A degree in physics is a 4year degree starting with calculus. All of the physics degrees and emphases require a calculusbased introductory physics sequence with labs, a course in modern physics, thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, a practical physics course, and an advanced physics course. Most degrees and emphases also require a course in classical mechanics, advanced electrodynamics, and quantum mechanics. The degrees differ in the number of semesters of each of these courses, the number and type of required practical courses, and the requirements for the depth and breadth courses. All degrees and emphases also require calculus I  III, linear algebra and differential equations. Most degrees require partial differential equations and complex variables, or equivalent.
All of the degrees and emphases in physics have similar requirements in the first two years, so it is possible to explore the major before making a final decision on the degree program or emphasis. After this time, it is still possible to change degree programs, but there are likely to be setbacks.
Degree Options
This information is accurate for the 20212022 academic year. All course requirements and offerings are subject to change. Meet with the undergraduate academic advisor regularly to check current requirements. For more information, explore our Undergraduate Handbook.
To declare a major or minor, contact the academic advisor.
The Physics major is designed to give students the deepest and broadest understanding of physics to lay a firm foundation for graduate work in physics or related discipline. Courses provide advanced and indepth instruction in topics that are the most important for success in physics graduate studies.
Core Physics Courses
PHYS 1970  Undergrad Seminar I 
PHYS 1980  Undergrad Seminar II 
PHYS 2210  Physics I for Scientists & Engineers 
PHYS 2215  Physisscs I Lab for Sci & Eng 
PHYS 2235  Computation Lab for Physicists 
PHYS 2220  Physics II for Scientists & Engineers 
PHYS 2225  Physics II Lab for Sci & Eng 
PHYS 3740  Intro to Quantum Theory and Relativity 
PHYS 3760  Thermodyamics and Statistical Mechanics 
Advanced Physics Courses
PHYS 3719/3729  Undergraduate Lab/Honors Undergraduate Lab 
PHYS 3730  Computational Physics I 
PHYS 4410  Classical Physics I 
PHYS 4420  Classical Physics II 
PHYS 5450  Intro to Quantum Mechanics 
Advanced Physics Electives
Select two courses below:
PHYS 5110  Intro to Nuclear and Particle Physics 
PHYS 5210  Intro to Gravitation 
PHYS 5460  Quantum Mechanics and Statistical Mechanics 
PHYS 5510  Solid State Physics I 
PHYS 5520  Solid State Physics II 
Core Math Courses
MATH 1210  Calculus I 
MATH 1220  Calculus II 
MATH 2210  Calculus III 
MATH 2250  Differential Equations and Linear Algebra 
MATH 3150 OR 5440  Partial Differential Equations for Eng OR Partial Differential Equations 
MATH 3160 OR 4200  Applied Complex Variables OR Complex Variables 
Core Chemistry Courses
CHEM 1210/1211  General Chemistry I/Honors General Chemistry I 
CHEM 1215/1240  Gen ChemLab I/Honors Gen Chem Lab I 
CHEM 1220/1221  General Chemistry II/Honors General Chemistry II 
CHEM 1225/1241  Gen ChemLab II/Honors Gen Chem Lab II 
The Physics major with an Applied Physics emphasis is intended for students who want considerable physics knowledge, but who do not plan on a researchoriented career. It is helpful for those who are planning on doing graduate research in related areas such as engineering or earth science, who are thinking about law school, or who plan on going directly into industry after graduating with their bachelor's. By reducing the total number of semesters in classical and quantum physics from four to two, the Applied Physics emphasis allows students more time for additional practical courses. Students choose advanced and practical electives to best meet their goals and interests.
