Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Mississippi

Undergraduate Program

About the Program

Physics is an exciting major. Our course of study will prepare you for a research career in an industrial or government laboratory, or for graduate study in experimental and theoretical physics. After becoming well-trained in critical thinking and problem solving, many physics majors move on to computational programs, engineering programs, medical schools, or even business or law degrees. The department also offers a special major for life science (premed) students leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree. Our B.A. graduates have exceptionally high acceptance rates (over 95%) at Medical Schools. An average of 30 undergraduate physics majors are enrolled in any one semester.

Admission requirements for entering freshmen are based primarily on two factors: scores on standardized tests and high school academic performance. The average American College Test (ACT) score for physics majors is 27. Equal numbers of undergraduate students seek B.A. and B.S. degrees.

For more admissions information, and to apply for admission, please see the university’s admissions web site.

Degrees

Bachelor of Science

Our Bachelor of Science degree offers a comprehensive curriculum designed to fully prepare students for
graduate studies. The department is relatively small and intimate, allowing students and faculty to get to know each other and work closely together. More than 90 percent of B.S. graduates go on to graduate programs.

Recent graduates have gone on to physics and astronomy programs at institutions such as Caltech, Cornell, University of Illinois, University of Florida, Rochester Institute of Technology, and University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

The B.S. in physics requires 42 hours of credit from selected physics courses and at least 120 hours overall. The B.S. degree consists of the basic Physics for Scientists and Engineers (211, 212, 221, 222) in the freshman year and 34 hours of upper-division courses, which must include Mathematical Physics (308), Thermodynamics (309), Mechanics (310), Introduction to Modern Physics (317, 318), Optics (319), Electromagnetic Theory (401,402), and Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (451). One upper-division laboratory-based course is required in addition to Physics 319. This lab course is typically either Electronics (321) or Modern Physics Laboratory (417). A capstone course (498) is also required.

B.S. majors in physics must have a working knowledge of calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations. Math 261, 262, 263, 264, 319, and 353 are required courses and should be completed by the end of the junior year.

A student may elect to satisfy the Phys 211/212 requirements by demonstrating a high level of proficiency on a placement exam set by the department. In that case, the student must still complete 42 credit hours of physics courses.

Requirements

Hours

Physics (major): 42 physics hours are required, including 211, 212, 221, 222 and 34 hours of upper division courses, including 308, 309, 310, 317, 318, 319, 401, 402, 451 and one more upper division lab-based course. And Physics 498. 42
English Composition and Literature 12
Modern or Ancient Language (at the intermediate level) 6
Social Science / Humanities 12
Mathematics: 261, 262, 263, 264, 319, and 353 18
Fine or Performing Arts 3
Additional Electives 27

More information about the general requirements for a B.S. degree and about specific requirements for a B.S. degree in Physics are available in the online catalog.

Typical Curriculum

FALL SEMESTER

SPRING SEMESTER

Freshman Year

Math 261 (Calc I) 3 Math 262 (Calc II) 3
Physics 201 (Physics Toolbox) 1 Physics 212+222 (Intro Electricity & Magnetism, lecture+lab) 4
Physics 211+221 (Intro Mechanics, lecture+lab) 4 Writing 102 3
Writing 101 3 Modern or Ancient Language 102 3
Modern or Ancient Language 101 3 Social Science 3
Fine Arts 3

Sophomore Year

Math 263 (Calc III) 3 Math 264 (Calc IV) 3
Physics 317 (Modern Physics I) 3 Physics 318 (Modern Physics II) 3
Physics 321 (Electronics Lab)** 4 Physics 319 (Optics) 4
English 22x (Literature) 3 English 22x (Literature) 3
Social Science 3 Social Science / Humanities 3

Junior Year

Math 353 (Differential Equations) 3 Math 319 (Linear Algebra) 3
Physics 309 (Thermodynamics) 3 Physics 308 (Mathematical Physics) 3
Physics 401 (Electricity & Magnetism I) 3 Physics 402 (Electricity & Magnetism II) 3
Social Science / Humanities 3 Physics 310 (Mechanics) 3
Elective 3 Elective 3

Senior Year

Physics 451 (Quantum Mechanics) 3 Physics 498 (Capstone) 2
Elective 3 Physics 417 (Modern Physics Laboratory)** 4
Elective 3 Elective 3
Elective 3 Elective 3
Elective 3 Elective 3

** Only one of the two physics lab courses is required.
 

Bachelor of Arts

Bachelor of Arts

The B.A. in Physics requires 26 credit hours in physics and at least 120 hours overall. Students who complete the Physics B.A. degree must also complete a minor course of study or a second major. The Physics B.A. degree is offered in two tracks.

  • Track 1 includes the following: Phys 211, 212, 221, 222; and at least 16 hours of approved physics courses at the 300 level or higher (excluding Phys 303), of which at least 6 hours are of approved physics courses at the 400-level or above.
  • Track 2 includes the following: Phys 213, 214, 223, 224, 303; and at least 13 hours of approved physics courses at the 300 level or higher, of which at least 6 hours are of approved physics courses at the 400-level or above.

Both tracks require Physics 498.

Requirements

Hours

Physics (major): 26 hours are required, including at least 16 hours at the 300-level or higher, of which at least 6 hours are at the 400-level or above.

26
English Composition and Literature 12
Modern or Ancient Language (at the intermediate level) 6
Additional Science
Course must be chosen from: Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, or Geology and Geological Engineering
3
History 6
Mathematics: 261, 262 6
Social Science 6
Humanities 3
Fine or Performing Arts 3
Additional Electives 49

More information about the general requirements for a B.A. degree and about specific requirements for a B.A. degree in Physics are available in the online catalog.

