College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences2021-2022
Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science
Physics, Bachelor of Science
What Can I Do with a Bachelor of Science in Physics?
You will become immersed in the science of physics, which uses mathematics to describe why and how things work. Here, you will be encouraged to think independently and to join in faculty research projects on optics, material science, and quantum mechanics. You'll benefit from close contact with faculty as well as our array of high-tech instruments.
Career opportunities that might be pursued:
- Industrial researcher
- Scientific programmer
- National lab team member
- Defense industry team member
With further education, one of these paths is possible:
- University professor
- Medical physicist
- Industrial engineer
- Optical engineer
To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.
- All of Northern Arizona University's liberal studies, diversity, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
- All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
- At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
- At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
- A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.
In addition to University Requirements:
- At least 47 units of major requirements
- Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units
Please note that students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.
- Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements
|Minimum Units for Completion||120|
|Highest Mathematics Required||MAT 239|
|University Honors Program||Optional|
|AZ Transfer Students complete AGEC-S||Recommended|
|Progression Plan Link||View Progression Plan|
Student Learning Outcomes
The BS in Physics program is designed to prepare students for a career in a technical field or for graduate studies in physics.
Students will have an understanding of the laws of physics in the areas of:
- classical mechanics
- electricity and magnetism
- special relativity
- atomic physics
- nuclear physics
- quantum mechanics
- statistical mechanics
Students will :
- understand how to take good data with increasingly sophisticated equipment in introductory, intermediate, and advanced physics laboratories
- know how to identify random and systematic errors, and propagate errors
- be able to synthesize an appropriate conclusion from an experiment
- be able to apply mathematical tools such as elementary probability theory, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, differential and integral calculus, vector calculus, ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations, and linear algebra to solve physics problems
- become proficient in a computing language such as MATLAB
- be able to write code in a computing language in order to explain or predict the behavior of a complex physical system
Problem Solving Skills
Students will develop problem-solving capacities. In particular, a student will be able to:
- ascertain the known and unknown aspects of a problem
- describe the fundamental physical principles in the problem
- articulate a pathway toward solving the problem
- successfully follow the path and solve the problem
Students will be able to:
- clearly communicate and defend their work in verbal, written, and visual formats to scientific and non-scientific audiences
This major requires 47 to 49 units.
Take the following 47 - 49 units:
- PHY 161 or PHY 171* (4-5 units)
- (PHY 262 and PHY 262L) or PHY 172* (4-5 units)
- PHY 263, PHY 264, PHY 265, PHY 301, PHY 321, PHY 331, PHY 332, PHY 361, PHY 441, PHY 471 (30 units)
- PHY 333W which meets the junior-level writing requirement (3 units)
- PHY 498C which meets the senior capstone requirement (3 units)
- Additional units of upper-division physics and astronomy courses (3 units)
Additional coursework is required, if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit.
You may take these remaining courses from any academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you. (Please note that you may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.)
- MAT 136, MAT 137, MAT 238, MAT 239 are not required for this degree, but are prerequisites for other courses. (You may be able to count these prerequisites toward your liberal studies or general elective credit.)
Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.
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