BS in Physics

A male physics student examining circuit boards on a table

The Bachelor of Science in Physics prepares students for careers as practicing physicists or for graduate-level education. The program also equips students for professional environments that require scientific thinking, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

The BS is a 66-credit program, with a stronger focus on computer science and math, as well as more physics courses than the BA in Physics. In both the BS and BA curricula, students take a capstone course. In the BS, students also complete a required three-credit undergraduate research course in biophysics, nuclear physics or astrophysics.

Declare a Major

All students should visit the undergraduate program director or another physics advisor before submitting the Declaration of Major/Minor Form. Current advisors are listed on the faculty directory.

Declaration of Major/Minor Form


“One summer, I was able to work on one of the experiments at [the European Council for Nuclear Research] and actually help shape the future of the detector layout. We started each day with crash courses in particle physics from experts. The afternoons were spent working with an advisor on a project selected for each of us students.”

Brian Alden
BS '16, Physics


Capstone Course

Students majoring in physics complete a required capstone course. Learning objectives for the capstone include:

  • Working in a mentored learning environment to design and conduct physics research in an ethical manner
  • Exploring and preparing for various careers
  • Practicing how to share research findings with different audiences


Course Requirements

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Undergraduate Programs.

Program-specific curriculum:

Introductory courses (26 credits)
CSCI 1012Introduction to Programming with Python
or MAE 1117 Introduction to Engineering Computations
PHYS 1021University Physics I
or PHYS 1025 University Physics I with Biological Applications
PHYS 1022University Physics II
or PHYS 1026 University Physics II with Biological Applications
PHYS 2023Modern Physics
MATH 1231Single-Variable Calculus I
MATH 1232Single-Variable Calculus II
MATH 2233Multivariable Calculus
MATH 2184Linear Algebra I
Advanced courses (46 credits)
MATH 3342Ordinary Differential Equations
PHYS 2151WIntermediate Laboratory I: Techniques and Methods
PHYS 2152Intermediate Laboratory II: Instrumentation
PHYS 3100Math Methods for Physics
PHYS 3161Mechanics
PHYS 3164Thermal and Statistical Physics
PHYS 3165Electromagnetic Theory I
PHYS 3166Electromagnetic Theory II
PHYS 3167Principles of Quantum Physics
PHYS 3181Computational Physics
PHYS 4195WPhysics Capstone
PHYS 4196Undergraduate Research in Biophysics
or PHYS 4197 Undergraduate Research in Nuclear Physics
or ASTR 4195 Undergraduate Research in Astrophysics
PHYS 4200Physics Symposium
Three courses (9 credits) in Physics (PHYS) numbered 3000 or above and/or Astronomy (ASTR) numbered 2000 or above.