BA with a Major in Physics

Degree Requirements

To earn a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences degree from UIC, students must complete University, college, and department degree requirements. The Department of Physics degree requirements are outlined below. Students should consult the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences section for additional degree requirements and college academic policies.

Summary of Requirements
Required Prerequisite and Collateral Courses24
Major Requirements40
General Education and Electives to reach minimum Total Hours56
Total Hours120

General Education

See General Education and Writing-in-the-Discipline in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences section for information on meeting these requirements. Students should consult the course lists below and their advisors to determine which courses may be counted toward the General Education and Writing-in-the-Discipline requirements.

Required Prerequisite and Collateral Courses

Required Courses
MATH 180Calculus I a,b4
MATH 181Calculus II a4
MATH 210Calculus III a3
MATH 220Introduction to Differential Equations3
CHEM 122General Chemistry I Lecture c4
CHEM 123General Chemistry Laboratory I ac1
CHEM 124General Chemistry II Lecture c4
CHEM 125General Chemistry Laboratory II ac1
Total Hours24
a

This course is approved for the Analyzing the Natural World General Education category.

b

MATH 180 fulfills the LAS Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

c

General Education credit is given for successful completion of both CHEM 122 and CHEM 123 or CHEM 124 and CHEM 125.

Major Requirements

Required Courses
PHYS 141General Physics I (Mechanics) a4
PHYS 142General Physics II (Electricity and Magnetism) a4
PHYS 215Computational and Mathematical Methods for the Physical Sciences4
PHYS 245Introduction to Vibrations, Waves, and Thermal Physics4
PHYS 230Fundamentals of Relativity3
PHYS 240Fundamentals of Modern Quantum Theory3
PHYS 241Experiments in Modern Physics1
PHYS 401Electromagnetism I4
PHYS 411Quantum Mechanics I4
PHYS 461Thermal and Statistical Physics4
PHYS 481Modern Experimental Physics I b,d4
PHYS 499Survey of Physics Problems c,d1
Total Hours40
a

This course is approved for the Analyzing the Natural World General Education category.

b

PHYS 481 fulfills the Writing-in-the-Discipline requirement.

c

Students must achieve a grade of C or better in PHYS 499.

d

Concurrent registration in PHYS 481 and PHYS 499 is required.

Recommended Plan of Study

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterHours
ENGL 160 Academic Writing I: Writing in Academic and Public Contexts a 3
MATH 180 Calculus I b 4
PHYS 141 General Physics I (Mechanics) c 4
Foreign Language 4
 Hours15
Spring Semester
ENGL 161 Academic Writing II: Writing for Inquiry and Research a 3
MATH 181 Calculus II 4
PHYS 142 General Physics II (Electricity and Magnetism) c 4
Foreign Language 4
 Hours15
Second Year
Fall Semester
MATH 210 Calculus III 3
PHYS 215 Computational and Mathematical Methods for the Physical Sciences 4
PHYS 230 Fundamentals of Relativity 3
Foreign Language 4
 Hours14
Spring Semester
MATH 220 Introduction to Differential Equations 3
PHYS 240 Fundamentals of Modern Quantum Theory 3
PHYS 241 Experiments in Modern Physics 1
PHYS 245 Introduction to Vibrations, Waves, and Thermal Physics 4
Foreign Language 4
 Hours15
Third Year
Fall Semester
PHYS 411 Quantum Mechanics I 4
PHYS 461 Thermal and Statistical Physics 4
CHEM 122 General Chemistry I Lecture 4
CHEM 123 General Chemistry Laboratory I c,f 1
General Education Requirement course 3
 Hours16
Spring Semester
CHEM 124 General Chemistry II Lecture 4
CHEM 125 General Chemistry Laboratory II c,f 1
General Education Requirement course 3
Elective d,e 4
Elective e 3
 Hours15
Fourth Year
Fall Semester
PHYS 401 Electromagnetism I 4
PHYS 481
PHYS 499
Modern Experimental Physics I
or Thermal and Statistical Physics
5
Elective e 3
General Education Requirement course 3
 Hours15
Spring Semester
Elective d,e 3
Elective d,e 3
Elective d,e 3
General Education Requirement course 3
General Education Requirement course 3
 Hours15
 Total Hours120
a

Satisfies University Writing Requirement.

b

Satisfies the LAS Quantitative Reasoning requirement when a grade of C or better is earned.

c

Is approved for General Education credit as a laboratory course in Analyzing the Natural World.

d

Among other elective courses, the student is encouraged to consider PHYS 441, then PHYS 402 or PHYS 412.

e

Elective hours as needed to reach minimum 120 total hours for graduation.

Note: PHYS 141 and PHYS 142 are offered every semester (including summer session). All other physics courses are offered only in the semester indicated.
Note: Students must earn at least 40 advanced hours at a four-year college or university. These hours may include hours in the major.
Note: The UIC General Education Requirement is nine courses: Two laboratory courses from Analyzing the Natural World, one course from each of Understanding the Individual and Society, Understanding the Past, Understanding the Creative Arts, Exploring World Cultures, and Understanding U.S. Society. The two remaining GenEd courses can be taken from any category. For example, taking CHEM 122, CHEM 123, CHEM 124, CHEM 125 and PHYS 141, PHYS 142 fulfills four of nine GenEd courses and the Analyzing the Natural World category.