Dec 01, 2023  
2015-2016 University Catalog 
2015-2016 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics Honors, BS

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Science

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.

The honors program offers an intensive concentration in physics that provides a solid foundation for advanced studies.  Successful graduates of this challenging program are recognized for both the depth and breadth of their physics education, and they have gone on to the premier graduate schools in the country and ultimately to many different career choices.

The honors program provides a solid theoretical and experimental background in mechanics, electromagnetism, waves and oscillations, thermal physics, quantum mechanics, and the micro-structure of matter.

A very important feature of this plan is a senior research project (PHYS 59300) with a written report in some area of modern physics, such as condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, elementary particle physics, biophysics, geophysics, etc. Students receive individual supervision and guidance from a faculty member whose specialty matches the area of their research project. PHYS 593 introduces students to the type of research atmosphere they later might encounter as professional physicists, and it promotes self-motivation and independence in their work.

The Honors Program in the Department of Physics and Astronomy begins in the Junior Year. All physics majors  typically start by taking PHYS 172H and 272H as freshmen.  Students from other majors who have taken PHYS 172/272 may switch into the Honors Physics major.  Admission to, and continuation in, the honors program requires that all the core courses (PHYS 17200, 27200, 30600, 30700, 34400, 34000, and 42200) be complete with a B or better, or special permission from the Physics Undergraduate Committee.

The following stipulations need to be met in order to be in, stay in and graduate in the Honors or Applied Honors Program :

  • No D+ or worse grade is allowed in any course for a student to stay in the Honors Programs.
  • No more than one C range grade is allowed in all physics courses taken for a student to graduate with Honor. Note that a course can be re-taken for the purpose of satisfying this guideline.
  • Both the physics AND overall GPAs of 3.0 or better are required for a student to graduate with Honor.
  • All the core courses (PHYS 17200, 27200, 30600, 30700, 34400, 34000, and 42200) be complete with a B or better.
  • Students need to petition to Undergraduate Committee for exceptions or requests.

Physics Website

Summary of Program Requirements

The Summary of Program Requirements for Physics Honors  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 Honors Major Courses (62- 70 credits)

Major Selective* - (15-16 credits)

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

Electives (≤ 24 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

Spring 2nd Year

15-16 Credits

15 Credits

15-16 Credits

Fall 4th Year

15 Credits

Spring 4th Year

15-16 Credits


*Satisfies a University Core Requirement

120 semester credits required for Bachelor of Science degree.

3.0 Graduation GPA required for Bachelor of Science degree.

3.0 average in PHYS/ASTR classes required to graduate.

No more than one C grade (i.e., C+, C, or C-) is allowed in all physics courses taken

No grade of D+ or worse is allowed in any course.

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.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Science