General Physics Track

This track prepares students for applying technical knowledge in such fields as business, law, public policy and education. It is designed to be completed in three years, thus meeting the needs of a student who discovers in the freshman year that physics is an attractive major option. Note that this 'track' is simply for advising purposes for help in choosing electives. All physics majors complete the same requirements for the major.

The Curriculum

  1. Physics introductory courses [4 or 5 hours; note that only the second course in any sequence counts toward the physics major; as appropriate, any combination of 116a/118a + 116b/118b or 116a/118a + 121b or 121a + 121b or 121a + 116b/118b satisfies the Introductory Course requirement]:
    • first semester introductory, calculus-based physics (pre-requisite for the major):
      • PHYS 116a (General Physics I) with PHYS 118a (General Physics I Lab) [offered in both Spring and Fall] [4] or
      • PHYS 121a: Principles of Physics I with lab [Fall, 5]
    • second semester introductory, calculus-based physics [4 or 5]:
      • PHYS 116b (General Physics II) with PHYS 118b (General Physics II Lab) [offered in both Spring and Fall, 4] or
      • PHYS 121b: Principles of Physics II with lab [Fall, 5]
  2. Core curriculum [19 hours]:
    • PHYS 225 or 225W: Concepts and Applications of Quantum Physics I [Fall, 4]
    • PHYS 226 or 226W: Concepts and Applications of Quantum Physics II [Spring, 4]
    • PHYS 223: Thermal and Statistical Physics [3] or PHYS 223C: Computational Thermal and Statistical Physics [Fall, 3]
    • PHYS 227a: Classical Mechanics I [Fall, 3]
    • PHYS 229a: Electricity, Magnetism and Electrodynamics I [Spring, 3]
    • PHYS 250: Physics Undergraduate Seminar [1]
    • ASTR 250: Astronomy Undergraduate Seminar [1]
  3. Nine Hours of Electives in Physics and/or Astronomy, with a cap of 6 of these 9 hours that can be earned from any combination of Directed Study (Phys 289 or Astr 289), Independent Study (Phys 291 or Astr 291), and/or Honors research (Phys =296 or Astr 296) [9 hours], for example:
    • PHYS 227b: Intermediate Classical Mechanics [3]
    • PHYS 251a: Quantum Mechanics [3]
    • PHYS 257: Computational Physics [3]

Sample general physics program

Fall SemesterSpring Semester
First Year Math 155a
first year writing seminar
Humanities 1 (W)
Foreign language 1
Math 155b
perspectives
History and Culture 1(W)
Foreign Language 2
Second Year Physics 116a and 118a, or 121a
Math 175
Humanities 2 (W)
History and Culture 2
General Elective
Physics 116b and 118b, or 121b
Math 194 or Math 204
Computer Science 101
Social Science 1
General Elective
Third Year Physics 225 or 225W
Physics 223
Math 194 or 204
Humanities 3
General Elective
Physics 226 or 226W
Physics 229a
Math 198 or 208
Social Science 2
History and Culture 3
Fourth Year Physics 227a
Physics 250 or Astronomy 250
Physics 291a [1hr]
History and Culture 4
General Elective
Physics 227b
Physics or Astronomy elective
Astronomy 250 or Physics 250
Physics 291b [3hr]
General Elective

Copyright 2010, Vanderbilt University