Physics
The laws of physics are the starting point for most scientific research and engineering applications. Students majoring in physics obtain broad-based knowledge and experience in applying these laws, as well as hands-on experience in building electronic equipment and in performing experiments.
Overview
A physics major provides a wide range of career options. Many students go on to graduate study in physics, and a considerable number of students pursue advanced degrees in other science disciplines, various branches of engineering or medical school.
Physics majors are employed in industry doing applied work such as the development of the next generation of transistors and in academia seeking the answers to such fundamental questions as what the ultimate constituents of matter are.
The Department of Physics offers Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees in physics.
For either the B.S. or the B.A. degree, two different options are listed below for some of the courses, e.g., PHY 2048 or 2060 (physics with calculus). In this case, the second course contains selected advanced topics not covered in the first course. Both courses prepare students for taking upper-level physics classes. Students are encouraged to see a physics department adviser to determine the appropriate course.
Coursework for the Major
Coursework for the major will depend upon the degree program. Coursework for each specialization can be found below under Critical Tracking and Recommended Semester Plan.
Transfer students must take a minimum of 15 credits of required physics courses at UF.
Course Details
Several courses meet the criteria for the general education physical sciences (P) requirement. Some mathematical training (indicated in parentheses) is desirable or required for many of these courses. Of the courses below, only PHY 2048/2049 count toward the major.
- MET 1010 Introduction to Weather and Climate
- PHY 1033C Discovering Physics
- PHY 2020 Introduction to the Principles of Physics (MAC 1147)
- Any of the general physics sequence courses (PHY 2004/2005, PHY 2048/2049 and PHY 2053/2054) meet this requirement. Students should carefully check the prerequisites before enrolling in a general physics course.
Placement
Students with Advanced Placement credit should consult the catalog's Academic Advising section for course equivalencies. Sequences for advanced students are available from any physics adviser or the department website.
Research
All undergraduate majors are encouraged to participate in research activities. The majority of physics students participate in research throughout the academic year and/or through summer research programs. Advanced students may also be eligible to enroll in certain graduate courses, thereby accelerating their education. Physics majors are urged to confer with a department adviser as early as possible and especially as their educational goals evolve.
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Critical Tracking
To graduate with this major, students must complete all university, college and major requirements. For degree requirements outside of the major, refer to CLAS Degree Requirements — Structure of a CLAS Degree.
Equivalent critical tracking courses as determined by the State of Florida Common Course Prerequisites may be used for transfer students
Semester 1
- 2.0 UF GPA required for semesters 1-5
- Complete CHM 1025 or CHM 2045 or PHY 2048 or PHY 2060, and a MAC course
Semester 2
- Complete CHM 2045/2045L and MAC 2311
Semester 3
- Complete PHY 2048 or PHY 2060, CHM 2046 and MAC 2312
Semester 4
- Complete MAC 2313 and PHY 2049 or PHY 2061 with a 2.5 GPA on all critical-tracking coursework
Semester 5
- Complete MAP 2302 with a 2.5 GPA on all critical-tracking coursework
Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Arts
The B.A. degree program is for students who want to major in physics but are not presently contemplating graduate studies in physics. It provides a good foundation in the fundamentals while offering increased flexibility in the major, through fewer required courses and more electives, and opportunity for parallel studies in another discipline and/or preprofessional studies.
Required Coursework
- PHY 2048 Physics with Calculus 1 or PHY 2060 Enriched Physics with Calculus 1 (both 3 credits)
- PHY 2048L Physics with Calculus 1 Laboratory and PHY 2049L Physics with Calculus 2 Laboratory (both 1 credit)
- PHY 2049 Physics with Calculus 2 or PHY 2061 Enriched Physics with Calculus 2 (both 3 credits)
- PHY 3101 Introduction to Modern Physics or PHY 3063 Enriched Modern Physics (both 3 credits)
- PHY 3221 Mechanics 1 or PHZ 3113 Introduction to Theoretical Physics (both 3 credits)
- PHY 3323 Electromagnetism 1, PHY 3513 Thermal Physics 1 and PHY 4604
Introductory Quantum Mechanics 1 (all 3 credits)
- PHY 4802L Laboratory Physics 1 or PHY 4803L Laboratory Physics 2 (both 3 credits)
- Any two 4000-level or higher physics courses that are included in the physics major curriculum.PHY 4905 Individual Work is not considered an elective course.
- One year of college-level general chemistry, including one chemistry laboratory course.
