May 31, 2023  
2015-2016 University Catalog 
2015-2016 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Applied 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.

The specialties under the applied physics curriculum can range from different areas. Individually tailored specialties may be chosen by the student in consultation with an advisor. Currently available specialties include:

  • Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Astrophysics
  • Computational Physics
  • Nuclear Physics
  • Material Science & Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Physics

In addition, many physics majors manage to complete dual or multiple major programs within the College of Science. This is possible because of a considerable overlap of the College of Science requirements. Popular dual majors with physics are: mathematics, computer science and chemistry.

Physics Website

Summary of Program Requirements

The Summary of Program Requirements for Applied 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

Applied Physics Major Courses (61 - 68 credits)

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

Electives (≤ 18 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

15-16 Credits

Spring 3rd Year

15 Credits

Fall 4th Year

  • Applied Physics Elective - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Applied Physics Elective - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Applied Physics Elective - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Great Issues - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • General Ed (Humanities) - Credit Hours: 3.00 *

15 Credits

Spring 4th Year

  • Applied Physics Elective - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Applied Physics Elective - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Applied Physics Elective - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • General Ed (Behav./Social Science ) - Credit Hours: 3.00 *
  • Multidisciplinary (STS) - Credit Hours: 3.00 *

15 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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