Bachelor of Science Degree
The bachelor of science degree is designed for students committed to a career in research and is typically followed by graduate work in physics, chemistry, materials science, optical sciences, or engineering. Some students accept a position in industry or in a government laboratory immediately after completing the bachelor of science. This degree program provides a comprehensive grounding in the fundamentals of physics and is usually accompanied by participation in one of the active research programs within the department.
Students can pursue a Physics B.S. Degree to obtain skills in a particular area. The Area of Emphasis (or Track) in formation is also given below.
Admission to the bachelor of science in physics program requires, in addition to college requirements, at least a 2.5 grade-point average (GPA) in all required introductory physics and mathematical courses (which must include Physics 111, 112, Mathematics 155, 156, or their equivalents).
The B.S. degree requires a minimum of 128 hours. This includes:
- 30 hours of University requirements (General Education Courses (GEC) and a Senior Capstone);
- 71 hours in physics department requirements (44 in physics, eight in science, 19 in mathematics).
Continuance in the program requires that the student maintains at least a cumulative 2.2 GPA in all physics and mathematics courses.
Specific course requirements are:
- Physics 199
- Physics 111
- Physics 112
- Physics 211
- Physics 314
- Physics 331
- Physics 333
- Physics 332 or 334
- Physics 341 (2 semesters)
- Physics 451
- Physics 461
- plus nine hours of physics electives
- Mathematics 155
- Mathematics 156
- Mathematics 251
- Mathematics 261
- plus a three hour elective, and eight hours in one other science (biology, chemistry, computer science, or geology).
In addition, students have at least 27 hours of unrestricted electives which can be used to prepare for entry into a graduate or professional school (physics, engineering, medicine, etc.) or towards a second degree.
Areas of Emphasis (AOE)
We recognize that there are many reasons to pursue a physics degree. Physics is a powerful base on which to build a wide variety of careers! That is why we offer our undergraduates a flexible undergraduate degree program with different areas of emphasis (AOE). All of these AOEs include a strong core curriculum combined with advanced physics courses and courses from other disciplines. Bachelor’s degree physicists have excellent job prospects in our technological society. An idea of current industrial opportunities is available online: career information for professional physicists is available from the American Physical Society employment statistics are available from the American Institute of Physics.
The AOEs encourage students to tailor and expand on the basic B.S physics degree requirements to develop specialized competencies in selected interest areas that span more than two disciplines. The B.S. in Physics with an AOE does not require the three physics electives, the Math elective, and a second semester of PHYS 341, which are required for the basic B.S. in Physics. Several of the AOEs require basic science courses in chemistry or computer science, which fulfill the college requirement of eight hours in a third science. Completion of an AOE is posted to the student’s transcript and the courses in the AOE can be used to satisfy the physics elective and the capstone requirements. The AOEs enhance research experience and each requires either a summer research experience (at WVU or another institution) or a capstone experience in the area of emphasis. Students wishing to complete more than one AOE will need to complete a summer research or capstone experience in each AOE. The research experience must be approved by the student’s undergraduate physics advisor.
Applied Physics AOE
The area of emphasis in applied physics is designed for those who are interested in employment or future study in applied physics or engineering.
- Advisor: David Lederman,
- Preparation for: employment in industrial research and development or graduate study in applied physics
- Course Requirements: EE 221, 223, 251, 252, and MAE 241, 242, 331, 423
- Research: A capstone experience or a summer research experience emphasizing an applied physics topic
Astro/Space physics AOE
The area of emphasis in astro/space physics is designed for those who are interested in future study in astronomy or astrophysics.
- Advisor: Duncan Lorimer,
- Preparation for: graduate school in Astrophysics or Astronomy
- Course Requirements: ASTRO 367, PHYS 321, PHYS 481, GEOL 455, EE 221, 223, 465, MAE 331, and a second semester of PHYS 341 Astrophysics Emphasis
- Research: A capstone or summer research experience focused on an astro/space physics topic
The area of emphasis in biophysics is designed for those who are interested in future study in medicine with a strong physics preparation.
Advisor: Leonardo Golubovic,
Preparation for: medical school, graduate study in Biophysics , or graduate study in Medical Physics
Course Requirements: In addition to the 32 hours of physics, the other requirements are: CHEM 115, 116, 233, 234, 235, 236, 346, 348, BIO 115, 117, 219, 310, and BIOC 339, and PHYS 225 ? Medical Imaging Physics
Research: A capstone or summer research experience focused on a biophysics topic.
This five-year program ending with a MBA. Please contact Earl Scime for details.
Computational Physics AOE
The area of emphasis in computational physics is ideal for those who are interested in computation.
- Advisor: Marty Ferer,
- Preparation for: employment in applications programming, physical systems modeling, software development.
- Course Requirements: CS 110, 111, 210, 470, one CS elective, and Math 420. One additional three-hour elective must be chosen from either physics or computer science.
- Research: A capstone or summer research experience focused on a Computational Physics topic.
Materials Science AOE
The area of emphasis in materials science is designed for those who are interested in employment or future study in materials science.
- Advisor: David Lederman,
- Preparation for: employment in industrial research and development or graduate study in materials science
- Course Requirements: PHYS 471, 321, CHEM 341, CHE 366, CHE 466, EE 450, and a second semester of PHYS 341-Condensed Matter semester
- Research: A capstone or summer research experience focused on a Condensed Matter Physics topic.
Medical Physics AOE
The area of emphasis in medical physics is designed for those who are interested in future study in medical physics.
- Advisor: Ray Raylman,
- Preparation for: graduate study in medical physics or medicine
- Course Requirements: CHEM 115, 116, 233, 234, 235, 236, BIO 115, 117, 310, EE 425, 465 and PHYS 225, Medical Imaging Physics
- Research: A capstone or summer research experience focused on a Medical Physics topic.