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About Physics ProgramsLearn more about this academic unit’s areas of intellectual expertise, its history, and its undergraduate offerings.

The University of Michigan has one of the country's premier programs for the training of undergraduate and graduate students in physics. The Physics Department has abundant facilities for instruction in physics and offers a wide variety of experimental and theoretical research programs open to undergraduate and graduate students.

Undergraduates concentrating in physics have several degree choices:

  • Physics (B.S.)
  • Interdisciplinary Physics (A.B. or B.S.)
  • Honors Physics Program
  • Physics Minor

A total of 60 credits of mathematics and natural science must be elected to receive the Bachelor of Science degree.

Interested undergraduates may also want to look into work in medical physics (a promising path for pre-med students) in the Applied Physics program, or in the Engineering Physics program.

The analytical and quantitative thinking skills you will develop as you work toward any of these degrees will be of great value in many different careers. Most physics majors at U-M follow one (or more) of three paths after graduation:  

  • graduate work in physics or another field
  • employment in industry, software development, or associated field
  • professional school in medicine, business, law, or associated area.

 

Physics AdvisingStudents with any questions about courses or majors or minor in Physics should speak with Physics department advisors

Students with any questions about courses or majors in Physics should speak with Physics department advisors. 

Students wishing to pursue a minor in Physics must develop a specific plan for its completion in consultation with the department's designated advisor. 

Advising appointments can be scheduled in the Physics Student Services Office, 1440 Randall Lab [(734) 764-5539] or via the online advising calendar www.lsa.umich.edu/physics/academics/undergraduateprogram/advising 

Physics Teaching Certificate InformationLearn more about this academic unit’s areas of intellectual expertise, its history, and its undergraduate offerings.

LSA students may earn an A.B. or B.S. in Interdisciplinary Physics with a focus on teacher certification through the College of LSA and School of Education. Students who wish to earn a secondary teaching certificate in physics should schedule a physics advising appointment before applying to the SOE certification program through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions website. (Note: Students are encouraged to apply their sophomore year. The application deadline is October 15.)

Why Major in Physics

Completing an undergraduate degree in physics will give you a rich understanding of how the world works. It will also prepare you either for continued study in graduate or professional school, or for careers in industry, education, medicine, and finance.

Physics Major

Effective Date: Fall 2015

May be elected as a departmental major.

The undergraduate curriculum in Physics is designed to provide a thorough introduction to our current understanding of the physical world. It prepares students for quantitative analysis of the world. The Physics BS degree provides strong preparation for graduate study in Physics and related fields. It also prepares students for direct entry into the job market in a wide variety of technical, analytic, and education settings.

Prerequisites to the Major

  • PHYSICS 135/136 and 235/236 or PHYSICS 140/141 and 240/241 (or PHYSICS 160/161 and 260/261)
  • PHYSICS 340 and PHYSICS 351.

Student interested in concentrating in physics should have an understanding of mathematics through differential equations.

Requirements for the Major

At least 29 credits in PHYSICS numbered 390/391 and above. The Physics Department requires no less than 15 credits toward the major program be completed in residence.

The major must include:

  1. Core. PHYSICS 390/391, 401, 405, 406, and 453.
    PHYSICS 390, 401, 405, 406, and 453 must be completed with a minimum grade of a C- in each course and a cumulative average of C or higher.
    PHYSICS 390/391 can be elected concurrently with PHYICS 401 or 405; PHYSICS 401 and 405 should precede PHYSICS 453; PHYSICS 453 is a prerequisite to most courses numbered above.
  2. Advanced Laboratory. Any two of PHYSICS 441, 442 or 450.
  3. Electives. Two courses from among PHYSICS 402, 411, 413, 417, 430, 433, 435,  438, 452, 457, 460,  463, and 470.

PHYSICS 419, 420, 481, and 489 may not be used to satisfy the B.S. degree requirements.

Honors Plan

Students who have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.4 are encouraged to elect an Honors major in Physics. In addition to the regular departmental requirements for major, candidates for an Honors major must elect six credits of PHYSICS from courses numbered 401 and above which are not otherwise required and must also complete a senior Honors thesis based on research (PHYSICS 498/499) done under the supervision of a faculty member.

