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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 and a quarter-by-quarter course planner. A BS student may choose to pursue a concentration in biological physics, computational physics, or nanophysics in addition to the requirements listed below. BS students who write a senior thesis and 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. 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)
  4. University Physics I, II, and III and lab (PHYS 1211, 1212, 1213). (PHYS 1200, Physics Preparatory, is not required, but is highly recommended before beginning this sequence.)
  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.

Optional concentration: A BS student may choose to complete a concentration, which offers the opportunity to specialize in an interdisciplinary area. We offer concentrations in biological physics, computational physics, and nanophysics. Each of these requires at least 11 additional credit hours beyond the 45 listed in requirement #5, which may include some courses in other departments. Only one concentration may be officially declared.

Optional senior thesis:  BS students have the option to complete a senior thesis, due by April 1 of senior year. This is a scientific document presenting the student’s own undergraduate research, conducted either at DU or elsewhere. A senior thesis is required for distinction in the major. More details about the thesis may be found in the BS requirements document.