The pure physics major is recommended for students intending to enter graduate school in Physics, or that want a deeper understanding of fundamental physics.

It consists of one of the University Physics sequences with two labs, plus PHY 306 (lab), PHY 321, PHY 340, PHY 350, PHY 351, PHY 360, PHY 362, PHY 506 (lab), PHY 540, and PHY 560.

Students interested in a Ph.D. program in physics are strongly encouraged to also take PHY 561.

To satisfy the College of Arts and Sciences writing requirement in the discipline, students majoring in Pure Physics are required to pass at least one writing intensive course within the Physics Department. These are PHY 306, PHY 362, and PHY 506 The requirement can also be fulfilled by passing WRS 233 with a grade of C- or higher.

Curriculum Requirements

University Physics Sequence10-11
Option 1:
University Physics I
University Physics II
University Physics III
University Physics II Lab
University Physics III Lab
Option 2:
University Physics I
Honors University Physics II-III
University Physics II Lab
University Physics III Lab
Option 3:
University Physics I for the Sciences
University Physics II for the Sciences
College Physics Laboratory I
University Physics II Lab
College Physics Laboratory II
University Physics III Lab
Option 4:
University Physics I for PRISM
University Physics II for PRISM
College Physics Laboratory I
University Physics II Lab
College Physics Laboratory II
University Physics III Lab
Upper Level Courses
PHY 306Intermediate Laboratory1
PHY 321Thermodynamics and Kinetic Theory3
PHY 340Classical Mechanics I3
PHY 350Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism3
PHY 351Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism II3
PHY 360Introduction to Modern Physics3
PHY 362Modern Physics Honors Seminar1
PHY 506Advanced Laboratory1-2
PHY 540Classical Mechanics II3
PHY 560Quantum Mechanics and Modern Physics I3
Math Requirements
MTH 151Calculus I for Engineers5
or MTH 161 Calculus I
or MTH 171 Calculus I
MTH 162Calculus II4
or MTH 172 Calculus II
MTH 210Introduction to Linear Algebra3
MTH 211Calculus III3
or MTH 310 Multivariable Calculus
MTH 311Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations3
General Education Requirements
Written Communication Skills:
WRS 105First-Year Writing I3
WRS 106First-Year Writing II3
or ENG 106 Writing About Literature and Culture
Quantitative Skills:
Calculus I for Engineers fulfilled through the major
Calculus I
Calculus I
Areas of Knowledge:
Arts and Humanities Cognate9
People and Society Cognate9
STEM Cognate (9 credits) (fulfilled through the major)
Additional Requirements
CSC 120Computer Programming I4
200-level language course 3
Total Credit Hours120-122

Plan of Study

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredit Hours
PHY 221 University Physics I 3
MTH 151 Calculus I for Engineers 5
WRS 105 First-Year Writing I 3
CSC 120 Computer Programming I 4
 Credit Hours15
PHY 222 University Physics II 3
PHY 224 University Physics II Lab 1
PHY 315 Mathematical Tools for Physics 3
MTH 162 Calculus II 4
WRS 106 or ENG 106 First-Year Writing II
or Writing About Literature and Culture
Cognate 3
 Credit Hours17
Year Two
PHY 223 University Physics III 3
PHY 225 University Physics III Lab 1
PHY 360 Introduction to Modern Physics 3
PHY 362 Modern Physics Honors Seminar 1
MTH 210 Introduction to Linear Algebra 3
Language 101 3
Cognate 3
 Credit Hours17
PHY 340 Classical Mechanics I 3
PHY 306 Intermediate Laboratory 1
MTH 211 Calculus III 3
Language 102 3
Cognate 3
Elective 3
 Credit Hours16
Year Three
PHY 350 Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism 3
MTH 311 Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations 3
Language 201 3
Cognate 3
Elective 3
 Credit Hours15
PHY 321 Thermodynamics and Kinetic Theory 3
PHY 351 Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism II 3
MTH 224 Introduction to Probability and Statistics 3
Cognate 3
Elective 3
 Credit Hours15
Year Four
PHY 540 Classical Mechanics II 3
PHY 560 Quantum Mechanics and Modern Physics I 3
Cognate 3
Elective 3
 Credit Hours12
PHY 506 Advanced Laboratory 1-2
PHY 561 Quantum Mechanics and Modern Physics II 3
Electives 9
 Credit Hours13-14
 Total Credit Hours120-121


The mission of the Physics B.S. program is to provide students with a rigorous grounding in classical and modern theory, experience in advanced experimental techniques, and exposure to a broad spectrum of topics in physics research.


It is expected that graduates will be capable problem solvers, proficient critical and scientific thinkers, and possess backgrounds that prepare them for success in graduate school or their desired career path. Graduates will also be able to communicate their scientific ideas in written form to both scientifically literate and general audiences.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate the ability to solve problems in classical and modern physics and proficiency in theoretical and applied mathematics, making them competitive in their application at top graduate programs and/or in the job market.
  • Students will be exposed to and engaged in forefront physics research. Students will learn first hand how research is performed in one of our labs, while contributing to one of our active research programs.
  • Students will be able to report their work/ideas in written form to both the scientific community and a broader audience.