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Bachelor of Arts Degree Program Information

The Bachelor of Arts Degree in physics is an excellent option for students considering careers in widely varying areas including law, journalism, medicine, finance, teaching, and computational science. In these fields as well as in science a liberal education incorporating serious study of physics is a strong asset.  

The objectives of the B.A. are to foster an understanding of the core areas of physics and encourage analytical and computational skills that are of great value in the workforce.  The B.A. in physics offers increased flexibility to take advantage of elective offerings.  It also offers the possibility of a shortened time-line in comparison with the Bachelor of Science in Physics.

The B.A. requires 30 total credit hours of physics coursework, 18 of which must be in courses numbered 300 or higher.  Of these 30 total credits, only 15 are from required courses allowing a large amount of freedom to take physics and astronomy electives, and permitting students to focus on a subject of interest, such as astronomy, pre-medical school, or computation.  For detailed requirements, see the Physics B.A. listing in the Course Catalog.

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Sample Curriculum

Shown below is one schedule for completing a B.A. in physics.  This is only one example. Consult with your advisor in physics to design a curriculum that suits your interests and needs.

Bachelor of Arts

Fall Spring Physics Credits Per Year
First year  PHY/AST elective (4)    4 credits

PHY 211 or 215 (3)

PHY 221 (1)

MAT 285 (3) or 295 (4)
Calculus I

PHY 212 or 216 (3)

PHY 222 (1)

MAT 286 (3) or 296 (4)
Calculus II


8 Credits

PHY elective (3)

PHY 344 (4)

PHY 361 (3)
Modern Physics

10 Credits

PHY elective

PHY elective


8 Credits
Total PHY Credits  13 Credits  18 Credits 30 Credits

Required course.

(i) MAT 285/286 is a more elementary introduction to calculus than MAT 295/296. Most physics courses numbered 400 and above will need the more advanced sequence.
(ii) Up to 4 credits can be for more elementary courses such as introductory astronomy (AST 101, AST 104), algebra-based physics (PHY 101), or even the physics of music (PHY 200).
(iii) 300-level electives include: PHY 307 (Computational Physics), PHY 312 (Relativity & Cosmology), 315 (Biological and Medical Physics), PHY 317 (Interstellar Astrophysics), PHY 351 (Instrumentation), PHY 360 (Waves, Vibrations, & Optics), PHY 399 (Practicum and Seminar in Physics Education)