Degrees & Requirements

Two tracks of study are offered in the Physics Department in which either the B.A. or B.S. degree may be earned.

  • The B.S. program teaches basic physics to prepare you for graduate school or engineering school, offering mathematics and research experiences integrated with physics concepts.
  • The B.A. degree program provides background in basic physics, emphasizing laboratory skills and knowledge that you will need in industrial or government employment, providing knowledge of the computer, and stressing mathematical skills.
  • Either a B.A. or B.S. degree may be earned in physics with support work in education to meet Virginia requirements for licensure to teach physics, and under certain circumstances, other related subjects.
  • Either a B.A. or B.S. degree may be earned in physics with support work in the sciences, pre-professional, or business programs. This concentration provides career-oriented skills based on the offerings of other departments.

  • Physics (B.A.)

    PHYS 201 General Physics I (4)
    PHYS 202 General Physics II (4)
    PHYS 311 Modern Physics (4)
    Five additional courses in Physics* (15-20)
    One course from: (3-6)
    PHYS 460 Independent Study (3-4)
    PHYS 470 Internship (3-6)
    Total 30-38
    Additional Requirements:
    MATH 151 Calculus I (4)
    MATH 152 Calculus II (4)
    MATH 253 Calculus III (4)
    MATH 353 Differential Equations (3)

    *Chosen in consultation with the advisor.

    The senior project is completed as part of a 460 or 470 course (at least three semester hours credit) within the required courses.

  • Physics (B.S.)

    PHYS 201 General Physics I (4)
    PHYS 202 General Physics II (4)
    PHYS 311 Modern Physics (4)
    PHYS 321 Intermediate Mechanics (3)
    PHYS 411 Electricity and Magnetism (3)
    PHYS 421 Quantum Mechanics (3)
    Three additional upper-division courses in Physics* (9-12)
    Total 30-33
    Additional Requirements: 
    MATH 151 Calculus I (4)
    MATH 152 Calculus II (4)
    MATH 253 Calculus III (4)
    MATH 353 Differential Equations (3)
    Contextual and Support courses:
    CHEM 111 General Chemistry I (4)
    CHEM 111L General Chemistry I Lab (0)
    CHEM 112 General Chemistry II (4)
    CHEM 112L General Chemistry II Lab (0)
    CHEM 312 Physical Chemistry I (3)
    Two courses from: (6-8)
    CHEM 211 Organic Chemistry I (4)
    CHEM 212 Organic Chemistry II (4)
    CHEM 221 Analytical Chemistry (4)
    CHEM 313 Physical Chemistry II (3)
    CHEM 411 Inorganic Chemistry (4)
    CHEM 422 Instrumental Analysis (3)

    MATH 321 Linear Algebra (3)
    MATH 360 Mathematical Probability and Statistics (3)
    MATH 440 Mathematical Modeling (3)
    MATH 451 Real Variable Theory (3)
    MATH 473 Numerical Analysis (3)

    *Chosen in consultation with the advisor.

    The senior project may consist of satisfactory performance on the Advanced Physics section of the Graduate Record Examination, successful completion of an internship or a sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates, or a comprehensive examination given during the first term of the senior year.

  • Teacher Preparation--6-12 Secondary (B.A. or B.S.)

    Departmental requirements:
    Except for the senior project and the contextual and support courses, teacher preparation students should complete the above requirements for the B.A. or the B.S. degree.

    Licensure Requirements:
    EDUC 114 Introduction to Education (1)
    EDUC 115 Early Field Experience (.5)
    EDUC 115 Early Field Experience (.5)
    EDUC 305 Human Growth and Development (3)
    EDUC 320 Technology and Instructional Design (3)
    EDUC 370 Survey of Exceptional Children (3)
    EDUC 440 Seminar: Teaching in Secondary School (2)
    EDUC 441 Supervised Teaching in Secondary School (10)
    EDUC 445 Foundations of Education (3)
    EDUC 449 Reading, Writing and Instruction in Content Areas (3)
    EDUC 450 Curriculum and Instruction in Secondary School (3)
    Total 32
    Additional Requirements:
    One course from: (3)
    HIST 111 American History to 1861*
    HIST 112 American History since 1862*

    Laboratory Science* (4)
    STAT 161 Introduction to Statistics** (4)
    Recommended
    One course from: (3)
    HHP 231 Personal Health
    HHP 232 School and Community Health
    HHP 251 Safety Education
    For middle school endorsement:
    EDUC 401 Practicum in Education (2)

    The student should select core courses to meet state licensure requirements while fulfilling college graduation requirements.

    *Met as Modes of Inquiry Core Requirements.

    **Statistics 161 is required in addition to the mathematics requirement in the major.

    Education 440, 441, and 450 are taken in the professional semester.

    Student Teaching is the senior project for teacher preparation, but individual departments may have additional senior project requirements.  

  • Minor in Physics

    A student may minor in physics by completing five courses or 18 semester hours as follows: 201, 202, 311, and two additional courses, both of which must be at the 300 or 400 level.


  • This information is effective using the most recent Academic Catalog for more detailed course descriptions you can view the Academic Catalog here.

    For Current Students, you may check your individual degree requirements using Self-Service. More information in regards to this can be found on the Registrar’s page.