Physics

Below you will find details of the undergraduate degree programs offered in the department of physics. Requirements of other majors at SMU, such as MATH and ENG, already satisfy significant portions of the PHYS major or minor. Undergraduate physics majors are also strongly encouraged to participate in research activities with our faculty;  a majority go on to pursue advanced degrees upon graduation from Southern Methodist University. If you would like to declare a physics major or have other questions, please contact me - Dr. Simon Dalley, Director of Undergraduate Studies, sdalley@smu.edu.

Bachelor of Science Degree

This degree program is designed for students who are planning careers in industry, laboratories, or academia.  A candidate for the B.S. degree must complete a minimum of 40 semester hours in physics and 18 semester hours in mathematics and computer science.  Students planning to pursue graduate studies are encouraged to complete more than the minimum hours required.

The recommended semester-by-semester sequence of courses to the BS degree is shown here

Physics Courses Required
PHYS 1105 General Physics Laboratory I
PHYS 1106 General Physics Laboratory II
PHYS 1303 (or 1307) Introductory Mechanics (or General Physics I)
PHYS 1304 (or 1308) Introductory Electricity and Magnetism (or General Physics II)
PHYS 3305 Introduction to Modern Physics
PHYS 3340 Computational Physics
PHYS 3344 Classical Mechanics
PHYS 3374 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
PHYS 4211 Laboratory Physics I
PHYS 4112** Laboratory Physics II
PHYS 4321 Methods of Theoretical Physics
PHYS 4392 Introduction to Electromagnetic Theory
PHYS 5382 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
PHYS 5383 Advanced Quantum Mechanics
Six credits of electives are also required, which may be chosen from a variety of fields such as condensed matter, particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology, etc. or electives from other majors related to physics (with departmental permission).
**Strongly recommended.
Math and Computer Science Courses Required
MATH 1337 Calculus with Analytic Geometry I
MATH 1338 or 1340 Calculus with Analytic Geometry II
MATH 2339 or 3302 Calculus with Analytic Geometry III
MATH 2343 or 3313 Elementary Differential Equations
MATH 3304 or 3353 Introduction to Linear Algebra
CSE 1341 or 1342 Principles of Computer Science or Programming Concepts


Bachelor of Science in Biophysical Sciences Degree

This degree program is designed for students who are planning careers in biophysics in industry, laboratories, or academia, or who are looking for an intense and diverse program to distinguish themselves for medical school. A candidate for the B.S. in Biophysical Sciences degree must complete a minimum of 89 semester hours in from courses offered in the biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics departments.

The recommended semester-by-semester sequence of physics courses to the BS degree in Biophysical Sciences is shown here

Requirement Courses TCH
Mathematics Requirements MATH 1337, 1338 or 1340, 2339 or 3302, 2343 or 3313, 3353 or 3304 15
Biology Requirements BIOL 1401, 1402, 3304, 3350, 5310, 5311 20
Chemistry Requirements CHEM 1113, 1114, 1303, 1304, 3117, 3118, 3371, 3372, 5344, 5383, 5384 25
Physics Requirements PHYS 1105, 1106, 1303 or 1307, 1304 or 1308, 3305, 3344, 3374, 4392, 5382 23
Electives (choose 6 credits) APSM 3322, 3422
CHEM 5306, 5317, 5308
PHYS 4112, 4211, 4390, 5383
6


Bachelor of Arts Degree

This degree program is appropriate for students who wish to combine a physics curriculum with a broad liberal arts program with the aim of pursuing careers in medicine, teaching, business, and government.  A candidate for the B.A. degree must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours in physics and 15 semester hours in mathematics.



The recommended sequencing of courses for a Bachelor of Arts Degree is shown here.

