Physics Requirements

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As the most basic of the physical sciences, physics can serve as the building block for many different careers. Using their understanding of physical principles, physicists have been at the forefront of many of the most exciting discoveries of the twentieth century and will continue to lead the way to many exciting discoveries in the future. They have contributed to a wide range of areas, including, but not limited to, biology, chemistry, communication, computer science, electronics, engineering, finance, managerial consulting, geophysics, medical physics, and transportation.

The SIU Carbondale Physics department focuses on applied physics. Therefore the department seeks to provide undergraduate students with the skills necessary to apply their basic understanding of physics to real-world problems for which the solutions are of near-future concern. With this in mind, the physics department at SIU offers a first-rate undergraduate program with four different specializations in applied physics-biomedical physics, computational physics, materials and nanophysics, and the traditional physics curriculum. These specializations are targeted to high-demand areas of science and take advantage of the expertise of our faculty. Members of the physics faculty are involved in a wide range of physics research projects, both theoretical and experimental, including low temperature physics, surface physics, materials physics, superconductivity, magnetism, synchrotron radiation, infrared spectroscopy, solid-state physics, quantum mechanics, quantum computation, computational physics, and statistical mechanics. Participation in faculty research projects by students is strongly encouraged and can be very useful to students since it provides them with faculty mentors, and experience applying learned skills to real-world physics problem-solving.

Physics is an exciting field; its graduates are in high demand and enjoy high salaries and job security. Employment opportunities in physics are varied and abundant, from industrial research and development to teaching. Physicists are employed by all sectors of society, including health care, various corporations, government, and universities. Students who wish to learn more are encouraged to contact the physics department directly or visit the department web site at physics.siu.edu.

A minimum GPA of 2.0 in all physics and mathematics course work is needed in order for a student to receive a degree in Physics. In terms of credit hour requirements toward a degree in Physics, a course will be counted only once. A student may not repeat a course or its equivalent in which a grade of B or better was earned without the consent of the department.

Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics Requirements

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
University Core Curriculum Requirements 39
College of Science Requirements 9
Biological Science (3 hours included in the UCC Life Science hours) 3
Mathematics - completed with the major Physical Sciences - completed with the major Supportive Skills - CS 201 or CS 202 or CS 280 or CS 300 3
ENGL 290 or ENGL 291 or ENGL 391; MATH 282 or MATH 483; 1 or 2 semesters of a foreign language 3
Physics Major Requirements 72
CHEM 200 or CHEM 200H, CHEM 201, CHEM 202 or CHEM 202H (3 hours included in the UCC Physical Science hours) (3)+2
MATH 150, MATH 221, MATH 250, MATH 251, MATH 305, (3 hours included in the UCC Mathematics hours) (3) +14
MATH 405 or MATH 406 or MATH 407 or MATH 409 or MATH 450 or MATH 455 or MATH 475 3
PHYS 100, PHYS 205A, PHYS 206B, PHYS 255B, PHYS 305, PHYS 355, PHYS 301, PHYS 310, PHYS 320, PHYS 420, PHYS 430, PHYS 440, PHYS 445, PHYS 450 39
Physics Electives chooses from PHYS 390, PHYS 424, PHYS 425, PHYS 428, PHYS 431, PHYS 432, PHYS 458, PHYS 470, PHYS 476, PHYS 490; CS 215, CS 220, CS 475, CS 476 14
Total 120

Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics Requirements

Materials & Nanophysics Specialization

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
University Core Curriculum Requirements 39
College of Science Requirements 9
Biological Science (3 hours included in the UCC Life Science hours) (3)+3
Mathematics - completed with the major Physical Sciences - completed with the major Supportive Skills - CS 201 or CS 202 or CS 280 or CS 300 3
ENGL 290 or ENGL 291 or ENGL 391; MATH 282 or MATH 483; 1 or 2 semesters of a foreign language 3
Physics Major Requirements 72
CHEM 200 or CHEM 200H, CHEM 201, CHEM 202 or CHEM 202H (3 hours included in the UCC Physical Science hours) (3)+2
MATH 150, MATH 221, MATH 250, MATH 251, MATH 305, (3 hours included in the UCC Mathematics hours) (3) +14
MATH 405 or MATH 406 or MATH 407 or MATH 409 or MATH 450 or MATH 455 or MATH 475 3
PHYS 100, PHYS 205A, PHYS 206B, PHYS 255B, PHYS 305, PHYS 355, PHYS 301, PHYS 310, PHYS 320, PHYS 420, PHYS 430, PHYS 440, PHYS 445, PHYS 450 39
PHYS 425, PHYS 476M 6
Physics Electives chooses from PHYS 390, PHYS 424, PHYS 428, PHYS 431, PHYS 432, PHYS 458, PHYS 470, PHYS 476, PHYS 490; CS 215, CS 220, CS 475, CS 476 8
Total 120

Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics Requirements

Computational Physics Specialization

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
University Core Curriculum Requirements 39
College of Science Requirements 9
Biological Science (3 hours included in the UCC Life Science hours) (3)+3
Mathematics - completed with the major Physical Sciences - completed with the major Supportive Skills - CS 201 or CS 202 or CS 280 or CS 300 3
ENGL 290 or ENGL 291 or ENGL 391; MATH 282 or MATH 483; 1 or 2 semesters of a foreign language 3
Physics Major Requirements 72
CHEM 200 or CHEM 200H, CHEM 201, CHEM 202 or CHEM 202H (3 hours included in the UCC Physical Science hours) (3)+2
MATH 150, MATH 221, MATH 250, MATH 251, MATH 305, (3 hours included in the UCC Mathematics hours) (3) +14
MATH 405 or MATH 406 or MATH 407 or MATH 409 or MATH 450 or MATH 455 or MATH 475 3
PHYS 100, PHYS 205A, PHYS 206B, PHYS 255B, PHYS 305, PHYS 355, PHYS 301, PHYS 310, PHYS 320, PHYS 420, PHYS 430, PHYS 440, PHYS 445 36
CS 202, CS 215, CS 220, PHYS 476C (3)+12
Physics Electives chooses from PHYS 390, PHYS 424, PHYS 425, PHYS 428, PHYS 431, PHYS 432, PHYS 458, PHYS 470, PHYS 476, PHYS 490, CS 475, CS 476 5
Total 120

Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics Requirements

Biomedical Physics Specialization

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
University Core Curriculum Requirements 39
College of Science Requirements 9
Biological Science (3 hours included in the UCC Life Science hours) (3)+3
Mathematics - completed with the major Physical Sciences - completed with the major Supportive Skills - CS 201 or CS 202 or CS 280 or CS 300 3
ENGL 290 or ENGL 291 or ENGL 391; MATH 282 or MATH 483; 1 or 2 semesters of a foreign language 3
Physics Major Requirements 72
CHEM 200 or CHEM 200H, CHEM 201, CHEM 202 or CHEM 202H (3 hours included in the UCC Physical Science hours) (3)+2
MATH 150, MATH 221, MATH 250, MATH 251, MATH 305, (3 hours included in the UCC Mathematics hours) (3) +14
MATH 405 or MATH 406 or MATH 407 or MATH 409 or MATH 450 or MATH 455 or MATH 475 3
PHYS 100, PHYS 205A, PHYS 206B, PHYS 255B, PHYS 305, PHYS 355, PHYS 301, PHYS 310, PHYS 320, PHYS 420, PHYS 430, PHYS 445 33
BIOL 211, BIOL 213, PHYS 476B (6)+5
Physics Electives chooses from PHYS 390, PHYS 424, PHYS 425, PHYS 428, PHYS 431, PHYS 432, PHYS 458, PHYS 470, PHYS 476, PHYS 490; CS 215, CS 220, CS 475, CS 476 15
Total 120

Physics Minor

A minor in physics requires 17 hours and must include PHYS 203A,B, and PHYS 253A,B, or PHYS 205A,B, and PHYS 255A,B, as well as PHYS 305 and PHYS 355 and five hours from any 300- or 400-level physics course except PHYS 470.