Core Physics Courses
PHYS 1970  Undergrad Seminar I 
PHYS 1980  Undergrad Seminar II 
PHYS 2210  Physics I for Scientists & Engineers 
PHYS 2215  Physics I Lab for Sci & Eng 
PHYS 2235  Computation Lab for Physicists 
PHYS 2220  Physics II for Scientists & Engineers 
PHYS 2225  Physics II Lab for Sci & Eng 
PHYS 3740  Intro to Quantum Theory and Relativity 
PHYS 3760  Thermodyamics and Statistical Mechanics 
Advanced Physics Courses
PHYS 3719/3729  Undergraduate Lab/Honors Undergraduate Lab 
PHYS 3730  Computational Physics I 
PHYS 5010  Classical Mechanics and Quantum Mechanics 
PHYS 5020  Electricity and Magnetism and Statisical Physics 
Advanced Physics Electives
Select one course:PHYS 5110  Intro to Nuclear and Particle Physics 
PHYS 5210  Intro to Gravitation 
PHYS 5510  Solid State Physics I 
Practical Physics Electives
Select two courses:PHYS 3330  Digital Audio and Video 
PHYS 3410  Found of Modern Optics 
PHYS 3610  Electronics for Scientific Instrumentation 
PHYS 3620  Data Aquisition for Scientific Instrumentation 
PHYS 4060  Observational Astronomy 
PHYS 5760  Principles of Physical Measurement and Instrumentation 
PHYS 4800 OR 4999  Undergraduate Research OR Senior Honors Thesis 
Core Math Courses
MATH 1210  Calculus I 
MATH 1220  Calculus II 
MATH 2210  Calculus III 
MATH 2250  Differential Equations and Linear Algebra 
Math 3150/5440  Partial Differential Equations for Eng/Partial Differential Equations 
Math 3160/4200  Applied Complex Variables/Complex Variables 
Core Chemistry Courses
CHEM 1210/1211  General Chemistry I/Honors General Chemistry I 
CHEM 1215/1240  Gen ChemLab I/Honors Gen Chem Lab I 
CHEM 1220/1221  General Chemistry II/Honors General Chemistry II 
CHEM 1225/1241  Gen ChemLab II/Honors Gen Chem Lab II 
Core Physics Courses
PHYS 1970  Undergrad Seminar I 
PHYS 1980  Undergrad Seminar II 
PHYS 2210  Physics I for Scientists & Engineers 
PHYS 2215  Physics I Lab for Sci & Eng 
PHYS 2235  Computation Lab for Physicists 
PHYS 2220  Physics II for Scientists & Engineers 
PHYS 2225  Physics II Lab for Sci & Eng 
PHYS 3740  Intro to Quantum Theory and Relativity 
PHYS 3760  Thermodyamics and Statistical Mechanics 
Core Math Courses
MATH 1210  Calculus I 
MATH 1220  Calculus II 
MATH 22102  Calculus III 
MATH 22503  Differential Equations and Linear Algebra 
MATH 3150/5440  Partial Differential Equations for Eng/ Partial Differential Equations 
MATH 3160/4200  Applied Complex Variables/Complex Variables 
Advanced Physics Courses
ASTR 3070  Foundations of Astronomy 
PHYS 4410  Classical Physics I 
PHYS 4420  Classical Physics II 
PHYS 5450  Intro to Quantum Mechanics 
Topical Astronomy Electives
Select two courses:ASTR 4070  Extragalactic Astrophysics 
ASTR 4080  Intro to Cosmology 
ASTR 4090  Stellar Astrophysics 
ASTR 5560  Stars and Stellar Populations 
ASTR 5570  Galaxies 
ASTR 5580  Cosmology 
ASTR 5590  High Energy Astrophysics 
Practical Physics Electives
Select two courses:PHYS 3410  Found of Modern Optics 
PHYS 3610  Electronics for Sci Instrument 
PHYS 3620  Data Aquisition for Sci Instrumentation 
PHYS 3719/3729  Undergraduate Lab/Honors Undergraduate Lab 
PHYS 3730  Computational Physics I 
PHYS 4060  Observational Astronomy 
PHYS 4800 OR 4999  Undergraduate Research OR Senior Honors Thesis 
CMP 3850 OR 3851  Dark Sky Studies: Lightscapes or Nightscapes 
Advanced Physics or Astronomy Electives
Select one PHYS/ASTR 5000level or higher course to fulfill this requirement.The Physics major with a Biomedical Physics emphasis was designed by a professor in the department who holds both a PhD in Physics and an MD. The degree is designed with the intent of allowing students to complete their premed requirements as well as complete a degree in physics. This is an ideal degree for applying to medical school, dental school, or other medical professions. Students also use this degree program to prepare to study biophysics or medical physics. Students choose electives to best meet their goals and interests.
