The Bachelor of Science in Physics requires a minimum of 120 credits, including 54 credits in physics and physics-related courses, as detailed in the course lists.

The curriculum in physics prepares students for technical careers in physics or an allied area, for careers in engineering and for the teaching of physics in secondary schools. The curriculum also prepares students for graduate studies in physics or a related area.

## Student learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know how to do the following:

- Perform scientific reasoning and complex problem-solving

Physics majors will receive a fundamental understanding of the main areas of physics so that they are prepared for jobs that use physics-based technologies. They are expected to have mastered the analytical approach to solving technical problems by identifying simple subsystems that obey known physical laws and using these laws to approximate the behavior of the whole system. - Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of the main areas of physics
- Demonstrate communication skills, both written and oral, needed to explain the analysis of technical problems
- Demonstrate scientific literacy skills including searching, reading and critically reviewing scientific publications
- Demonstrate proficiency in information processing by generating and interpreting data presented in tables, graphs, drawings and models

## Double major in engineering and physics

A detailed description of this program can be found in the “College of Engineering” section of this bulletin.

## Degree requirements for Physics, Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Course | Title | Hours |

| 30 |

| |

PHYS 208 | University Physics II | 5 |

PHYS 301 | Classical Mechanics I | 3 |

PHYS 320 & PHYZ 320 | Modern Physics and Modern Physics Laboratory | 4 |

PHYS 340 | Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics | 3 |

PHYS 376 | Electromagnetism I | 3 |

PHYS 380 | Quantum Physics I | 3 |

PHYS 450 | Senior Physics Laboratory | 3 |

PHYS 490 | Seminar in Conceptual Physics | 1 |

| |

| 9 |

HUMS 202 | Choices in a Consumer Society | 1 |

MATH 200 | Calculus with Analytic Geometry I (satisfies general education quantitative foundations) | 4 |

MATH 201 | Calculus with Analytic Geometry II | 4 |

MATH 301 | Differential Equations | 3 |

MATH 307 | Multivariate Calculus | 4 |

PHYS 207 | University Physics I (satisfies general education BOK for natural sciences and AOI for scientific and logical reasoning) | 5 |

^{1} | 1-3 |

| 0-6 |

| 35-43 |

Total Hours | 120 |

**The minimum number of credit hours required for this degree is 120.**

### Physics and physics-related electives

Course | Title | Hours |

| |

| Physical Analysis | |

| Classical Mechanics II | |

| Visualization of Physics Using Mathematica | |

| Experimental Skills for Physicists | |

| Guided Inquiry for University Physics I | |

| Guided Inquiry for University Physics II | |

| Electromagnetism II | |

| Directed Study (maximum of 3 credits) | |

| Topics in Biophysics | |

| Quantum Physics II | |

| Optics | |

| Computational Physics and Data Analysis | |

| Introduction to Condensed Matter Physics | |

| Introduction to Nanoscience | |

| Particle Physics | |

| Introduction to Astrophysics | |

| Topics in Physics (maximum of 3 credits) | |

| Independent Study (maximum of 3 credits) | |

| Modeling Biocomplexity | |

| Optics and Laser Physics | |

| Theoretical Mechanics | |

| Analytical Methods in Physics | |

| Electromagnetic Theory | |

| Quantum Mechanics | |

| Geometrical Methods of Physics and Gravitation | |

| |

| Linear Algebra | |

| Numerical Methods | |

| Partial Differential Equations | |

| Applied Linear Algebra | |

| Applied Statistics for Engineers and Scientists | |

| |

| Instrumental Analysis | |

| Atomic and Molecular Structure | |

| |

| Transport Phenomena I | |

| Transport Phenomena II | |

| Fluid Mechanics | |

| Material Science for Engineers | |

| Nuclear Engineering Fundamentals | |

| Nuclear Reactor Theory | |

| Biomaterials | |

| Electronic Devices | |

| Introduction to Microelectronics | |

| Integrated Circuits | |

| Electromagnetic Fields and Waves | |

| Introduction to Microfabrication | |

| Advanced Semiconductor Devices | |

Those students intending to pursue graduate studies in physics should choose electives from the following:

Course | Title | Hours |

| Classical Mechanics II | |

| Visualization of Physics Using Mathematica | |

| Quantum Physics II | |

| Introduction to Condensed Matter Physics | |

| Particle Physics | |

| Introduction to Astrophysics | |

| Modeling Biocomplexity | |

| Optics and Laser Physics | |

| Theoretical Mechanics | |

| Analytical Methods in Physics | |

| Electromagnetic Theory | |

| Quantum Mechanics | |

| Geometrical Methods of Physics and Gravitation | |

Those interested in experimental physics should also take one or more credits in PHYS 397 or PHYS 492.

### Courses not applicable toward the major

Course | Title | Hours |

| |

| Foundations of Physics | |

| Elementary Astronomy | |

| Wonders of Technology | |

| General Physics I | |

| General Physics II | |

| Science, Technology and Society | |

| Topics in Physical Science | |

| The Physics of Sound and Music | |

| Energy and the Environment | |

| Topics in Physics | |

| Foundations of Physics Laboratory | |

| Elementary Astronomy Laboratory | |

What follows is a sample plan that meets the prescribed requirements within a four-year course of study at VCU. Please contact your adviser before beginning course work toward a degree.