Physics Major (Fall 2012-Summer 2015) +

Effective Date: Fall 2012-Summer 2015

May be elected as a departmental major.

The undergraduate curriculum in Physics is designed to provide a thorough introduction to our current understanding of the physical world. It prepares students for quantitative analysis of the world. The Physics BS degree provides strong preparation for graduate study in Physics and related fields. It also prepares students for direct entry into the job market in a wide variety of technical, analytic, and education settings.

Prerequisites to the Major

  • PHYSICS 135/136 and 235/236 or PHYSICS 140/141 and 240/241 (or PHYSICS 160/161 and 260/261)
  • PHYSICS 340/341 and PHYSICS 351.

Student interested in concentrating in physics should have an understanding of mathematics through differential equations.

Requirements for the Major

At least 27 credits in PHYSICS numbered 390 and above. The Physics Department requires no less than 15 credits toward the major program be completed in residence.

A plan for the major must include:

  1. Core. PHYSICS 390, 401, 405, 406, and 453.
    PHYSICS 390, 401, 405, 406, and 453 must be completed with a minimum grade of a C- in each course and a cumulative average of C or higher.
    PHYSICS 401 and 405 should precede PHYSICS 453; PHYSICS 453 is a prerequisite to most courses numbered above.
  2. Advanced Laboratory. Any two of PHYSICS 441, 442 or 450.
  3. Electives. Two courses from among PHYSICS 402, 411, 413, 417, 430, 433, 435,  438, 452, 457, 460,  463, and 470.

PHYSICS 419, 420, 481, and 489 may not be used to satisfy the B.S. degree requirements.

Honors Plan

Students who have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.4 are encouraged to elect an Honors major in Physics. In addition to the regular departmental requirements for major, candidates for an Honors major must elect six credits of PHYSICS from courses numbered 401 and above which are not otherwise required and must also complete a senior Honors thesis based on research (PHYSICS 498/499) done under the supervision of a faculty member.

Physics Major (Fall 2011-Summer 2012) +

Effective Date: Fall 2011-Summer 2012 

May be elected as a departmental concentration program.

The undergraduate curriculum in Physics is designed to provide a thorough introduction to our current understanding of the physical world. It prepares students for quantitative analysis of the world. The Physics BS degree provides strong preparation for graduate study in Physics and related fields. It also prepares students for direct entry into the job market in a wide variety of technical, analytic, and education settings.

Prerequisites to Concentration. Mathematics through MATH 216 (or the equivalent); PHYSICS 135/136 and 235/236 or PHYSICS 140/141 and 240/241 (or PHYSICS 160/161 and 260/261); and PHYSICS 340/341 and PHYSICS 351.

Concentration Program. At least 27 credits in PHYSICS numbered 390 and above. A concentration plan must include:

  1. Core. PHYSICS 390, 401, 405, 406, and 453.

    PHYSICS 390, 401, 405, 406, and 453 must be completed with a minimum grade of a C- in each course and a cumulative average of C or higher.
    PHYSICS 401 and 405 should precede PHYSICS 453; PHYSICS 453 is a prerequisite to most courses numbered above.
  2. Advanced Laboratory. Any two of PHYSICS 441, 442 or 450.
  3. Electives. Two courses from among PHYSICS 402, 411, 413, 417, 430, 433, 435,  438, 452, 457, 460, and 463.

PHYSICS 419, 420, 481, and 489 may not be used to satisfy the B.S. degree requirements.

Honors Concentration. Students who have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.4 are encouraged to elect an Honors concentration in Physics. In addition to the regular departmental requirements for concentration, candidates for an Honors concentration must elect six credits of PHYSICS from courses numbered 401 and above which are not otherwise required and must also complete a senior Honors thesis based on research (PHYSICS 498/499) done under the supervision of a faculty member.

Physics concentration (Fall 2010-Summer 2011) +

Effective Date of Concentration Fall 2010 - Summer 2011 

May be elected as a departmental concentration program.

