Jul 14, 2024  
Undergraduate Record 2024-2025 
Undergraduate Record 2024-2025

Physics, B.S.

Return to: College of Arts & Sciences: Degree Programs    

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.

Universal Curriculum Requirements

To be awarded a degree from the College of Arts and Sciences, students are required to complete universal curriculum requirements in addition to the program requirements provided below. The school universal curriculum requirements can be found on the school Degree Programs page .

Program Requirements

All required courses must be passed with a minimum grade of C. The Schools 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, must fulfill General Education requirements.


There are three groups of courses that are needed for the B.S. degree:


Three special concentrations can be pursued by students in either the Physics B.A. or the Physics B.S. programs:

Computational Physics Concentration

  • PHYS 5630, 5640 Computational Physics I, II

Optics Concentration

  • PHYS 5310 Optics and PHYS 5320 Fundamentals of Photonics

Distinguished Majors 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 must take the following courses:

Distinguished Astronomy-Physics Major Program

Students must maintain a GPA of 3.400 or better.

For the Distinguished Majors Program (DMP),

  • Students must meet the requirements of the astronomy-physics major described above, 
  • Must complete either PHYS 3660 or any PHYS course at the 5000-level,
  • Complete a two-semester Senior Thesis (ASTR 4998),
  • Complete at least two ASTR courses at the 4000 - 5000-level (excluding ASTR 4993 and 4998) as part of the six credits of elective astronomy courses.

This program leads to the award of degrees with distinction, high distinction, or highest distinction

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