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Applied Physics (BS)

Variable Credit Min


Variable Credit Max


Major Academic Plan


Physics Theory and Application

Learning Outcome

Apply principles to model and solve representative problems analytically and computationally at an introductory level from the primary physical theories (classical mechanics quantum mechanics special relativity thermodynamics electromagnetism and optics) and at an advanced level in classical mechanics electrostatics and optics/electrodynamics.


Experimental and Computational Skills

Learning Outcome

Design and conduct experiments build scientific equipment write scientific programs to simulate physical systems and analyze data.


Effective Communication

Learning Outcome

Communicate professionally to a technical audience both orally and in writing. Be able to understand scientific ideas by reading books and journal articles.


Professional Ethics

Learning Outcome

Understand scientific ethical practices and demonstrate them in the conduct of scientific research.


Research and Professional Preparation

Learning Outcome

Conduct experimental theoretical or computational research under the direction of a mentor to contribute to the generation of new knowledge or technologies and prepare to do this professionally.

Program Requirements

No more than 3 hours of D credit is allowed in major courses.

Consult with a faculty advisor as early as possible to choose electives.

Requirement 1 — Complete 17 Courses

Note: Phscs 191 should be taken the first semester as a freshman. Phscs 291 should be taken the first semester as a sophomore.

course - Intro to Computer Science 3.0

course - Calculus 2 4.0

course - Intro to Newtonian Mechanics 3.0

course - Intro to Waves, Optics, Thermo 3.0

course - Intro Phscs Careers & Rsrch 1 0.5

course - Intro Electricity & Magnetism 3.0

course - Modern Physics 3.0

course - Intro to Experimental Physics 2.0

course - Computational Physics Lab 1 1.0

course - Dsgn, Fabricatn, Sci Apparatus 2.0

course - Experiments in Contemp Phscs 2.0

course - Intro Phscs Careers & Rsrch 2 0.5

course - Intro Math Physics 3.0

course - Mechanics 3.0

course - Computational Physics Lab 2 1.0

course - Computational Physics Lab 3 1.0

course - Electricity & Magnetism 3.0

Requirement 2 — Complete 1 of 3 Courses

Note: Although Ec En 466 has some Ec En classes listed as prerequisites, they are often waived for Applied Physics majors. Specifically, Ec En 466 can be taken with no other prereqs as long as the student has taken Phscs 441. However, it is still recommended for students who have taken Phscs 441 to also take Phscs 442 or Ec En 462 prior to taking Ec En 466. Interested students should talk to the Ec En 466 instructor about their specific backgrounds.

course - Intro to Optical Engineering 2.0

course - Electrodynamics 3.0

course - Principles of Optics 3.0

Requirement 3 — Obtain confirmation from your advisement center that you have completed the following:

After gaining department advisor's approval of courses selected to define an option, complete an additional 12 hours of electives (cannot include any courses already taken above). These 12 hours must consist of a coherent set of upper-division courses with an identified educational goal. Nine hours must be upper division (300-level or above); three hours must be 200-level or above.

Requirement 4 — Complete 1 of 2 Options

Option 4.1 — Complete 2 Courses

course - Math for Engr 1 4.0

course - Math for Engineering 2 4.0

Option 4.2 — Complete 4 Courses

course - Elementary Linear Algebra 2.0

course - Computational Linear Algebra 1.0

course - Calculus of Several Variables 3.0

course - Ordinary Differential Equation 3.0

Requirement 5 — Complete 2 hours

Complete a capstone project or senior thesis including the following:

A. Choose a research mentor and group as early as possible, starting with information in Phscs 191 and 291, and discussions with faculty, your advisor, and the capstone project coordinator or senior thesis coordinator. It is best to start as a freshman or sophomore. Interdisciplinary work in other departments or in internships is possible.

Option 5.1 — Complete up to 2 hours

B. Complete 2 hours of one of the following:

course - Capstone in Applied Phscs - You may take up to 2.0 credit hours 2.0

course - Senior Thesis - You may take up to 2.0 credit hours 0.5v

Requirement 6 — Obtain confirmation from your advisement center that you have completed the following:

Students are required to take the Physics "Major Field Test" the last semester before they graduate. The test is a standardized assessment of undergraduate physics written by ETS (Educational Testing Service). The ETS website contains a description of the exam and sample problems: Results of the exam do not appear on the transcript or affect the GPA. Students should contact the Physics undergraduate secretary to make arrangements for taking the exam; typically it's done in the Testing Center before mid-semester.

Note 1: Students planning careers in experimental, applied, or industrial physics should complete Stat 201.

Note 2: All students will benefit, through courses or individual study, by learning programming skills and numerical methods beyond what you are taught in C S 111 and our computational physics courses. Consider the following: CS courses, Math 410, Me En 373.