Physics, B.S. (Science)

Program Code: PHYS_BS

Program Description

This major provides a sound program of technical and general education for students planning a career in physics and related fields.

  • The General option provides broad coverage with the most physics and mathematics course requirements and is useful for students intending to pursue graduate study in Physics or similar disciplines.
  • The Medical and Electronics options incorporate coursework in support of the application of physics and mathematics in various life-science or engineering related fields.
  • A Computation option provides background in the application of physical principles and mathematical methods in the solution of scientific problems, simulations, or visualizations using computer and numerical techniques.
  • The Nanotechnology/Material Science option provides students with background in the understanding of condensed matter physics at either the nano- or micro/macro- levels.

What is Physics?

Physicists study natural phenomena in the universe, from the smallest length scales to the largest in the cosmos, to discover the basic principles or laws which govern the physical world. Knowledge of physics is crucial to truly understanding the world around us, the world inside us, and the world beyond us. This degree will provide students with the fundamental conceptual, mathematical, computational, and experimental tools that are needed to attack the scientific and technological problems of today and in the future.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You are curious about how things work.
  • You are fascinated by how the natural world is organized, how mathematics describes so much of it, how experiments can probe that understanding, and how one can predict new physical phenomena.
  • You want to explore these connections via hands-on work in labs, mathematical reasoning and calculations, or using computers and programming.
  • You want to solve sophisticated problems beyond standard pencil-and-paper examples using advanced mathematical and experimental technique or computational methods.

Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to the Physics major, a student must have:

  1. attained at least a 2.00 cumulative grade-point average;
  2. completed and earned a grade of C or better in each of the following courses: CHEM 110, MATH 140, MATH 141, PHYS 211, and PHYS 212.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science degree in Physics, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Requirements for the Major 93-96

18 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 9 credits of GN courses; 6 credits of GQ courses; 3 credits of GWS courses.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Requirements for the Major

To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn a grade of C or better in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Common Requirements for the Major (All Options)

Prescribed Courses
CHEM 111Experimental Chemistry I Keystone/General Education Course1
CHEM 112Chemical Principles II Keystone/General Education Course3
CHEM 113Experimental Chemistry II Keystone/General Education Course1
ENGL 202CEffective Writing: Technical Writing Keystone/General Education Course3
MATH 220Matrices Keystone/General Education Course2
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CHEM 110Chemical Principles I Keystone/General Education Course3
MATH 140Calculus With Analytic Geometry I Keystone/General Education Course4
MATH 141Calculus with Analytic Geometry II Keystone/General Education Course4
MATH 251Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations4
PHYS 211General Physics: Mechanics Keystone/General Education Course4
PHYS 212General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism Keystone/General Education Course4
PHYS 213General Physics: Fluids and Thermal Physics Keystone/General Education Course2
PHYS 214General Physics: Wave Motion and Quantum Physics Keystone/General Education Course2
PHYS 237Introduction to Modern Physics3
PHYS 400Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism4
PHYS 410Introduction to Quantum Mechanics I4
PHYS 419Theoretical Mechanics3
PHYS 420Thermal Physics3
PHYS 444Topics in Contemporary Physics2
PHYS 457WExperimental Physics3
Additional Courses
Select 3 credits from the following:3
Introduction to Programming Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Programming Techniques Keystone/General Education Course
Programming and Computation I: Fundamentals
Programming for Engineers with MATLAB Keystone/General Education Course
Programming for Engineers with C++ Keystone/General Education Course
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
MATH 230Calculus and Vector Analysis4
or MATH 231
MATH 232
Calculus of Several Variables
and Integral Vector Calculus
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 3 credits of 400-level MATH from departmental list3
Requirements for the Option
Select an option24-27