The undergraduate curriculum in Physics is designed to provide a thorough introduction to our current understanding of the physical world. It prepares students for quantitative analysis of the world. The Physics BS degree provides strong preparation for graduate study in Physics and related fields. It also prepares students for direct entry into the job market in a wide variety of technical, analytic, and education settings.

Prerequisites to Concentration. Mathematics through MATH 216 (or the equivalent); PHYSICS 135/136 and 235/236 or PHYSICS 140/141 and 240/241 (or PHYSICS 160/161 and 260/261); and PHYSICS 340/341.

Concentration Program. At least 30 credits in PHYSICS numbered 390 and above. A concentration plan must include:

  1. Core. PHYSICS 390, 401, 405, 406, and 453.

    PHYSICS 390, 401, 405, 406, and 453 must be completed with a minimum grade of a C- in each course and a cumulative average of C or higher.
    PHYSICS 401 and 405 should precede PHYSICS 453; PHYSICS 453 is a prerequisite to most courses numbered above.
  2. Advanced Laboratory. Any two of PHYSICS 441, 442 or 450.
  3. Electives. Two courses from among PHYSICS 402, 411, 413, 417, 430, 433, 435,  438, 452, 457, 460, and 463.
  4. PHYSICS 451 or the equivalent; should precede PHYSICS 405 and 453.

PHYSICS 419, 420, 481, and 489 may not be used to satisfy the B.S. degree requirements.

Honors Concentration. Students who have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.4 are encouraged to elect an Honors concentration in Physics. In addition to the regular departmental requirements for concentration, candidates for an Honors concentration must elect six credits of PHYSICS from courses numbered 401 and above which are not otherwise required and must also complete a senior Honors thesis based on research (PHYSICS 498/499) done under the supervision of a faculty member.

Physics concentration (Fall 2006 through Summer 2010) +

 

Effective Date of Concentration Fall 2006 through Summer 2010 

May be elected as a departmental concentration program.

The undergraduate curriculum in Physics is designed to provide a thorough introduction to our current understanding of the physical world. It prepares students for quantitative analysis of the world. The Physics BS degree provides strong preparation for graduate study in Physics and related fields. It also prepares students for direct entry into the job market in a wide variety of technical, analytic, and education settings.

Prerequisites to Concentration. Mathematics through MATH 216 (or the equivalent); PHYSICS 135/141 and 235/241 or PHYSICS 140/141 and 240/241 (or PHYSICS 160/161 and 260/261); and PHYSICS 340/341.

Concentration Program. At least 30 credits in PHYSICS numbered 390 and above. A concentration plan must include:

  1. Core. PHYSICS 390, 401, 405, 406, and 453.

    PHYSICS 390, 401, 405, 406, and 453 must be completed with a minimum grade of a C- in each course and a cumulative average of C or higher.
    PHYSICS 401 and 405 should precede PHYSICS 453; PHYSICS 453 is a prerequisite to most courses numbered above.
  2. Advanced Laboratory. Any two of PHYSICS 441, 442 or 450.
  3. Electives. Two courses from among PHYSICS 402, 411, 413, 417, 430, 433, 435,  438, 452, 457, 460, and 463.
  4. PHYSICS 451 or the equivalent; should precede PHYSICS 405 and 453.

PHYSICS 419, 420, 481, and 489 may not be used to satisfy the B.S. degree requirements.

Honors Concentration. Students who have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.4 are encouraged to elect an Honors concentration in Physics. In addition to the regular departmental requirements for concentration, candidates for an Honors concentration must elect six credits of PHYSICS from courses numbered 401 and above which are not otherwise required and must also complete a senior Honors thesis based on research (PHYSICS 498/499) done under the supervision of a faculty member.

Physics concentration (February 2, 2001 through Summer 2006) +

Effective Date of concentration February 2, 2001 through Summer 2006 

May be elected as a departmental concentration program.

The undergraduate curriculum in Physics is designed to provide a thorough introduction to our current understanding of the physical world. It prepares students for quantitative analysis of the world. The Physics B.S. degree provides strong preparation for graduate study in Physics and related fields. It also prepares students for direct entry into the job market in a wide variety of technical, analytic, and educational settings.

