Bachelor of Science Program - Broad Track

Physics is challenging, mind-opening and... still busy uncovering what lies at the very bottom of matter and space! It needs minds and skills to keep pushing the envelope. So many mysteries to solve: what is dark matter, and is it really there? when and why did the big bang happen? how do three tiny quarks manage to make up a whole proton? how do black holes manage to spew superfast jets of matter into space? could we ever have superconductors at ambient temperature? how does matter generate consciousness?

If you see yourself joining the search for answers, then you will be headed for a PhD after graduation. Our broad track prepares candidates best for entrance into a PhD program in physics. If the PhD is not your goal, you will still be well prepared for closely related areas of graduate studies, including engineering and medical physics.

Required courses

  • PHYS 350 Mathematical Methods in Physics (3 credits)
  • 9 additional credits of PHYS 300+ courses. Choose from:
    PHYS 404 Solid State Physics (3 credits)
    PHYS 405 Gravitational Astrophysics (3 credits)
    PHYS 475 Advanced Quantum Mechanics (3 credits)
    PHYS 482W Particle Physics (3 credits)
    PHYS 485 Relativity (3 credits)
    PHYS 491 Introductory Materials Science 1 (3 credits)
    PHYS 502 Advanced Optical Theory and Devices (3 credits)

Additional advanced physics courses are available through the Pittsburgh Council of Higher Education (PCHE). Any PCHE course requires departmental approval. The class PHYS 407 GRE prep and research beyond the minimum of one semester are strongly recommended.

Course sequence
The courses indicated below must be taken in sequence because of prerequisite linkages. Courses not appearing in the sequence are flexible.

Semester 1
PHYS 211+211L General Analytical Physics 1 and lab
MATH 115 Calculus 1
Semester 2
PHYS 212+212L General Analytical Physics 2 and lab
MATH 116 Calculus 2
Programming (COSC 150/160/170 C++, Java or Python)
Semester 3
PHYS 301 Optics
PHYS 312 Optics lab
MATH 215 Calculus 3
MATH 310 Linear Algebra
Semester 4
PHYS 374 Modern Physics
PHYS 350 Math Methods
PHYS 332 Electronics
MATH 314 Differential Equations
Semester 5
PHYS 461 Mechanics or PHYS 401 Thermal Physics
PHYS 470 Electricity & Magnetism or PHYS 474 Quantum Mechanics
PHYS 407 GRE prep
Semester 6
PHYS 464 Advanced Lab
PHYS 472 Electrodynamics or PHYS 300+(2)
PHYS 300+(1)
PHYS 407 GRE prep
Semester 7
PHYS 401 Thermal Physics or PHYS 461 Mechanics
PHYS 474 Quantum Mechanics or PHYS 470 Electricity & Magnetism
Semester 8
PHYS 499W Senior Research
PHYS 300+(2) or PHYS 472 Electrodynamics
PHYS 300+(3)