Department Academic Policies
Entering students with American College Test (ACT) mathematics scores of 25 or higher, or Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) mathematics scores of 570 or higher, automatically qualify to start the sequence of physics courses for the major in physics. Students who do not so qualify should consult the physics chairperson to determine the appropriate sequence of courses.
Policy on Multiple Majors and Minors
The following modifies and clarifies the "Double-Dipping" policy of the College of Arts & Sciences, as it pertains to the Department of Physics.
The following degree programs are housed in or jointly housed in the Physics Department:
- Bachelor of Science in Physics (PHYS-BS)
- Bachelor of Science in Biophysics (BPHY-BS)
- Bachelor of Science in Physics with Computer Science (PCSC-BS)
- Bachelor of Science in Theoretical Physics/Applied Mathematics (TPAM-BS)
- Physics Minor (PHYS-MINR)
They will be referred to as “majors or minor in the Physics Department” in this document.
- A combination of PHYS-BS and PCSC-BS is not allowed.
- Any other combination of two majors in the Physics Department (aside from PCSC-BS) is allowed.
- Any combination of three majors in the Physics Department is not allowed.
- PHYS-MINR is not allowed together with any major housed in Physics Department.
- A Mathematics Minor (MATH-MINR) is not allowed together with TPAM-BS, but is allowed with any other major in the Physics Department.
- A Computer Science Minor (COMP-MINR) is not allowed together with PCSC-BS.
- An Information Technology Minor (ITEC-MINR) is not allowed together with PCSC-BS.
- The combination of a B.S. in Mathematics (MATH-BS) and any single major housed in the Physics department is allowed.
- A triple major of MATH-BS, TPAM-BS, and any other major housed in the Physics Department is not allowed.
- A triple-major combination of PCSC-BS, PHYS-BS, and any of the following: B.S. in “Communication Networks and Security” (CNWS-BS), “Computer Science” (COMP-BS), “Information Technology” (ITEC-BS), or “Software Engineering” (SWEN-BS) is not allowed.
- A triple-major combination of PHYS-BS, BPHY-BS, and any of the following: B.S. in Biology (BIOL-BS), Biology with Molecular Biology Emphasis (BIOM-BS), or Biology with Ecology Emphasis (BIOE-BS) is not allowed.
A grade of "C-" or better must be earned in all physics courses required for the major or minor in physics.
Continuation in the Major
A student will be withdrawn from any major offered by the Physics Department if either of the following conditions exist:
1) The student receives two grades less than C- (excluding grades of W but including grades of WF) in a two year period in courses required for the major (including courses offered by the Math and Computer Science departments).
2) The student has a cumulative GPA in majors’ courses (including the ancillary courses) less than 2.00 after completion of the first two year sequence (i.e., upon completion of Math 264 and Phys 301 and Phys 314).
The chair of the Physics Department may reinstate the student in exceptional cases.
PHYS 125 and 126 are basic prerequisites for all physics courses higher than 136. PHYS 111, 112 will be accepted in lieu of these courses with the permission of the department chairperson. Mathematics courses listed as prerequisites to a physics course may, with the permission of the chairperson, be taken concurrently with the physics course or may be excluded in special instances. MATH 264 is a prerequisite to all 300 level physics courses with the exception of 366. Part II of a given course may not be taken before Part I.
Advanced Placement in Physics
Entering non-majors who have received scores of 4 or higher on the Physics B or Physics C Advanced Placement examinations of the College Entrance Examination Board are eligible to receive college credit for the corresponding lecture courses. A score of 4 or higher in the Physics C examination, plus departmental approval, are necessary for receipt of credit by majors. No credit is available for laboratory courses.
Requirements for Departmental Honors
In addition to the general requirements for the major, a student seeking departmental honors must complete three additional 300-level courses, earning an "A" or a "B," including two of the following: 315, 352 or 361. In addition, the student must present a physics-related seminar or talk during the senior year. The final requirement for graduation with departmental honors is departmental approval.