Core Physics Courses
PHYS 1970  Undergrad Seminar I 
PHYS 1980  Undergrad Seminar II 
PHYS 2210  Physics I for Scientists & Engineers 
PHYS 2215  Physics I Lab for Sci & Eng 
PHYS 2235  Computation Lab for Physicists 
PHYS 2220  Physics II for Scientists & Engineers 
PHYS 2225  Physics II Lab for Sci & Eng 
PHYS 3740  Intro to Quantum Theory and Relativity 
PHYS 3760  Thermodyamics and Statistical Mechanics 
Core Math Courses
MATH 1210  Calculus I 
MATH 1220  Calculus II 
MATH 22101  Calculus III 
MATH 22502  Differential Equations and Linear Algebra 
MATH 46003  Mathematics in Physiology and Medicine 
Core Chemistry Courses
CHEM 1210/1211  General Chemistry I/Honors General Chemistry I 
CHEM 1215/1240  Gen ChemLab I/Honors Gen Chem Lab I 
CHEM 1220/1221  General Chemistry II/Honors General Chemistry II 
CHEM 1225/1241  Gen ChemLab II/Honors Gen Chem Lab II 
CHEM 2310/2311  Organic Chem I/Honors Organic Chem I 
CHEM 2315  Organic Chem Lab I 
Advanced Physics Courses
PHYS 3719/3729  Undergraduate Lab/Honors Undergraduate Lab 
PHYS 5010  Classical Mechanics and Quantum Mechanics 
PHYS 5020  Electricity and Magnetism and Statisical Physics 
Advanced Physics Electives
Select one course from the advanced physics electives and one course from the practical physics electives: Advanced Physics Electives: PHYS 4210: Optics in Bio
 PHYS 4230: Molecular Motors
 PHYS 4310: Physics in Biology
 PHYS 5110: Nuclear/Particle Physics
 PHYS 5510: Solid State Physics I
 PHYS 3330: Audio and Video
 PHYS 3410: Modern Optics
 PHYS 3610: Electronics
 PHYS 3620: Data Aquisition
 PHYS 3730: Computational Physics I
 PHYS 4800: Undergraduate Research
 PHYS 4999: Senior Honors Thesis
 PHYS 5760: Physical Measurements and Instrumentation
Allied Courses
Select five credit hours from chemisty and four courses from biology. Chemistry Electives: CHEM 2320/2321: Organic Chemistry II
 CHEM 2325: Organic Chemistry II Lab
 CHEM 3000: Quantitative Analysis
 CHEM 3100: Inorganic Chemistry
 CHEM 3130: Solid State Chemistry
 CHEM 3200: Radio Chemistry
 CHEM 5810: Nanoscience
 CHEM 4800: Undergraduate Research
 CHEM 4801: Honors Undergraduate Research
 BIOL 1610: Biology
 BIOL 2020: Cell Biology
 BIOL 2021: Cell Science
 BIOL 2030: Genetics
 BIOL 2210: Human Genetics
 BIOL 2420: Physiology
 BIOL 3510: Biochemistry
 BIOL 3215: Cell Biology Lab
 BIOL 3515: Biochemistry Lab
 BIOL 4955: Undergraduate Research
 BIOL 4995: Honors Undergraduate Research
The Computational Emphasis is designed for students interested in focusing on computational methods in physics and astronomy. A broad range of electives allows students to customize their experience toward their interests.
