The Applied Physics concentration combines fundamental course work in physics with a selection of courses in a related field. Eight fields are available:

  • The Electronics, Semiconductors, and Optics field and the Materials and Fluids field are designed for students interested in rapidly changing technology or in areas that overlap the boundaries of traditional engineering disciplines.

  • The Computers field provides a foundation for the application of modern computer technology to problems in physics, the development of new types of computers, and jobs in computer programming.

  • The Chemistry field combines thorough knowledge of both chemistry and physics, which is useful in such interdisciplinary areas as materials science, surface science, and physical chemisty/chemical physics.

  • The Medical Physics field and the Biophysics field prepare students for further study in medical physics (the application of physics technologies to medical practice), health physics (radiation safety and protection), or biophysics, and are also appropriate for students planning careers in traditional health professions.

  • The Geophysics field prepares students for further study in geophysics and careers involving application of physical methods in geology.

  • The Data Science field provides students with the tools to analyze large data sets using contemporary statistical methods.

With this concentration, it is also possible for students to design a custom field (in consultation with departmental advisors) to meet their specific needs.

Effective Fall 2023

Each course used to meet requirements of the concentration need a minimum grade of C-, including courses to satisfy AUCC Categories 1, 2, and 3A. 

CO 150College Composition (GT-CO2)1A3
Select one of the following groups: 5
Culture and Coding: Python (GT-AH3)3B 
Python for STEM  
MATH 160Calculus for Physical Scientists I (GT-MA1)1B4
MATH 161Calculus for Physical Scientists II (GT-MA1)1B4
PH 141Physics for Scientists and Engineers I (GT-SC1)3A5
PH 142Physics for Scientists and Engineers II (GT-SC1)3A5
PH 193Introductory Seminar in Physics 1
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion1C3
 Total Credits 30
MATH 261Calculus for Physical Scientists III 4
Select one from the following: 4
Intro to Ordinary Differential Equations  
Differential Equations  
PH 210Introduction to Computing in Physics 3
PH 2451Introduction to Electronics 3
PH 293Selected Topics in Physics 1
PH 314Introduction to Modern Physics 4
PH 315Modern Physics Laboratory 2
Arts and Humanities3B3
Social and Behavioral Sciences3C3
Historical Perspectives3D3
 Total Credits 30
Select one from the following:2 3
Advanced Scientific Writing--Chemistry (GT-CO3)2 
Writing Arguments (GT-CO3)2 
Writing in the Disciplines: Sciences (GT-CO3)2 
Strategic Writing and Communication (GT-CO3)2 
Specialized Professional Writing2 
MATH 369Linear Algebra I 3
PH 341Mechanics 4
PH 3511Electricity and Magnetism 4
PH 353Optics and Waves 4
PH 361Physical Thermodynamics 3
Technical Elective (see list below) 3
Electives 6
 Total Credits 30
PH 425Advanced Physics Laboratory4C2
PH 451Introductory Quantum Mechanics I4A,4B3
PH 492Seminar4C1
Select one Field from the lists below (Select a minimum of 12 credits from a minimum of four courses)3 12
Electives4 12
 Total Credits 30
 Program Total Credits: 120

Technical Electives (select a minimum of 3 credits not taken elsewhere in the program)

ATS 550Atmospheric Radiation and Remote Sensing3
CHEM 111General Chemistry I (GT-SC2)4
CHEM 120Foundations of Modern Chemistry (GT-SC2)4
CIVE 300Fluid Mechanics3
ECE 441Optical Electronics3
ERHS 450Introduction to Radiation Biology3
MATH 332Partial Differential Equations3
MATH 366Introduction to Abstract Algebra3
MATH 419Introduction to Complex Variables3
MATH 430/ECE 430Fourier and Wavelet Analysis with Apps3
MATH 450Introduction to Numerical Analysis I3
MATH 451Introduction to Numerical Analysis II3
MATH 472Introduction to Topology3
MATH 474Introduction to Differential Geometry3
MECH 518Orbital Mechanics3
PH 498Research1-6
PH 517Chaos, Fractals, and Nonlinear Dynamics3
PH 521Introduction to Lasers3
PH 531Introductory Condensed Matter Physics3
PH 561Elementary Particle Physics3
PH 571Mathematical Methods for Physics I3
STAT 315Intro to Theory and Practice of Statistics3
STAT 420Probability and Mathematical Statistics I3

Biophysics Field

BC 351Principles of Biochemistry4
BC 411Physical Biochemistry4
BC 463Molecular Genetics3
BC 464Molecular Genetics Recitation1
BC 465Molecular Regulation of Cell Function3
BC 467Biochemistry of Disease3
BIOM 421Transport Phenomena in Biomedical Engineering3
BIOM 422Quantitative Systems and Synthetic Biology3
BIOM 441Biomechanics and Biomaterials3
BIOM 470/MECH 470Biomedical Engineering3
BIOM 526/ECE 526Biological Physics3
BZ 310Cell Biology4
CHEM 433Clinical Chemistry3
ERHS 450Introduction to Radiation Biology3
ERHS 530Radiological Physics and Dosimetry I3
ERHS 531Nuclear Instruments and Measurements2
ERHS 550Principles of Radiation Biology5
MIP 300General Microbiology3
MIP 450Microbial Genetics3

