Physics, BSLAS (Sciences & Letters)

for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts and Sciences: Major in Physics (Sciences and Letters)

department website:

department faculty: Physics Faculty

overview of college admissions & requirements: Liberal Arts & Sciences

college website:


The Physics Major (Sciences and Letters) is a flexible program for students who plan to pursue technical or professional careers in areas requiring a sound grounding in physical science and mathematics. Students can use the concentration to prepare for employment immediately upon graduation or for continuing on to graduate study in a wide variety of fields. Students who are certain that they want to go on to graduate study in physics or in a closely allied field should also consider the LAS Specialized Curriculum in Physics. In some cases, however, the greater flexibility of the Science and Letters Curriculum may make it a better choice for graduate school preparation for those who want to pursue a combined major and minor, a double major, or double degrees.

Students in this major must choose an approved elective technical or professional option no later than the end of the second semester of the sophomore year. A set of pre-approved options is available via the departmental web site and from the departmental undergraduate studies office. Students may also design and follow a "custom option" subject to departmental approval. Students completing the Astrophysics option will earn a minor in Astronomy, if appropriate Minor form is filed.

Entering freshmen typically take calculus, chemistry, rhetoric, and PHYS 110 during the first semester and begin the general physics sequence in the second semester. Students with advance placement in mathematics should begin the general physics sequence in the first semester. All students are strongly encouraged to plan ahead to allow space in their programs for undergraduate research.

for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts and Sciences: Major in Physics (Sciences and Letters)

A Major Plan of Study Form must be completed and submitted to the LAS Student Affairs Office before the end of the fifth semester (60-75 hours). Please see your adviser.

Departmental distinction: Graduation with distinction is awarded to students who complete 8 additional hours of 300- or 400- or 500-level physics courses or advanced courses in closely related technical subjects, and who have attained cumulative grade point averages as follows: distinction, 3.5; high distinction, 3.8; highest distinction, 3.8 plus acknowledgement of truly outstanding work/research.

General education: Students must complete the Campus General Education requirements including the campus general education language requirement.

Minimum required major and supporting course work: Minimum required major and supporting course work normally equates to 65-73 hours. Twelve hours of 300- and 400-level courses in the major must be taken on this campus. Minimum hours required for graduation: 120 hours.

GPA requirements: Students in the major must maintain an overall grade point average of at least 2.0 and also a grade point average of at least 2.0 in all required physics and mathematics courses. To be permitted to enroll in advanced physics courses in this major a student must maintain at least a 2.0 average in all attempts at science and mathematics courses taken at the University of Illinois.

Fixed Physics Core 23-24
Physics Careers
University Physics: Mechanics
University Physics: Elec & Mag
Univ Physics: Thermal Physics
Univ Physics: Quantum Physics
Relativity & Math Applications
Classical Mechanics I
Electromagnetic Fields I
Quantum Physics I
Atomic Phys & Quantum Theory
Flexible physics core electives. Choose three courses from a departmentally approved list, with at least one being PHYS 401, PHYS 403, PHYS 404, or pHYS 406. The number of hours varies depending upon the courses chosen.9-15
Supporting Technical Courses21-22
Calculus I 1
Calculus II
Calculus III
Intro Differential Equations
Intro to Differential Eq Plus
General Chemistry I
General Chemistry Lab I
Intro Computing: Engrg & Sci
Elective Technical or Professional Option12
A set of technical or professional courses that addresses an intellectually coherent body of knowledge. At least 9 hours should be at the 200-level or higher. Required courses may not be included in the set. Students may select from a list of pre-approved options or design a custom option, subject to departmental approval.