Aug 19, 2022  
Undergraduate Record 2021-2022 
    
Undergraduate Record 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Physics


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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.S. offered jointly by the Astronomy and Physics departments. The Physics 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 physics-related areas should elect the B.S. or the Astronomy/Physics B.S.
 

Requirements B.A. in Physics


There are three groups of courses that are needed for the BA degree:
    (1) Prerequisites – MATH 2310 and PHYS 1420, 1429, 2410, 2419
    (2) MATH 3250 and PHYS 2620, 2720
    (3) Four courses chosen from PHYS 2660 and/or 3000-level physics courses
 
The classification of the courses 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.
 
Students can substitute APMA 2120 (Multivariable Calculus) for MATH 2310 (Calculus III), APMA 2130 (Applied Differential Equations) for MATH 3250 (Ordinary Differential Equations), PHYS 1425 (Introductory Physics 1 for Engineers) for PHYS 1420 (Introductory Physics 1), and PHYS 2415 (Introductory Physics 2 for Engineers) for PHYS 2410 (Introductory Physics 2).
 
For students electing a B.A. program, the courses PHYS 3110 (Widely Applied Physics), PHYS 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 another good choice for students interested in computation, or PHYS 3040 (Physics of the Human Body) for students with interest in biology or medicine. Students completing the B.A. 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 General Education requirements.

Requirements B.S. in Physics


There are three groups of courses that are needed for the B.S. degree:
(1) Prerequisites – MATH 2310 and PHYS 1420, 1429, 2410, 2419
(2) MATH 3250 and PHYS 2620, 2660, 2720
(3) MATH 4210 or PHYS 3340, MATH 4220, and PHYS 3140, 3170 or 3180, 3210, 3310, 3420, 3430, 3650, 3660, 3995 and one 3000-5000 level Physics elective.
 
Students can substitute APMA 2120 (Multivariable Calculus) for MATH 2310 (Calculus III), APMA 2130 (Applied Differential Equations) for MATH 3250 (Ordinary Differential Equations), APMA 3140 (Applied Partial Differential Equations) for MATH 4220 (Partial Differential Equations), PHYS 1425 (Introductory Physics 1 for Engineers) for PHYS 1420 (Introductory Physics 1), and PHYS 2415 (Introductory Physics 2 for Engineers) for PHYS 2410 (Introductory Physics 2).
 
Three special concentrations can be pursued by students in either the B.A. or the B.S. 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, and both of PHYS 3170 Advanced Laboratory A, and PHYS 3180 Advanced Laboratory B).
 
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 components (2) and (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 General Education 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 B.S. requirements with final grade point averages exceeding 3.4, 3.6, or 3.8, are given departmental recommendation to receive their degrees with distinction, high distinction, or highest distinction, respectively.

Requirements B.S. in Astronomy-Physics


This is an interdepartmental major administered jointly with the Astronomy Department. This major prepares a student for graduate study in either astronomy or physics or related fields. Students in this major have advisors both from Astronomy and Physics.
 
Students take MATH 1310, 1320, 2310, 3250, 4220; PHYS 1420, 1429, 2410, 2419, 2620, 2660, 2720, 3210, 3310, 3340, 3420, 3430, 3650; ASTR 2110, 2120, 3130, 4998 (Senior Thesis), and six additional credits of 3000-5000 level astronomy courses.
 
Students can substitute PHYS 1425 (Introductory Physics 1 for Engineers) for PHYS 1420 (Introductory Physics 1), and PHYS 2415 (Introduction Physics 2 for Engineers) for PHYS 2410 (Introductory Physics 2). 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 General Education requirements.
 
Distinguished Astronomy-Physics Major Program - Students must maintain a GPA of 3.4 or better. For the Distinguished Major, students must meet the requirements of the Astronomy-Physics major described above and must also take PHYS 3660 (Quantum Phys. II) and a two-semester Senior Thesis (ASTR 4998). The six hours of elective Astronomy courses must consist of ASTR 4810 and one additional 4000-5000 level astronomy lecture 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 three options leading to a Physics Minor:
Option I
Math 2310 (Calculus III) and PHYS 1420, 1429, 2410, 2419 (Introductory Physics I-II for Physics Majors and accompanying workshops), 2620 (Modern Physics), 2720 (Problem Solving), and one 3000-level physics course.
 
Option II
Math 2310 (Calculus III) and PHYS 2010, 2020, 2030, 2040 (the Introductory Physics Courses that satisfy pre-health requirements), 2620 (Modern Physics), 2720 (Problem solving), and one 3000-level physics course.
 
Option III
Students can substitute APMA 2120 (Multivariable Calculus) for MATH 2310 (Calculus III), PHYS1425 (Introductory Physics 1 for Engineers) for PHYS 1420 (Introductory Physics 1), and PHYS 2415 (Introductory Physics 2 for Engineers) for PHYS 2410 (Introductory Physics 2).
 
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 22904-4714, (434) 924-3781; www.phys.virginia.edu

Course Information


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 Non-Science Majors


There are six courses (Phys 1010, 1020, 1050, 1060, 1090, 1110, and 1130) 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 high-school mathematics.

Introductory Physics that satisfy pre-health requirements


The two-semester sequence, PHYS 2010-2020, provides a comprehensive introduction to physics without the use of calculus. These courses, together with the workshops PHYS 2030-2040, 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 Physics and other Science Majors


The three semester calculus-based sequence, PHYS 1420, 2410, 2620, is designed to provide a broad background in introductory physics for potential physics and other science majors. The associated workshops are PHYS1429 and PHYS2419. The classical physics sequence is continued with PHYS 2720 to develop more advanced problem solving techniques in the introductory physics topics.

Introductory Physics courses for Engineering School Students and other Science Majors


The two semester calculus-based sequence, PHYS 1425, 2415 is designed for engineering students. Majors in a science other than physics can benefit from either the 1420/2410 sequence or the 1425/2415 sequence. Workshops PHYS 1429 and 2419 are designed to be taken concurrently with Physics 1425 and 2415, respectively. This sequence can be continued with PHYS 2620 from the previous sequence.

Course Descriptions


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