Chemistry Field

CHEM 231Foundations of Analytical Chemistry3
CHEM 232Foundations of Analytical Chemistry Lab2
CHEM 241Foundations of Organic Chemistry4
CHEM 242Foundations of Organic Chemistry Laboratory1
CHEM 245Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry4
CHEM 246Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry Laboratory1
CHEM 261Fundamentals of Inorganic Chemistry3
CHEM 263Foundations of Inorganic Chemistry4
CHEM 264Foundations of Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory1
CHEM 302--379
CHEM 400--479

Computers Field

Only 3 credits from each CS course counts towards the 12 credit requirement.

CS 220Discrete Structures and their Applications4
CS 250Computer Systems Foundations4
CS 314Software Engineering3
CS 320Algorithms--Theory and Practice3
CS 345Machine Learning Foundations and Practice3
CS 356Systems Security3
CS 370Operating Systems3
CS 414Object-Oriented Design4
CS 415Software Testing4
CS 420Introduction to Analysis of Algorithms4
CS 430Database Systems4
CS 435Introduction to Big Data4
CS 440Introduction to Artificial Intelligence4
CS 445Introduction to Machine Learning4
CS 453Introduction to Compiler Construction4
CS 454Principles of Programming Languages4
CS 455Introduction to Distributed Systems4
CS 456Modern CyberSecurity4
CS 457Computer Networks and the Internet4
CS 462Engaging in Virtual Worlds4
CS 475Parallel Programming4
ECE 251Introduction to Microcontrollers and IoT4
ECE 450Digital System Design Laboratory1
ECE 451Digital System Design3
ECE 452Computer Organization and Architecture3
ECE 456Computer Networks4
MATH 360Mathematics of Information Security3
MATH 460Information and Coding Theory3
MATH 463Post-Quantum Cryptography3

Custom Field

Specific courses forming a coherent program are selected by the student in consultation with their academic advisor and subject to approval of the Key Advisor. 

Data Science Field

DSCI 235Data Wrangling2
DSCI 320Optimization Methods in Data Science3
DSCI 335Inferential Reasoning in Data Analysis3
DSCI 336Data Graphics and Visualization1
DSCI 445Statistical Machine Learning3
DSCI 473Introduction to Geometric Data Analysis2
DSCI 475Topological Data Analysis2
STAT 158Introduction to R Programming1
STAT 341Statistical Data Analysis I3

Electronics, Semiconductors, and Optics Field

ECE 311Linear System Analysis I3
ECE 312Linear System Analysis II3
ECE 331Electronics Principles I4
ECE 332Electronics Principles II4
ECE 404Experiments in Optical Electronics2
ECE 411Control Systems3
ECE 412Digital Control and Digital Filters3
ECE 415Semiconductor Physics and Junctions2
ECE 421Telecommunications I3
ECE 430/MATH 430Fourier and Wavelet Analysis with Apps3
ECE 441Optical Electronics3
ECE 444Antennas and Radiation3
ECE 457Fourier Optics3
ECE 546Laser Fundamentals and Devices3

Geophysics Field

CIVE 413Environmental River Mechanics3
GEOL 232Mineralogy3
GEOL 250The Solid Earth3
GEOL 332Optical Mineralogy2
GEOL 344Stratigraphy and Sedimentology4
GEOL 364Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology4
GEOL 372Structural Geology4
GEOL 415Critical Zone Science3
GEOL 440Geodetic and Near-Surface Geophysical Methods4
GEOL 442Applied Geophysics4
GEOL 446Environmental Geology3
GEOL 454Geomorphology4
GEOL 530Advanced Petrology3
GEOL 535Microtectonics3
GEOL 570Plate Tectonics3

Materials and Fluids Field

CBE 331Momentum Transfer and Mechanical Separations3
CBE 332Heat and Mass Transfer Fundamentals3
CIVE 300Fluid Mechanics3
CIVE 301Fluid Mechanics Laboratory1
CIVE 401Hydraulic Engineering3
CIVE 413Environmental River Mechanics3
MECH 331AIntroduction to Engineering Materials: Lecture3
MECH 331BIntroduction to Engineering Materials : Lab1
MECH 338Thermal/Fluid Sciences Laboratory1
MECH 342Fluid Mechanics for Mechanical Engineers3
MECH 344Heat and Mass Transfer3
MECH 431Metals and Alloys3
MECH 432Engineering of Nanomaterials3
MECH 450Aerospace Propulsion3
MECH 460Aeronautics3
MECH 468Space Propulsion and Power Engineering3
MSE 502AMaterials Science & Engineering Methods: Materials Structure and Scattering1
MSE 502BMaterials Science & Engineering Methods: Computational Materials Methods1
MSE 502CMaterials Science & Engineering Methods: Materials Microscopy1
MSE 502DMaterials Science & Engineering Methods: Materials Spectroscopy1
MSE 502EMaterials Science & Engineering Methods: Bulk Properties and Performance1
MSE 502FMaterials Science & Engineering Methods: Experimental Methods for Materials Research1
MSE 503Mechanical Behavior of Materials3
MSE 504Thermodynamics of Materials3
MSE 505Kinetics of Materials3
MSE 523/ECE 523Electronic Properties of Materials3
PH 531Introductory Condensed Matter Physics3

