Feb 04, 2023  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
    
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog

Physics, B.S.


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Physics Degree and Major Requirements, B.S.


Degree and major requirements for the B.S. program in physics.

Degree Requirements Required Courses


  • General Education 34 Credit Hours 1,2
  • Quantitative requirement (in addition to General Education) 0 Credit Hours 2
  • Scientific Literacy requirement (in addition to General Education) 0 Credit Hours 2
  • University electives 0-19 Credit Hours
  • Major core requirements (listed below) 43 Credit Hours 2
  • Major program concentration requirements 24-44 Credit Hours

Total: 120 Credit Hours


Footnotes


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.

2 Some major core courses simultaneously satisfy degree and some General Education requirements so that a student need not take more than 120 credit hours to satisfy graduation requirements. The quantitative (3 credit hours), scientific literacy (3-4 credit hours) and part of the General Education Cluster 3 (7 credit hours) requirements are fulfilled with major core courses reducing those three categories by 13-14 credit hours.

Physics B.S. Concentrations


Each student, in consultation with their faculty adviser, will choose one of the following program concentrations.

Applied Physics Concentration


The applied physics concentration is designed to prepare students for careers in a wide variety of scientific areas including laboratory and industrial settings. Students are strongly encouraged to complete at least one of six areas of interest for completion of degree requirements: applied nuclear physics, computational physics, materials physics, electronics and instrumentation, geophysics and biophysics.

All students in the applied physics concentration must complete the following courses:

Applied Physics Concentration Required Courses (in addition to core requirements): 16-19 Credit Hours


Choose from the following research courses: 2-6 Credit Hours


At least two credits must come from research courses.1 (All students must take a minimum of 2 credits. Honors students completing the thesis take 6 credits).

Footnote


1 Students completing honors theses should take PHYS 499 in both the fall and spring semesters of their senior year for a total of 6 credit hours. Alternatively students could complete their theses over three semesters (spring of junior year, fall and spring of senior year, with two credits of PHYS 499 each semester, for a total of 6 credit hours).

Additional courses approved by the head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy: 9 Credit Hours


Ideally these courses should form a coherent set of courses for the best possible academic experience. See below for some suggestions.

Total: 27-34 Credit Hours


Suggested areas of interest to complete the 9 credit hours required (minimum).


To satisfy the requirement of at least 9 additional credit hours approved by the department head, students are strongly encouraged to select their courses from one of the coherent sets of courses to round out their academic experience. Below are suggested areas of interest.

Computational Physics Courses

Students pursuing this area of interest should declare a minor in mathematics.

Suggested Minors


Students pursuing the Applied Physics Concentration are encouraged to consider the following minors as being particularly effective at augmenting a degree in physics:

  • Astronomy Minor
  • General Business Minor
  • Computer Science Minor
  • Geophysics Minor
  • Materials Science Minor
  • Robotics Minor
  • Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication Minor (physics majors in this minor are encouraged to take WRTC 316  and WRTC 350  to fulfill electives)

Fundamental Studies Concentration


The fundamental studies concentration is designed to prepare students for immediate post-baccalaureate employment or for entrance to advanced study in physics or related areas.

Fundamental Studies Concentration Required Courses (in addition to core requirements): 23-24 Credit Hours


Choose among the following electives (if not enrolled in PHYS 499): 3-4 Credit Hours


Choose one of the following research courses: 2-6 Credit Hours


Need a minimum of two credit hours of research from this area.(All students must take a minimum of 2 credits. Honors students completing the thesis take 6 credits).

Footnote


1 Students completing honors theses should take PHYS 499 in both the fall and spring semesters of their senior year for a total of 6 credit hours. Alternatively students could complete their theses over three semesters (spring of junior year, fall and spring of senior year, with two credits of PHYS 499 each semester, for a total of 6 credit hours).

Total: 28-34 Credit Hours


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 student needs to declare this concentration at least three semesters prior to graduation.

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.

