Requirements for Major
The Department of Physics offers both Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees. In addition, there is an Astronomy/Physics B.A. offered jointly by the Astronomy and Physics departments. The basic B.A. is designed for students interested in physics and planning to enter other fields including engineering, medicine, education, business, and law, and for liberal arts students seeking a strong background in physics. Students planning graduate study in physics or physicsrelated areas should elect the B.S., the B.A. with a Distinguished Major course sequence, or the Astronomy/Physics B.S.
Requirements B.A. in Physics
There are two options leading to the BA in physics, each having three components:
Option I
(1) Prerequisites – MATH 1320 and PHYS 1710, 1720.
(2) MATH 2310, 3255 and PHYS 2620, 2630, 2640.
(3) Three courses chosen from PHYS 2660 and/or 3000level physics courses.
Option II
(1) Prerequisites – MATH 1320
(2) MATH 2310, 3255 and PHYS 1425, 1429, 2415, 2419, 2620
(3) Four courses chosen from PHYS 2660 and/or 3000level physics courses
The classification of the courses into prerequisites and requirements, and into components, reflects the order in which classes are taken. Physics courses are more sequential than courses in some other majors. Course descriptions in SIS, or at the department webpage, list other courses that are expected to be taken earlier, or concurrently.
Option II is designed to be appropriate for engineering students desiring an additional major in physics. Students can substitute APMA 1110 (Single Variable Calculus II) for MATH 1320 (Calculus II), APMA 2120 (Multivariable Calculus) for MATH 2310 (Calculus III), and APMA 2130 (Applied Differential Equations) for MATH 3255 (Ordinary Differential equations).
For students electing a basic BA program, the courses, PHYS 3110 (Widely Applied Physics), 3120 (Applied Physics: Energy), if elected in component (3), can be used to complete a strong preparation in applied physics. These courses are designed to make use of the concepts learned in the introductory courses to understand some modern applications with a focus on energy production and use. PHYS 2660 Fundamentals of Scientific Computing is a good choice for completing this component. Students completing the basic BA program have an outstanding record of success in admission to medical, law, business, and education schools.
A grade point average of at least 2.0 for all the required courses with a minimum grade of C must be achieved for graduation. Required courses are the ones listed as component (2) and (3) above, and their substitutes. The Schools impose other requirements for graduation; e.g. students in the College of Arts and Sciences need to earn a certain number of credits, and, if not Echols scholars, have to fulfill competency and area requirements.
B.A. with Distinguished Major Course Sequence
There are two options leading to the BADMP in physics, each having three components:
Option I
(1) Prerequisites – MATH 1320 and PHYS 1710, 1720.
(2) Prerequisites – MATH 2310, 3255 and PHYS 2620, 2630, 2640.
(3) PHYS 2660, 3170 or 3180, 3210, 3310, 3420, 3650, 3660, 3995 and one 30005000 level Physics elective
Option II
(1) Prerequisites – MATH 1320
(2) Prerequisites – MATH 2310, 3255 and PHYS 1425, 1429, 2415, 2419, 2620
(3) PHYS 2660, 3170 or 3180, 3210, 3310, 3420, 3650, 3660, 3995 and one 30005000 level Physics elective
All comments and substitutions that are discussed in the description of the BS sequence below are applicable here.
Requirements B.S. in Physics
There are two options leading to the BS in physics, each having three components:
Option I
(1) Prerequisites – MATH 1320, 2310 and PHYS 1710, 1720.
(2) Prerequisites – MATH 2310, 3255 and PHYS 2610, 2620, 2630, 2640.
(3) MATH 4210, 4220, and PHYS 2660, 3170 or 3180, 3210, 3310, 3420, 3430, 3650, 3660, 3995 and two 30005000 level Physics electives.
Option II
(1) Prerequisites – MATH 1320, 2310 and PHYS 1425, 1429, 2415, 2419.
(2) Prerequisites – MATH 3255 and PHYS 2620.
(3) MATH 4210, 4220, and PHYS 2660, 3170 or 3180, 3210, 3310, 3420, 3430, 3650, 3660, 3995 and two 30005000 level Physics electives.
Option I is the recommended course sequence for BS students. Option II is often taken by students who plan (at least, initially) for a different major. It is recommended to substitute the labs PHYS 1429, 2419 with PHYS 2630, 2640, taken from the Option I sequence. Students can substitute APMA 1110 (Applied Calculus II) for MATH 1320 (Calculus II), APMA 2120 (Multivariable Calculus) for MATH 2310 (Calculus III), APMA 2130 (Applied Differential Equations) or MATH 3250 (Differential equations) for MATH 3255 (Differential equations), and APMA 3140 (Applied Partial Differential Equations) for MATH 4220.
