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Bachelor of Science in Physics

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  • Course description
    The FSU Physics Department has consistently been rated as one of the best in the southeastern United States. With internationally prominent faculty in astrophysics, atomic physics, biophysics, condensed matter physics, high energy physics and nuclear physics, and undergraduate research opportunities in all these fields, the FSU Physics Department is a great place to learn and achieve.

    Undergraduates participate in all the activities of the Physics Department. The FSU chapter of the Society of Physics Students provides an opportunity for physics majors to build a community outside the classroom.

    A bachelor’s degree in physics opens a wide range of career opportunities. One is to pursue graduate study in physics, astronomy or a related field, and many FSU B.S. graduates succeed in strong graduate programs and continue on to outstanding scientific careers. However, the American Institute of Physics reports that there are many excellent career opportunities for students without any degree past a B.S. in physics. Three-fourths of these physics B.S. graduates work in science-related jobs, including software, engineering, high school teachers, and managers in technical fields. The largest group—about one-fourth—are employed in software jobs.

    Undergraduate Degree Programs and Majors in the Physics Department
    The Physics Department offers two undergraduate majors: one the “regular” physics major that can prepare a student for graduate school or a high-tech career after graduation; and the other a major in “Physics and Astrophysics” that prepares students for graduate study in astrophysics or astronomy.
    The “major code” listed for the regular physics major is 118110.
    The Physics and Astrophysics major code is 118111.

    Degree requirements and recommendations
    Major in Physics
    In addition to the general university requirements, the graduation requirements for the regular physics major include the following (all of which must be completed with grades of C- or better):
    • Complete all of: PHY 1090 (Discovering Physics), PHY 2048C (General Physics A), PHY 2049C (General Physics B), PHY 3091 (Communication in Physics), PHY 3101 (Modern Physics), PHY 3221 (Intermediate Mechanics), PHY 3802L (Intermediate Lab A); PHY 4323 (Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism), PHY 4513 (Thermal and Statistical Physics), PHY 4604 (Quantum Theory of Matter A), PHY 4822L (Advanced Laboratory), PHZ 3113 (Mathematical Methods), MAC 2311 (Calculus I), MAC 2312 (Calculus II), and MAC 2313 (Calculus III)
    • Complete four of: PHY 3424 (Optics), PHY 4241 (Advanced Dynamics), PHY 4605 (Quantum Theory of Matter B), PHZ 3400 (Condensed Matter Physics), PHZ 4390 (Particle and Nuclear Physics), PHZ 4601 (General Relativity), and AST 4211 (Introduction to Astrophysics)
    • Complete either PHZ 4151C (Computational Physics Lab) or CGS 3406 (Object Oriented Programming in C++)
    • Complete either MAP 2302 (Ordinary Differential Equations) or MAP 3305 (Engineering Math I)
    • Complete either CHM 1045C (General Chemistry A) or CHM 1050C (Honors General Chemistry A)

    Students are strongly advised to take the course “Physics Problem-Solving” during their third term (In Fall 2009, the course number will be PHY 4936, Section 9). The course is intended to prepare students for the demands of the critical Term 4 courses, Intermediate Mechanics (PHY 3221) and Mathematical Methods (PHZ 3113).
    Students who are planning to conduct graduate work in physics are strongly advised to include advanced dynamics (PHY 4241) and quantum theory of matter B (PHY 4605) in their programs.
    An Honors Thesis or Senior Thesis (minimum of six credit hours) may be substituted for the Advanced Lab (PHY 4822Lr).

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