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Bachelor of Science in Physics

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Requirements for the B.S. Degree in Physics

Physics Bachelor of Science (B.S.) General Education Requirements

Written Communication - Core Skill and Critical Inquiry:

  • Composition. Satisfied by ENGL 101; ACT English score of 27 or above or SAT English score of 600 or above; AP English Literature & Composition score of 3 or above; or equivalent transfer course. Requirement must be completed during initial term of admission at KU.
  • Critical Reading and Writing. Satisfied by ENGL 102, or ENGL 105 (Honors); AP English Literature & Composition score of 4 or above; or an equivalent transfer course. Requirement must be completed within the first academic year at KU.
  • Sophomore Reading and Writing II. Satisfied by ENGL 203, or ENGL 205 (Honors), ENGL 209, or ENGL 210 or ENGL 211, or ENGL 362; or AP English Literature & Composition score of 5 or above; or an equivalent.

Western Civilization - Exploration of One's Own and Diverse Cultures. Advising Alert: Requires sophomore-level standing. Courses at other universities may have the same title but may not meet this requirement.

  • Western Civilization I - Ancient, Medieval & Early Modern Periods of Western Civilization. Satisfied by: HWC 204 or HWC 114 (Honors).
  • Western Civilization II - Modern Western Civilization. Satisfied by: HWC 205 or HWC 115 (Honors).

Humanities - Understanding the Human Condition. Satisfied by completing 2 courses in at least 1 of the following categories: historical studies (requirement code HT), literature and the arts (requirement code HL), and philosophy and religion (requirement code HR). Approved courses may be searched for availability through the Kyou portal.

Social and Behavioral Sciences - Understanding Society and Behavior. Satisfied by completing 2 courses in at least 1 of the following categories: individual behavior (requirement code SI), culture and society (requirement code SC), or public affairs (requirement code SF). Approved courses may be searched for availability through the Kyou portal.

Physics Prerequisite or Co-requisite Knowledge. Majors must complete courses as specified in each of the following areas. Majors are advised to take honors courses when eligible. These hours do not contribute to the minimum number of hours required for the major.

Physics Core Knowledge and Skills. Majors must complete a course in each of the following areas:

  • General Physics III. Satisfied by PHSX 313.
  • Intermediate Physics Lab. Satisfied by PHSX 316.
  • Introductory Quantum Mechanics. Satisfied by PHSX 511.
  • Physical Measurements or Electronic Circuit Measurement and Design. Satisfied by PHSX 516 or 536.
  • Mechanics I. Satisfied by PHSX 521.
  • Electricity and Magnetism. Satisfied by PHSX 531.
  • Thermal Physics. Satisfied by PHSX 671.
  • Undergraduate Research or Honors Research. Satisfied by PHSX 503 or PHSX 501.
  • Physics Elective. Satisfied by any PHSX lecture or laboratory course numbered 500 or higher and not part of the other specific requirements for the major.

Physics Required Electives. Majors must complete one of the following options:

Preprofessional Option. Majors choosing this option must complete 13 credit hours in advanced physics as follows:

*Course not used to satisfy Core Knowledge and Skills requirement above.

Interdisciplinary Option. Majors choosing this option must complete 13 credit hours in satisfying both categories as follows: 

*If not used to satisfy Core Knowledge and Skills requirement above.

  • Allied Science Field. Satisfied by the completion of 2 advanced courses in 1 allied science field chosen from the following:

Biology. Satisfied by BIOL 350, BIOL 400, BIOL 408, BIOL 412, BIOL 416, BIOL 600, BIOL 636, or BIOL 638.

Chemistry. Satisfied by CHEM 598 (UKanTeach students only), CHEM 622, or CHEM 646,

Geology. Satisfied by GEOL 360, GEOL 562, GEOL 572, GEOL 575, GEOL 576, or GEOL 577.

Physics Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 30 hours of major courses.

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major. 

Major Junior/Senior (300+) Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 12 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior (300+) Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

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Preprofessional Emphasis

Students also take 13 credit hours in physics as follows:

  • PHSX 621 Mechanics II (3)
  • PHSX 631 Electromagnetic Theory (3)
  • PHSX 711 Quantum Mechanics (3)
  • PHSX 516 Physical Measurements (4) or
    PHSX 536 Electronic Circuit Measurement and Design (4) (Preprofessional emphasis students take both advanced laboratory courses)
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Interdisciplinary Option

Students also take 12 to 15 credit hours in physics and allied sciences as follows:
2 of the following: (6-7)

  • PHSX 621 Mechanics II (3)
  • PHSX 631 Electromagnetic Theory (3)
  • PHSX 711 Quantum Mechanics (3)
  • PHSX 516 Physical Measurements (4) or
    PHSX 536 Electronic Circuit Measurement and Design (4) (Interdisciplinary option students may take the second advanced laboratory courses)

Plus 2 semesters of advanced course work in 1 allied science field chosen from the following: (6-8)

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