Majoring in Physics

This degree is intended for the student seeking the most detailed and quantitative preparation in physics available in an undergraduate curriculum.

A person with a BS degree in Physics gains a knowledge of the interactions that govern the behavior of objects in the universe and techniques used for measuring these interactions. A student with this degree is well prepared for:

  • Graduate Study in: physics, astronomy, astrophysics, meteorology, metallurgy, chemical physics, biophysics, geophysics, polymer science, health physics, science history, economics, computer science and various engineering fields.
  • Professional Studies in: medicine, patent law, primary or secondary education, the diplomatic service, educational administration, technical administration, library science, and computer interfacing and software development.
  • Employment in: research and development laboratories (industrial, governmental or university), technical sales, service and management, technical or industrial production, technical maintenance or supervision.

Suggested Programs

The physics B.S. requires a minimum of 40 Physics credits at the 200 and above level

Required Courses (PDF)

The preceding requirements specify the minimum curriculum for the B.S. in physics. The student expecting to specialize in a particular professional area should consider utilizing part or all elective courses toward one of the important program areas of specialization listed below. These programs are intended to be illustrative only; considerable flexibility is possible, depending upon the needs and interests of the individual student (contact your advisor or Chair of the Physics Department). 


Special Notes:
1. A Physics major should take a Physics course (3650:261 or 3650:291) during the first semester of the freshman year.
2. Calculus I (3450:221) is a pre-requisite for 3650:291.
3. Chemistry should not be taken during the first year.

A prospective Physics major should confer with the Chair of the Physics Department during his/her first semester at The University of Akron. An appointment may be arranged by contacting the Physics Administrative Assistant in Ayer 206, 972-7078.

Transfer to Upper College

A student should apply for transfer to a degree-granting college upon completion of at least 30 credits with an overall GPA of at least 2.0. This should be done through an appointment with his/her adviser in Academic Advisement Center, Simmons 205, 972-7430. A student should have completed 3450:149, Precalculus, or its equivalent, before transferring into the department.

Degree Requirements

This program of study is effective for 5 years from first date of signature. A minimum of 128 earned and approved semester credits are needed for graduation. A minimum of 47 credits of 300/400 level courses, exclusive of General Studies, are required for a bachelor's degree in The College of Arts and Sciences (see General Bulletin). The Physics BS requires a minimum of 40 Physics credits at the 200 level and above. General Education and Workshop credits do not apply.

Arts and Sciences Requirements

Degree requirements in Arts and Sciences include fourteen credits of a foreign language (most majors), and 47 credits of 300/400 level courses, not including workshops or courses taken to meet the Humanities in Western Tradition or Area Studies and Cultural Diversity requirements. Consult your major department for any possible exceptions or problems.

NOTE TO STUDENT: A student is expected to be familiar with the degree requirements.

Placement:

A student is encouraged to check with the Physics department (972-7078) and with the Center for Career Management, Simmons Hall 301, regarding employment opportunities in Physics. Employers look for students with solid training in the fundamentals of Physics, and skills developed in hands-on work such as undergraduate research projects or internship participation.

The following courses are recommended for students wishing to enhance their program of study in areas of research in the Department:

Physics (Pre-Graduate School):

Course # Course Description Credits
3650 : 481 Methods of Mathematical Physics l 3
3650 : 451 Advanced Laboratory l 3
3650 : 470 Introduction to Solid State Physics 3
3650 : 488 Selected Topics, for example, Nanoscience, Biophysics 3
3650 : 312 Linear Algebra 3
3650 : 498 Colloquium 1
3650 : 398 Undergraduate Research* 1-6

*Involvement in research is highly recommended for all Physics Undergraduate students.

Chemical Physics:

Course # Course Description Credits
3150 : 263 Organic Chemistry I 3
3150 : 264 Organic Chemistry II 3
3150 : 313 Physical Chemistry Lecture I 3
3150 : 314 Physical Chemistry Lecture II 3
3150 : 381 Advanced Chemistry Lab 2
3150 : 423 Analytical Chemistry I 3
3150 : 424 Analytical Chemistry II 3

This program consists of a total of 20 credits.

Polymer Physics:

Course # Course Description Credits
3150 : 263 Organic Chemistry I 3
3150 : 264 Organic Chemistry II 3
3150 : 313 Physical Chemistry Lecture I 3
3150 : 314 Physical Chemistry Lecture II 3
9871 : 401 Introduction to Elastomers 2
9871 : 402 Introduction to Plastics 2
9871 : 411 Molecular Structure and Physical Properties of Polymers I 3
9871 : 412 Molecular Structure and Physical Properties of Polymers II 2
9871 : 413 Molecular Structure and Physical Properties of Polymers III 2

This program consists of a total of 24 credits.