Core Physics Courses
PHYS 1970  Undergrad Seminar I 
PHYS 1980  Undergrad Seminar II 
PHYS 2210  Physics I for Scientists & Engineers 
PHYS 2215  Physisscs I Lab for Sci & Eng 
PHYS 2235  Computation Lab for Physicists 
PHYS 2220  Physics II for Scientists & Engineers 
PHYS 2225  Physics II Lab for Sci & Eng 
PHYS 3740  Intro to Quantum Theory and Relativity 
PHYS 3760  Thermodyamics and Statistical Mechanics 
Core Math Courses
MATH 1210  Calculus I 
MATH 1220  Calculus II 
MATH 2210  Calculus III 
MATH 2250  Differential Equations and Linear Algebra 
MATH 3150 OR 5440  Partial Differential Equations for Eng OR Partial Differential Equations 
MATH 3160 OR 4200  Applied Complex Variables OR Complex Variables 
Advanced Physics Courses
PHYS 3730  Computational Physics I 
PHYS 4410  Classical Physics I 
PHYS 4420  Classical Physics II 
PHYS 5730  Computational Physics II 
Computational Electives
Select one course below:CS 3200  Intro to Scientific Computing and Data Computing 
CS 3500  Software Practice 
CS 3190  Foundations of Data Analysis 
CS 4230  Parallel Programming 
CS 5635  Visualization for Scientific Data 
DS 2500  Data Wrangling 
MATH 5600 OR 5610  Survey of Numerical Analysis 
MATH 5740  Mathematical Modeling 
Core Computer Science Courses
Complete one set of courses3:CS 1400+ CS 1410+ CS 2420 
CS 1420+ CS 2420+ One Additional Computational Elective 
Physics and Astronomy Electives:
Select two courses in any combination from the list below or the computational electives list:PHYS 5110  Intro to Nuclear and Particle Physics 
PHYS 5210  Intro to Gravitation 
PHYS 5450  Intro to Quantum Mechanics 
PHYS 5460  Quantum Mechanics and Statistical Mechanics 
PHYS 5510  Solid State Physics I 
PHYS 5520  Solid State Physics II 
PHYS 3719  Undergraduate Lab 
ASTR 30704  Foundations of Astronomy 
ASTR 4060  Observational Astronomy 
ASTR 4070  Extragalactic Astrophysics 
ASTR 4080  Intro to Cosmology 
ASTR 4090  Stellar Astrophysics 
The Physics Teaching major is intended for students who plan on becoming teachers in the secondary school system. It includes all the required courses for an endorsement in Physics through the Utah State Office of Education, a sampling of courses required for the licensure program through the Urban Institute for Teacher Education (UITE), as well as additional depth and breadth courses beneficial for physics teachers. Students in this degree program should also meet with the UITE advisors.
Core Physics Courses
PHYS 1970  Undergrad Seminar I 
PHYS 1980  Undergrad Seminar II 
PHYS 2210  Physics I for Scientists & Engineers 
PHYS 2215  Physics I Lab for Sci & Eng 
PHYS 2235  Computation Lab for Physicists 
PHYS 2220  Physics II for Scientists & Engineers 
PHYS 2225  Physics II Lab for Sci & Eng 
PHYS 3740  Intro to Quantum Theory and Relativity 
PHYS 3760 OR CHEM 3070  Thermodyamics and Statistical Mechanics OR Thermodynamics and Chemical Kinematics 
PHYS 3719/3729  Undergraduate Lab 
Core Math Courses
MATH 1050  College Algebra 
MATH 1060  Trigonometry 
MATH 1210  Calculus I 
MATH 1220  Calculus II 
MATH 22101  Calculus III 
MATH 22502  Differential Equations and Linear Algebra 
Core Chemistry Courses
CHEM 1210/1211  General Chemistry I/Honors General Chemistry I 
CHEM 1215/1240  Gen ChemLab I/Honors Gen Chem Lab I 
CHEM 1220/1221  General Chemistry II/Honors General Chemistry II 
Advanced Physics Courses
PHYS 4410  Classical Physics I 
PHYS 5140  Physics Education Research 
ASTR 3070  Foundations of Astronomy 
PHYS or ASTR  Any elective 3000level or higher (except PHYS 3111 or 3670 