Prerequisites to Concentration. Mathematics through MATH 216 (or the equivalent); PHYSICS 135/141 and 235/241 or PHYSICS 140/141 and 240/241 (or 160/141 and 260/241); and PHYSICS 340/341.

Concentration Program. At least 30 credits in PHYSICS numbered 390 and above. A concentration plan must include:

  1. PHYSICS 390*, 401*, 405*, 406*, 453*, and 465.

    PHYSICS 401 and 405 should precede PHYSICS 453; PHYSICS 453 is a prerequisite to most courses numbered above.

    * PHYSICS 390, 401, 405, 406, and 453 must be completed with a minimum grade of a C- in each course and a cumulative average of C or higher.

  2. PHYSICS 441 and 442 (Advanced Laboratory).

  3. Two courses from among PHYSICS 402, 411, 413, 417, 435, 438, 452, 455, 457, 460, and 463.

  4. PHYSICS 451 or the equivalent; should precede PHYSICS 405 and 453.

PHYSICS 419, 420, 481, and 489 may not be used to satisfy the B.S. degree requirements.

Honors Concentration. Students who have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.4 are encouraged to elect an Honors concentration in Physics. In addition to the regular departmental requirements for concentration, candidates for an Honors concentration must elect six credits of PHYSICS from courses numbered 401 and above which are not otherwise required and must also complete a senior Honors thesis based on research (PHYSICS 498/499) done under the supervision of a faculty member.

 

 


 

Physics (Fall 2000 until Feb 2, 2001) +

 

Physics

effective date of concentration Fall 2000 

May be elected as a departmental concentration program.

Prerequisites to Concentration. Mathematics through Mathematics 216 (or the equivalent); Physics 140/141, 240/241 and 340/341 (recommended sequence).

Concentration Program. At least 30 credits in Physics courses numbered 390 and above. A concentration plan must include:

  1. Physics 390, 401, 405, 406, 451, 453, and 465.
  2. Physics 401 and 405 should precede Physics 453; Physics 453 is a prerequisite to most courses numbered above.
  3. Physics 441 and 442 (Advanced Laboratory).
  4. Two courses from among Physics 402, 411, 413, 417, 435, 438, 452, 455, 457, 460, and 463.
  5. Physics 451 or comparable Mathematics course or courses.

Physics 390, 401, 405, 406, and 453 must be completed with a minimum grade of C- in each course and a cumulative average of C or higher.

Physics 419 and 489 are not acceptable for the degree BS in physics.

Honors Concentration. Students who have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2 are encouraged to elect an Honors concentration in physics. In addition to the regular departmental requirements for concentration, candidates for an Honors concentration must elect six credits of physics from courses numbered 401 and above which are not otherwise required and must also complete a senior Honors thesis based on research (Physics 498/499) done under the supervision of a faculty member.

Physics (Fall 1999-Summer 2000) +

Physics

May be elected as a departmental concentration program.

Prerequisites to Concentration. Mathematics through Mathematics 216 (or the equivalent); Physics 140/141, 240/241 and 340/341 (recommended sequence).

Concentration Program. At least 31 credits in physics and mathematics, including at least 27 in physics courses numbered 390 and above. A concentration plan must include:

  1. Physics 390, 401, 405, 406, 453, and 465.

    Physics 401 and 405 should precede Physics 453; Physics 453 is a prerequisite to most courses numbered above 453.

  2. Physics 441 and 442 (advanced laboratory).
  3. Two courses from among Physics 402, 411, 413, 417, 418, 435, 438, 451, 452, 455, 457, 460, and 463.
  4. Mathematics 450 (or the equivalent).

Physics 390, 401, 405, 406, and 453 must be completed with a minimum grade of C- in each course and a cumulative average of C or higher.

Physics 419 and 489 are not acceptable for the degree BS in physics.

Honors Concentration. Students who have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2 are encouraged to elect an Honors concentration in physics. In addition to the regular departmental requirements for concentration, candidates for an Honors concentration must elect six credits of physics from courses numbered 401 and above which are not otherwise required and must also complete a senior Honors thesis based on research (Physics 498/499) done under the supervision of a faculty member.


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