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Physics BS

Michael Kotlarchyk, School Head
(585) 475-6115, mnksps@rit.edu

http://www.rit.edu/cos/physics/

Program overview

The BS degree in physics can be completed in either four or five years, depending on the number of cooperative education experiences a student chooses to complete. Students may find employment opportunities with industrial, academic, and governmental agencies or may continue their education in master’s or doctoral programs in physics or physics-related areas such as astrophysics, biophysics, geophysics, atmospheric science, imaging science, and engineering. Students also are well-prepared for entry into medical, law, or business school.

Curriculum

Physics, BS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
Choose one of the following: 3
   CHMG-141    LAS Perspective 5: General and Analytical Chemistry I§  
   BIOL-101    LAS Perspective 5: General Biology I§  
Choose one of the following: 1
   CHMG-145    LAS Perspective 5: General and Analytical Chemistry I Lab§  
   BIOL-103    LAS Perspective 5: General Biology I Lab§  
MATH-181 LAS Perspective 7A: Project-Based Calculus I 4
PHYS-150 Introduction to Special Relativity 3
  LAS Foundation 1: First Year Seminar† 3
  LAS Perspective 1 3
Choose one of the following: 3
   CHMG-142    LAS Perspective 6: General and Analytical Chemistry II§  
   BIOL-102    LAS Perspective 6: General Biology II‡  
Choose one of the following: 1
   CHMG-146    LAS Perspective 6: General and Analytical Chemistry II Lab§  
   BIOL-104    LAS Perspective 6: General Biology II Lab§  
MATH-182 LAS Perspective 7B: Project-Based Calculus II 4
PHYS-216 University Physics I: Physics Majors 4
  LAS Foundation 2: First Year Writing (WI) 3
  YearOne 0
  Wellness Education* 0
Second Year
MATH-219 Multivariable Calculus 3
PHYS-217 University Physics II: Physics Majors 4
PHYS-225 Introduction to Computational Physics and Programming 3
MATH-231 Differential Equations 3
PHYS-213 Modern Physics I 3
PHYS-222 Electronic Measurements 3
PHYS-275 Sophomore Physics Seminar 1
PHYS-283 Vibrations and Waves 3
  LAS Perspective 2, 3, 4 9
Third Year
PHYS-214 Modern Physics II 3
PHYS-315 Experiments in Modern Physics 3
PHYS-320 Mathematical Methods in Physics 3
PHYS-330 Classical Mechanics 4
PHYS-316 Advanced Laboratory in Physics 3
PHYS-411 Electricity and Magnetism 4
PHYS-450 Capstone Preparation 1
  Physics Elective‡ 3
  LAS Immersion 1, 2 6
Fourth Year
PHYS-414 Quantum Mechanics 3
PHYS-440 Thermal and Statistical Physics 3
PHYS-451 Capstone Project I 3
PHYS-452 Capstone Project II (WI) 3
  Physics Electives‡ 6
  Free Elective 6
  LAS Immersion 3 3
  LAS Elective 3
Total Semester Credit Hours 124

Please see New General Education Curriculum–Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) for more information.

(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two Wellness courses.
† The First Year Seminar requirement is replaced by an LAS Elective for the 2014-15 academic year.

‡ Please see academic adviser for a list of physics electives.

§ Students will satisfy this requirement by taking a 4-credit hour lab science course. Students must take both the lecture and lab portions to satisfy the requirement. The lecture section alone will not fulfill the requirement.

Accelerated dual degree option

The department offers an accelerated dual degree option in which students can earn a BS degree in physics and an MS degree in materials science and engineering in approximately five years.