Physics Courses Required

PHYS 1105 General Physics Laboratory I
PHYS 1106 General Physics Laboratory II
PHYS 1303 (or 1307) Introductory Mechanics (or General Physics I)
PHYS 1304 (or 1308) Introductory Electricity and Magnetism (or General Physics II)
PHYS 3305 Introduction to Modern Physics
PHYS 3344 Classical Mechanics
PHYS 4211 Laboratory Physics I
PHYS 4392 Introduction to Electromagnetic Theory
PHYS 5382 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
Eight credits of electives are also required, which may be chosen from a variety of fields such as condensed matter, particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology, etc. or electives from other majors related to physics (with departmental permission).
Math Courses Required
MATH 1337 Calculus with Analytic Geometry I
MATH 1338 or 1340 Calculus with Analytic Geometry II
MATH 2339 or 3302 Calculus with Analytic Geometry III
MATH 2343 or 3313 Elementary Differential Dquations
MATH 3304 or 3353 Introduction to Linear Algebra


Minor in Physics

A minor in physics is particularly appropriate for majors in the natural sciences, including pre-med, mathematics, and engineering, but also any student interested in modern physics.  The departmental requirement for a minor in physics is 17 semester hours in physics, including the following:

Physics Courses Required
PHYS 1105 General Physics Laboratory I
PHYS 1106 General Physics Laboratory II
PHYS 1303 (or 1307) Introductory Mechanics (or General Physics I)
PHYS 1304 (or 1308) Introductory Electricity and Magnetism (or General Physics II)
PHYS 3000+ Nine additional hours of advanced coursework


The Departmental Distinction Program

A physics major achieving a B.S. degree may graduate "with departmental distinction" by successfully completing a special program of study in addition to the requirements stated above, while maintaining a minimum G.P.A. of 3.50.  The special program consists of independent reading, research, and senior thesis under the direction of the departmental faculty.  The student must apply to the department for this designation during his or her junior year.  The student will enroll in either PHYS 4375 or PHYS 4390 during the project, and a senior thesis is to be written and presented to the faculty.



Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering &
Bachelor of Science with a Major in Physics

The Electrical Engineering Department and the Physics Department offer an integrated curriculum that enables a student to obtain both a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) degree and a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree with a major in Physics.

The recommended sequencing of physics courses for a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Physics Degree is shown here.

The term credit hours (TCH) within this curriculum are distributed as follows:

Requirement Courses TCH
College Requirements ENGL 1301, 1302, Perspectives including ECO 1311, Cultural Formations, and Wellness 23
Mathematics MATH 1337, 1338 or 1340, 2339 or 3302, 2343 or 3313, and a three-hour elective course at the 3000 level or above 15
Science CHEM 1303 or 1305; PHYS 1105, 1303, 1304, 3305, 3344, 4211, 4321, 5337, 5382 and 5383; and PHYS 3374 or ME 3341 33
Computer Science CSE 1341 3
Engineering Leadership Two of EMIS 3308, ENCE 3302, EMIS 3309 or CSE 4360 6
Core Electrical Engineering EE 1382, 2122, 2170, 2181, 2322, 2350, 2370, 2381 and 3360 21
Junior Electrical EE 3122, 3181, 3322, 3381, either 3330 or PHYS 4392; and two of EE 3311, 3315 or 3372 17
Advanced Electrical Engineering Electives 12
Senior Design Sequence EE 4311 and 4312 6
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Minimum total hours required 136


Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering &
Bachelor of Science in Physics

The Mechanical Engineering Department and the Physics Department offer a curriculum that enables a student to obtain both a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree and a Bachelor of Science in Physics.

The recommended sequencing of physics courses for a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Physics Degree is shown here.

The minimum requirements for these dual degrees are as follows:

Requirement Courses TCH
General Education English 1301, 1302, Perspectives and Cultural Formations courses 21
Mathematics Math 1337, 1338 or 1340, 2339 or 3302, 2343 or 3313, Statistics 4340 15
Sciences Physics 1303, 1304, 3305, 3344, 3374, 4211, 4321, 4392, 5382, 5383 and two advanced physics electives; Chemistry 1303 38
Mechanical Engineering ME 1202, 1102, 1305, 2310, 2331, 2131, 2340, 2140, 2342, 2142, 3332, 3132, 3340, 3370, 4338, 4360, 4160, 4370, 4380, 4381 and 5322 50
Leadership Elective Select one from EMIS 3308, EMIS 3309, ENCE 3302 or CSE 4360 3
Wellness I and II 2
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Minimum total hours required 129

The recommended sequencing of physics courses for a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Physics Degree can be downloaded here.