Major & Minor Programs

Declaring the Concentration +

If you are interested in pursuing physics as a concentration, you should schedule an appointment to speak with a concentration counselor as early as possible (even in your first year). In a face-to-face meeting we can much better provide you with the information you need. Since much of the physics curriculum is sequential, with one course building on another, it is a good idea to do some planning of your curriculum early on.

 

Professional Physics Plan (B.S.) +

Prerequisites for Declaring

  • Math courses up through Math 216 (Differential Equations) or the equivalent
  • One of the following introductory sequences and labs:
    • 135/136 & 235/236 (Life Sciences) 
    • 140/141 & 240/241(Calculus Based; Recommended for Engineers)
    • 160/161 & 260/261 (Honors — more in depth, using a modern perspective)
  • Physics 340/341 (Waves, Heat, and Light)
  • Physics 351 (Methods of Theoretical Physics I; Prepares you for 405, 453, and subsequent courses)

Degree Requirements

Students need to complete at least 27 credits in physics courses numbering 390 and above. 
Your concentration plan must include:

  • Five Physics core courses: Physics 390 (which can be taken concurrently with Physics 401 or 405), 401, 405, 406, and 453
  • Any two of the Physics advanced laboratory courses: 441, 442, 450
  • At least two electives selected from 402, 411, 413, 417, 430, 433, 435, 438, 452, 457, 460, 463, 470 or another faculty advisor approved Physics course.

Interdisciplinary Physics Plan (A.B. or B.S.) +

The Interdisciplinary Physics concentration allows students the flexibility to supplement their core study of physics with courses in complementary fields. This concentration can be an effective preparation for graduate study in the sciences, for medical, law, and business schools, or for direct entry into the job market. Because students pursuing the Interdisciplinary Physics degree have a wide variety of career goals, advising from a Physics concentration advisor is especially important. Prior to your appointment, please fill out and submit the Interdisciplinary Physics Concentration Proposal. If you'd prefer a physical copy, you may print and fill out the proposal.

Prerequisites for Declaring an IP Concentration (Effective Fall 2011)

  • Interdisciplinary Physics Concentration Proposal
  • Math courses up through Math 216 (Differential Equations) or the equivalent
  • One of the following introductory sequences and labs
    • 135/136 & 235/236 (Life Sciences) 
    • 140/141 & 240/241 (Calculus Based; Recommended for Engineers)
    • 160/161 & 260/261 (Honors — more in depth, using a modern perspective)
  • Physics 340/341 (Waves, Heat, and Light)
  • Physics 351 (Methods of Theoretical Physics I; Prepares you for 405, 453, and subsequent courses)

IP Concentration Requirements
The Interdisciplinary Physics program requires at least 24 credits, including at least 9 in Physics courses numbered 390 and above. A concentration plan must include the following:

  • Physics 390 (can be taken concurrently with Physics 401 or 405)
  • Two additional Physics courses at the 400 level and beyond
    • Physics 390 and these 400-level Physics courses must be completed with a minimum grade of a C- in each course and a cumulative average of C or higher.
  • Fifteen credits of cognate courses as part of an interdisciplinary plan designed with an advisor during an advising appointment. Nine of these credits should be at the 200 level or above.

Need inspiration? Click here for examples of past students' IP cognate plans.

Note: Please contact the Student Services Office if you need requirements before Fall 2011.

Teacher Certification in Physics +

Students who wish to earn a secondary teaching certificate in physics must apply to the School of Education certification program and take specific Physics courses required for a Michigan Provisional Teaching Certificate.  LSA students can remain in LSA to earn a BA or BS in Interdisciplinary Physics and include the education course component over three terms.  If the application is made during the sophomore year, it might be possible to complete everything in four years.

Students must be certified to teach in two areas (“teaching major” and “teaching minor”).  Plan early and consult with advisers in the SOE and the Physics Department to ensure you elect the correct classes.   LS&A degree candidates must earn at least 100 LS&A credits and at least 30 Education credits. Please note that the LS&A B.S. degree requires 60 credits in physical and natural science and mathematics; students with less than 60 credits may be eligible for an A.B. degree.


