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Undergraduate Physics at The Ohio State University

Undergrad Home | Handbook | Courses | Advising | Scholarships & Awards | Graduation Info | Student Organizations | Research | Transfer Credit

Required Courses for Physics Majors

Bachelor of Science in Physics

The B.S. in Physics is a degree conferred by the College of Arts and Science. It is a degree which prepares a student for either direct employment after graduation, or in the pursuit of an advanced degree.

The B.S. requirements are composed of a core, which all physics students must take, and a set of technical and other electives chosen arranged in six possible options depending on the interests of the student. The total required credit hours is 191.

Core Requirements

  • Required Physics: 51 hours. This is a minimum, as most options require additional physics courses.
    • 131-2-3; 261-2-3;295; 416; 555; 596; 621; 631; 616
  • Required Math: 27 hours
    • Calculus and Analytic Geometry:
      151-152-153-254
      OR 161-162-263 (accelerated sequence)
    • Vector Analysis:
      513: Vector Analysis for Engineers - focuses on applications of vector algebra. 3 credit hours
      OR 551: Vector Analysis - focuses on vector operations and applications. 5 credit hours
    • Differential Equations:
      415: Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations. 4 credit hours
    • Math - Physics Double Majors:
      Take H520 and H521 instead of 513 and 415
  • Prerequisite Courses: 4 hours
    • CS&E 202 (prerequisite for Physics 416)
  • College requirements: 70 hours. Assumes drop-a-course and double counting of writing requirement.
    • There are a total of 70 hours of GEC required. More infomration on GEC requirements can be found at the College of Arts and Sciences website under GEC's for Bachelor of Science. The current link is here
    • An important note: some options have required GEC courses. See the table below.
  • Technical and other electives: 43 hours
    • Distributed between technical and free electives, depending on which option plan A-F is chosen - see table below.

Suggested Courses

These courses are not required, but they're great classes to take if you're looking to strengthen your math skills or take an extra course.
  • Math 514: Complex variables - introducton to complex variables, analytic functions, complex integral theorems, power series, residues, and conformal mapping. 3 credit hours.
  • Math 580/581: Abstract Algebra- Elementary number theory, group theory, vector spaces, linear transformations, and field theory.

Summary of Option Requirements

Major in Physics

Option Purpose Additional Required Physics Required GEC (required by this option, but count towards GEC) Required Technical Electives Free Electives
A Advanced Physics 28 hours:
622;632-633;664; 656-657; 517
  Math 568 12 hours
B Physical, Mathematical and Engineering Sciences 12 hours:
632; 656; 517
  Math 568 plus 16 hours (see these notes) 12 hours
C Biophysics & Biomedical Physics 4 hours: 517 or 622 or 632 or 656 Chem 121 or H201; Bio 113 or H115 24 hours(see these notes) 15 hours
D Pre-Med none Bio 113-114 40 hours(see these notes) 3 hours
E Secondary Education Physics certification 5 hours: 670 Bio 113; Chem 121 25 hours(see these notes) 13 hours
F Personalized 4 hours: 517 or 622 or 632 or 656   18 hours(see these notes) 21 hours

OPTION A
ADVANCED PHYSICS

This option is designed for those intending graduate level (Ph.D.) studies in physics. It provides an excellent preparation for graduate school in physics.
  • Additional Required Physics (28 hours): 622; 632 633; 664; 656 657; 517
  • Required Technical Electives (3 hours): Math 568 (OR Math 571)
  • Free Electives: (12 hours)
    Students planning to attend graduate school in physics should consider taking one or more Physics 780.xx classes as part of their free electives.

