May 29, 2023  
2022-23 Catalog 
2022-23 Catalog ARCHIVED CATALOG: Content may no longer be accurate.

Physics (BS)

  • Program Prerequisite: Not required. 
  • Minor: No minor is required. However, a math minor is automatically satisfied by the requirements.
  • Grade Requirements: An overall GPA of 2.00 is required. Also refer to the general grade requirements for graduation on Degree Requirements .
  • Credit Hour Requirements: A total of 120 semester credit hours is required for graduation; 71 to 73 of these (depending on the option chosen) are required within the Physics major. Forty upper-division credit hours are required (courses numbered 3000 and above); 22-28 of these (depending on the option chosen) are required within the Physics major.
  • Program Code: 6018BS with one of the following options PHYSTRAD (Traditional), PHYSMATR (Physics of Materials), PHYSASTR (Astrophysics), or PHYSCOMP (Computational Physics)
  • CIPC: 400801


All Physics majors are strongly encouraged to meet with the chair at least annually for course and program advisement. Call 801-626-6163 for more information or to schedule an appointment. Note that because most courses have prerequisites and some advanced courses are offered only in alternate years, careful planning is essential.

Use Grad MAPs to plan your degree

Admissions Requirements

Declare your program of study (see Enrollment Services and Information ). There are no special admission or application requirements for the Physics major.

General Education

Refer to Degree Requirements  for Bachelor of Science requirements. The following courses required for the Physics major will satisfy general education  requirements: PHYS 2210  and MATH 1210 .

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Presentation skills. Physics majors should be able to express (orally and in writing) their understanding of core physical principles, the results of experiments, and their analysis of physical problems.
  • Laboratory skills. Physics majors should be competent experimentalists. They should be able to design and set up an experiment, collect and analyze data, identify sources of error, and interpret their result and connect it to related areas of physics.
  • Computer skills. Physics majors should be competent users of basic software, such as word processing, spreadsheet, and graphing programs. They should also have an understanding of the fundamental aspects of a programming and/or computer algebra language (Fortran, C++, Mathematica, etc.).
  • Problem-solving skills. Physics majors should be competent problem-solvers. They should be able to identify the essential aspects of a problem and formulate a strategy for solving the problem. They should be able to estimate the solution to a problem, apply appropriate techniques to arrive at a solution, test the correctness of their solution, interpret their result and connect it to related areas of physics.
  • Physics majors should be adequately trained to apply their physics experience and knowledge to analyze new situations.
  • All physics students (majors, minors, support, and Gen Ed students) should understand the nature of science, as assessed by questionnaires, interviews, and student focus groups.
  • General Education students should understand several core concepts of physics.
  • Physics Teaching majors and Elementary Teaching majors should have an appropriate knowledge of physics and a variety of teaching strategies to accommodate the multiple learning styles of their students.

Physics Major Course Requirements for BS Degree

Physics Electives (3 credit hours)

Select a minimum of three additional credit hours from Physics courses numbered 3000 and above. Courses in closely related disciplines may also satisfy this requirement when appropriate to the option chosen (see below). In all cases, elective courses must be approved by the department chair.

Support Courses Required (19 credit hours)

Students planning for graduate study in physics, engineering, or a related field should consider taking additional mathematics courses.


Physics Majors must also satisfy the requirements of at least one of the following four options.

1. Traditional Option

By including all of the core courses in theoretical physics, this option provides a strong foundation for graduate study in physics.

2. Physics of Materials Option

This option is intended for students who have an interest in the properties of materials and their study using advanced instrumentation.

3. Astrophysics Option

Supplementing a traditional physics program with several astronomy and astrophysics courses, this option is intended for students with a special interest in astronomy, including those intending to pursue graduate study in astrophysics.

Additional Physics Courses Required (17 or 18 credit hours)

4. Computational Physics Option

This option is intended for students with a special interest in computational techniques applied to the physical world.