Physics

Undergraduate physics majors are strongly encouraged to participate in research activities.  A majority of majors go on to pursue advanced degrees upon graduation from Southern Methodist University.

Bachelor of Science Degree

This degree program is designed for students who are planning careers in physics in industry, laboratories, or academia.  A candidate for the B.S. degree must complete a minimum of 38 semester hours in physics and 15 semester hours in mathematics.  Students planning to pursue graduate studies are encouraged to complete more than the minimum hours required.

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 3374 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
PHYS 4211 Laboratory Physics I
PHYS 4112** Laboratory Physics II
PHYS 4321 Theoretical Methods
PHYS 4392 Introduction to Electromagnetic Theory
PHYS 5382 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
PHYS 5383 Advanced Quantum Mechanics
Additional courses may be chosen from a variety of physics electives or in related fields with departmental permission.
**Strongly recommended.
Math Courses Required
MATH 1337 Calculus with Analytic Geometry I
MATH 1338 Calculus with Analytic Geometry II
MATH 2339 Calculus with Analytic Geometry III
MATH 2343 Elementary Differential Equations
MATH 3000+ 1 advanced math course required

The recommended sequencing of physics courses for a Bachelor of Science Degree can be downloaded here.

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.

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
Additional courses may be chosen from a variety of physics electives or in related fields with departmental permission.
Math Courses Required
MATH 1337 Calculus with Analytic Geometry I
MATH 1338 Calculus with Analytic Geometry II
MATH 2339 Calculus with Analytic Geometry III
MATH 2343 Elementary Differential Dquations
MATH 3000+ 1 advanced math course required

The recommended sequencing of physics courses for a Bachelor of Arts Degree can be downloaded here.

Minor in Physics

A minor in physics is particularly appropriate for majors in the natural sciences, including pre-med, mathematics, and engineering.  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 term credit hours (TCH) within this curriculum are distributed as follows:

Requirement Courses TCH
College RequirementsENGL 1301, 1302, Perspectives including ECO 1311, Cultural Formations, and Wellness 23
MathematicsMATH 1337, 1338, 2339, 2343, and a three-hour elective course at the 3000 level or above 15
ScienceCHEM 1303 or 1305; PHYS 1105, 1303, 1304, 3305, 3344, 4211, 4321, 5337, 5382 and 5383; and PHYS 3374 or ME 3341 33
Computer ScienceCSE 1341 3
Engineering LeadershipTwo of EMIS 3308, ENCE 3302, EMIS 3309 or CSE 4360 6
Core Electrical EngineeringEE 1382, 2122, 2170, 2181, 2322, 2350, 2370, 2381 and 3360 21
Junior ElectricalEE 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 SequenceEE 4311 and 4312 6
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Minimum total hours required 136

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

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 minimum requirements for these dual degrees are as follows:

Requirement Courses TCH
General EducationEnglish 1301, 1302, Perspectives and Cultural Formations courses 21
MathematicsMath 1337, 1338, 2339, 2343, Statistics 4340 15
SciencesPhysics 1303, 1304, 3305, 3344, 3374, 4211, 4321, 4392, 5382, 5383 and two advanced physics electives; Chemistry 1303 38
Mechanical EngineeringME 1202, 1102, 1305, 2310, 2331, 2131, 2340, 2140, 2342, 2142, 3332, 3132, 3340, 3370, 4338, 4360, 4160, 4370, 4380, 4381 and 5322 50
Leadership ElectiveSelect 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.