Student ID:__________________________ Student Name:_______________________ Adviser Name:_______________________ Catalog: 2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog Program: Physics, B.S. (R, L) Minimum Credits Required:__________________

Physics, B.S. (R, L)

  • Experimental and Theoretical Concentration
  • Biophysics Concentration
  • Astrophysics Concentration
  • Physics Education Concentration
  • Teaching Licensure

The department has four concentrations focusing on different aspects of physics as well as a collaborative dual degree agreement with Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering.  The Theoretical and Experimental concentration prepares students for careers or graduate study in physics.   The Astrophysics concentration focuses on the use of physics in astronomy and planetary science.  The Biophysics concentration looks at the connections between physics, chemistry, and biology and can be used to help prepare students to work or continue to graduate studies in this growing sector.  It also provides a unique pathway to the professional health and medical fields.    The Education concentration prepares students to teach physics at the high school level.  The collaborative program with Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering allows students to earn two bachelor’s degrees (one in Physics, one in a field of Engineering) in a 5-year program. 

REAL Curriculum

This major fulfills the R and L areas of the REAL Curriculum. Students fulfill the R area through classes requiring students to apply quantitative and scientific information to test problems to draw conclusions and to generate scientific and quantitative knowledge.These requirements are accomplished though the skills and knowledge gained in mathematical and scientific reasoning utilized in Physics courses taken in the first two years of the major curriculum.

Students fulfill the L area through classes requiring the students to develop professional skills and critically reflect on how their skills, abilities and experiences apply in a profession. Students develop these skills and reflect on their professional skills, experience and abilities in laboratory and computational physics courses taken in the second year of the major curriculum.

Students need majors and/or minors to fulfill the E and A areas to complete the REAL Curriculum requirements.

REAL Foundational Requirements

Foundational Writing (3 credits)

Course NameTerm TakenGradeGen Ed
ENGL 111 - Principles of College Composition (GE)

Foundational Math (3 credits)

Course NameTerm TakenGradeGen Ed
MATH 100 - Quantitative Reasoning (GE)
MATH 121 - Math Content for Teachers I (GE)
MATH 125 - Precalculus I (GE)

REAL Cornerstone Requirements

Writing Intensive (WI) Courses (6 credits)

Writing Intensive courses are denoted below with a (WI). Two writing intensive courses are required to graduate, with at least one at the 300- or 400-level. The Physics minor includes 0-3 credits of writing intensive courses.

General Education Requirements

General Education courses will be denoted below with a (GE). Students are required to take at least 30 credit hours of general education designated courses within their degree requirements. The Physics major includes 23-32 general education credits.

Major Requirements (48-76 credits)

B.S. Requirement (8 credits)

Course NameTerm TakenGradeGen Ed
CHEM 111 - General Chemistry I (GE)
CHEM 112 - General Chemistry II (GE)

Required Courses (33 credits)

Course NameTerm TakenGradeGen Ed
PHYS 201 - Introductory Physics Seminar
PHYS 221 - Physics I (GE)
PHYS 222 - Physics II (GE)
PHYS 303 - Mathematical Methods in Physics
PHYS 305 - Modern Physics
PHYS 306 - Intermediate Mechanics
PHYS 309 - Electronics Laboratory
PHYS 330 - Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
PHYS 370 - Computational Methods in Physics
PHYS 401 - Career and Professional Development
PHYS 421 - Electromagnetic Theory
MATH 169 - Calculus I with Integrated Precalculus II (GE) OR
MATH 171 - Calculus and Analytic Geometry I (GE)
MATH 172 - Calculus and Analytic Geometry II (GE)

Concentrations (11-34 credits)

Experimental and Theoretical Concentration (16 credits)

Course NameTerm TakenGradeGen Ed
MATH 271 - Calculus and Analytic Geometry III
PHYS 430 - Quantum Mechanics
PHYS 440 - Advanced Physics Laboratory (WI)
  • Six (6) credits from any PHYS course 300 level or above except for PHYS 470 
  • Astrophysics Concentration (15 credits)

    Course NameTerm TakenGradeGen Ed
    ASTR 151 - Astronomy I OR
    ASTR 152 - Astronomy II OR
    ASTR 220 - Introduction to Astrophysics (GE)
  • Twelve (12) credits taken from ASTR 310, ASTR 421, ASTR 422, PHYS 301, PHYS 406/GEOL 406 
  • Education Concentration (11 credits)

    Course NameTerm TakenGradeGen Ed
    MATH 271 - Calculus and Analytic Geometry III
    PHYS 310 - Optics
    PHYS 430 - Quantum Mechanics

    Biophysics Concentration (34 credits)

    Course NameTerm TakenGradeGen Ed
    MATH 271 - Calculus and Analytic Geometry III
    PHYS 430 - Quantum Mechanics
    CHEM 301 - Organic Chemistry I
    CHEM 302 - Organic Chemistry II
    CHEM 471 - Biochemistry I
    BIOL 131 - Ecology and Adaptation (GE)
    BIOL 132 - Biology of Cells and Microorganisms (GE)
    BIOL 231 - Genetics, Evolution and Development
    BIOL 232 - Organismal Biology

    Additional Degree Requirements

    To graduate with a major in Physics, a student must attain an overall grade point average of 2.0 or higher in all courses attempted in the major including Calculus and Analytic Geometry.

    Open Credit Hours (44-72 credits)

    These credits can be used to fulfill additional courses, majors, minors, and/or REAL Curriculum requirements, including Foundational Writing and Foundational Math.

    Total Credits Needed For Graduation (120)

    Teaching Licensure

    Students seeking endorsements to teach physics must take appropriate courses in education. (See the Secondary Education page and contact the College of Education and Human Development for information concerning these courses.)