Arts and Sciences Next      Previous      Contents      Search      UA

The Department of Physics and Astronomy (PH, AY)

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers major and minor programs in physics and a minor in astronomy. The Department of Physics and Astronomy also has a second-major curriculum for engineering majors.

Physics Major (BS)

Department of Physics and Astronomy, 206 Gallalee Hall
www.as.ua.edu/physics
physics@as.ua.edu

Degree requirements. Students earning the bachelor of science (BS) degree with a major in physics must complete all University, college (see pp. 52-53), and departmental degree requirements. These include the general education requirements, the following major requirements, all requirements for an approved minor, and sufficient other credits to total a minimum of 120 applicable semester hours.

Admission into the major. Students are expected to declare a major formally no later than the fourth semester of full-time enrollment (or at 61 semester hours for transfer students). With the assistance of an advisor in the major department, students should complete the “Declaration of Major” form.

Grade point average. A 2.0 grade point average in the major is required. The major GPA is calculated based on all courses applicable to the major that the student has attempted at UA.

Major courses. The major in physics requires successful completion of 30–41 semester hours in one of four tracks: graduate school, astrophysics, biophysics, or physics education.

Graduate School Track

Primarily designed for students considering graduate work in physics, the graduate school track requires successful completion of the following 36 semester hours:

Courses Hours
PH 105 or PH 125 (or PH 101*) 4
PH 106 or PH 126 (or PH 102*) 4
PH 253: 255 4
PH 302 3
PH 331 3
PH 332 3
PH 441 3
PH 442 3
PH 471 3
PH 491 3
PH or AY elective 300 or 400 level 3
Total 36
   
*General physics with calculus (PH 105 and PH 106, or honors PH 125 and PH 126) is the preferred preparation for advanced physics courses. However, general physics (PH 101 and PH 102) can substitute for students who must begin the major courses before taking calculus.

Ancillary courses. Grades in ancillary courses are not computed into the major GPA. The major in physics for the graduate school track requires the successful completion of the following courses outside the major:

Courses Hours
CH 101 or CH 117 4
CH 102 or CH 118 4
MATH 125 or MATH 145 4
MATH 126 or MATH 146 4
MATH 227 or MATH 247 4
MATH 238 3

Astrophysics Track

Primarily designed for students interested in astronomy or space science, the astrophysics track requires successful completion of the following 41 semester hours:

Courses Hours
AY 203 2
AY 204 3
AY 206 3
AY elective 300 or 400 level 6
PH 105 or PH 125 (or PH 101*) 4
PH 106 or PH 126 (or PH 102*) 4
PH 253:255 4
PH 302 3
PH 331 3
PH 332 3
PH 441 3
PH 442 3
Total 41
   
*General physics with calculus (PH 105 and PH 106, or honors PH 125 and PH 126) is the preferred preparation for advanced physics courses. However, general physics (PH 101 and PH 102) can substitute for students who must begin the major courses before taking calculus.

Ancillary courses. Grades in ancillary courses are not computed into the major GPA. The major in physics for the astrophysics track requires the successful completion of the following courses outside the major:

Courses Hours
CH 101 or CH 117 4
CH 102 or CH 118 4
MATH 125 or MATH 145 4
MATH 126 or MATH 146 4
MATH 227 or MATH 247 4
MATH 238 3

Physics Education Track

Primarily designed for students who want to teach in grades K–12, the physics education track requires successful completion of the following 33 semester hours:

Courses Hours
PH 105 or PH 125 (or PH 101*) 4
PH 106 or PH 126 (or PH 102*) 4
PH 253:255 4
PH 301 or PH 302 3
PH 331 3
PH 354 3
PH 405 3
PH 491 3
PH elective 300 or 400 level 6
Total 33
   
*General physics with calculus (PH 105 and PH 106, or honors PH 125 and PH 126) is the preferred preparation for advanced physics courses. However, general physics (PH 101 and PH 102) can substitute for students who must begin the major courses before taking calculus.

Ancillary courses. Grades in ancillary courses are not computed into the major GPA. The major in physics for the physics education track requires the successful completion of the following courses outside the major:

Courses Hours
CH 101 or CH 117 4
CH 102 or CH 118 4
MATH 125 or MATH 145 4
MATH 126 or MATH 146 4
MATH 227 or MATH 247 4
MATH 238 3

Biophysics Track

Primarily designed for students planning a career in a health profession, the biophysics track requires successful completion of the following 30 semester hours:

Courses Hours
PH 105 or PH 125 (or PH 101*) 4
PH 106 or PH 126 (or PH 102*) 4
PH 253:255 4
PH 301 or PH 302 3
PH 331 3
PH 354 3
PH 411 3
PH 491 3
PH elective 300 or 400 level 6
Total 30
   
*General physics with calculus (PH 105 and PH 106, or honors PH 125 and PH 126) is the preferred preparation for advanced physics courses. However, general physics (PH 101 and PH 102) can substitute for students who must begin the major courses before taking calculus.

Ancillary courses. Grades in ancillary courses are not computed into the major GPA. The major in physics for the biophysics track requires the successful completion of the following courses outside the major:

Courses Hours
BSC 114:115 or BSC 118 4
BSC 116:117 or BSC 120 4
CH 101 or CH 117 4
CH 102 or CH 118 4
CH 231 3
CH 232:237 5
MATH 125 or MATH 145 4
MATH 126 or MATH 146 4
MATH 227 or MATH 247 4
MATH 238 3

Upper-level residency. A minimum of 12 hours of 300- and 400-level courses in the major must be earned on this campus.

Ancillary courses. Grades in ancillary courses are not computed into the major GPA. The major in physics for all tracks requires the successful completion of 23–39 semester hours of ancillary courses.

Required minor. This major requires the completion of a minor.

Additional major requirements. Students are responsible for ensuring that they have met all University, college, major, and minor requirements. However, each student must meet with an advisor in the major department for academic planning and to be cleared for registration each semester. College advisors are also available for additional assistance with minor, college, and University requirements.

Special opportunities. The department sponsors a local chapter of the Society of Physics Students. The department also has an honors program. Students are invited to apply for admission to the honors program in physics on the basis of performance in introductory courses. Physics majors participating in the physics honors program must maintain a 3.3 GPA in physics courses and a 3.0 overall GPA. Honors students must also submit an acceptable honors thesis based on research conducted under the supervision of a faculty member in physics or astronomy and participate in the 1-hour senior-level honors physics seminar, PH 490. Students can inquire at the Department of Physics and Astronomy office for further information.

About the University Next      Previous      Contents      Search      UA