Physics, Bachelor of Science
Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science
College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences

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 diversity, liberal studies, juniorlevel writing, and capstone requirements.
 All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
 At least 30 units of upperdivision courses, which may include transfer work.
 At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upperdivision courses (300level or above). This requirement is not met by creditbyexam, retrocredits, transfer coursework, etc.
 A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.
The full policy can be viewed here.
In addition to University Requirements:
 62  64 units of major requirements
 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.
 Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units.
Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.
Minimum Units for Completion  120 
Highest Mathematics Required  MAT 239 
Research  Optional 
University Honors Program  Optional 
AZ Transfer Students complete AGECS  Recommended 
Progression Plan Link  View Progression Plan 
Purpose Statement
Physics seeks to explain everything from the structure, evolution, and formation of the universe to the nature of matter and energy. At its heart, physics aims to provide fundamental and predictive explanations to observed phenomena, establishing relationships between measurable quantities, and developing mathematical model(s) to interpret, leverage, and understand these phenomena. The major emphasizes foundational skills for the understanding key physical phenomena including matter, motion, energy, electricity and magnetism, quantum theory, and gravity. Through a mastery of physics, students will develop advanced mathematical, computational, and experimental skills. Major work is completed through classroom and laboratory experiences. The critical thinking, scientific analysis, and communication skills attained through the completion of a physics degree will prepare graduates for entry to graduate and professional schools, industry careers, and research laboratory work.
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.
Physics Content
Students will have an understanding of the laws of physics in the areas of:
 Classical Mechanics
 Electricity and Magnetism
 Special Relativity
 Waves
 Optics
 Atomic Physics
 Nuclear Physics
 Quantum Mechanics
 Thermodynamics
 Statistical Mechanics
 Physics of condensed matter
 Electronic and optical properties of materials
 Mechanical and thermal properties of materials.
 Electronics
 Atomic and nuclear physics
 Experimental Science
 Materials Science
Laboratory Skills
 Understand how to take data with increasingly sophisticated equipment in introductory, intermediate, and advanced physics laboratories.
 Understand how to identify and quantify experimental errors, perform statistical error analysis, and quantify measurement confidence.
 Be able to design and create experiments to measure physical phenomena.
 Be able to synthesize an appropriate conclusion from an experiment.
Computational Skills
 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, linear algebra, asymptotic and series expansions, normal mode analysis, conservation laws, and symmetries 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.
 Become proficient in a simulation software, e.g., Zemax or MATLAB.
 Be able to use simulation software to understand complex phenomena.
Problem Solving Skills
Students will develop problemsolving capacities. In particular, a student will be able to:
 Ascertain the known and unknown aspects of a problem.
 Describe the fundamental physical principles of the problem.
 Articulate a pathway toward solving the problem.
 Successfully follow the path and solve the problem.
 Utilize symmetries, conserved quantities or approximation methods to confirm the validity of a physical result, understand limiting behavior, and characterize results analytically.
 Identify and understand the physics/astrophysics literature as it relates to specific problems.
Communication Skills
 Clearly communicate and defend their work in verbal, written, and visual formats to scientific and nonscientific audiences.
 Learn scientific writing best practices, including:
 Structure and format a scientific article.
 Properly cite and acknowledge prior work.
 Create effective figures.
 Present experimental data
 Use scientific word processing software such as LaTeX.
Major Requirements

This major requires 62  64 units.
Take the following 62  64 units:

 MAT 136, MAT 137, MAT 238, MAT 239 (15 units)
 Select one from the following (4  5 units):
 Select one of the following options (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)
 Select one from the following which meet the juniorlevel writing requirement (3 units)
 PHY 498C which meets the senior capstone requirement (3 units)
 Additional units of upperdivision physics and astronomy courses (3 units)

Students enrolled in this plan may not enroll in or pursue the following due to the number of overlapping units:
General Electives

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 of the academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. You may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.
We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you.
Additional Information

Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.