Physics & Applied Physics

Physics Major Requirements

Kernel Program

The courses listed below constitute the required Kernel for all physics majors. Sample programs of study are shown in the next section which illustrate how these courses can be integrated with General Education requirements and Physics Electives to make a four-year degree program.

I.       Lower Division Courses


95.112 Fresh Phys Sem                     1 cr
95.161 Physics I (H)   4 cr
95.164 Physics II (H) 4cr
95.269 Physics III (H) 4cr
96.161 Physics I Lab (H)  2cr
96.164 Physics II Lab (H)  2cr
95.210 Intro Modern Physics 3cr
96.260 Physical Instrumentation  2cr
96.295 Interm Exper Phys   2cr


42.101 College Writing I  3cr
42.102 College Writing II   3cr
84.121 Chemistry I   3cr
84.122 Chemistry II  3cr
84.123 Chemistry I/II Lab   1cr
84.124 Chemistry II Lab  1cr
92.131 Calculus I   4cr
92.132 Calculus II   4cr
92.231 Calculus III   4cr
92.234 Differential Equations  3cr

II.      Upper Division Courses*


95.310 Quantum Physics  3cr
95.338 Optics and Waves  3cr
95.353 Elect - Magn I   3cr
96.393 Adv Exper Phys I   2cr
96.394 Adv Exper Phys II 2cr
95.411 Sen Phys Sem   1cr
95.413 Mechanics   3cr
95.421 Statistical Thermo  3cr
95.452 Contemporary Physics   3cr


  • 92.301 Applied Math I              3 cr
  • 92.302 Applied Math II             3 cr

Any waivers or substitutions for these requirements must be approved by the Undergraduate Coordinator.

*Upon completion of the Lower Division courses (Freshman and Sophomore Level) the students’ records will be reviewed by a committee of at least three faculty members. A recommendation will be made to proceed to Upper Division courses (Junior and Senior Level) or to take remedial courses or repeat courses as deemed necessary to prepare the student for the Upper Division courses. A revised program will be formulated for each student requiring remedial work which may extend his/her program by one or more semesters. In appropriate cases the student will be advised to change major. The student attains the status of physics baccalaureate degree candidate when admitted to the Upper Division.

Non-Physics Electives and General Education Requirements

In addition to the Kernel Program in Physics, courses to satisfy the General Education requirement and the physics elective requirement must be chosen from among all of the course offerings of the University subject to the following conditions:

1.  All elective courses must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor.

2.  General Education Guidelines (36-38 credits)

Students must conform to the General Education guidelines as outlined elsewhere in this document. These include:

  1. College Writing - 2 courses – 42.101/42.102
  2. Mathematics - 1 course (met by required math courses in major)
  3. Art and Humanities - 3 courses
  4. Social Sciences - 3 courses
  5. Science and Technology - 3 courses, two of which must contain an experimental learning component (met by required science courses in major)

3.  Technical electives required by the major

At least 13 credits (of which six must be from the Physics Electives list) in technical elective courses must be taken in a specialty field. These electives may include courses outside the department. Elect - Magn II (3) [95.354] is strongly recommended for students intending to pursue a graduate degree in physics, as well as Introductory Quantum Mechanics I and II (3,3) [95.435/436]. Experimental Analysis for Physicists (1) [95.191] is required for students who have not taken 96.161 and 96.164 and have an insufficient background in experimental error analysis.

If the Optics Option is chosen, then included in the Physics Electives the student must take the courses listed below.

95.337 Geometrical Optics  3cr
96.337 Geometrical Optics Lab  2cr
96.338 Physical Optics Lab 2cr
95.439 Electro-Optics w Lab  4cr
95.440 Image Processing 4cr

Successful completion of the Optics option will be certified by the Department on the student’s transcript provided an official declaration form is filed at the end of the lower division program. See Physics Electives list for additional courses in optics.

Physics Electives

1. General Physics - Upper Division (all but 95.191)

95.191 Exper Analysis for Physics Majors**  1cr
95.212 Sophomore Physics Seminar    1cr
95.312 Junior Physics Seminar  1cr
95.354 Elect - Magn II*  3cr
95.383 Astronomy & Astrophysics I 3cr
95.384 Astronomy & Astrophysics II  3cr
95.435 Intro Quantum Mechanics I*          3cr
95.436 Intro Quantum Mechanics II*  3cr
95.461 Nuclear Physics I   3cr
95.472 Solid State Physics  3cr
95.483 Relativity and Cosmology  3cr
95.484 Relativity and Cosmology   3cr
95.494 Elementary Particle Theory  3cr
96.497 Senior Thesis   3cr
96.498 Senior Thesis    3cr
95.605 Mathematical Physics I    3cr
95.606 Mathematical Physics II                 3 cr 3cr

Note: *Courses that are strongly recommended for students intending to pursue a graduate degree in physics.

**Experimental Analysis for Physics Majors (1) [95.191] is required for students who have not taken 96.161 and do not have a background in experimental error analysis and technical report writing

2.       Optics - Upper Division

95.337 Geometrical Optics  3cr
96.337 Geometrical Optics Lab  2cr
96.338 Physical Optics Lab 2cr
95.439 Electro-Optics w Lab  4cr
95.440 Image Processing  4cr
95.447 Laser Physics & Applic   3cr
96.447 Experimental Laser Optics  2cr
95.451 Fiber Optics   4cr
96.453 Optics Project***  3cr
96.454 Optics Project***   3cr
***supervisor needed before registering

3.       Radiological Health Physics

Upper Division

95.355 Phys of Rad & Nucl    4cr
95.401 Rad Safety & Control I   4cr
95.402 Rad Safety & Control II  4cr
95.411 Radiochemistry    3cr
95.422 Env Rad & Nucl Site Cri  3cr
95.462 Radiation Biology   3cr
95.481 Math Methods of Rad Sci  3cr
95.482 Numerical Methods in RS  3cr
96.306 Nuclear Instrumentation  4cr

Electives (definitions)

Gen Ed Elect - general education elective

Physics Elect - physics elective - upper division

Special Elect - specialty elective (specialization)

Elective - free elective


View the complete course of study (pdf).

For additional information visit the Physics Department or contact us.