Jul 19, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

Physics, B.S. (R, L)

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

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 (59-74 credits)

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 (46-61 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  page and contact the College of Education and Human Development for information concerning these courses.)