- A minimum of three credits in approved mathematics courses beyond MAP 2302 Dfferential Equations.
- Select computer science courses may substitute for the math elective.
- Grades of C or better for coursework counted toward the major.
Recommended Semester Plan
This plan is structured for students taking Calculus 1 during the first semester. Students can have different schedules because of their backgrounds or when they enter UF. In particular, students are encouraged to take Physics 1 with Calculus as soon as they have had completed Calculus 1, even if this means delaying chemistry. For all the physics courses, adequate mathematical preparation is essential and is built into the suggested plans. Physics majors should meet with a department adviser before planning their schedules.
Additional sample schedules are available on the department's website and students can email advisers at advising@phys.ufl.edu.
Students are expected to complete the writing and math requirement while in the process of taking the courses below. Students are also expected to complete the general education international (GE-N) and diversity (GE-D) requirements concurrently with another general education requirement (typically, GE-C, H or S).
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Semester 1 |
Credits |
CHM 2045 and 2045L General Chemistry 1 (3) and General Chemistry 1 Laboratory (1) (GE-P) |
4 |
MAC 2311 Analytic Geometry and Calculus 1 (GE-M) |
4 |
Composition (GE-C, WR) |
3 |
Social and Behavioral Sciences (GE-S) |
3 |
Total |
14 |
Semester 2 |
Credits |
CHM 2046 General Chemistry 2 (GE-P) |
3 |
MAC 2312 Analytic Geometry and Calculus 2 (GE-M) |
4 |
PHY 2048 Physics with Calculus 1 or PHY 2060 Enriched Physics with Calculus 1 (GE-P) |
3 |
PHY 2048L Physics with Calculus 1 Laboratory (GE-P) |
1 |
Elective (only if placed out of language by SAT II) |
2-0 |
Humanities (GE-H) |
3 |
Total |
16-14 |
Semester 3 |
Credits |
MAC 2313 Analytic Geometry and Calculus 3 (GE-M) |
4 |
PHY 2049 Physics with Calculus 2 or PHY 2061 Enriched Physics with Calculus 2 (GE-P) |
3 |
PHY 2049L Physics with Calculus 2 Laboratory (GE-P) |
1 |
Biological Science (GE-B) |
3 |
Foreign language |
4-5 |
Total |
15-16 |
Semester 4 |
Credits |
MAP 2302 Elementary Differential Equations (GE-M) |
3 |
PHY 3101 Introduction to Modern Physics (GE-P) |
3 |
Biological Science (GE-B) |
3 |
Foreign language |
3-5 |
Humanities (GE-H) |
3 |
Total |
15-17 |
Semester 5 |
Credits |
PHY 3221 Mechanics 1 (GE-P) |
3 |
PHY 3513 Thermal Physics 1 (GE-P) |
3 |
Elective (or foreign language if 4-3-3 option) |
3 |
Math elective |
3 |
Social and Behavioral Sciences (GE-S) |
3 |
Total |
15 |
Semester 6 |
Credits |
PHY 3323 Electromagnetism 1 (GE-P) |
3 |
Composition (ENC 3254 Writing in the Discipline recommended; GE-C, WR) |
3 |
Elective |
3 |
Humanities (GE-H) |
3 |
Physics elective (4000 level or higher) |
3 |
Total |
15 |
Semester 7 |
Credits |
PHY 4604 Introductory Quantum Mechanics 1 (GE-P) |
3 |
PHY 4802L Laboratory Physics 1 |
3 |
Electives |
6-5 |
Social and Behavioral Sciences (GE-S) |
3 |
Total |
15-14 |
Semester 8 |
Credits |
Electives |
12 |
Physics elective (4000 level or higher) |
3 |
Total |
15 |
Bachelor of Science
The B.S. degree program is intended for students planning to do graduate work in physics or related science and engineering disciplines.
Required Coursework
- PHY 2048 Physics with Calculus 1 or
PHY 2060 Enriched Physics with Calculus 1 (both 3 credits)
- PHY 2048L Physics with Calculus 1 Laboratory and PHY 2049L Physics with Calculus
2 Laboratory (both 1 credit)
- PHY 2049 Physics with Calculus 2 or PHY 2061 Enriched Physics with
Calculus 2 (both 3 credits)
- PHY 3101 Introduction to Modern Physics or PHY 3063 Enriched Modern
Physics (both 3 credits)
- PHY 3221 Mechanics 1 or PHZ 3113 Introduction to Theoretical Physics (both 3 credits)
- PHY 3323 Electromagnetism 1, PHY 3513 Thermal Physics 1, PHY 4222, PHY 4324, PHY 4523, PHY 4604 Introductory Quantum Mechanics 1, PHY 4802L and PHY 4803L (all 3 credits)
- One 4000-level or higher physics course that is included in the physics major curriculum. PHY 4905 Individual Work is not considered as an elective course.
