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Degree Programs and Courses

The Physics Department offers majors in Physics and Applied Physics leading to the Bachelor of Science degree, minors in Physics and in Astronomy (in cooperation with Geological Sciences), and a B.A. major. The Department contributes to a Teaching Physical Science major and minor (through the College of Education and Human Service Professions). There is also a certification program for teaching high school physics.

We also provide key foundational courses to students in science and engineering programs in the Swenson College of Science and Engineering, as well as liberal education courses largely for students outside SCSE.

New in Fall 2014: Phys2017 Honors General Physics I course has been added and can be taken by freshmen in their first semester at UMD. This course is an advanced version of Phys2013 General Physics I.  New in Spring 2016: Students completing this course will be able to advance to Phys2018 Honors General Physics II.

New: Approved changes to the Physics BS program -- more flexibility!

Program Details

BS in Physics
The B.S. physics major is primarily for students planning to work toward an advanced degree in physics. Typical four-year program. Please note that CS 1511, Computer Science I, is now the preferred choice in fulfilling the Computer Science programming requirement.

BS in Applied Physics
The applied physics major prepares students to work in industry and provides flexibility to incorporate approved engineering courses into a degree program. Typical four-year program. Please note that CS 1511, Computer Science I, is now the preferred choice in fulfilling the Computer Science programming requirement.

BA in Physics
The B.A. physics major is for students who wish to complete a liberal arts degree.

Physics minor

Astronomy minor (in conjunction with Earth and Environmental Sciences).

Physics MS graduate program.

Teaching Physics, 9-12:
Students seeking a B.A. or B.S. in physics may enroll concurrently in secondary education licensure requirements in the Department of Education.

The department is dedicated to high standards, hard work, and a quality product. The successful careers of our graduates are evidence that our physics majors get a good education. We offer high-quality courses and good opportunities for practical experience in research. Junior and Senior students become increasingly interested in their work and begin to develop a mature professional attitude.

Assessment of student learning The Department established four broad program outcomes for our undergraduate physics majors (Physics B.S., Applied Physics B.S. and Physics B.A.) as part of the campus-wide assessment plan. These are:

  1. Comprehension: Students will know and be able to explain the core physics concepts and their mathematical expressions.

  2. Application: Students will be able to apply the laws of physics to new situations, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

  3. Execution: Students will be able to design, set-up, and carry out an experiment, using models, analytical techniques, or laboratory equipment.

  4. Communication: Students will be able to communicate scientific ideas to technical and non-technical audiences.


Many undergraduates participate in research. The department considers research to be important, not just for the work produced but also in the development of faculty expertise that makes a difference in teaching and in the opportunities for education for the undergraduate and graduate students who participate.

The research and professional spirit associated with the graduate program are important for the quality of the undergraduate program. Undergraduates also benefit from the greater depth of courses extending into the graduate and research areas, and from the better use of faculty time resulting from employment of graduate teaching assistants.

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Last modified on 11/05/15 06:20 PM
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