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Physics and Astronomy Admissions and Procedures

Undergraduate Student Admission

Certification

A student may certify as a Physics major after completing 30 credits (preferably including Phys 201 and Math 171) with a cumulative gpa of 2.0 or better. A research experience is required of all students as a 499 project, however to gain valuable work experience outside of the University, students are strongly urged to participate in an internship or research experience in industry or a government lab outside of WSU. The summer after the junior year is the most appropriate time for this experience. All students are required to submit an undergraduate thesis to a committee of two Physics faculty members in the senior year. Physics 490 will give credit for this effort. The student must earn a C (2.0) or better grade in each of the “Required Physics Courses”.

Schedule of Studies

Physics – Standard Option (120-124 hours)


FRESHMAN YEAR

Fall Semester  Hours Spring Semester  Hours
Chem 105 [PSCI] Principles of Chemistry I 4 Chem 106 Principles of ChemistryII 4
Engl 101 [WRTG] 4 History 105 [ROOT] 3
Math 171 Calculus I 1 Math 172 Calculus II 4
Phys 188 First-year Seminar 3 Phys 201 or 205 General Physics 4-5
Social sciences [SSCI] 3

SOPHOMORE YEAR

 Fall Semester Hours Spring Semester Hours
Biological sciences [BSCI] 3 Creative and professional arts [ARTS] 3
Math 220 Algebra 2 Humanities [HUM] 3
Math 273 Calculus III 4 Math 315 Differential Equations 3
Phys 202 or 206 General Physics 4-5 Phys 304 Modern Physics II 3
Phys 303 Modern Physics I 2 Phys 330 Thermal Physics 3
Assemble Junior Writing Portfolio

JUNIOR YEAR

Fall semester Hours Spring Semester Hours
Computing requirement 2-4 Engl 402 [WRTG] Technical Writing 3
Diversity [DIVR] 3 Math elective 3
Math elective 3 Phys 342 Electricity & Magnetism II 3
Phys 320 Mechanics 3 Phys 415 [M] Quantum Lab 3
Phys 341 Electricity & Magnetism I 3 Phys 499 Special Problems 1
Standard option elective 3

SENIOR YEAR

 Fall Semester Hours Spring Semester Hours
Additional [SSCI], [ARTS], or [HUM] 3 Capstone [CAPS] 3
Phys 410 Electronics Lab 3 Standard option elective 9
Phys 450 Quantum Mechanics 3 Technical elective 3
Phys 490 [M] Undergraduate Thesis 1
Standard option elective 3
Technical elective 3

NOTES:

  1. Computing requirement must be selected from CPTS 121 (4), EE 221 (3), and MATH 300 [M] (2).
  2. 15 hours of Standard option electives must be taken from PHYSICS 3XX or 4XX, or ASTRONOM 3XX or 4XX.
  3. Additional [ARTS], [HUM], or [SSCI]: the College of Arts & Sciences requires 3 additional hours of UCORE.
  4. UCORE = University Common Requirements. Refer to University Graduation Requirements in the WSU catalog.
  5. Physics majors are recommended to enroll in the Honors sections of General Physics.
  6. 6 hours of technical electives must include at least 3 hours at the upper division, and be chosen from ASTRONOM, CHEM, MATH, or PHYS.
  7. For the Standard option, only 3 hours of UCORE [BSCI] biology lecture are required. A 4 hour lecture plus lab may be required for a minor or second major.
  8. The Junior Writing Portfolio must be completed shortly after earning 60 credits; transfer students are held to the same requirement.
  9. Six credit hours of Math 3XX or 4XX are required.
  10. Phys 499 is a recommended prerequisite for Phys 490.

Physics – Astrophysics Option (120-124 hours)


FRESHMAN YEAR

Fall Semester Hours Spring Semester Hours
Chem 105 [PSCI] Principles of Chemistry I 4 Chem 106 Principles of Chemistry II 4
Math 171 Calculus I 4 Math 172 Calculus II 4
Phys 188 First-year Seminar (only offered Fall semester) 1 Phys 201 or 205 General Physics 4-5
Engl 101 [WRTG] 3 History 105 [ROOT] 3
Social sciences [SSCI] 3

SOPHOMORE YEAR

Fall Semester Hours Spring Semester Hours
Math 220 Algebra 2 Math 315 Differential Equations 3
Math 273 Calculus III 4 Phys 304 Modern Physics II 3
Phys 202 or 206 General Physics 4-5 Phys 330 Thermal Physics 3
Phys 303 Modern Physics I 2 Creative and professional arts [ARTS] 3
Biological sciences [BSCI] 3 Humanities [HUM] 3
Assemble Junior Writing Portfolio Astronom 390 [PSCI] 1

JUNIOR YEAR

Fall Semester Hours Spring Semester Hours
Astronom 345 Principles (only offered Fall semester) 3 Astronom 435 or 436 Astrophysics (only offered Spring semester) 3
Computing requirement 2-4 Engl 402 [WRTG] 3
Math elective 3 Math elective 3
Phys 320 Classical Mechanics 3 Phys 342 Electricity & Magnetism II 3
Phys 341 Electricity & Magnetism I 3 Phys 415 [M] Quantum Lab 3
Phys 499 Special Problems 1

SENIOR YEAR

Fall Semester Hours Spring Semester Hours
Additional [ARTS], [HUM], or [SSCI] 3 Astronom 435 or 436 Astrophysics (only offered Spring semester) 3
Phys 410 Electronics Lab 3 Capstone [CAPS] 3
Phys 450 Quantum Mechanics 3 Diversity [DIVR] 3
Phys 490 [M] Thesis 1 Technical electives 6
Technical electives 6

 NOTES:

  1. Read the notes to the Standard Option.
  2. The recommended prerequisite to Astronom 345 is Phys 303.
  3. Astronom 435 is offered in even-numbered years, Astronom 436 in odd-numbered years. They can be taken in any order.

Minor in Physics


A physics minor requires Phys 201/202 and Phys 303/304 plus any two courses (6 credits) from the following list: Phys 320 Mechanics, Phys 330 Thermal Physics, Phys 341/342 Electricity and Magnetism, Phys 410 Electronics, Phys 412 Modern Optics Laboratory, Phys 415 [M] Modern Laboratory Techniques, Phys 443 Optics, Phys 450 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, Phys 461 Atomic and Molecular Physics, Phys 463 Solid State Physics, and Phys 465 Nuclear Physics. This makes a total of 20 credits in physics