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Becoming a Physics Major (or Minor)

Becoming an undergraduate Physics major is a simple process, starting with admission to the University of Utah.

Any student can become a physics pre-major by specifying "Physics" on their application to the University of Utah, or informing the University Registrar. It is advisable to do this early to ensure receiving information about the major and staying advised of any changes that may be made in degree requirements.

In order to become a full major, a student must first meet with the academic adviser: 202 JFB, (801) 581-7910.

All students must have a 2.0 GPA and pass all physics courses.

All new transfer students are required to meet with an adviser and attend an orientation session before they can register for their first semester at the University of Utah. For more information about how credits will transfer and when to apply to the University of Utah, please visit the Transfer Center.


The Physics Minor

Any University of Utah student with a declared major other than physics can add a physics minor.

Physics minors must complete all general education and College of Science requirements and have a GPA of at least 2.0 in physics courses combined. All physics, math, and chemistry classes must be passed with at least a C- grade. The credit/no-credit option may not be elected for any course used to fulfill the degree requirements for a physics minor.

Required Courses

To obtain an undergraduate minor in physics, a student must complete at least 16 hours of approved course work. The following courses would count toward the 16 hours.

  • PHYS 2210: Physics for Scientists & Engineers I (4 credits)
  • PHYS 2215: Physics Laboratory for Scientists & Engineers I (1 credit)
  • PHYS 2220: Physics for Scientists & Engineers II (4 credits)
  • PHYS 2225: Physics Laboratory for Scientists & Engineers II (1 credit)
  • PHYS 3740: Introduction to Quantum Theory & Relativity (3 credits)
  • PHYS 3760: Principles of Thermodynamics & Statistical Mechanics (3 credits)
  • PHYS 5110: Introduction to Nuclear & Particle Physics (3 credits)
  • PHYS 4410: 4410 Classical Physics I [Honors] (4 credits)
  • PHYS 4420: 4420 Classical Physics II [Honors] (4 credits) or PHYS 5010: Theoretical Classical Mechanics & Quantum Mechanics (3 credits)
  • PHYS 5020: Theoretical Electricity & Magnetism and Statistical Physics (3 credits)
    Two essentially similar courses (e.g., PHYS 4410 and 5010) cannot both be counted toward a minor.

Recommended Courses

Additional recommended courses include:

  • PHYS 3410: Modern Optics I & II (4 credits)
  • PHYS 3730: Introduction to Computing in Physics (4 credits)
  • PHYS 5450: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics [Honors] (4 credits)
  • PHYS 5460: Quantum Mechanics & Statistical Mechanics [Honors] (4 credits)
  • PHYS 5510: Solid-State Physics I [Honors] (3 credits)
  • PHYS 5520: Solid-State Physics II [Honors] (3 credits)

Courses that may NOT be counted for a physics minor include courses lower than the PHYS 2210, 2220; PHYS 3060, 3110 and PHYS 3970.

Students may obtain proposed minor approval after meeting with the academic adviser: 202 JFB, (801) 581-7910.

Note: To avoid any problems, those wanting to declare double majors or minors must inform both advisers.

 


 

The Astronomy Minor

Any University of Utah student with a declared major other than physics can add an Astronomy minor. Click here to learn more.

Astronomy minors must complete all general education and College of Science requirements and have a GPA of at least 2.0 in physics, astronomy and mathematics courses combined. All physics, astronomy and mathematics courses must be passed with at least a C- grade. The credit/no credit option may not be elected for any course used to fulfill the degree requirements for an astronomy minor.

To obtain an undergraduate minor in astronomy, a student must complete at least 17 hours of approved course work, consisting of the following required and recommended courses. Students may obtain proposed minor approval after meeting with the academic adviser: 202 JFB, (801) 581-7910.

Astronomy Course Listings (all are also available and cross-listed as Physics courses)

  • ASTR 1050: The Solar System
  • ASTR 1060: The Universe ASTR 1080: Does ET Exist?
  • ASTR 2060: Popular Observational Astronomy
  • ASTR 2500: Foundations of Astronomy
  • ASTR 3060: Introduction to Astrophysics
  • ASTR 4060: Observational Astronomy for Scientists
  • ASTR 4080: Introduction to Cosmology
  • ASTR 5015: Observational Methods & Data Analysis
  • ASTR 5570: Galactic Astronomy and Stellar Populations
  • ASTR 5580: Extragalactic Astronomy & Cosmology [Honors]
  • ASTR 5590: Stellar Astrophysics [Honors]

Required Astronomy Minor Courses

  • ASTR 2500: Foundations of Astronomy (3 credits)
  • ASTR 3060: Introduction to Astrophysics (3 credits)

Two courses from the following options:

  • ASTR 4060: Observational Astronomy for Scientists (3 credits)
  • or
  • ASTR 5015: Observational Methods & Data Analysis (3 credits)
    (students may take both courses but only one can go towards the Astronomy Minor)
  • ASTR 4080: Introduction to Cosmology (3 credits)
  • ASTR 5570: Galactic Astronomy & Stellar Populations (3 credits)
  • ASTR 5580: Extragalactic Astronomy & Cosmology (3 credits)
  • ASTR 5590: Stellar Astrophysics (3 credits)

Recommended Courses

Any additional 5000-level ASTR course (beyond any of those taken to satisfy the requirements above)

  • MATH 2210: Calculus III (3 credits)
  • MATH 2250: Differential Equations & Linear Algebra (3 credits)
  • MATH 3150: Partial Differential Equations for Engineering Students (2 credits)
  • MATH 3160: Applied Complex Variables (2 credits)
  • PHYS 2210: Physics for Scientists & Engineers I (4 credits) or PHYS 3210: Physics for Scientists (4 credits) [Honors]
  • PHYS 2220: Physics for Scientists & Engineers II (4 credits) or PHYS 3220: Physics for Scientists (4 credits) [Honors]
  • PHYS 3730: Introduction to Computing in Physics (4 credits)
  • PHYS 3740: Modern Physics - Introduction to Quantum Theory & Relativity (3 credits)
  • PHYS 3760: Principles of Thermodynamics & Statistical Mechanics (3 credits)
  • PHYS 4420: Classical Physics II (4 credits) [Honors]
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