- One year of college-level general chemistry, including one chemistry laboratory course.
- A minimum of six credits in approved mathematics courses beyond MAP 2302 Differential Equations.
- Select computer science courses may substitute for one of the math electives.
- Grades of C or better for coursework counted toward the major.
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Recommended Semester Plan
This plan is structured for students taking Calculus 1 during the first semester. Students can have different schedules because of their backgrounds or when they enter UF. In particular, students are encouraged to take Physics 1 with Calculus as soon as they have completed Calculus 1, even if this means delaying chemistry. For all the physics courses, adequate mathematical preparation is essential and is built into the suggested plans. Physics majors should meet with a department adviser before planning their schedules.
Additional sample schedules are available on the department's website and students can email advisers at advising@phys.ufl.edu.
Students are expected to complete the writing and math requirement while in the process of taking the courses below. Students are also expected to complete the general education international (GE-N) and diversity (GE-D) requirements concurrently with another general education requirement (typically, GE-C, H or S).
Semester 1 |
Credits |
CHM 2045 and 2045L General Chemistry 1 (3) and General Chemistry 1 Laboratory (1) (GE-P) |
4 |
MAC 2311 Analytic Geometry and Calculus 1 (GE-M) |
4 |
Composition (GE-C, WR) |
3 |
Social and Behavioral Sciences (GE-S) |
3 |
Total |
14 |
Semester 2 |
Credits |
CHM 2046 General Chemistry 2 (GE-P) |
3 |
MAC 2312 Analytic Geometry and Calculus 2 (GE-M) |
4 |
PHY 2048 Physics with Calculus 1 or PHY 2060 Enriched Physics with Calculus 1 (GE-P) |
3 |
PHY 2048L Physics with Calculus 1 Laboratory (GE-P) |
1 |
Elective (only if placed out of language by SAT II) |
2-0 |
Humanities (GE-H) |
3 |
Total |
16-14 |
Semester 3 |
Credits |
MAC 2313 Analytic Geometry and Calculus 3 (GE-M) |
4 |
PHY 2049 Physics with Calculus 2 or PHY 2061 Enriched Physics with Calculus 2 (GE-P) |
3 |
PHY 2049L Physics with Calculus 2 Laboratory (GE-P) |
1 |
Biological Science (GE-B) |
3 |
Foreign language |
4-5 |
Total |
15-16 |
Semester 4 |
Credits |
MAP 2302 Elementary Differential Equations (GE-M) |
3 |
PHY 3101 Introduction to Modern Physics (GE-P) |
3 |
Biological Science (GE-B) |
3 |
Foreign language |
3-5 |
Humanities (GE-H) |
3 |
Total |
15-17 |
Semester 5 |
Credits |
PHY 3221 Mechanics 1 (GE-P) |
3 |
PHY 3513 Thermal Physics 1 (GE-P) |
3 |
Elective (or foreign language if 4-3-3 option) |
3 |
Math elective |
3 |
Social and Behavioral Sciences (GE-S) |
3 |
Total |
15 |
Semester 6 |
Credits |
PHY 3323 Electromagnetism 1 (GE-P) |
3 |
PHY 4222 Mechanics 2 |
3 |
Composition (ENC 3254 Professional Writing in the Discipline recommended; GE-C, WR) |
3 |
Humanities (GE-H) |
3 |
Math elective |
3 |
Total |
15 |
Semester 7 |
Credits |
PHY 4324 Electromagnetism 2 (GE-P) |
3 |
PHY 4604 Introductory Quantum Mechanics 1 (GE-P) |
3 |
PHY 4802L Laboratory Physics 1 |
3 |
Elective |
3-2 |
Social and Behavioral Sciences (GE-S) |
3 |
Total |
15-14 |
Semester 8 |
Credits |
PHY 4523 Statistical Physics |
3 |
PHY 4803L Laboratory Physics 2 |
3 |
Electives |
6 |
Physics elective |
3 |
Total |
15 |
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