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Division of Natural Sciences & MathematicsDepartment of Physics & Astronomy

Degree Programs

Physics & Astronomy

Bachelor of Science Degree Requirements

PDF version, including more details about the senior thesis and concentrations, as well as a quarter-by-quarter course planner. BS students who meet certain GPA and other requirements may qualify for departmental distinction.

  1. DU Common Curriculum, including FSEM, WRIT, FOLA, AI-S, SI-S, and ASEM.
  2. Calculus I, II, and III (MATH 1951, 1952, 1953); Introduction to Differential Equations (MATH 2070); and Calculus of Several Variables (MATH 2080).  Completing these courses fulfills the requirements for a minor in mathematics. Students transferring in 12 credits of AP or IB Calculus need one more math course for the minor, as DU policy requires 50% of major and minor credit hours to be taken at DU.
  3. University Physics I, II, and III and lab (PHYS 1211, 1212, 1213)
  4. One of the following pairs of science breadth courses:
    • General Chemistry I and lab (CHEM 1010 and 1240)
    • Concepts: Physiological Systems and lab (BIOL 1010 and 1020)
    • Concepts: Cellular and Molecular Biology and lab (BIOL 1011 and 1021)
  5. At least 45 quarter hours of physics coursework at 2000 level or above.  This program must include the following:
    • Modern Physics I and II (PHYS 2251, 2252)
    • Modern Lab (PHYS 2260)
    • Uncertainty and Error Analysis (PHYS 2259)
    • Intermediate Lab I and II (PHYS 2311, 2312)
    • Analytical Mechanics I and II (PHYS 3510, 3520)
    • Quantum Physics I and II (PHYS 3111, 3112)
    • Electromagnetism I and II (PHYS 3611, 3612)
    • Thermal Physics (PHYS 3841)
    • Senior Seminar (PHYS 3100)
    These required courses total 45 credits, so no physics electives are required for the BS. However, we encourage students to take other physics courses as their interests and schedule permit. Note that students pursuing concentrations will take at least 11 extra credits beyond these 45.
  6. Two minors, at least one of which is in a BS degree-granting department.  Completing the courses listed in requirement #4 fulfills this second condition.
  7. A senior thesis, due by April 1 of senior year. The required Senior Seminar (PHYS 3100), offered each fall, gives students the background and framework necessary to write the thesis paper. A student may enroll in Senior Seminar in any year after beginning a research project; this course must be completed by the fall of the senior year as shown in the timeline below. BS students will normally also enroll in Independent Study (PHYS 3991) or Independent Research (PHYS 3995) as part of their work toward the senior thesis. Double majors must complete a physics-related thesis for the physics BS, but joint thesis projects between physics and other fields will be considered on a case-by-case basis. A senior thesis report should approximate a document that could be submitted for publication to a research journal.