OPTION B
PHYSICAL, MATHEMATICAL, AND ENGINEERING SCIENCES

This option is designed for physics majors who have a strong interest in some other area of the physical sciences, engineering, or mathematics. It might be appropriate, for example, for a double major including one of these other areas. Students completing this option are prepared to pursue physics related areas, or to enter the job market with skills in engineering or other sciences.
  • Additional Required Physics (12 hours): 632; 656; 517
  • Required Technical Electives (19 hours): Math 568 (OR Math 571) 3 credit hours.
  • Notes on additional technical electives: A total of 16 hours must be selected from courses at or above the 200 level in any of the following departments. These courses may not ``double count" toward the GEC nor toward the mathematics requirements in the physics core curriculum. The selection must be coherent and must be approved by the Undergraduate Studies Committee (USC).
    • Physics
    • Astronomy
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Geology
    • Statistics
    • Computer and Information Science
    • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
    • Chemical Engineering
    • Civil Engineering
    • Electrical Engineering
    • Industrial and Systems Engineering
    • Materials Science and Engineering
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Nuclear Engineering
  • Free Electives: (12 hours)

OPTION C
BIOPHYSICS AND BIOMEDICAL PHYSICS

This option is designed for physics majors who have an interest in biophysics or biomedical physics. It is NOT appropriate as a pre medical curriculum (see option D).
  • Additional Required Physics (4 hours): 517 or 622 or 632 or 656
  • GEC courses: Students are required to take the following courses, which may be counted toward the GEC requirements: Chemistry 121 (or H201) Biology 113 (or H115)
  • Required Technical Electives (24 hours):
    • Chemistry 122 123 or H202 203 (10 hours)
    • Chemistry 251 252 (6 hours)
    • In addition, a total of at least 8 hours must be selected from courses at or above the 200 level in any of the following departments. The course selection must be coherent and must be approved by the Undergraduate Studies Committee.
    • Biochemistry
    • Molecular Genetics
    • Microbiology
    • Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology
    • Biomedical Engineering
    • Radiology
    • Plant Biology
  • Free Electives: (15 hours)

OPTION D
PRE MED OPTION

This option is designed for those intending to attend medical school. It satisfies all of the medical school admission requirements, when combined with the required physics and math courses in the physics core curriculum. (Contact the pre-med adviser in the College of Arts and Sciences for more detailed information.)
  • Additional Required Physics: none
  • GEC courses: Students are required to take the following courses, which may be counted toward the GEC requirements:
    • Biology 113 114
  • Notes on Required Technical Electives (40 hours):
    • Molecular Genetics 500 (OR Biochemistry 511)(5 hours)
    • Chemistry 251 252 253 (9 hours)
    • Chemistry 121 122 123 (15 hours)
    • Chemistry 254 255 (6 hours)
  • Free Electives (3 hours):

OPTION E
SECONDARY EDUCATION: PHYSICS CERTIFICATION

This option is designed for those seeking secondary level certification in physics (i.e., to be a high school teacher). It has been designed to satisfy College of Education Master of Education (Physics Certification) curriculum. If you are interested in pursuing this option, contact the College of Education for further information.
  • Additional Required Physics (5 hours): 670
  • GEC courses: Students are required to take the following courses, which may be counted toward the GEC requirements:
    • Biology 113 (5 hours)
    • Chemistry 121 (5 hours)
  • Notes on Required Technical Electives (25 hours):
    • Chemistry 122-123 (10 hours)
    • Geology 110 or Geology 122 (5 hours)
    • Astronomy 291 (5 hours)
    • Geography 520 (5 hours)
  • Free Electives (13 hours)

OPTION F
PERSONALIZED PROGRAM OPTION

This option is designed for those with special interests not covered in options A E. The program of technical electives could include courses of study outside of the Colleges of Mathematical and Physical Sciences and of Engineering, such as meteorology, economics, history of science, or primary education.
  • Additional Required Physics (4 hours): 517 or 622 or 632 or 656
  • Notes on Required Technical Electives (18 hours): Notes on Required Technical Electives (18 hours): These must form a coherent set of courses in a particular area or related areas of study, and must be approved by the Undergraduate Studies Committee. Courses utilized in pursuit of a minor, major, or dual degree can count towards this requirement.
  • Technical Electives must be 200 level or above.



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