Department of Physics and Astronomy

Bachelor of Science

Students working the labCompared to the B.A, the B.S. includes more research and technical experience and is a good choice for those who want to continue to graduate school and focus on a research career. Students can investigate a variety of topics in detail, such as how quantum mechanics limits Moore's law to where the atoms making up your body were created in the universe. The department has four different B.S. concentrations: physics, applied physics, biomedical physics, and astronomy.

An integral portion of the B.S. program is student involvement in research projects in the areas of astrophysics, atomic physics, biophysics, physics of thin films, surfaces and plasmas, applied physics, and photovoltaics. Our faculty have outstanding academic credentials and a solid record of scholarly accomplishments. Faculty research programs are supported by grants from federal agencies such as NSF, DOE, ONR, NREL, and NASA, as well as private industry. For the last several years, UT has been one of a selected set of national sites supported by the NSF for undergraduate summer research participation, the REU program. Students will have access to the department's facilities, include high-power lasers, positive and negative ion accelerators, and the Ritter Observatory's 1-meter telescope. A high-speed network provides access to the University's mainframes and to supercomputers off campus.

For students with Fall 2016 catalog entry or later, the B.S. consists of a core program that all students must complete and a choice of one concentration. The core program contains 22 hours of physics courses and 23 hours of related-area courses; the concentration must contain an additional 21 hours of physics and related courses. Another nine hours of courses from natural sciences, mathematics, or engineering are recommended.

Physics core courses: PHYS 2130, 2140, 3310, 3410, 4210, 4230, 4240, 4310, 4920, 4950, and 4 hours of PHYS4910 are required. With department approval, a student may substitute PHYS 2070, 2080 and 2100 for PHYS 2130 and 2140. The introductory course PHYS 1910 is also strongly recommended for all physics majors.
Related courses: CHEM 1230 and 1280, EECS1500, one of MATH 1830, 1850 or 1920, one of MATH 1840, 1860, or 1930, one of MATH 1890, or 2890, one of MATH 2850, 2880, or 2950, one of MATH 2860, 3820, or 3880, MATH 3610, and one additional course (3-4 hours) chosen from major-level courses in biology or environmental sciences.
Concentrations: The student must choose one of the following concentrations:

    • Physics: PHYS 3180, and either 4580 or 4780.
    • Astrophysics: ASTR 2010, 2020, 3880, 4810, 4820 and 4880.
    • Applied Physics: PHYS 3180, 3610, 4510, and either 4580 or 4780, plus three hours of appropriate courses from physics or engineering, chosen with the Adviser’s approval.
    • Biomedical Physics: PHYS 3180, 4430, 4440, and either 4580 or 4780; and related courses BIOL 2150 and 2160 (which satisfies the related major-level course requirement above), plus KINE 2510, 2520, 2530 and 2540 (or the alternate sequence KINE 2460, 2470, 2560, and 2570).
    • In addition to the above requirements, students should consider the following recommended electives: MATH 4740 and 4750.

These requirements can be completed over four years as shown in the following sample curricula:

Last Updated: 12/21/16