Physics Major

Physics majors have a variety of career paths open to them, from employment with their Bachelor's degree to further study in graduate school. To give students the maximum flexibility in their career preparation we offer four Concentrations within the Physics major: Physics, Biophysics, Earth & Space Science and Physics Education.

To graduate with a major in Physics, a student must attain an overall grade point average of 2.0 in the courses (cumulative) required for the major.

All students work closely with their individual academic advisor to plan the course of study that best suits their own career goals.

Further information

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Experimental and Theoretical Physics Concentration

This concentration is designed to prepare students for either graduate study in physics or engineering, as well as to enter the workforce with a very adaptable background in all areas that use physics. This concentration leads to a well-rounded graduate who is able to succeed in so many technical fields that may or may not have "physics" in the title. 

Biophysics Concentration

The Biophysics Concentration is the first of its kind in the state of Virginia. This rigorous concentration is for those who wish to apply physics to health-related fields. In addition to the typical physics and math classes, students also take 19 hours in Chemistry and 16 hours in Biology. Students are encouraged to work with their advisors to set up Independent Study classes that apply physics to various biophysical problems.

Astrophysics Concentration

The Astrophysics Concentration has students to take classes such as our advanced astronomy classes (both observational and theoretical), our Atmospheric Physics class, and our geophysics class. This concentration is great for launching you into further study and/or research in astronomy and astrophysics. It's also a concentration that prepares you for a number of careers with your Bachelor's degree due to the emphasis on applied data processing in this concentration. This also prepares you for a career in fields such as applied physics, engineering, and others. 

Physics Education Concentration

The Physics Education Concentration requires the traditional year of introductory physics, along with a core group of intermediate physics courses. This allows for flexibility for students who want to take their physics degree into a teaching career. Students who start this concentration their freshman year can complete the physics requirements as well as receive their teaching certification within their 4 years at Radford.

Experimental and Theoretical Concentration Checklist

Required Physics Courses: 28 hours

  • PHYS 221:222. Physics. (4,4) 
  • PHYS 201. Introductory Seminar. (1)
  • PHYS 303. Mathematical Methods of Physics. (3)
  • PHYS 305. Modern Physics. (4)
  • PHYS 306. Intermediate Mechanics. (3)
  • PHYS 309. Electronics Laboratory. (3)
  • PHYS 330. Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics. (3)
  • PHYS 370. Computational Methods in Physics. (3)
  • PHYS 401. Senior Seminar. (2)
  • PHYS 421. Electromagnetic Theory I. (4)
  • PHYS 430. Quantum Mechanics. (3)
  • PHYS 440. Advanced Laboratory. (3)

Required Math Courses: 12 hours

  • MATH 169. Calculus I with Integrated Precal II. (3)  OR  MATH 171. Calculus and Analytic Geometry I. (4)
  • MATH 172. Calculus and Analytic Geometry II. (4)
  • MATH 271. Calculus and Analytic Geometry III

 

Other Courses: 6 hours

A minimum of 6 semester hours must be selected from any PHYS course 300 level or above except for PHYS 470 (6 hours).

BS Requirements: 8 hours

  • CHEM 111:112. General Chemistry. (4:4)

Biophysics Concentration Checklist

Required Physics Courses: 37 hours

  • PHYS 221:222. Physics. (4,4) 
  • PHYS 201. Introductory Seminar. (1)
  • PHYS 303. Mathematical Methods of Physics. (3)
  • PHYS 305. Modern Physics. (4)
  • PHYS 306. Intermediate Mechanics. (3)
  • PHYS 309. Electronics Laboratory. (3)
  • PHYS 330. Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics. (3)
  • PHYS 370. Numerical Methods in Physics. (3)
  • PHYS 401. Senior Seminar (2)
  • PHYS 421. Electromagnetic Theory (4)
  • PHYS 430. Quantum Mechanics. (3)

Required Math Courses: 11-12 hours

  • MATH 169. Calculus I with Integrated Precal II (4)  OR  MATH 171 Calculus and Analytic Geometry I (4)
  • MATH 172. Calculus and Analytic Geometry II. (4)
  • MATH 271. Calculus and Analytic Geometry III. (4)

Required Chemistry Courses: 11 hours

  • CHEM 301. Organic Chemistry I. (4)
  • CHEM 302. Organic Chemistry II. (4)
  • CHEM 471. Biochemistry I. (3)

Required Biology Courses: 16 hours

  • BIOL 131. Ecology and Adaptation (4)
  • BIOL 132. Biology of Cells and Microorgamisms. (4)
  • BIOL 231. Genetics, Evolution, and Development. (4)
  • BIOL 232. Organismal Biology. (4)

B.S. requirements: 8 hours

  • CHEM 111:112. General Chemistry. (4:4)

Astrophysics Concentration Checklist

Required Physics Courses: 19 hours

  • PHYS 111:112. General Physics (4:4)
    or PHYS 221:222. Physics (4:4)
  • PHYS 201. Introductory Seminar. (1)
  • PHYS 303. Mathematical Methods of Physics. (3)
  • PHYS 305. Modern Physics. (4)
  • PHYS 306. Intermediate Mechanics. (3)
  • PHYS 309. Electronics Laboratory. (3)
  • PHYS 330. Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics. (3)
  • PHYS 370. Computational Methods in Physics. (3)
  • PHYS 401. Senior Seminar. (2)
  • PHYS 421. Electromagnetic Theory I. (4)

Required Math Courses: 12 hours

  • MATH 168. Calculus I with Integrated Precal I. (3)
  • MATH 169. Calculus I with Integrated Precal II. (3)  OR  MATH 171. Calculus and Anaytic Geometry I. (4)  AND  MATH 172. Calculus and Analytic Geometry II. (4)

ONE OF THE FOLLOWING THREE COURSES IS REQUIRED:

  • ASTR 151. Astronomy I. (3)
  • ASTR 152. Astronomy II. (3)
  • ASTR 220. Introduction to Astrophysics. (3)

A MINIMUM OF 12 CREDIT HOURS MUST BE SELECTED FROM THE FOLLOWING:

  • ASTR 310. Observational Methods in Astronomy. (3)
  • ASTR 421. Solar System AStronomy. (3)
  • ASTR 422. Galactic Astronomy and Cosmology. (3)
  • PHYS 301. Atmospheric Physics. (4)
  • PHYS/GEOL 406. Geophysics. (4)

BS requirements: 8 hours

  • CHEM 111:112. General Chemistry. (4:4)

Physics Education Concentration Checklist

Required Physics Courses: 37 hours

  • PHYS 221:222. Physics. (4,4) 
  • PHYS 201. Introductory Seminar. (1)
  • PHYS 303. Mathematical Methods of Physics. (3)
  • PHYS 305. Modern Physics. (4)
  • PHYS 306. Intermediate Mechanics. (3)
  • PHYS 309. Electronics Lab. (3)
  • PHYS 310. Optics. (3)
  • PHYS 330. Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics. (3)
  • PHYS 401. Senior Seminar. (2)
  • PHYS 421. Electromagnetic Theory I. (4)
  • PHYS 430. Quantum Mechanics. (3)

Required Math Courses: 9 hours

  • MATH 169. Calculus I with Integrated Precal II. (3)  OR  MATH 171. Calculus and Analytic Geometry I. (4)
  • MATH 172. Calculus and Analytical Geometry II. (4)
  • MATH 271. Calculus and Analytical Geometry III (4)

BS requirements: 8 hours

  • CHEM 111:112. .General Chemistry I:II (4,4)