Medical Physics Field

BC 467Biochemistry of Disease3
BIOM 421Transport Phenomena in Biomedical Engineering3
BIOM 422Quantitative Systems and Synthetic Biology3
BIOM 470/MECH 470Biomedical Engineering3
BMS 300Principles of Human Physiology4
BMS 325Cellular Neurobiology3
BMS 345Functional Neuroanatomy4
CHEM 433Clinical Chemistry3
ERHS 332Principles of Epidemiology3
ERHS 450Introduction to Radiation Biology3
ERHS 515Non-Ionizing Radiation Safety2
ERHS 530Radiological Physics and Dosimetry I3
ERHS 531Nuclear Instruments and Measurements2
ERHS 556Monte Carlo Methods in Health Physics3
ERHS 561Radiation Public Health2
ERHS 563Environmental Contaminant Modeling I2
ERHS 570Radioecology2
MIP 300General Microbiology3
MIP 342Immunology4
MIP 351Medical Bacteriology3
MIP 420Medical and Molecular Virology4

For students who change majors from Electrical Engineering or are double-majoring in Electrical Engineering, please see an advisor for possible substitutions. 


Other courses in AUCC Category 2 may be accepted if they are taken prior to declaring the Physics major or are taken to meet requirements of another major.


A minimum of 6 credits must be 300-, 400-, or 500-level.


Select enough elective credits to bring the program total to a minimum of 120 credits, of which at least 42 must be upper-division (300- , 400-level, or 500-level).

 Distinctive Requirements for Degree Program:

Required PH courses above the 100-Level are typically offered only Fall or Spring, not both. A grade of C- or better is required in all courses used to meet requirements of the major, except for unrestricted electives and courses taken to satisfy All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC) categories 1A, 1C, 3B, 3C, and 3D. Courses in a Selected Field list have additional prerequisites.  Any student considering the Applied Physics concentration should meet with an advisor as soon as possible. 

Semester 1CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
CO 150College Composition (GT-CO2) X1A3
MATH 160Calculus for Physical Scientists I (GT-MA1) X1B4
PH 141Physics for Scientists and Engineers I (GT-SC1) X3A5
PH 193Introductory Seminar in PhysicsX  1
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion  1C3
 Total Credits   16
Semester 2CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
Select one group from the following:X  3-5
Group A:    
Culture and Coding: Python (GT-AH3)  3B 
Group B:    
Python for STEM    
MATH 161Calculus for Physical Scientists II (GT-MA1) X1B4
PH 142Physics for Scientists and Engineers II (GT-SC1) X3A5
CO 150, MATH 160, and PH 141 must be completed by the end of Semester 2.X   
 Total Credits   14
Semester 3CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
MATH 261Calculus for Physical Scientists IIIX  4
PH 210Introduction to Computing in PhysicsX  3
PH 245Introduction to ElectronicsX  3
PH 293Selected Topics in PhysicsX  1
Historical Perspectives X3D3
MATH 161 and PH 142 must be completed by the end of Semester 3.X   
 Total Credits   14
Semester 4CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
Select one course from the following:   4
Intro to Ordinary Differential Equations X  
Differential Equations    
PH 314Introduction to Modern Physics X 4
PH 315Modern Physics Laboratory X 2
Arts and Humanities  3B3
Social and Behavioral Sciences  3C3
MATH 261 must be completed by the end of Semester 4.X   
 Total Credits   16
Semester 5CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
MATH 369Linear Algebra IX  3
PH 341MechanicsX  4
PH 353Optics and WavesX  4
Technical Elective (see list on Concentration Requirements tab) X 3
MATH 340 and PH 245 must be completed by the end of Semester 5.X   
 Total Credits   14
Semester 6CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
PH 351Electricity and Magnetism X 4
PH 361Physical ThermodynamicsX  3
Select one course from the following:   3
Advanced Scientific Writing--Chemistry (GT-CO3)  2 
Writing Arguments (GT-CO3)  2 
Writing in the Disciplines: Sciences (GT-CO3)  2 
Strategic Writing and Communication (GT-CO3)  2 
Specialized Professional Writing  2 
Electives   6
PH 293, PH 314, and PH 315 must be completed by the end of Semester 6. X   
 Total Credits   16
Semester 7CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
PH 451Introductory Quantum Mechanics IX 4A,4B3
Selected Field (See Lists on Concentration Requirements Tab)   6
Electives   6
PH 341 and PH 353 must be completed by the end of Semester 7.X   
 Total Credits   15
Semester 8CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
PH 425Advanced Physics LaboratoryX 4C2
PH 492SeminarX 4C1
Selected Field (See Lists on Concentration Requirements Tab)X  6
ElectivesX  6
The benchmark courses for the 8th semester are the remaining courses in the entire program of study.X   
 Total Credits   15
 Program Total Credits:   120