Education Courses
EDU 1010 OR SCI 3670 OR SCI 5050  Intro to Teaching OR Science Communication and Mentoring OR Science of Learning 
ETHNC 25**  Ethnic Studies Elective (2550, 2570, 2580, 2590) 
ECS 2150 OR SCI 3900  Intro to Multi Cultural Ed OR Being Human in STEM 
ED PS 3721  Adolescent Psychology 
EDU 5170  Secondary Science Methods 
ECS 5709  Building Family Partnership 
Allied Electives Courses
Select one course: ATMOS 1010: Severe and Unusual Weather
 ATMOS 1020: Climate Change
 ATMOS 5400: The Climate System
Combined BS/MEd Degree
Students interested in completing the combined BS/MEd degree in 5 years should meet with their physics and education advisors as soon as possible to create a plan to complete in a timely manner. Graduate work is completed through the Urban Institute of Teacher Education.Honors College Requirements
2 Intellectual Traditions Courses  6 
1 Honors Writing Course  3 
1 Honors Science Course  34 
Honors Electives  9 
Honors Thesis (PHYS/ASTR 4999)  3 
Department Requirements
In addition to the requirements for the physics degree, students seeking an Honors Degree must also meet the following requirements:




Honors Courses
Courses offered by the Department of Physics & Astronomy that fill Honors elective requirements are:PHYS 3210  Physics I for Scientists 
PHYS 3220  Physics II for Scientists 
PHYS 3729  Honors Undergraduate Lab 
PHYS 4410  Classical Physics I 
PHYS 4420  Classical Physics II 
PHYS 4800  Undergraduate Researchss 
PHYS 5450  Intro to Quantum Mechanics 
PHYS 5460  Quantum Mechanics and Statistical Mechanics 
PHYS 5510  Solid State Physics I 
PHYS 5520  Solid State Physics II 
ASTR/PHYS 5560  Stars and Stellar Populations 
ASTR/PHYS 5570  Galaxies 
ASTR/PHYS 5580  Cosmology 
Required Physics Courses
Select up to ten credit hours from the list below:PHYS 2210  Physics I for Scientists & Engineers  4 
PHYS 2215  Physics I Lab for Scientists & Engineers  1 
PHYS 2235  Computation Lab for Physicists  1 
PHYS 2220  Physics II for Scientists & Engineers  4 
PHYS 2225  Physics II Lab for Scientists & Engineers  1 
Upper Division Courses
Select six or more credit hours of upper division approved coursework, totalling 16 credit hours. To fulfill requirement, student must take any Physics or Astronomy course numbered 30005999, except: PHYS 3111, PHYS 3210, PHYS 3220, PHYS 3670, PHYS 3949, PHYS 3970, PHYS 4800, PHYS 4999Required Courses
MATH 1210  Calculus I 
MATH 1220  Calculus II 
MATH 2210  Calculus III 
PHYS 2210  Physics I for Scientists & Engineers 
PHYS 2220  Physics II for Scientists & Engineers 
ASTR 3070  Foundations of Astronomy 
Elective Courses
Select three courses from the list below:ASTR 4060  Observational Astronomy 
ASTR 4070  Extragalactic Astrophysics 
ASTR 4080  Intro to Cosmology 
ASTR 4090  Stellar Astrophysics 
ASTR 5560  Stars and Stellar Populations 
ASTR 5570  Galaxies 
ASTR 5580  Cosmology 
Required Physics and Math Courses
PHYS 2210  Physics I for Scientists & Engineers 
PHYS 2215  Physics I Lab for Sci & Eng 
PHYS 2220  Physics II for Scientists & Engineers 
PHYS 2225  Physics II Lab for Sci & Eng 
PHYS 3740  Intro to Quantum Theory and Relativity 
MATH 1210  Calculus I 
MATH 1220  Calculus II 
MATH 2210  Calculus III 
MATH 2250  Differential Equations and Linear Algebra 
Other Requirements
EDU 5170  Secondary Science Methodss 
Select at least one course of upper division approved coursework: Any Physics or Astronomy course numbered 30005999, except: PHYS 3111, PHYS 3210, PHYS 3220, PHYS 3670, PHYS 3949, PHYS 3970, PHYS 4800, PHYS 4999 