Physics, BS degree/Materials science and engineering, MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
Choose one of the following: 3
   CHMG-141    LAS Perspective 5: General and Analytical Chemistry I§  
   BIOL-101    LAS Perspective 5: General Biology I§  
Choose one of the following: 1
   CHMG-145    LAS Perspective 5: General and Analytical Chemistry I Lab§  
   BIOL-103    LAS Perspective 5: General Biology I Lab§  
MATH-181 LAS Perspective 7A: Project-Based Calculus I 4
PHYS-150 Introduction to Special Relativity 3
  LAS Foundation 1: First Year Seminar† 3
  LAS Perspective 1 3
Choose one of the following: 3
   CHMG-142    LAS Perspective 6: General and Analytical Chemistry II§  
   BIOL-102    LAS Perspective 6: General Biology II§  
Choose one of the following: 1
   CHMG-146    LAS Perspective 6: General and Analytical Chemistry II Lab§  
   BIOL-104    LAS Perspective 6: General Biology II Lab§  
MATH-182 LAS Perspective 7B: Project-Based Calculus II 4
PHYS-216 University Physics I: Physics Majors 4
  LAS Foundation 2: First Year Writing (WI) 3
  YearOne 0
  Wellness Education* 0
Second Year
MATH-219 Multivariable Calculus 3
PHYS-217 University Physics II: Physics Majors 4
PHYS-225 Introduction to Computational Physics and Programming 3
MATH-231 Differential Equations 3
PHYS-213 Modern Physics I 3
PHYS-222 Electronic Measurements 3
PHYS-275 Sophomore Physics Seminar 1
PHYS-283 Vibrations and Waves 3
  LAS Perspective 2, 3, 4 9
Third Year
PHYS-214 Modern Physics II 3
PHYS-315 Experiments in Modern Physics 3
PHYS-320 Mathematical Methods in Physics 3
PHYS-330 Classical Mechanics 4
PHYS-316 Advanced Laboratory in Physics 3
PHYS-411 Electricity and Magnetism 4
  Physics Elective‡ 3
MTSE-702 Polymer Science 3
  LAS Immersion 1, 2 6
Fourth Year
PHYS-414 Quantum Mechanics 3
PHYS-440 Thermal and Statistical Physics 3
MTSE-601 Materials Science 3
MTSE-617 Material Degradation 3
  Physics Electives‡ 6
MTSE-703 Solid State Science 3
MTSE-790 Research and Thesis 3
  LAS Elective  3
  LAS Immersion 3 3
Fifth Year
MTSE-704 Theoretical Methods in Materials Science and Engineering 3
  Material Science Elective 3
MTSE-790 Research and Thesis 9
  Free Elective 9
Total Semester Credit Hours 150

Please see New General Education Curriculum–Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) for more information.

(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two Wellness courses.
† The First Year Seminar requirement is replaced by an LAS Elective for the 2014-15 academic year.

‡ Please see academic adviser for a list of physics electives.

§ Students will satisfy this requirement by taking a 4-credit hour lab science course. Students must take both the lecture and lab portions to satisfy the requirement. The lecture section alone will not fulfill the requirement.

[arrow] Click to view program requirements in the Quarter Calendar

Quarter Curriculum - For Reference Only

Effective fall 2013, RIT will convert its academic calendar from quarters to semesters. The following content has been made available as reference only. Currently matriculated students who began their academic programs in quarters should consult their academic adviser for guidance and course selection.

Program overview

The BS degree in physics can be completed in either four or five years, depending on the number of cooperative education experiences a student chooses to complete. Graduates find employment opportunities with industrial, academic, and governmental agencies or continue their education in master’s or doctoral programs in physics or physics-related areas such as astrophysics, biophysics, geophysics, atmospheric science, imaging science, and engineering. Students also may prepare for entry into medical, law, or business school.

Curriculum

Physics, BS degree, typical course sequence (quarters)

CourseQtr. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
1017-200 Introduction to Special Relativity 2
1017-311, 312 University Physics I, II 10
1016-281, 282, 283 Project-Based Calculus I, II, III 12
Choose one of the following course sequences: 9 or 8
   1011- 215, 216, 1011-205, 206    General and Analytical Chemistry I, II and Lab I, II  
   1001-251, 252    Introduction to Biology I, II  
1017-317 Introduction to Computational Physics and Programming 4
  Liberal Arts* 16
1105-051, 052 First-Year Enrichment 2
  Wellness Education† 0
Second Year
1017-313 University Physics III 4
1017-314, 315 Modern Physics I, II 8
1017-431 Electronic Measurements 4
1017-374 Experiments in Modern Physics I 2
1017-318 Vibrations and Waves 4
1017-350 Sophomore Physics Seminar 1
1016-305 Multivariable Calculus 4
1016-306 Differential Equations I 4
  University-wide Elective 4
  Liberal Arts* 12
Third Year
1017-401, 402 Intermediate Mechanics I, II 8
1017-411, 412 Electricity and Magnetism I, II 8
1017-415 Thermal Physics 4
1017-321 Introduction to Laboratory Techniques 4
1017-480 Mathematical Methods in Physics I 4
1017-378 Experiments in Modern Physics II 2
1017-400 Capstone Preparation 1
  Liberal Arts* 8
  University-wide Elective 4
  General Education Elective‡ 4
Fourth Year
1017-455 Physical Optics I§ 4
1017-502, 503 Capstone Project I, II 8
1017-522 Quantum Mechanics I 4
1017-523 Quantum Mechanics II§ 4
  Physics Elective§ 4
  University-wide Elective 4
  General Education Electives‡ 10
Total Quarter Credit Hours 186-187

* Please see Liberal Arts General Education Requirements for more information.

† Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information.

‡ General education elective is generally defined as any course from the College of Science (excluding physics) and the College of Liberal Arts; certain courses to be defined later. There are exceptions. Check with your academic adviser for approval.

§ Choose 3 of 4: Physics Optics, Quantum Mechanics II, 2 x Physics Electrics (400 level or above)