A physics major can be completed under two different emphases: professional physics and applied physics. Both tracks share a strong fundamental technical core consisting of 42 hours of classes in general physics with lab, intermediate physics, calculus, differential equations, and general chemistry with lab. Both tracks also necessitate an additional 15 hours of coursework for a total of 57 hours. The physics emphasis requires all 15 hours to be taken in physics, while the applied physics major allows students select courses in a variety of disciplines in order to complete the required 15 hours.
The physics emphasis is intended primarily to prepare graduates for entry into respected graduate or professional schools. Through classes and laboratories, directed research, and summer internships, graduates of the program will be well-prepared for further study.
The applied physics emphasis involves selected coursework and research chosen from among a variety of applied topics in physics and cognate areas in the sciences, mathematics, and computer science. This track is intended to prepare students for graduate work in engineering, graduate work in a health-related profession, or for entry-level employment in a variety of technical fields immediately following graduation.
The physics minor consists of 24 hours of classes and laboratory work taken in physics and mathematics. The minor is offered for students who especially like physics, but have chosen another major. Often physics minors are philosophy majors or mathematics majors.