Physics - Undergraduate Programs

The Department of Physics offers course work leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Science, Masters of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Physics. The Bachelor of Science degree program is designed to prepare students for graduate studies in physics and for the workforce. Entering students who are not placed in the calculus sequence will follow a modified sequence and may require additional time to complete the selected program of study. The Department is located in the Olin Building for the academic programs and has well-equipped laboratories and computer rooms for the undergraduate program at several locations on campus. Physics faculty, staff, and students conduct research on-campus in the newly renovated Graduate Physics Research Facility and in the Olin Building, and off-campus at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility and other international research institutions when appropriate funding is available. Undergraduate physics majors are encouraged to participate in funded research programs, conduct research, and publish findings. Research areas include nanoscience, intermediate-energy nuclear physics, optical science, high energy physics and accelerator physics.

Courses listed below that are offered through the School of Science must be passed with at least a “C” grade, specifically, biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics, and the technical electives.

Scholarship Search

Contact: Mr. William R. Smith
Scholarship Coordinator
Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
200 William R. Harvey Way, Hampton, Virginia, 23668-0099
Contact Us: (Preferred)
Phone: 800-624-3341 (toll-free) – 757-727-5332 (local)

New Freshman Curriculum

New physics majors that begin classes as of this fall semester (Fall 2021) will have a new curriculum outline. All previous undergraduate physics majors will continue with the catalog/outline they entered with. New Freshman click on the link below to see your curriculum.

View/Download the New Freshman Fall 2021 Curriculm »


Undergraduate Curriculum Outline – Physics

Freshman Year – 1st SemesterCredit HoursFreshman Year – 2nd SemesterCredit Hours
ENG 101 Written Communication I3ENG 102 Written Communication II3
MAT 151 Calculus I4MAT 152 Calculus II4
UNV 101 The Individual and Life1  
HIS 106 World Civilization3HUM 201 Humanities I3
PHY 110 Seminar1  
PHY 203 Introductory to Physics I (H)3PHY 204 Introductory to Physics II (H)3
PHY 230 Experimental Physics I (H)1PHY 231 Experimental Physics II1
  HEA 200 Health Education or 2 P.E. PED 101-231 (see Academic Catalog for various Physical Education Courses)2
 Total: 16 Total: 16
Sophomore Year – 1st SemesterCredit HoursSophomore Year – 2nd SemesterCredit Hours
CHE 201 General Chemistry I4COM 103 Oral Communication3
MAT 251 Calculus III4MAT 260 Diffrential Equations3
PHY 210 Seminar1PHY 217 Communications in Research II1
PHY 211 Modern Physics I3PHY 212 Modern Physics II3
PHY 220 Computational Physics III2PHY 221 Computational Physics IV2
PHY 330 Experimental Physics III1PHY 331 Experimental Physics IV1
  PSY 203 Introduction to Psycology3
 Total: 15 Total: 16
Junior Year – 1st SemesterCredit HoursJunior Year – 2nd SemesterCredit Hours
Free Elective3Free Elective3
SOC 205 Introduction to Sociology3Elective3
PHY 301 Mechanics I3PHY 301 Mechanics II3
PHY 310 Seminar1PHY 317 Communications in Research III1
  PHY 317 Thermodynamics3
Technical Elective *** (See Academic Advisor3Technical Elective*** (See Academic Advisor.)3
 Total: 13 Total: 16
Senior Year – 1st SemesterCredit HoursSenior Year – 2nd SemesterCredit Hours
PHY 410 Seminar1Free Elective3
PHY 501 Electricity & Magnetism I3PHY 502 Electricity & Magnetism II3
PHY 505 Quantum Mechanics I3PHY 506 Quantum Mechanics II3
Technical Electives** (See Academic Advisor.)6Technical Electives** (See Academic Advisor.)3
 Total: 13 Total: 15

Total Credits: 120

* Mathematics placement is based upon the student’s academic preparation.

** See the section on General Education for alternatives to HUM 202.

*** Technical Electives include any elective course above the required entry level in atmospheric and planetary science, aviation, biology, chemistry, computer science, education, engineering, marine and environmental, mathematics, naval science, and physics.

(H) The Honors section of PHY 203-204 is required, if available during the first year of study.

Physics Minor Requirements:

  • The physics minor requires at least 21 credit hours. Students must complete the following courses: Physics 203, 215/230, 204, 216/231, 211, 330.
  • In addition, the student must choose at least three elective courses from the following list of courses: Physics 212 and 331, 205 (or APS 205), 301, 312, 501, 505. Other suitable courses may be substituted for elective courses with approval of the chair.

Undergraduate Brochure (PDF 401.43 KB)

Financial Assistance & Scholarships

  • Undergraduate students, who qualify, will need to apply for university scholarships (either full or partial) during the admissions process. Grant funding within the department may be available to students based on need and academic standing. Students are encouraged to inquire.
  • Graduate students, upon admission, can request financial support from the Center for which they will focus their research study. The Director will determine funding based on availability of funds. Stipends in the amount of $16K per calendar year are provided for qualified masters degree and Ph.D. candidates, and $18K for students who have successfully passed the Ph.D. qualifier examination.
  • Paid research opportunities are available in most centers within the Department.

Departmental Perks

  • Membership in the Society of Physics Students
  • Involvement in Community Outreach
  • Present in the School of Science Annual Research Symposium
  • Career Day exposure
  • Domestic and International travel to scientific conferences
  • Internships with national laboratories, funding agencies, and partnering industries

Special Needs Students

Students with disabilities who require special accommodations are encouraged to file their disability with the Office of 504 Compliance in room 212 Wigwam. Phone: 757.727.5493

wdt_ID Freshman Year - 1st Semester Credit Hours Freshman Year - 2nd Semester Credit Hours
Freshman Year - 1st Semester Credit Hours Freshman Year - 2nd Semester Credit Hours