Requirements for the BS in Physics

How to Declare a Major in Physics

Students interested in pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Physics, including transfer students, please schedule an appointment with the Physics advisor or email the advisor at dlsmith1@arizona.edu.

Resources

Prior to spring 2022 Spring 2022 and later
Physics Program (link coming soon) Physics Program (link coming soon)
Physics & Astronomy Program (link coming soon) Physics & Astronomy Program (link coming soon)
Physics & Math Program (link coming soon) Physics & Math Program (link coming soon)

Independent Study Research Form

General Education Requirements (starting Spring 2022)

All students at the University of Arizona are required to complete a minimum of 120 total units and 42 upper-division units (300/400-level courses) as well as the following General Education courses:

  • UNIV 101 – Introduction to General Education (to be taken first semester)
  • First-Year English Composition (ENGL 101 & 102; ENGL 106, 107, & 108; ENGL 107 & 108; or ENGL 109H)
  • Second Language (Second Semester Proficiency)
  • Exploring Perspectives: Artist (1 course)
  • Exploring Perspectives: Humanist (1 course)
  • Exploring Perspectives: Natural Scientist (1 course)
  • Exploring Perspectives: Social Scientist (1 course)
  • Building Connections (3 courses)
  • UNIV 301 – General Education Portfolio

Math Requirements

  • MATH 122B or MATH 125 – Calculus I
  • MATH 129 – Calculus II
  • MATH 223 – Vector Calculus
  • MATH 254 or 355 – Differential Equations

Supporting Requirements

Physics students are required to complete at least one Programming course, the options are:

  • PHYS 105A – Introduction to Scientific Computing (requires Calculus I)
  • CSC 110 – Introduction to Computer Programming (requires College Algebra)
  • ECE 175 – Computer Programming for Engineering Applications (requires Calculus I)

Introductory Physics Requirements

Physics majors are highly encouraged to take the honors sequence of Physics Introductory courses:

  • PHYS 161H – Introductory Mechanics
  • PHYS 162H – Introductory Optics & Thermodynamics
  • PHYS 261H – Introductory Electricity & Magnetism
  • PHYS 263H – Introductory Relativity & Quantum Physics

Physics Core Requirements

  • PHYS 204 – Mathematical Techniques in Physics
  • PHYS 305 – Computational Physics
  • PHYS 321 – Theoretical Mechanics
  • PHYS 331 – Electricity & Magnetism I
  • PHYS 332 – Electricity & Magnetism II
  • PHYS 371 – Quantum Theory I
  • PHYS 381 – Methods of Experimental Physics I
  • PHYS 382 – Methods of Experimental Physics II
  • PHYS 426 – Thermodynamics & Statistical Mechanics
  • PHYS 472 – Quantum Theory II

Physics Elective Requirements

Physics majors choose two (2) Physics electives from the following:

  • PHYS 320 – Optics
  • PHYS 405 – Digital Electronic Techniques
  • PHYS 422 – Theoretical Mechanics
  • PHYS 431 – Molecular Biophysics
  • ATMO 436A – Fundamentals of Atmospheric Science
  • PHYS 450 – Nuclear & Particle Physics
  • PHYS 460 – Solid State Physics
  • PHYS 468 – Classical & Quantum Relativity
  • PHYS 469 – Introduction to General Relativity
  • PHYS 473 – Atomic & Molecular Spectroscopy
  • PHYS 476 – Methods of Mathematical Physics

Please note that these classes are not offered every semester, and some have advanced prerequisites. Please work with the advisor to determine how to fit these courses into your long-term plan.

Physics Research Requirements

Physics majors are required to engage in at least 3 units of physics-related research. Many physics students engage in more than one research opportunity or continue with the same opportunity over multiple semesters. Please work with the advisor to determine the best opportunity to receive units for your experiences.

Most students will take at least one semester of PHYS 492 (Directed Research). Honors students would take two semesters of PHYS 498H (Honors Thesis).

NOTES

Physics 381 and 382 are writing emphasis courses.