Requirements for the Option

Computation Option (24 credits)
Prescribed Courses
MATH 455Introduction to Numerical Analysis I3
MATH 456Introduction to Numerical Analysis II3
Additional Courses
CMPSC 122Intermediate Programming 13
or CMPSC 132 Programming and Computation II: Data Structures
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 6 credits from program list6
Select 3 credits of natural science (GN) courses that are not listed in the major3
Select 6 credits from the following:6
Advanced Computer Programming
Introduction to Computational Physics
300-400-level CMPSC
400-level MATH from departmental list
400-level STAT
Electronics Option (27 credits)
Prescribed Courses
EE 210Circuits and Devices4
Additional Courses
Select 8 credits from the following:8
Digital Design: Theory and Practice
Electronic Circuit Design I
Continuous-Time Linear Systems
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 6 credits from program list6
Select 3 credits of natural science (GN) courses that are not listed in the major3
Select 6 credits of EE 300- or 400-level courses6
General Physics Option (25-26 credits)
Additional Courses
PHYS 402Electronics for Scientists4
or PHYS 458 Intermediate Optics
Select 6-7 credits from items A, B, and/or C: 16-7
A
Subatomic Physics
Introduction to Quantum Mechanics II
Solid State Physics I
Solid State Physics II
Solid State Physics
Introduction to Computational Physics
PHYS 461
Elements of Nuclear Physics and its Applications to Medical Imaging and Treatments
Special and General Relativity
Independent Studies
Special Topics
B
Electronics for Scientists 2
Intermediate Optics
C
Computational Astrophysics
Introduction to Astrophysics
Introduction to High-Energy Astronomy
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 3 credits of natural science (GN) courses that are not listed in the major3
Select 9 credits from program list, with a maximum of 6 credits of the following:9
Independent Studies
Science Co-op Work Experience I
Science Co-op Work Experience II
Science Co-op Work Experience III
Select 3 credits of 400-level MATH from program list3
Medical Physics Option (24-25 credits)

This option prepares students for graduate study in medical physics, medical school, or bioengineering.

Additional Courses
Select course set A or B:15-16
Set A
Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity Keystone/General Education Course
Biology: Molecules and Cells Keystone/General Education Course
Biology: Function and Development of Organisms Keystone/General Education Course
Organic Chemistry I
Organic Chemistry II
Laboratory in Organic Chemistry
Set B
Introduction to Human Physiology Keystone/General Education Course
Mammalian Physiology
9 credits of PHYS 472 or BME at the 300- or 400-level
Select one of the following:
Molecular and Cell Biology I
Biology: Molecules and Cells Keystone/General Education Course
Fundamentals of Cells and Molecules
Supporting Courses and Related Options
Select 9 credits from program list, a maximum of 6 credits may be from the following:9
Independent Studies
Science Co-op Work Experience I
Science Co-op Work Experience II
Science Co-op Work Experience III
Nanotechnology/Material Science Option (24-25 credits)
Prescribed Courses
PHYS 412Solid State Physics I3
Additional Courses
Select course set A or B: 112-13
A
Engineering Applications of Wave, Particle, and Ensemble Concepts
Introduction to Principles, Fabrication Methods, and Applications of Nanotechnology
6 credits from ESC 400-level courses
B
Introduction to Materials Science
Materials Process Kinetics
Mechanical Properties of Materials
Materials Characterization
Introductory Laboratory in Materials
3 credits from 400-level MATSE courses
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 6 credits from program list6
Select 3 credits of natural science (GN) courses that are not listed in the major3

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.

READ SENATE POLICY 32-00: ADVISING POLICY

University Park

Richard Robinett
Professor of Physics and Associate Department Head
104 Davey Lab - Box#183
University Park, PA 16802
814-863-0965
rq9@psu.edu

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2021-22 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

General Option: Physics, B.S. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 211*#4PHYS 212*#4
MATH 140*‡#†4MATH 141*‡#†4
CHEM 110*‡#†3CHEM 1123
CHEM 1111CHEM 1131
PSU 161ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 153
General Education Course3 
 16 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 213
PHYS 214*
4PHYS 237*3
MATH 230*4MATH 251*4
MATH 2202General Education Course3
General Education Course3CMPSC 101, 121, 200, 201, or CMPSC 2023
General Education Course (GHW)1.5CAS 100, 100A, 100B, or 100C3
 14.5 16
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 400*4PHYS 410*4
PHYS 419*3PHYS 420*3
MATH 400 level selection (consult with an academic adviser for options)13MATH 400 level selection (consult with an academic adviser for options)13
General Education Course3PHYS 444*2
General Education Course3General Education Course3
 16 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 400 level selection (consult with an academic adviser for options)3PHYS 400 level selection (consult with an academic adviser for options)3
PHYS 402 or 457W23-4PHYS 457W or 45823-4
General Education Course3Supporting Course (consult with an academic adviser for options)3
ENGL 202C3Supporting Course (consult with an academic adviser for options)3
Elective23General Education Course (GHW)1.5
 15-16 13.5-14.5
Total Credits 121-123