The requirements for the teaching certificate itself are identical whether you remain in LSA or transfer to the School of Education. The only difference is that if you remain in LSA you fulfill that College's graduation requirements and SoE’s certification requirements; if you transfer to the School of Education, you fulfill SoE's graduation requirements. There are minor differences between the two including the fact that the School of Education does not specifically require proficiency in a world language. Also, the School of Education degree requires a full 12 hours in each of three distribution categories, including courses from two or more departments, which largely correspond to the LSA divisions of Natural Science, Social Science, and Humanities but vary in several specific ways. If you remain in LSA for your degree, and receive your certificate through the School of Education, you need to complete 8 hours in each category, including courses from two or more departments.
Students in all schools and colleges desiring teacher certification must apply to the Teacher Education program. A minimum GPA of 2.5 both overall and in the proposed Physics major is required to apply.  Applicants must also have junior standing (a minimum of 54 credits) at the time of enrollment in the certification program.  Students are strongly encouraged to apply in their sophomore year.


Teaching interns who major in mathematics, the sciences, and world languages may be admitted in the winter or fall admission cycle, but always begin the professional course sequence of three semesters in the winter semester.  The application deadline for Winter Term admission is October 15 and the application deadline for Fall Term admission is January 15. There are no scholarship opportunities for those who apply for winter term admission.
Applications received after the deadline may be considered on a space available basis. All students must obtain the non degree student application to the certification program from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions website at: http://www.soe.umich.edu/academics/bachelors_degree_programs/uste/uste_requirements/ 


To schedule an advising appointment which will include a coursework evaluation and course completion plan with a School of Education academic adviser, please visit http://www.soe.umich.edu/academics/bachelors_degree_programs/uste/uste_advising/Advising appointments are available Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.


The School of Education also holds twice monthly  program information sessions to explain teaching certification options.  Please check the SOE Events Calendar for room and times.

IP Concentration with Focus on Teaching:
Prerequisites to IP Concentration in Physics and SOE requirements:

Course Number Course Title Credits Prerequisite/Required for SOE.
Math 115 Calculus I 4 Prerequisite
Math 116 Calculus II 4 Prerequisite
Math 215 Calculus III 4 Prerequisite
Math 216 Intro to Diff Equations 4 Prerequisite
Physics 140/141/240/241 or
Physics 135/136/235/236  or
Physics 160/161/260/261
  10

Required
Physics 340/341 Waves, Heat, and Light 5 Required
Physics 351 Methods of Theoretical Physics I 3 Required



IP Requirements in Physics and SOE requirements:

Course Number Course Title Credits SOE Required
Physics 390 Intro to Modern Physics 3 Required
Physics 417 Dynamical Processes in Biophysics 3 Required
4XX   3 Required
4XX*   3 Required

*SOE Major Requirements include one course from Physics 401, 402, 405, 406, 411, 452, 453, or 457.

At  least Fifteen Credits of Cognate Courses for IP in Physics:  SOE Program course sequence begins Winter Only.

Course Number Course Title Credits SOE Required
EDUC 307 Practicum in Teaching Methods 2 Required
EDUC 392 Educational Foundations in a Multicultural Society 3 Required
EDUC 402 Reading and Writing in Content Areas 3 Required
EDUC 307 Practicum in Teaching Methods 2 Required
EDUC 422 Teaching of Science in a Secondary School 3 Required
EDUC 391 Educational Psychology and Human Development 3 Required
EDUC 302 Directed Teaching in the Secondary 10 Required
EDUC 304 Seminar: Problems and Principles in the Secondary School 2 Required
EDUC 490-XXX Technology in Education 1 Required
EDUC 490-XXX Teaching Students with Exceptionalities 1 Required
 These courses (EDUC 307, 392, and 402) will be completed in Semester 1 of the three semester professional education/certification course sequence 
These courses (EDUC 307, 422 and 391) will be completed in Semester 2 of the three semester professional education /certification course sequence.
These courses (EDUC 302, 304, 490-XXX, and 490-XXX) will be completed in Semester 3 of the three semester professional education/certification course sequence


Honors Physics +

Students who are performing at a high level (roughly a 3.4 GPA or better) in Physics in their first or second year are encouraged to meet with a faculty advisor and elect an Honors Physics/IP concentration.  A student must maintain at least a 3.4 GPA to graduate with Honors.

