Skip to main content

This is your Donation message.

Academic Program Guide


Physics & Astrophysics


College: Arts and Sciences
Degree: BS
Limited Access: No

Contact: Brian Wilcoxon
Address: 307 Keen Building, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4350
Phone: (850) 644-3245
Email:


Description of Major
In a job market that values intellectual flexibility and demands technological mastery, a bachelor’s degree in physics and astrophysics is one way to insure a lifetime of relevance. The physics and astrophysics major is based on the physics curriculum, with specialized coursework in astrophysics, such as radiation transport, extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. A B.S. degree in this major opens up a number of career opportunities, including programming, engineering, secondary education and managers in technical fields. Even so, many FSU students pursue graduate work in physics and continue into a variety of scientific fields.

Undergraduates at FSU enjoy the privilege of not only studying with, but researching alongside internationally prominent faculty in astrophysics, atomic physics, biophysics, high energy physics, condensed matter physics and nuclear physics. In addition to working with faculty, FSU’s chapter of the Society of Physics Students provides a platform for physics majors to connect with one another, resulting in a supportive on-campus community and life-long relationships.

The FSU Physics Department also offers majors in: Physics, Physical Science, and Physical Science/FSU-Teach.

Prospective transfer students should contact as-admissions@fsu.edu (Arts & Sciences Admissions) with specific questions about admission and mapping requirements.


Prerequisite Coursework

Prerequisite Coursework: (0 beyond other requirements)
Students must complete the following prerequisites required for admission in preparation for the upper division Physics and Astrophysics major. The following may also apply toward the major and/or General Education.

MAC X311 (4) Calculus with Analytic Geometry I
MAC X312 (4) Calculus with Analytic Geometry II
MAC X313 (4) Calculus with Analytic Geometry III
CHM X045, X045L (3,1) General Chemistry I with Lab (or equivalent)
*CHM X046, X046L (3,1) General Chemistry II with Lab
PHY X048C (5) General Physics A or PHY X048/X048L
PHY X049C (5) General Physics B or PHY X049/X049L

*State of FL "common prerequisite", but not required for this major at FSU.

Note: State-wide common prerequisites are always under review. For the most current information and for acceptable alternative courses, visit the “Common Prerequisites Manual.” This is available from the “Student Services” section of http://www.flvc.org .

Students interested in this major must also take:
MAP 2302 (3) Ordinary Differential Equations or MAP 3305 (3) Engineering Mathematics I

Requirements for graduation in the College of Arts and Sciences include:
The College of Arts and Science requires proficiency in a foreign language through the intermediate (2220 or equivalent) level or sign language through the advanced (2614 or equivalent) level.

Requirements for Progression to the Upper-Division Major
In order to be admitted, students must complete at least 52 hours of credit with an adjusted GPA of 2.00 on FSU coursework, and at least half the required hours in Liberal Studies, including freshman English composition and mathematics. Students must earn a minimum grade of C minus or higher in each required physics and math course.


Requirements

Departmental Policy on Grades and Continuation in the Major
No physics, chemistry, or math course with a grade below “C minus” may be used to satisfy the above requirements. A student who has received three or more unsatisfactory grades (U, F, D minus, D, D+) in courses required for the Physics and Astrophysics major, whether offered by the Department of Physics at Florida State University or elsewhere, whether repeated or not, will not be permitted to graduate with this degree.

Major Program of Studies at FSU: (53-54 hours)

Required courses in Physics (42 hours)
AST 3721L (2) Astrophysics Laboratory or PHY 3802L (2) Intermediate Laboratory
AST 4211 (3) Introduction to Astrophysics
AST 4419 (3) Extragalactic Astronomy or AST 4722 (3) Observational Techniques in Astrophysics
PHY 1090 (1) Discovering Physics*
PHY 2048C (5) General Physics A
PHY 2049C (5) General Physics B
PHY 3045 (3) Physics Problem Solving
PHY 3091 (2) Communication in Physics (meets oral communication competency requirement)
PHY 3101 (3) Intermediate Modern Physics
PHY 3221 (3) Mechanics I
PHY 4323 (3) Electricity and Magnetism I
PHY 4513 (3) Thermal and Statistical Physics
PHY 4604 (3) Quantum Theory of Matter A
PHZ 3113 (3) Mathematical Physics

*AA transfer students are not required to take PHY1090.

