Department of Physics Undergraduate Program

The Department of Physics offers course work leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Science, Masters of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Physics. The Bachelor of Science degree program is designed to prepare students for graduate studies in physics and for the workforce. Entering students who are not placed in the calculus sequence will follow a modified sequence and may require additional time to complete the selected program of study. The Department is located in the Olin Building for the academic programs and has well-equipped laboratories and computer rooms for the undergraduate program at several locations on campus. Physics faculty, staff, and students conduct research on-campus in the newly renovated Graduate Physics Research Facility and in the Olin Building, and off-campus at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility and other international research institutions when appropriate funding is available. Undergraduate physics majors are encouraged to participate in funded research programs, conduct research, and publish findings. Research areas include nanoscience, intermediate-energy nuclear physics, optical science, high energy physics and accelerator physics.

Courses listed below that are offered through the School of Science must be passed with at least a "C" grade, specifically, biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics, and the technical electives.

New Freshmen Curriculum

New physics majors that begin classes as of this fall semester (Fall 2014) will have a new curriculum outline. All previous undergraduate physics majors will continue with the catalog/outline they entered with. New Freshman click on the link below to see your curriculum.

View/Download the New Freshman Fall 2014 Curriculm »

Undergraduate Curriculum Outline - Physics

Freshman Year - 1st Semester Credit Hours Freshman Year - 2nd Semester Credit Hours
ENG 101 Written Communication I 3 ENG 102 Written Communication II 3
MAT 151 Calculus I 4 MAT 152 Calculus II 4
UNV 101 The Individual and Life 1
HIS 106 World Civilization 3 HUM 201 Humanities I 3
PHY 110 Seminar 1
PHY 203 Introductory to Physics I (H) 3 PHY 204 Introductory to Physics II (H) 3
PHY 230 Experimental Physics I (H) 1 PHY 231 Experimental Physics II 1
HEA 200 Health Education or 2 P.E. PED 101-231 (see Academic Catalog for various Physical Education Courses) 2
  Total: 16   Total: 16
Sophomore Year - 1st Semester Credit Hours Sophomore Year - 2nd Semester Credit Hours
CHE 201 General Chemistry I 4 COM 103 Oral Communication 3
MAT 251 Calculus III 4 MAT 260 Diffrential Equations 3
PHY 210 Seminar 1 PHY 217 Communications in Research II 1
PHY 211 Modern Physics I 3 PHY 212 Modern Physics II 3
PHY 220 Computational Physics III 2 PHY 221 Computational Physics IV 2
PHY 330 Experimental Physics III 1 PHY 331 Experimental Physics IV 1
PSY 203 Introduction to Psycology 3
  Total: 15   Total: 16
Junior Year - 1st Semester Credit Hours Junior Year - 2nd Semester Credit Hours
Free Elective 3 Free Elective 3
SOC 205 Introduction to Sociology 3 Elective 3
PHY 301 Mechanics I 3 PHY 301 Mechanics II 3
PHY 310 Seminar 1 PHY 317 Communications in Research III 1
PHY 317 Thermodynamics 3
Technical Elective *** (See Academic Advisor 3 Technical Elective*** (See Academic Advisor.) 3
  Total: 13   Total: 16
Senior Year - 1st Semester Credit Hours Senior Year - 2nd Semester Credit Hours
PHY 410 Seminar 1 Free Elective 3
PHY 501 Electricity & Magnetism I 3 PHY 502 Electricity & Magnetism II 3
PHY 505 Quantum Mechanics I 3 PHY 506 Quantum Mechanics II 3
Technical Electives** (See Academic Advisor.) 6 Technical Electives** (See Academic Advisor.) 3
  Total: 13   Total: 15

Total Credits: 120

* Mathematics placement is based upon the student's academic preparation.

** See the section on General Education for alternatives to HUM 202.

*** Technical Electives include any elective course above the required entry level in atmospheric and planetary science, aviation, biology, chemistry, computer science, education, engineering, marine and environmental, mathematics, naval science, and physics.

(H) The Honors section of PHY 203-204 is required, if available during the first year of study.

Physics Minor Requirements:

  • The physics minor requires at least 21 credit hours. Students must complete the following courses: Physics 203, 215/230, 204, 216/231, 211, 330.
  • In addition, the student must choose at least three elective courses from the following list of courses: Physics 212 and 331, 205 (or APS 205), 301, 312, 501, 505. Other suitable courses may be substituted for elective courses with approval of the chair.

Undergraduate Brochure (PDF 401.43 KB)

Financial Assistance & Scholarships

  • Undergraduate students, who qualify, will need to apply for university scholarships (either full or partial) during the admissions process. Grant funding within the department may be available to students based on need and academic standing. Students are encouraged to inquire.
  • Graduate students, upon admission, can request financial support from the Center for which they will focus their research study. The Director will determine funding based on availability of funds. Stipends in the amount of $16K per calendar year are provided for qualified masters degree and Ph.D. candidates, and $18K for students who have successfully passed the Ph.D. qualifier examination.
  • Paid research opportunities are available in most centers within the Department.

Departmental Perks

  • Membership in the Society of Physics Students
  • Involvement in Community Outreach
  • Present in the School of Science Annual Research Symposium
  • Career Day exposure
  • Domestic and International travel to scientific conferences
  • Internships with national laboratories, funding agencies, and partnering industries

Special Needs Students

Students with disabilities who require special accommodations are encouraged to file their disability with the Office of 504 Compliance in room 212 Wigwam. Phone: 757.727.5493