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Medical Option: Physics, B.S. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 211*#4PHYS 212*#4
MATH 140*‡#†4MATH 141*‡#†4
CHEM 110*‡#†3CHEM 1123
CHEM 1111CHEM 1131
PSU 161ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 153
General Education Course3 
 16 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 213
PHYS 214*
4PHYS 237*3
MATH 230*4MATH 251*4
BIOL 110 or 1413-4BIOL 240W or BME 2013-4
General Education Course3General Education Course3
 CAS 100, 100A, 100B, or 100C3
 14-15 16-17
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 400*4PHYS 419*3
MATH 400 level selection (consult with an academic adviser for options)13PHYS 4442
MATH 2202CMPSC 101, 121, 200, 201, or CMPSC 2023
CHEM 210 (or BME Elective)3CHEM 212 (or BME Elective)3
General Education Course3General Education Requirement3
 15 14
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 410*4PHYS 420*3
CHEM 213 (or BME Elective)2PHYS 457W*3
ENGL 202C3Supporting Course (consult with an academic adviser for options)3
General Education Course3Supporting Course (consult with an academic adviser for options)3
General Education Course (GHW)1.5Supporting Course (consult with an academic adviser for options)3
 General Education Course (GHW)1.5
 13.5 16.5
Total Credits 120-122

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Electronics Option: Physics, B.S. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 211*#4PHYS 212*#4
MATH 140*‡#†4MATH 141*‡#†4
CHEM 110*‡#†3CHEM 1123
CHEM 1111CHEM 1131
PSU 161ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 153
General Education Course3 
 16 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 213
PHYS 214*
4PHYS 237*3
MATH 230*4MATH 251*4
MATH 2202CMPEN 270 (or Electrical Engineering 300 level selection)4
EE 2104CMPSC 101, 121, 200, 201, or CMPSC 2023
 General Education Course3
 14 17
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 400*4PHYS 419*3
CMPEN 270 (or Electrical Engineering 300 level selection)4PHYS 444*2
MATH 400 level selection (consult with an academic adviser for options)113Electral Engineering 300 or 400 level selection (consult with an academic adviser for options)3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
CAS 100, 100A, 100B, or 100C3General Education Course3
 17 14
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 410*4PHYS 420*3
Electral Engineering 300 or 400 level selection (consult with an academic adviser for options)3PHYS 457W*3
ENGL 202C3General Education Course3
General Education Course3Supporting Course (consult with an academic adviser for options)3
General Education Selection (GHW)1.5Supporting Course (consult with an academic adviser for options)3
 GHA Elective1.5
 14.5 16.5
Total Credits 124

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Computational Option: Physics, B.S. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 211*#4PHYS 212*#4
MATH 140*‡#†4MATH 141*‡#†4
CHEM 110*‡#†3CHEM 1123
CHEM 1111CHEM 1131
PSU 161ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 153
General Education Course 
 13 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 213
PHYS 214*
4PHYS 237*3
MATH 230*4MATH 251*4
CMPSC 1213CMPSC 1223
General Education Course3MATH 2202
General Education Course (GHW)1.5General Education Course3
 15.5 15
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 400*4PHYS 410*4
PHYS 419 (or MATH 4xx)*3PHYS 419 (or MATH 400 level selection)*3
MATH 4553MATH 4563
CAS 100, 100A, 100B, or 100C3PHYS 444*2
General Education Course3General Education Course (GHW)1.5
 Supporting Course (consult with an academic adviser for options)3
 16 16.5
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 420*3PHYS 457W3
MATH 400 level or STAT 400 level or CMPSC 300/400 level selection (consult with an academic adviser for options)3MATH 400 level or STAT 400 level or CMPSC 300/400 level selection (consult with an academic adviser for options)3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course3Supporting Course (consult with an academic adviser for options)3
ENGL 202C3Supporting Course (consult with an academic adviser for options)3
 15 15
Total Credits 121