At least three courses selected from the following (9 hours):
AST 4217 (3) Physics of Stars
AST 4414 (3) Cosmology and Structure Formation
PHZ 4316 (3) Nuclear Astrophysics
PHZ 4390 (3) Particle and Nuclear Physics
PHZ 4601 (3) Special and General Relativity

Computer skills competency requirement (3 hours)
PHZ 4151C (3) Computational Physics Laboratory

Note: Students planning to conduct graduate work in astrophysics are strongly advised to include GLY 1042 Planetary Geology, PHY 4222 Mechanics II, PHY 4324 Electricity and Magnetism II, and PHY 4605 Quantum Theory of Matter B in their programs.

Collateral Coursework: (20 hours)
Physics majors must satisfy all of the courses listed below. As collateral courses, these may also be used to satisfy prerequisite, General Education requirements, and minor requirements. Coursework not used for General Education or the minor must still be taken and will raise the total hours of required coursework.

MAC 2311 (4) Calculus with Analytic Geometry I
MAC 2312 (4) Calculus with Analytic Geometry II
MAC 2313 (5) Calculus with Analytic Geometry III
MAP 2302 (3) Ordinary Differential Equations or MAP 3305 (3) Engineering Math I
CHM 1045, 1045L (3,1) General Chemistry I and Laboratory or CHM 1050, 1050L (3,1) Honors General Chemistry I, Lab

Minor Coursework: At least 12 hours from an approved minor area or 15 hours from an approved interdepartmental minor or requirements as stated by the minor area. The required mathematics courses constitute a minor.

Computer Skills Competency: (0 hours beyond major)
PHZ 4151C (3) Computational Physics Laboratory fulfills the requirement for this major.

Oral Communication Competency: (0 hours beyond major)


Minimum Program Requirements - Summary
Total Hrs. Required 120
General Education 36*
Major Coursework 54
Collateral Coursework 20*
Minor Coursework 0 beyond collateral coursework
Computer Skills 0 beyond major
Oral Competency 0 beyond major
Foreign Language 0-12 (depending on placement)
Electives to bring total credits to 120

*NOTE: Collateral coursework may also be applied to General Education or the minor. Students who begin college prepared to start mathematics with calculus will have a greater number of hours available for electives.


Mapping
Mapping is FSU’s academic advising and monitoring system. Academic progress is monitored fall and spring semester to ensure that students are on course to earn their degree in a timely fashion. Transfer students must meet mapping guidelines to be admitted into their majors. You may view the map for this major at www.academic-guide.fsu.edu/.


Remarks
1. A minimum of 45 hours at the 3000 level or above, 30 of which must be taken at this University.
2. Half of the major course semester hours must be completed in residence at this University.
3. The final 30 hours must be completed in residence at this University.


Employment Information
Salary Information: National Association of Colleges and Employers, Occupational Outlook Handbook

Representative Job Titles Related to this Major; Baccalaureate level: Technical writer, Instrumental Technician, Physicist Technician, High School Teacher. With additional education: Biophysicist, Geophysicist, Astrophysicist, Nuclear Physicist, Theoretical Physicist, Experimental Physicist, Solid State Physicist, College Professor, Low Temperature Physicist, Laser Physicist, Consultant, Aero dynamist, Stress Analyst.

Representative Employers: School Boards, Community Colleges, Universities, Manufacturers, Chemical Companies, Engineering Firms, Electronics Firms, Governmental Agencies, Laboratories, Research/Development Firms.


View Physics & Astrophysics Academic Map