Freshman year |

Fall semester | Hours |

MATH 200 | Calculus with Analytic Geometry I () | 4 |

UNIV 111 Play course video for Focused Inquiry I | Focused Inquiry I () | 3 |

| 1-3 |

| 3 |

| 3 |

| Term Hours: | 14-16 |

Spring semester | |

HUMS 202 | Choices in a Consumer Society | 1 |

MATH 201 | Calculus with Analytic Geometry II | 4 |

PHYS 207 | University Physics I () | 5 |

UNIV 112 Play course video for Focused Inquiry II | Focused Inquiry II () | 3 |

| 3 |

| Term Hours: | 16 |

Sophomore year |

Fall semester | |

MATH 307 | Multivariate Calculus | 4 |

PHYS 208 | University Physics II | 5 |

UNIV 200 | Advanced Focused Inquiry: Literacies, Research and Communication () | 3 |

| 3 |

| Term Hours: | 15 |

Spring semester | |

MATH 301 | Differential Equations | 3 |

PHYS 301 | Classical Mechanics I | 3 |

PHYS 320 & PHYZ 320 | Modern Physics and Modern Physics Laboratory | 4 |

| 3 |

| 1-3 |

| Term Hours: | 14-16 |

Junior year |

Fall semester | |

| 3 |

| 6 |

| 6 |

| Term Hours: | 15 |

Spring semester | |

PHYS 376 | Electromagnetism I | 3 |

PHYS 380 | Quantum Physics I | 3 |

| 9 |

| Term Hours: | 15 |

Senior year |

Fall semester | |

PHYS 340 | Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics | 3 |

| 3 |

| 9 |

| Term Hours: | 15 |

Spring semester | |

PHYS 450 | Senior Physics Laboratory | 3 |

PHYS 490 | Seminar in Conceptual Physics | 1 |

| 12 |

| Term Hours: | 16 |

| Total Hours: | 120-124 |

**The minimum number of credit hours required for this degree is 120.**

## Accelerated B.S. and M.S.

The accelerated B.S. and M.S. program allows academically talented students to earn both the B.S. in Physics and M.S. in Physics and Applied Physics in a minimum of five years by completing approved graduate courses during the senior year of their undergraduate program. Students in the program may count up to 12 hours of graduate courses toward both the B.S. and M.S. degrees. Thus, the two degrees may be earned with a minimum of 138 credits rather than the 150 credits necessary if the two degrees are pursued separately.

Students holding these degrees will be more competitive when seeking research and development positions in industry and admission to physics Ph.D. programs. In addition, an M.S. degree is required for most undergraduate teaching positions. The master’s program enables students to deepen their understanding of physics while gaining actual experience in research at the frontiers of physics.

## Entrance to the accelerated program

Interested undergraduate students should consult with their adviser as early as possible to receive specific information about the accelerated program, determine academic eligibility and submit (no later than two semesters prior to graduating with a baccalaureate degree, that is, before the end of the spring semester of their junior year) an Accelerated Program Declaration Form to be approved by the graduate program director. Limited spaces may be available in the accelerated program. Academically qualified students may not receive approval if capacity has been reached.

Minimum qualifications for entrance to this accelerated program include completion of 85 undergraduate credit hours, including PHYS 376 and PHYS 380; an overall GPA of 3.25; and a GPA of 3.25 in physics course work.

Once enrolled in the accelerated program, students must meet the standards of performance applicable to graduate students as described in the “**Satisfactory academic progress**” section of Bulletin, including maintaining a 3.0 GPA. Guidance to students in an accelerated program is provided by both the undergraduate physics adviser and the graduate adviser specified in the student’s agreed-upon plan of study.

## Admission to the graduate program

Entrance to the accelerated program enables the student to take the approved shared courses that will apply to the undergraduate and graduate degrees. However, entry into an accelerated program via an approved Accelerated Program Declaration Form does not constitute application or admission into the graduate program. Admission to the graduate program requires a separate step that occurs through a formal application. In order to continue pursuing the master’s degree after the baccalaureate degree is conferred, accelerated students must follow the admission to graduate study requirements outlined in the VCU Bulletin.

## Degree requirements

The Bachelor of Science in Physics degree will be awarded upon completion of a minimum of 120 credits and the satisfactory completion of all undergraduate degree requirements as stated in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

A maximum of 12 graduate credits may be taken prior to completion of the baccalaureate degree. These graduate credits substitute for required major electives or open elective credits for the undergraduate degree. These courses are shared credits with the graduate program, meaning that they will be applied to both undergraduate and graduate degree requirements.

The graduate physics courses that may be taken as an undergraduate, once a student is admitted to the program, are:

## Recommended course sequence/plan of study

What follows is the recommended plan of study for students interested in the accelerated program beginning in the fall of the junior year prior to admission to the accelerated program in the senior year. The thesis option for the M.S. is shown.