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Materials-Nanotechnology Option - Nanotechnology Track: Physics, B.S. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 211*#4PHYS 212*#4
MATH 140*‡#†4MATH 141*‡#†4
CHEM 110*‡#†3CHEM 1123
CHEM 1111CHEM 1131
PSU 161ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 153
General Education Course3 
 16 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 213
PHYS 214*
4PHYS 237*3
MATH 230*4MATH 251*4
MATH 2202CAS 100, 100A, 100B, or 100C3
General Education Course3CMPSC 101, 121, 200, 201, or CMPSC 2023
General Education Course (GHW)1.5General Education Course3
 14.5 16
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 400*4PHYS 410*4
PHYS 419 (or MATH 400 level selection (consult with an academic adviser for options))*3PHYS 419 (or MATH 400 level selection (consult with an academic advier for options))*3
ESC 3123PHYS 444*2
General Education Course3ESC 3133
General Education Course3General Education Course3
 16 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 4203PHYS 457W*3
PHYS 4123ESC 400 level selection (consult with an academic adviser for options)3
ESC 400 Level Selection (consult with an academic adviser for options)3Supporting Course (consult with an academic adviser for options)3
ENGL 202C3Supporting Course (consult with an academic adviser for options)3
General Education Course3General Education Course (GHW)1.5
 15 13.5
Total Credits 121

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Materials-Nanotechnology Option - Materials Track: Physics, B.S. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 211*#4PHYS 212*#4
MATH 140*‡#†4MATH 141*‡#†4
CHEM 110*‡#†3CHEM 1123
CHEM 1111CHEM 1131
PSU 161ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 153
General Education Course3 
 16 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 213
PHYS 214*
4PHYS 237*3
MATH 230*4MATH 251*4
MATH 2202CAS 1003
MATSE 2013CMPSC 101, 121, 200, 201, or CMPSC 2023
General Education (GHW)1.5General Education Course3
 14.5 16
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 400*4PHYS 410*4
PHYS 419 (or MATH 400 level selection (consult with an academic adviser for options))*3PHYS 419 (or MATH 400 level selection (consult with an academic adviser for options)*3
MATSE 4303PHYS 444*2
MATSE 4601MATSE 436 or 4023
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course (GHW)1.5 
 15.5 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 412*3PHYS 457W*3
PHYS 420 (or MATSE 400 level selection (consult with an academic adviser for optoins))*3PHYS 420 (or MATSE 400 level selection (consult with an academic adviser for optoins))*3
ENGL 202C3General Education Course3
General Education Course3Supporting Course (consult with an academic adviser for options)3
General Education Course3Supporting Course (consult with an academic adviser for options)3
 15 15
Total Credits 122

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Career Paths

It’s often said that physicists are first and foremost problem solvers. With strong analytical skills in multiple areas, physicists are versatile and adaptable, and find career flexibility in many fields. A BS in Physics provides strong training for direct employment in a wide variety of careers or for further training at the graduate level in many STEM fields. Examples include jobs in private industries, national labs, and small companies involving basic or applied research, engineering applications, data analysis, or modeling, programming, and simulations.

Careers

Physics majors use their analytic and problem-solving skills in a wide variety of ‘real world’ jobs in both the public and private sector, from national laboratories, the aerospace industry, and advanced technology and communications industries to patent law.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT POTENTIAL CAREER OPTIONS FOR GRADUATES OF THE PHYSICS PROGRAM

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

About half of all Physics B.S. students pursue additional graduate education at some point. Many students proceed directly to a Physics Ph.D. program and the vast majority of students who are accepted into such programs receive both a stipend and have full tuition paid for by the institution. Some students find that their employers subsidize additional education in a technical field useful to the company. Physics majors have successfully pursued graduate degrees in all engineering fields, mathematics, statistics, and data science, law school and medical school, and other life science related areas, such as medical physics and neuroscience.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRADUATE STUDIES

Professional Resources

Contact

University Park

DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS
104 Davey Lab
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-7533
rq9@psu.edu

 http://www.phys.psu.edu/undergraduate