Banner Code: SC-BS-PHYS
The BS in physics prepares students for graduate school and careers in education, business, or industry. Students in the fields of mathematics, science, and engineering who are considering a double major in physics should discuss this option with the undergraduate coordinator. Note that at least 18 credits used to fulfill a physics BS cannot be used to fulfill another major or minor. Some course substitutions are allowed for double majors, but these should be discussed in advance.
Students must fulfill all requirements for bachelor’s degrees including university general education requirements . In addition, students must complete a total of 45 credits in the major and 20 in mathematics, with a minimum GPA of 2.00, distributed as follows. Through the course work below, physics majors satisfy the university-wide requirements in natural science and quantitative reasoning, and the intensive writing requirement by taking PHYS 407.
Alternative Introductory Sequence
Normally, students who intend to major in physics should take the physics introductory sequence (PHYS 160, 161, 260, 261, 262, and 263). Students who decide to major in physics after completing PHYS 243, 244, 245, and 246 may do so but only with written permission of the School. Those students are required to take at least 4 additional credits in approved physics courses.
This program of study is offered by the School of Physics, Astronomy, and Computational Sciences in the College of Science.
Physics Core Courses (27 credits)
Note: Students double majoring in engineering and physics may substitute ECE 305 for PHYS 305, and ECE 492/493 for PHYS 407.
Physics Electives (6 credits):
6 credits selected from the following:
Mathematics (20 credits):
Additional Science Courses (12 credits):
Choose 12 credits from the courses below:
Areas of Emphasis
In meeting all or part of the requirement for 12 credits of Additional Science Courses (above), students have the option of electing an emphasis. Students who wish to complete an emphasis should plan a program of study in consultation with their advisor. Suggested courses for each emphasis are listed below.
Emphasis in Applied Solid State Physics (12 credits):
This emphasis is for students who wish to pursue a career in the semiconductor industry. To complete this emphasis, students should take 12 credits selected from the following courses:
Emphasis in Astrophysics (12 credits):
This emphasis is for students who are planning to attend graduate school in astrophysics or pursue a career in industry. To complete this emphasis, students should take 12 credits selected from the following courses:
Emphasis in Computational Physics (12 credits):
This emphasis is for students who wish to pursue a career that applies computers to the solution of physical problems and data analysis. To complete this emphasis, students should take 12 credits selected from the following courses:
Emphasis in Electronics (12 credits):
This emphasis is for students who wish to pursue a career in industry, applying a strong background in electronics to physical problems. To complete this emphasis, students should take 12 credits selected from the following courses:
Emphasis on Graduate School Preparation (12 credits):
Although any of the options listed here provide the successful student with a fully adequate background to enter graduate school, this emphasis is for students whose career goals definitely include graduate work in physics. To complete this emphasis, students should take 12 credits selected from the following courses:
Emphasis in Medical Physics (12 credits):
Physics majors generally have an excellent acceptance record in applying to medical, dental, or veterinary schools. Although there is no formal set of courses within physics that is uniquely suitable, students should meet with a physics advisor and a health sciences advisor for information about the university’s Medical Sciences Advisory Committee. For more information, call 703-993-1050.
Because schools in the health sciences vary both in their philosophies and specific requirements, it is wise for students to become aware of such information well in advance of applying for admission. Although specific requirements vary, most programs do require applicants to complete at least one year of biology. Other requirements generally include organic chemistry:
Emphasis in Physics Education (24 credits):
This emphasis is intended for students wishing to pursue a career teaching secondary school physics. The goal of the program is to allow students to receive a license to teach physics in Virginia secondary schools within 120 credits. The following courses are required to qualify for the teaching license (EDRD 419 and either EDCI 473 or EDCI 483 fulfill 6 of the 12 credits of the Additional Science requirement, see above). In addition to the standard requirements for the physics major, students should enroll in 3 credits of directed study in physics laboratory instruction under PHYS 390:
Sample Schedule for Physics BS
(excluding general education courses)