Department of Physics and Astronomy

Bachelor of Arts Degrees

B.A. in Physics

Graduate students working the labThis program is intended to provide the flexibility required by students who wish to pursue interdisciplinary studies or prepare for careers in teaching or other professions requiring a fundamental understanding of the physical sciences. Early coursework provides a foundation in the areas of mechanics, thermodynamics, and electromagnetism. A strong background in these areas is crucial to understanding a variety of different areas of science and technology including atmospheric and planetary motion, radio communications, global positioning satellites, electric motors and generators, heat engines and refrigerators. Students then move on to study atomic physics and quantum mechanics, as well as related modern technologies such as lasers, semiconductors, solar cells and diodes. These applications are ubiquitous in modern life, examples are barcode scanners, cell phone memory, and photovoltaic technology. These topics help students understand the underlying physical laws and their applications to our modern technology.

This information applies to students with Fall 2016 catalog entry or later. The B.A. in physics requires 120 credit hours. This includes 34 hours in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, 15 hours of calculus, and at least 9 additional hours in the natural sciences and mathematics, chosen with the advisor’s approval.

    • Recommended introductory course: PHYS 1910 is strongly recommended.
    • Fundamental physics sequence: Either the PHYS 2130-2140 (10 hours) sequence or the PHYS 2070-2080-2100 (12 hours) sequence is required.
    • Other required physics courses: The intermediate level courses PHYS 3180, 3310, 4920, and 4950.
    • Elective courses in the major: At least 16 hours of additional physics or astronomy courses numbered above 3000 are also required.
    • Required mathematics courses: One of MATH 1830, 1850 or 1920, and one of MATH 1840, 1860 or 1930 are required.
    • Other courses in related areas: At least 9 hours of other natural science courses must be taken, of which 3 hours must be major-level courses chosen from biology, chemistry, or environmental sciences, with the selection approved by the student’s Adviser. Examples of appropriate choices include BIOL 2150, 2160, 2170 and 2180; CHEM 1230, 1240, 1280 and 1290; and EEES 2010 and 2100.

These requirements can be completed over four years as shown in the following sample curriculum.

B.A. in Astronomy

Discovery Channel Telescope first light image

This program is intended to provide the combination of fundamental physics and general and advanced astronomy required for a career in astronomy or a related area. It also has the flexibility required by students who wish to pursue interdisciplinary studies or prepare for careers in teaching or other professions requiring a fundamental understanding of the physical sciences.

Early coursework provides a foundation in the areas of mechanics, thermodynamics, and electromagnetism. These topics help students understand the underlying rules that govern our modern world and the inner workings of technology that we use on a daily basis. Students then learn how to apply these fundamentals of physics to observations of the universe. They will learn about a range of topics, including planets, stars, galaxies, the beginning of the universe, and its ultimate fate; students will also analyze the evidence supporting our understanding of these topics.

This information applies to students with Fall 2016 catalog entry or later. The B.A. in astronomy requires 124 credit hours. This includes 40 hours of required astronomy and physics courses in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, 15 hours of mathematics, and at least 9 additional hours in the natural sciences and mathematics chosen with the advisor’s approval.

    • Recommended introductory course: PHYS 1910 is strongly recommended.
    • Basic astronomy sequence: The ASTR 2010, 2020 (6 hours) sequence is required.
    • Advanced astronomy courses: The advanced courses ASTR 3880, 4810, 4820 and 4880 (13 hours) are required.
    • Physics courses: Either the PHYS 2130 to 2140 (10 hours) sequence, or the PHYS 2070 and 2080 to 2100 (12 hours) sequence is required. In addition, PHYS 3310, 3180 and 3610 (9 hours) are required.
    • Required mathematics courses: One of MATH 1830, 1850 or 1920, one of MATH 1840, 1860 or 1930, and MATH 2850, 2880 or 2950 (12 hours) are required.
    • Other courses in related areas: At least 9 hours of other natural science courses must be taken, of which 3 hours must be major-level courses chosen from biology, chemistry, or environmental sciences, with the selection approved by the student’s Adviser. Examples of appropriate choices include BIOL 2150, 2160, 2170 and 2180; CHEM 1230, 1240, 1280 and 1290; and EEES, 2010 and 2100.
    • Free electives: Elective hours total 6-8 credit hours.

These requirements can be completed over four years as shown in the following sample curriculum.

Last Updated: 7/9/17