BS in Physics

Candidates of the BS degree must complete 120 semester hours of credit with an average grade of C or better. Below you will find the core requirements for a BS degree as well as typical programs of study for physics majors.

Core requirements for the BS program

Required courses in the Physics Department
Physics 2800: Undergraduate Physics Seminar
Physics 2750, 2760: University Physics I & II
Physics 3150: Introduction to Modern Physics
Physics 4060: Advanced Physics Lab
Physics 4100: Electricity and Magnetism
Physics 4120: Introduction to Thermodynamics
Physics 4140: Mechanics
Physics 4800: Intro to Quantum Mechanics I
+ 5 Physics Electives (4000 level, one may be at the 3000 level)
Note: no capstone course required.

Students have available a variety of courses from which they may select the rest of the required hours of physics electives for the BS degree. You may find a list of all physics and astronomy courses on the Undergrad Courses web page.

BS in Physics with an Emphasis in Astronomy
Students interested in astronomy may choose to pursue a BS in Physics with an Emphasis in Astronomy. For this option, students must take the same required courses as the students pursuing a regular BS degree and take four (4) of the physics electives in astronomy. One of the 4 required astronomy electives is Astronomy 3010, Introduction to Astrophysics. If successfully completed, the emphasis in astronomy will be recorded on the student’s diploma. Only courses with a grade of C- or above will be counted toward the emphasis area.

BS in Physics with an Emphasis in Materials Science
Students interested in materials science may choose to pursue a BS in Physics with an Emphasis in Materials Science. For this option, students must take the same required courses as the students pursuing a regular BS degree and take four (4) of the physics electives from the list below:
Physics 4190: Physics and Chemistry of Materials
Physics 4230: Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Microanalysis
Physics 4400: The Physics of Electronic Devices
Physics 4410: Analysis of Biological Macromolecules and Biomaterials
Physics 4600: Semiconductor Optics
Physics 4620: Introduction to Materials Science (this course is required)
Physics 4650: Modern Condensed Matter Physics
Physics 4950: Undergraduate Research in Physics (with approval)
Physics 4960: Senior Thesis (with approval)

With approval, one materials science related course may be taken from outside the physics program. Only courses with a grade of C- or above will be counted toward the emphasis area.

Basic Skills and General Education requirements

  • English 1000 Exposition and Argumentation
  • Foreign Language: 12-13 credit hours of a foreign language (this requirement is satisfied if the student has 4 years of foreign language from HS).
  • Two Writing Intensive (WI) courses, one in the major and one at 3000 level or above
  • Behavioral and Social Sciences: 9 hours in behavioral and social sciences, with at least one course at the 2000 or above level.
  • History or Political Science course that satisfies the government requirement.
  • Humanities and Fine Arts: 9 hours in humanistic studies and fine arts, with at least one course at the 2000 or above level.

Here is a link to a webpage that allows you to search for different general education courses available at MU : Search for a General Education Course.

Students who elect an undergraduate program leading to the BS degree in physics have an option regarding the College of Arts and Science foreign language requirement. This requirement of 12 or 13 credit hours (depending on the language studied) may be satisfied alternatively by the substitution on an approved specialization (enhancement area). This consists of a minimum of 12 credit hours of courses at the 2000 level or above and may not include courses normally required of all physics majors or courses in the Physics Department. It is to be selected from an area with special relevance to physics and to the student’s own interests and future plans. Students have selected options in aerospace engineering, atmospheric science/geophysical fluid dynamics, radiation biology, chemistry, computer science, electrical engineering (circuits or computer hardware emphasis), geology, nuclear engineering, material science, math and other areas. The choice and planning of an option must be approved by the Direction of Undergraduate Studies.

Daniel Van Hoesen, undergraduate physics major, conducting research in Prof. Peter Pfeifer's lab.

Daniel Van Hoesen, undergraduate physics major, conducting research in Prof. Peter Pfeifer's lab.