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.
120 Credits Required
Curriculum and Degree Requirements for College of Science
A College of Science degree is conferred when a student successfully completes all requirements in their degree program. Students will complete coursework or approved experiential learning activities to meet the following three degree components:
- Science Core Curriculum
Students may use any of the following options to meet College of Science degree requirements:
- Purdue Coursework
- Ap, IB, and CLEP credit. The use of AP and IB coursework varies between College of Science degree plans.
- Transfer Credit. Students should consult the Admissions Transfer Credit Resource page for all available transfer options.
College of Science degree programs vary widely in their approval and use of the proceeding options and thus students are strongly encouraged to work closely with their academic advisors and to regularly consult their MyPurduePlan to view the use of each option in their degree plan.
Most College of Science degree programs contain elective credits students may use to pursue courses that relate to their interests or which support their major area of study. The elective area of a degree plan may also be used to complete minors, second majors and certificates such as the Entrepreneurial Certificate. With the exception of courses on the No Count List, any Purdue course may be used to meet the elective area of a student’s degree plan.
College of Science Core Requirements
All Students starting Purdue University Fall semester, 2007 or later are required to pursue the 2007 Science Core curriculum.
The College of Science Core Curriculum requires the completion of approved coursework and/or experiential learning opportunities in the following academic areas:
Earning Core Curricular Requirements through Experience
Students may meet selected core curriculum requirements through approved experiential learning opportunities. Interested students should contact their academic advisor for more information on this option and incorporating experiential learning into their four-year program of study. For more information on earning requirements through experience, please click here.
Physics Honors Major Courses (66-68 credits)
Required Major Courses (51-52 credits)
Major Selective* (15-16 credits)
Other Departmental/Program Course Requirements (37-66 credits)
- CHM 11500 - General Chemistry (satisfies Science Selective for core)
- CHM 11600 - General Chemistry (satisfies Science Selective for core)
- First Year Composition Option (satisfies Written Communication and Information Literacy for core) - Credit Hours: 3.00 - 4.00
- Technical Writing Option (Select courses COULD satisfy Oral Communication for core) - Credit Hours: 0.00 - 3.00
- Technical Presenting Option (Select courses COULD satisfy Oral Communication for core) - Credit Hours: 0.00 - 3.00
- Teambuilding and Collaboration Experience - Credit Hours: 0.00 - 4.00
- Language I Option - Credit Hours: 0.00 - 4.00
- Language II Option - Credit Hours: 0.00 - 4.00
- Language III/Culture/Diversity Option (Select courses COULD satisfy Human Cultures Humanities for core) - Credit Hours: 0.00 - 4.00
- Great Issues Option (satisfies one of the Science/Engineering requirements for Physics Selective) - Credit Hours: 3.00
- Multidisciplinary Experience (Select courses could satisfy Science, Technology & Society Selective for core) - Credit Hours: 0.00 - 3.00
- Statistics Option - Credit Hours: 3.00
- Computing Option - Credit Hours: 3.00 - 4.00
- General Education I Option (Select courses could satisfy Human Cultures Humanities for core) - Credit Hours: 3.00
- General Education II Option (Select courses could satisfy Human Cultures Humanities for core) - Credit Hours: 3.00
- General Education III Option (Select courses could satisfy Humanities Behavioral/Social Science for core) - Credit Hours: 3.00
Calculus I Option - Select from (4-5 credits)
(satisfies Quantitative Reasoning for core)
Calculus II Option - Select from (4-5 credits)
(satisfies Quantitative Reasoning for core)
University Core Requirements
- Human Cultures Humanities
- Human Cultures Behavioral/Social Science
- Information Literacy
- Science #1
- Science #2
- Science, Technology, and Society
- Written Communication
- Oral Communication
- Quantitative Reasoning
For a complete listing of course selectives, visit the Provost’s Website.
For current pre-requisites for courses, click here.
Spring 4th Year
- Adv. Lab Option - Credit Hours: 3.00 - 4.00
- PHYS/ASTR Selective > 500 - Credit Hours: 3.00
- PHYS/ASTR Selective > 500 - Credit Hours: 3.00
- General Education III Option (Behav./Social Science)* - Credit Hours: 3.00
- Multidisciplinary Experience (STS)* - Credit Hours: 2.00
- Elective - Credit Hours: 1.00
*Satisfies a University Core Requirement
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.
♦ Identified as a critical course. Students should earn minimum of a B- see advisor for futher details
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
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.
The student is ultimately responsible for knowing and completing all degree requirements.
The myPurduePlan powered by DegreeWorks is the knowledge source for specific requirements and completion.