Physics (B.S.) Curriculum

The physics major offers two options: General Physics is designed for students who want to pursue graduate work in physics or a related field. Computational Physics emphasizes applied physics and computers; it is ideally suited for students who want to enter industry directly upon graduation.

As a physics major, you will first develop a strong background in mathematics and the fundamentals of physics. Later, you will tackle advanced-level physics courses in such challenging fields as optics, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, theoretical mechanics, electrodynamics, and solid state physics. In your junior or senior years, you will gain practical experience as you work with a faculty member to develop and complete a physics research project.

Current students: See the Recommended Academic Plans for Computational Physics and General Physics for more detailed course recommendations and refer to the University Bulletin for course descriptions and more degree requirements. Or find other resources on the Current Students page.

Typical Course Sequence

Below is a typical course sequence for the Physics bachelor's degree program. Schedules will vary by student, depending on areas of interest as well as their chosen option.

Semester 1 Credits   Semester 2 Credits
General Physics: Mechanics 4 General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism 4
Calculus with Analytic Geometry I 4 Calculus with Analytic Geometry II 4
Chemical Principles I 3 Experimental Chemistry II 1
Experimental Chemistry I 1 Chemical Principles II 3
First-Year Seminar in Physics 1 Health and Physical Activity 1.5
Rhetoric and Composition 3 Arts course 3
Total Credits 16 Total Credits 16.5
 
Semester 3     Semester 4  
General Physics: Fluids and Thermal Physics 2 Introduction to Modern Physics 3
General Physics: Wave Motion and Quantum Physics 2 Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations 4
Introduction to Programming Techniques 3 Intermediate Programming 3
Matrices 2 Effective Speech 3
Calculus and Vector Analysis 4 Humanities Course 3
Social and Behavioral Science Course 3 Total Credits 16
Total Credits 16    
 
Semester 5     Semester 6  
Theoretical Mechanics 3 Thermal Physics 3
Intermediate Optics 4 Research Methods in Physics 3
Effective Writing-Technical Writing 3 Physics Seminar-The Year in Physics 1
Introduction to Numerical Analysis I 3 Introduction to Numerical Analysis II 3
Intermediate Programming 3 Arts Course 3
Total Credits 16 Health and Physical Activity 1.5
    Total Credits 14.5
 
Semester 7     Semester 8  
Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism I 3 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 3
Electronics for Scientists 4 Solid State Physics 3
Astronomical Methods and the Solar 3 Scientific Visualization 3
Physics Research Project or Internship 3 Concepts of Discrete Mathematics 3
Social and Behavioral Science Course 3 Physics Research Project or Internship 3
Total Credits 16 Humanities Course 3
    Total Credits 16