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Curriculum for the B.S. in Physics

Students pursuing a B.S. in Physics must complete:

  • 15 Basic Physics Sequence
  • 23 Common BS Requirements
  • 24 Math and Computer Science
  • 10 Chemistry
  • 13 Bayer School Core
  • 28 University Core
  • 6 Free Electives
  • 12(13) Track-Specific Requirements

To graduate, a student:

  • needs a minimum of 131 credit hours
  • must have a grade of C in all physics courses

Physics Course Descriptions • Download Curriculum


Basic Physics Sequence - 15 credits

Course # Course Name Credits
PHYS 211 General Analytical Physics I 3
PHYS 211L General Analytical Physics I Lab 1
PHYS 212 General Analytical Physics II 3
PHYS 212L General Analytical Physics II Lab 1
PHYS 302 Optics 3
PHYS 312 Optics Lab 1
PHYS 374 Modern Physics 3

Common B.S. Requirements - 23 credits

Course # Course Name Credits
PHYS 332 Electronics 3
PHYS 464 Advanced Lab 2
PHYS 401 Thermal Physics 3
PHYS 461 Mechanics 4
PHYS 470 Electricity and Magnetism 3
PHYS 473 Electrodynamics 3
PHYS 474 Quantum Mechanics 3
PHYS 499W Senior Research 2

Math and Computer Science – 24 credits

Course # Course Name Credits
MATH 115 Calculus I 4
MATH 116 Calculus II 4
MATH 215 Calculus III 4
MATH 210 Matrix Algebra or MATH 310 Linear Algebra 3
MATH 314 Differential Equations 3
Elective math: numerical analysis or statistics 3
Programming: C++ or Java 3

Chemistry - 10 Credits

Course # Course Name Credits
CHEM 121 General Chemistry I (or honors) 4
CHEM 121L General Chemistry I Lab (or honors) 1
CHEM 122 General Chemistry II (or honors) 4
CHEM 122L General Chemistry II Lab (or honors) 1

Bayer School Core – 13 credits

Course # Course Name Credits
ENLG 302W Science Writing 3
HIST 309 or
HIST 307
History of Science requirement 3
SPRG 105 Career Development Seminar 1
Free Electives 6

University Core - 28

Course # Course Name Credits
UCOR 101 Thinking and Writing 3
UCOR 100 Research and Info Skills 1
UCOR 102 Imaginative Literature and Critical Writing 3
UCOR 132 Basic Philosophical Questions 3
UCOR Ethics requirement 3
UCOR Theology requirement 3
UCOR Faith and Reason requirement 3
UCOR Global Diversity requirement 3
UCOR Creative Arts requirement 3
UCOR Social Justice requirement 3

Track-Specific Requirements - 12 Credits

Broad Track - 12 credits

Course # Course Name Credits
PHYS 350 Mathematical Methods in Physics 3
Physics electives 300 level and up. Choose from: 9
PHYS 404 Solid State Physics 3
PHYS 405 Gravitational Astrophysics 3
PHYS 475 Advanced Quantum Mechanics 3
PHYS 481 Descriptive Cosmology 3
PHYS 482W Particle Physics 3
PHYS 485 Relativity 3
Concentration courses (no more than two)
Advanced physics courses in PCHE with approval

Condensed Matter Concentration – 12 credits

Course # Course Name Credits
PHYS 491 Introductory Materials Science 1 3
PHYS 492 Introductory Materials Science 2 3
PHYS 493 Advanced Solid State 1 3
PHYS 494 Advanced Solid State 2 3

Astronomy Concentration (Pitt by cross-registration) - 12 credits

Course # Course Name Credits
AST 0113 Introduction to Astronomy 3
AST 1120 Stars, stellar structure, and stellar evolution 3
AST 1121 Galaxies and cosmology 3
AST 1263 Techniques of Astronomy 3

Education Track – 13 credits

Course # Course Name Credits
PHYS 481 Descriptive Cosmology 3
PHYS 482W Particle Physics 3
PHYS 170 Acoustics 3
BIOL 111/111L Biology I and lab  OR 4
BIOL 112/112L Biology II and lab

Requirements for the Minor

A student may choose to minor in physics by completing 211, 211L, 212, 212L, and 12 additional credits in physics courses numbered 300 or above, all with a grade of C or better. Individual course prerequisites must be satisfied.