UNDERGRADUATE PHYSICS

 

Physics, a fundamental and quantitative science, involves the study of matter and energy, and interactions between them. The subject is generally divided into mechanics, electricity and magnetism, statistical and thermal physics, and quantum physics. These form the foundation for present-day research areas, which include astrophysics, atomic, molecular and optical physics, condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, and the physics of particles and fields. In addition to a knowledge of physics, students gain a rigorous training in logical thinking and quantitative problem solving. An education in physics can also provide an entry into many other fields such as biophysics, geophysics, medical physics, and engineering, as well as into less technical fields such as secondary education, technical sales, and science writing. Many students have also found that physics is an excellent preparation for the study of medicine, dentistry, or law.

The preferred introductory sequence for a major in physics, common to all physics degree programs, consists of PHYS 140Q, 141Q, and 142Q. There are two options for the Bachelor of Science degree in physics: (1) the general option for students seeking to further their physics studies in graduate school and/or a career in research, and (2) the applied option, for students seeking graduate study in another field, medicine or dentistry, or a technical career in industry. The Bachelor of Arts degree in physics is ideal for pre-medical, pre-dental, or pre-veterinary students, students seeking double majors, or students seeking a high school teaching career.

Bachelor of Science General Option: A total of 48 credits from 200-level courses in physics, other sciences, mathematics, or engineering are required. Among these, 36 credits must be physics courses. The 36 credits of physics must include PHYS 230Q, 242Q, 255Q, 257Q, 258Z, 261Q, and 271Q, and at least three credits of an advanced laboratory (PHYS 256Q, 259Z, or 285Z). It is strongly recommended that students going on to graduate school in physics take PHYS 262Q. All students are strongly encouraged to participate in an undergraduate research project. An experimental research project (PHYS 299) may count towards the advanced laboratory requirement. No more than two credits from PHYS 291, and no more than six credits from PHYS 299 may be counted towards this degree option. The general option for the Bachelor of Science degree requires a minimum of 12 credits from 200-level related courses in mathematics, other sciences, or engineering. Besides the second-year calculus courses, which are prerequisites for most physics courses, mathematics courses such as differential equations for applications, applied linear algebra, and complex variables are recommended for the related group. A mathematics minor can be readily obtained with this option.

Bachelor of Science, Applied Option: A total of 48 credits from 200-level courses in physics, other sciences, mathematics, or engineering are required. Among these, 30 credits must be physics courses. The 30 credits must include PHYS 209Q, 210Q, 230Q, 258Z, and 271Q, plus a minimum of nine credits from the following eight courses: PHYS 256Q, 259Z, 273Q, 274Q, 275Q, 281Q, 285Z, and 325, with at least three of the nine credits being from an advanced laboratory (PHYS 256Q, 259Z, or 285Z). These eight courses involve the application of knowledge from multiple basic subjects, i.e., from mechanics, electricity and magnetism, statistical and thermal physics, and quantum mechanics. (PHYS 242Q and 255Q together may replace PHYS 209Q.) All students are strongly encouraged to participate in an undergraduate research project. An experimental research project (PHYS 299) may count towards the advanced laboratory requirement. The applied option for the Bachelor of Science degree requires a minimum of 12 credits from 200-level related courses in mathematics, other sciences, or engineering. To complete the 48 total required credits for the applied option, the remaining six credits may come from 200-level courses in physics, other sciences, mathematics, or engineering. No more than two credits from PHYS 291, and no more than six credits from PHYS 299, may be counted towards this degree option. A minor in mathematics, other sciences, or engineering can be readily obtained with this option.

Bachelor of Arts: A total of 36 credits from 200-level courses in physics, other sciences, mathematics, or engineering are required. Among these, 24 credits must be physics courses. These 24 credits must include PHYS 209Q, 210Q, 230Q, and 258Z, along with 12 credits of elective physics courses. (PHYS 242Q and 255Q together may replace PHYS 209Q.) No more than two credits from PHYS 291, and no more than six credits from PHYS 299, may be counted towards this degree. The Bachelor of Arts degree requires a minimum of 12 credits from 200-level related courses in mathematics, other sciences, or engineering. Prospective physics majors should discuss their degree options with a faculty advisor as early as possible, preferably before scheduling their first semester courses. Additional information can be obtained from the department office, (860) 486-3701, or e-mail at undaff@phys.uconn.edu.

 
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