Mar 23, 2018  
2017-18 Undergraduate Catalog 
2017-18 Undergraduate Catalog

Physics, Individual Option Concentration, B.S.

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Dr. W. Christopher Hughes, Department Head
Phone: (540) 568-6109                                                                 
Location: Physics/Chemistry Building, Suite 2186                         

K. Giovanetti, W. C. Hughes, B. Newcomer, G. Niculescu, I. Niculescu, S. Scully

Associate Professors
A. Banu, H. Butner, A. Constantin, C. Constantin, K. Feitosa, M. Mattson, S. Paulson, G. Scarel

Assistant Professors
G. Albright, T. Finch, K. Fukumura, M. Kaveh-Baghbadorani, I. Melnikov, S. Virani

L. Lucatorto, J. Sterlace


The mission of the Department of Physics and Astronomy is the preparation of scientifically enlightened citizens. Science literacy is promoted by the production of teachers, researchers, technical professionals and knowledgeable individuals through the integration of classroom and experiential learning.


We strive to be a leading undergraduate physics and astronomy department by building a research-active, student-centered community.


Excellence, integrity and mutual respect are the core values that define our department. The vigorous pursuit of research with undergraduates is central to extending our understanding of nature and the engagement of students directly in the practice of physics and astronomy.

Service to the university, the public and the profession is essential for continued vitality of science education and research.


To help students:

  • Develop competence in using computers for computation, data acquisition, numerical control, device development, and information acquisition and processing.
  • Appreciate the role of science in society and the historical development of physics in the ongoing quest to discover the structure of the universe.
  • Gain an understanding of the basic principles and the experimental basis of the various fields of physics and the logical relationships of the various fields.
  • Become capable problem solvers using techniques that require mathematical skills, conceptual and mathematical models, order-of-magnitude estimates, and an understanding of limiting cases.
  • Develop competence in designing, constructing, and using laboratory instruments, and to draw valid conclusions from experimental data.
  • Improve written and oral technical communication skills.

Co-Curricular and Organizations

  • Society of Physics Students

Degree and Major Requirements

Degree Requirements

Required Courses

  • General Education  41 Credit Hours 1
  • Quantitative requirement (in addition to General Education ) 3 Credit Hours
  • Scientific Literacy requirement (in addition to General Education ) 3-4 Credit Hours
  • University electives 2-8 Credit Hours
  • Major core requirements (listed below) 41 Credit Hours
  • Major program concentration requirements 25-31 Credit Hours
Total: 120 Credit Hours


1 The General Education  program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.

Major Core Requirements

Individual Option Concentration

The individual option is a course of studies chosen specifically to match the interest and career plans of the student. This option will allow custom designed cross disciplinary majors such as chemical physics, as well as majors designed for students whose educational and career goals are not met by the existing concentrations in the major.

A student electing the individual option must complete the core requirements for the B.S. in physics and will select a program consisting of a coherent collection of a minimum of 25 additional credits of physics courses numbered above 270, astronomy courses numbered above 301 and courses in related fields.

This individualized program must be selected in consultation with a faculty adviser in the department, and must be approved by that adviser, the department head and one other faculty member in the department.

The individualized program, as approved by the department and accepted by the student, becomes the major requirements for that student.

Students are expected to review progress toward completion of the selected program of study with their faculty adviser.

Recommended Schedule for Majors

Total: 32-35 Credit Hours

Total: 32 Credit Hours

Third and Fourth Years

During their junior and senior years, students will select courses to complete the specific program track which they are following. These course selections will be made with the assistance of a faculty adviser.

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