Three special concentrations can be pursued by students in either the BA or the BS programs: A Computational Physics Concentration (PHYS 5630, 5640 Computational Physics I, II); an Optics Concentration (PHYS 5310 Optics and PHYS 5320 Fundamentals of Photonics); and an Experimental Physics Concentration (PHYS 3150 Electronics, PHYS 3170 Intermediate Laboratory I, and PHYS 3180 Intermediate Laboratory II).
A grade point average of at least 2.0 for all the required courses with a minimum grade of C must be achieved for graduation. Required courses are the ones listed as component (3) above, and their substitutes. The School imposes other requirements for graduation; e.g. students in the College of Arts and Sciences need to earn a certain number of credits, and, if not Echols scholars, have to fulfill competency and area requirements.
Distinguished Major Program: The Distinguished Major Program provides recognition of outstanding academic performance in a challenging sequence of Physics courses including a research project. Students who complete the BADistinguished Majors Course Sequence or the BS requirements with final grade point averages exceeding 3.4, 3.6, or 3.8, are given departmental recommendation to receive their degrees (BA or BS) with distinction, high distinction, or highest distinction, respectively.
Requirements B.S. in AstronomyPhysics
This is an interdepartmental major administered jointly with the Astronomy Department. This major prepares a student for graduate study in either astronomy or Physics. Students in this major have advisors both from Astronomy and Physics.
The required physics courses are PHYS 1710, 1720, 2620, 2630, 2640, 2660, 3210, 3420, 3430, 3650. The required math courses are MATH 1320, 2310, 3255, 4210, 4220. The required Astronomy courses are ASTR 2110, 2120, 3130, 4993, 4998 (Senior Thesis), and six additional credits of 30005000 level Astronomy courses.
The School imposes other requirements for graduation; e.g. students in the College of Arts and Sciences need to earn a certain number of credits, and, if not Echols scholars, have to fulfill competency and area requirements.
Distinguished AstronomyPhysics Major Program  Students must maintain a GPA of 3.4 or better. For the Distinguished Major, students must meet the requirements of the AstronomyPhysics major described above and must also take PHYS 3660 (Quantum Phys. II) and a twosemester Senior Thesis (ASTR 4998). The six hours of elective Astronomy courses must consist of ASTR 4810 and a 5000level course. This program leads to the award of degrees with Distinction, High Distinction, or Highest Distinction.
Requirements for Minor
In addition to a major, students may choose a minor in a second subject. The Physics Minor is for students who decided for a major in something else than physics, but who are interested in taking physics courses, and want to be able to show a basic understanding of physics.
There are two options leading to a Physics Minor:
Option I
PHYS 1710, 1720, (Introductory Physics III for Physics Majors), 2620 (Modern Physics), and either 2630 (Elementary Lab I) or any 3000level physics course.
Option II
PHYS 1425, 1429, 2415, 2419 (the Engineering Physics Sequence), 2620 (Modern Physics), and any 3000level physics course.
A grade point average of at least 2.0 for all the required courses for the minor with a minimum grade of C must be achieved.
Additional Information
For more information, contact Physics Department, Jesse W. Beams Laboratory of Physics, P.O. Box 400714, Charlottesville, VA 229044714, (434) 9243781; www.phys.virginia.edu. A detailed departmental brochure is available. Overview of Courses in Introductory Physics
The Physics Department offers a wide range of courses and course sequences in introductory physics available to students with no previous preparation in physics. Some satisfy specific requirements for science, engineering and premedical students, while others are intended primarily for liberal arts students. They should be considered in the following three categories: Courses for NonScience Majors
There are six courses (Phys 1010, 1020, 1050, 1060, 1090 and 1110) intended particularly for students who are majoring in disciplines other than physical science. All of them count toward the College science requirement and all of them use only highschool mathematics. Introductory Physics that satisfy prehealth requirements
The twosemester sequence, PHYS 20102020, provides a comprehensive introduction to physics without the use of calculus. These courses, together with the workshops 20302040, satisfy the usual requirements of medical schools. This sequence is normally taken by students who do not expect to take more advanced courses in physics.
Introductory Physics courses for Science and Engineering
The foursemester calculusbased sequence, PHYS 1710, 1720, 2620, is designed to provide a broad background in introductory physics for potential physics and other science majors. This sequence is particularly appropriate for students ready to begin the study of physics during their first semester. Calculus (MATH 1320, 2310) is taken concurrently with Physics 1710, 1720. The associated laboratory courses are PHYS 2630 and PHYS 2640. The alternative twosemester calculusbased sequence, PHYS 1425 and PHYS 2415, is designed for engineering students and majors in a science other than physics. A workshop, PHYS 1429 and 2419, is designed to be taken concurrently with Physics 1425 and 2415, respectively. This sequence can be continued with PHYS 2620 from the previous sequence.
