Apr 14, 2024  
2015-2016 University Catalog 
2015-2016 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics, BS

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About the Program

Purdue physics is an internationally recognized department for excellence in forefront research and undergraduate and graduate education. Our undergraduate classes for physics majors average 30 or fewer students and are taught by professors actively engaged in forefront research. Undergraduate research is strongly encouraged and opportunities exist as early as the second semester to work in a research group. These groups include experimental and theoretical condensed matter physics, high energy physics, nano-physics, nuclear physics, astrophysics, biological physics, geophysics, relativity, and interdisciplinary areas of material science, engineering, or computational science.

The department also helps undergraduates with external internships, particularly for the summers. Upon graduation our students are accepted for graduate programs at many of the top universities and are also sought after for positions in industry, particularly high-tech positions. Our graduates have an exceptional record of career accomplishment in a wide variety of settings, including academia and major industrial and government labs.

This program offers a specialization in physics as the core of a broad general education. The core courses provide a solid foundation in Classical Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism, Waves and Oscillations, Quantum Mechanics, Thermal and Statistical Physics, Modern Physics, Relativity, Electronics, and Computational Physics. 

By using free electives in the program, a student can include concentrations in condensed matter physics (PHYS 54500), nuclear physics (PHYS 55600), astrophysics (PHYS 56000), particle physics (PHYS 56400), and other areas. Students also are encouraged to participate in one or two semesters of individual research projects with a selected faculty member (PHYS 39000, 49000,or 59000).

Opportunities for employment in fields related to physics will also be enhanced by taking free-electives in additional science courses such as biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geosciences, meteorology, and in various branches of engineering.  With assistance from an advisor, a student can prepare an individualized program suited to career plans by selecting electives from these areas or from any other area within the University.  Normally, students take such electives as juniors and seniors.

Physics Website

Summary of Program Requirements

The Summary of Program Requirements for Physics  is a comprehensive list of those categories which a student must fulfill in order to earn their degree. Unlike the full Detailed Program Requirements listed below, complete lists of selectives for any given category are not shown. These summaries are intended to be printer-friendly and less expansive in detail.

Detailed Program Requirements

Please see below for detailed program requirements and possible selective fulfillments.

Physics - BS
120 Credits for graduation Credits

Physics Major Courses (49-57 credits)

Major Selective* - (12-13 credits)

Other Departmental /Program Course Requirements (41-68 credits)

Electives (≤ 36 credits)

University Core Requirements

  • Human Cultures Humanities
  • Human Cultures Behavioral/Social Science
  • Information Literacy
  • Science #1
  • Science #2
  • Science, Technology & Society Selective
  • Written Communication
  • Oral Communication
  • Quantitative Reasoning

Program Requirements

17 Credits

16-17 Credits

15-16 Credits

13-14 Credits

15 Credits

Spring 3rd Year

15-16 Credits

Fall 4th Year

  • PHYS/ASTR ≥ 300 level - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Great Issues - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • General Ed (Behav./Social Science ) - Credit Hours: 3.00 *
  • Science/Engineering Selective≥300 - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Electives - Credit Hours: 3.00

15 Credits

Spring 4th Year

14-17 Credits


* Satisfies a University Core Requirement

120 semester credits required for Bachelor of Science degree.

2.0 Graduation GPA required for Bachelor of Science degree.

2.0 average in PHYS/ASTR classes required to graduate.

Degree Requirements

The student is ultimately responsible for knowing and completing all degree requirements.

Degree Works is knowledge source for specific requirements and completion

Foreign Language Courses

Foreign Language proficiency requirements vary by program.  For acceptable languages and proficiency levels, see your advisor:

American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, (ancient) Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish

Critical Course

The ♦ course is considered critical. A Critical Course is one that a student must be able to pass to persist and succeed in a particular major.

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