 and PHYS3300.
- Two upper-level courses (PHYS4000 and above) of 3 or more credits each.
Many of these courses have prerequisites. Students are advised to consult with the Undergraduate Program Director (email@example.com) when selecting these courses.
Substitutions: PHYS2100 and PHYS2101 may be substituted for PHYS2200 and PHYS2201, respectively, but the latter are preferred. Students must consult with the Undergraduate Program Director if they wish to substitute other equivalent courses for required courses or the corequisites.
Corequisites: MATH1102 and MATH1103 are required. MATH2202 may be required as a prerequisite for some of the upper-level physics courses. Students should consult with the Undergraduate Program Director to determine whether they will need to take these additional mathematics courses.