Multidisciplinary Concentrations


The multidisciplinary concentrations are designed to provide a solid foundation in physics for students whose interests extend beyond traditional physics fields. The track of secondary education opens doors to the pursuit of graduate degrees in education and other career paths requiring a technical background.

The following are also required for all multidisciplinary concentrations:

Multidisciplinary Concentration Required Courses: 11-13 Credit Hours


Choose from the following research courses: 2-6 Credit Hours


(All students must take a minimum of 2 credits. Honors students completing the thesis take 6 credits). 1

Footnote


1 Students completing honors theses should take PHYS 499  in both the fall and spring semesters of their senior year for a total of six credit hours. Alternatively students could complete their theses over three semesters (spring of junior year, fall and spring of senior year, with two credits of PHYS 499  each semester, for a total of 6 credit hours).

Total: 13-19 Credit Hours


Multidisciplinary Astrophysics Concentration Requirements: 18 credit hours


Choose Among the Following Electives (if not enrolled in PHYS 499) 3-4 Credit Hours


Choose One of the Following Research Courses: 2 - 6 Credit Hours


Need a minimum of two credit hours of research from this area.1 (All students must take a minimum of 2 credits. Honors students completing the thesis take 6 credits).

Footnote


1 Students completing honors theses should take PHYS 499 in both the fall and spring semesters of their senior year for a total of 6 credit hours. Alternatively students could complete their theses over three semesters (spring of junior year, fall and spring of senior year, with two credits of PHYS 499 each semester, for a total of 6 credit hours).

Total: 23 - 28 Credit Hours

Multidisciplinary Biophysics Concentration Requirements (in addition to core required courses) 11-19 Credit Hours


Required Courses:

Complete one of the following options


Multidisciplinary Business Concentration Requirements (in addition to core required courses) 21-25 Credit Hours


No more than 27 hours may be taken in the College of Business .

Total: 31-37 Credit Hours

Multidisciplinary Geophysics Concentration Requirements (in addition to core required courses) 21-25 Credit Hours


Choose one of the following: 3 Credit Hours

At least three credits from a field- or geographic-based course: 3-6 Credit Hours

Any other 300- or 400-level geology or physics course (Upon approval from adviser): 3 Credit Hours

Total: 34-44 Credit Hours

Multidisciplinary Technical and Scientific Communication (TSC) Concentration Requirements (in addition to core required courses) 24 Credit Hours


Choose Six Credits: 6 Credit Hours

  • Physics courses numbered above 300
Choose Six Credits: 6 Credit Hours

Total: 37-43 Credit Hours

Physics and Engineering Combined Program Concentration


This dual degree program makes it possible for the student to earn a B.S. degree in physics from JMU and a Master of Engineering degree from the University of Virginia. The engineering areas available under this program include biomedical, environmental, transportation, materials science, systems engineering and engineering physics.

During the first three years at JMU, the student must complete 96 credit hours including all JMU General Education requirements, the physics core requirements, MATH 248  or CS 149 , and at least eight additional credit hours in physics courses designated by the JMU Department of Physics and Astronomy with at least a “B+” average. In general, these eight additional hours will be chosen from those recommended for the applied physics concentration, but substitutions may be approved by the program adviser, Sean Scully. During the fourth year of study (when the student will be in residence at the University of Virginia), the student will take further courses approved by the JMU Department of Physics and Astronomy for credit toward the Bachelor of Science degree in physics. A total of 24 credit hours of physics or other physics-related courses taken at either school will be required for the JMU Bachelor of Science degree in physics. For further information, consult the head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Additional Upper Level Courses (required for the combined program): 5-6 Credit Hours


Recommended Schedule for Physics Majors, B.S.


Choose one of the following pairs of courses: 6 Credit Hours


Choose one of the following pairs of laboratory courses: 2 Credit Hours


Total: 34 Credit Hours


Second Year


Applied Physics, Multidisciplinary, and Physics and Engineering Combined Program Concentrations


Total: 30-37 Credit Hours

Total: 32-36 Credit Hours

Total: 31-37 Credit Hours

Third and Fourth Years


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

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