Physics
Physics is the most fundamental natural science. The laws of physics are the starting point for most scientific research and engineering applications. Students majoring in physics obtain broad-based knowledge and expertise applying these laws, as well as hands-on experience building electronic equipment and in performing experiments.
Overview
A physics major provides a wide range of career options. Many students pursue further studies in physics, other scientific disciplines, various branches of engineering or medicine. Professional physicists work in universities and government laboratories seeking answers to fundamental questions about nature, in industry leading the development of new technologies and in the medical sector performing clinical service and research. The analytical, problem-solving and communications skills acquired by physics majors also lead to career opportunities in business and finance.
The Department of Physics offers two undergraduate degree programs: The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) is intended for students who wish to pursue graduate study in physics as well as for other students with a deep interest in the subject. The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) is intended for students who seek the benefits of a physics degree but desire greater flexibility to follow interests in other fields.
Coursework for the Major
Coursework for the major will depend upon the degree program chosen.
Courses for the B.S. or B.A. degree include four pairs of alternative courses:
PHY 2048 / PHY 2060,
PHY 2049 / PHY 2061,
PHY 3101 / PHY 3063, and
PHY 3221 / PHZ 3113.
In each case, the second course includes selected advanced topics not covered in the first. While both courses prepare students for upper-level physics classes, students should see a department adviser to determine which course meets their needs.
Required coursework for each degree can be found below in the Critical Tracking section. 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 sequences (PHY 2004/2005, PHY 2048/2049 and
PHY 2053/2054) meet this requirement. Students should check the prerequisites carefully 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 critical-tracking GPA
Semester 5
- Complete MAP 2302 with a 2.5 critical-tracking GPA
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.
- One year of college-level general chemistry, including one chemistry laboratory course.
- Three credits minimum in approved math courses beyond MAP 2302 Differential Equations.
- Certain computer science courses may substitute for the math elective.
- Minimum grades of C for coursework counted toward the major.
Recommended Semester Plan
This plan is structured for students taking Calculus 1 the first semester. Students can have different schedules when they enter UF because of their backgrounds. In particular, students are encouraged to take Physics with Calculus 1 (PHY 2048 or PHY 2060) as soon as they have had completed Calculus 1, even if this means delaying chemistry. For all 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 required to complete HUM 2305 The Good Life (GE-H) in semester 1 or 2. 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 |
HUM 2305 What is the Good Life (GE-H) |
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 |
Total |
16 |
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 |
Mathematics 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 |
Social and Behavioral Sciences (GE-S) |
3 |
Total |
15 |
Semester 8 |
Credits |
Electives |
12 |
Physics elective (4000 level or higher) |
3 |
Total |
15 |
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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 Mechanics 2
PHY 4324 Electromagnetism 1
PHY 4523 Statistical Physics
PHY 4604 Introductory Quantum Mechanics 1
PHY 4802L Laboratory Physics 1 and
PHY 4803L Laboratory Physics 2 (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 an elective.
- One year of college-level general chemistry, including one chemistry laboratory course.
- Six credits minimum in approved math courses beyond MAP 2302 Differential Equations.
- Certain computer science courses may substitute for one of the math electives.
- Minimum grades of C for coursework counted toward the major.
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Recommended Semester Plan
This plan is structured for students taking Calculus 1 the first semester. Students can have different schedules when they enter UF because of their backgrounds. In particular, students are encouraged to take Physics with Calculus 1 (PHY 2048 or PHY 2060) as soon as they have completed Calculus 1, even if this means delaying chemistry. For all 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 from the department 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 required to complete HUM 2305 The Good Life (GE-H) in semester 1 or 2. 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 |
HUM 2305 What is the Good Life (GE-H) |
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 |
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 |
Mathematics 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 |
Mathematics 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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