Orange Alert

B.A. in Physics

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.

The following sample curriculum meets the requirements for the BS. The specific required courses can be modified by petition to the department. Please see our department checklist here: Physics-BA-Checklist-2022-final.pdf

Required courses are:

PHY215 – Physics for Scientists I*
PHY225 – Experiencing Physics I**
PHY216 – Physics for Scientists II*
PHY226 – Experiencing Physics II**
PHY344 – Experiemental Physics I
PHY361 – Modern Physics

* PHY215 and PHY216 can be substituted with PHY211 and PHY212, respectively, but it is not recommended.

** PHY225 and PHY226 can be substituted with PHY221 and PHY222, respectively, but it is not recommended.

Recommended electives:

We recommend that students also take the following class to obtain a well-rounded foundation in physics:

PHY360 – Vibrations, Waves, and Optics

Regularly offered electives:

AST 101 – Our Corner of the Universe
AST 104 – Stars, Galaxies, & the Universe
PHY 306 – Nuclear Physics
PHY 307 – Science and Computers
PHY 312 – Relativity and Cosmology: Einstein and Beyond
PHY 314 – Quantum Computing Demystified
PHY 315 – Biological and Medical Physics
PHY 317 – Stellar and Interstellar Astrophysics
PHY 360 – Vibrations, Waves, and Optics

Want to sign up for the physics major? Come see us! Email the department chair: Jenny Ross: jlross@syr.edu

The Directors of Undergraduate Studies:
Joey Paulsen: jdpaulse@syr.edu
Matt Rudolph: msrudolp@syr.edu

Or, talk to a physics department faculty member who is an undergraduate advisor: Physics Advising.