An Honors Concentration in Physics or Interdisciplinary Physics (IP) puts you in a distinguished category of individuals who are focused on becoming next generation leaders, in physics as well as in related scientific, technical and policy areas.   The Physics/IP Honors Concentration provides first-year students with smaller introductory classes and offers all students the chance to develop their talents in a research-focused, community setting.  Many research projects involve collaborations, on scales ranging from other University of Michigan programs, such as the Astronomy Department or the Medical School, to global research enterprises such as the Large Hadron Collider or the Dark Energy Survey

In addition to extra course work, Honors students complete a senior research thesis under the mentorship of a UM Physics faculty member. The research typically begins during the student's third year and takes place over several terms, sometimes including spring/summer. The skills gained, papers published, presentations given, and friends and colleagues made are among the many lasting rewards of such a deeply immersive experience.  The research frequently helps guide students toward their next stage in life, be it graduate school or a career in teaching, industry, government or elsewhere.    

Each student who completes an Honors Thesis is encouraged to apply to the William L. Williams award by submitting their thesis electronically as a .pdf to physics.sso@umich.edu with the subject line "William L. Williams".

Honors Concentration in Interdisciplinary Physics

  • Must elect 3 credits of physics from courses numbered 401 and above which are not otherwise required.
  • Must elect an additional 3 credit cognate course as part of the cognate program.
  • Must also complete a senior honors thesis based on research done under the supervision of a faculty member. You may register for Physics 498/499: Introduction to Research for Honors Students as part of the senior thesis work.

Honors Concentration in Physics

  • Regular departmental requirements for a physics concentration
  • Must elect 6 credits of physics from courses numbered 401 and above which are not otherwise required.
  • Must also complete a senior honors thesis based on research done under the supervision of a faculty member. You may register for Physics 498/499: Introduction to Research for Honors Students as part of the senior thesis work.

Thesis Deadlines:

Students graduating in the fall semester: Thesis is due by 5pm on the last day of class.

Students graduating the the winter semester: Thesis is due by 5pm on the second Monday in March.

Students graduating in the spring/summer semester: Thesis is due by 5pm on Friday, March 14th, 2014

Submit thesis as a .pdf file to physics.sso@umich.edu

 

Physics Minor +

Prerequisites: Math courses up through Math 216 (Differential Equations) or the equivalent. 

Requirements:

  • One of the following introductory sequences and labs:
    • 135/136 & 235/236 (Life Sciences) 
    • 140/141 & 240/241 (Calculus Based; Recommended for Engineers)
    • 160/161 & 260/261 (Honors — more in depth, using a modern perspective)
  • Physics 340/341 (Waves, Heat, and Light)
  • Physics 390 (Introduction to Modern Physics)

Advanced Placement Credit and the Physics Minor

Although course credit for Physics 125/126/127/128 or Physics 140/141/240/241 may be awarded Advanced Placement (AP) Physics exams B (score of 4 or 5) or C (score of 5), LSA policy does not allow those AP credits to be counted toward the minimum credits required for an academic minor. To qualify for the minor, students with AP exam credit must complete additional eligible courses within the Physics department for a total of at least 15 Physics course credits. Eligible courses include Physics 333 and 334 (Tutoring of Physics 140 and 240), and Physics 401. Other 400-level Physics courses may also be used, subject to approval by a concentration advisor.

To get your AP Credit, please schedule an appointment with a concentration advisor as soon as possible.

Applying for Graduation +

To apply for graduation, please complete the following steps:

  • Apply for graduation by logging onto Wolverine Access. Go to Student Business, click on “Apply for Graduation,” and follow the prompts. Make sure to verify your permanent address and specify how you want your name to appear on your diploma.
  •  Meet with a Physics advisor to discuss any remaining requirements and to fill out a Concentration Release for any major and/or minor. The release is
    entered into the student's online file, where the Auditors Office receives it.