Suggested Curriculum for the B.A. Degree in Physics

FALL SEMESTER

SPRING SEMESTER

Freshman Year

Classes Hours Classes Hours
Math 261 (Calc I) 3 Math 262 (Calc II) 3
Phys 213+223 (Intro Mechanics, lecture+lab) 4 Phys 214+224 (Intro Electricity & Magnetism, lecture+lab) 4
Writing 101 3 Writing 102 3
Modern or Ancient Language 101 3 Modern or Ancient Language 102 3
History 3 Social Science 3

Sophomore Year

Phys 303 (Physical Theory) 3 Phys 319 (Optics) 4
Modern or Ancient Language 201 3 Modern or Ancient Language 202 3
English 22x (Literature) 3 English 22x (Literature) 3
History 3 Social Science 3
Additional Science 3 Humanities 3

Junior Year

Phys 3xx (e.g., Phys 317: Modern Physics I) 3 Phys 4xx (e.g., Phys 417: Modern Physics Laboratory) 3
Fine Arts 3 Minor/Electives 12
Minor/Electives 9

Senior Year

Phys 4xx 3 Phys 498 (Captstone) 2
Minor/Electives 12 Minor/Electives 13

 

Premedical Physics Bachelor of Arts

Premedical Physics Bachelor of Arts

The B.A. program is tailored to students whose career goals do not require graduate-level study in physics. Ole Miss students who graduate with a B.A. in physics and whose sights are set on a medical career have a remarkable track record of success. Nearly 100 percent of these students have been accepted into medical school.

Course work in physics not only prepares a student for the physics section of the MCAT exam but also sharpens reasoning ability for the “Science Problems” and “Skills Analysis: Quantitative” sections of the MCAT. Study in physics also prepares students to solve applied physics problems similar to those in clinical medicine or clinical dentistry. The course of study leading to a B.A. in physics allows the student to take all the biology and chemistry courses that are necessary for the MCAT and are recommended by all major medical and dental schools.

The program follows the guidelines of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and is also ideally suited for those students wishing a career in fields of medical physics, health physics or biophysics.

This program is designed to continue our already high admission rate of physics majors into nationally recognized medical and dental schools, as well as preparing the student for solving applied physics problems very close to clinical medicine or clinical dentistry.

Requirements:

The B.A. in Physics for Premeds is offered in two tracks.

  • Track 1 includes the following: Physics 211, 221, 221, 222; at least 16 hours from the following: 315, 319, 321, 413, 415, 417, and 422.
  • Track 2 includes the following: Physics 213, 214, 223, 224, 303; at least 13 hours from the following: 315, 319, 321, 413, 415, 417, and 422.

For both tracks Physics 498, Math 261, and 262 are also required.

Physics courses at the appropriate level may be substituted at the discretion of the department.

Requirements

Hours

Physics (major): The B.A. in Physics for Premeds is offered in two tracks.

  • Track 1 includes the following: Physics 211, 221, 221, 222; at least 16 hours from the following: 315, 319, 321, 413, 415, 417, and 422.
  • Track 2 includes the following: Physics 213, 214, 223, 224, 303; at least 13 hours from the following: 315, 319, 321, 413, 415, 417, and 422.

For both tracks Physics 498, Math 261, and 262 are also required.

24
English Composition and Literature 12
Modern or Ancient Language 6
Additional Science (not Physics or Math)
Suggested Courses: Chemistry and Computer Science
3
History 6
Mathematics: 261, 262 6
Social Science 6
Humanities 3
Fine or Performing Arts 3

For more information please see the online catalog.

Suggested curriculum for Major in Premedical leading to a B.A. in Physics

FALL SEMESTER

SPRING SEMESTER

Freshman Year

Classes Hours Classes Hours
English 101 3 Writing 102 3
Bio Sci 160, 161 4 Bio Sci 162, 163 4
Chemistry 105, 115 4 Chemistry 106, 116 4
Math 261 3 Math 262 3
Modern or Ancient Language 101 3 Modern or Ancient Language 102 3

Sophomore Year

Physics 213 3 Physics 214 3
Physics Lab 223 1 Physics Lab 224 1
Chemistry 221, 225 4 Chemistry 222, 226 4
English (200 level) 3 English (200 level) 3
Bio Sci 336 4 Bio Sci 330 4
Modern or Ancient Language 201 3 Modern or Ancient Language 202 3

Junior Year

Physics 319 4 Physics 413 3
Physics 303 3 Psychology 3
History 3 History 3
Psychology 3 English 321 3
Fine Arts 3 *Prepare for MCAT

Senior Year

Physics 315 3 Phys 415 3
Physics 321 4 Chemistry 473 3
Philosophy 328 3 Bio Sci 332 4
Chemistry 471 3 Elective 3
Elective 3 Phys 498 0

 

Physics Minor

Physics Minor

A minor in Physics consists of 18 hours in physics, which must include either the Physics for Science & Engineering I and II (Phys 211, 212) their associated Labs (Phys 221, 222) sequence or the General Physics I and II (Phys 213, 214) and their associated Labs (Phys 223, 224) sequence; and at least 10 hours chosen from the following:

  • Physical Theory (Phys 303)
  • Mathematical Physics (Phys 308)
  • Thermodynamics (Phys 309)
  • Mechanics (Phys 310)
  • Either Radiation Science Phys (Phys 315) or Introduction to Modern Physics I (Phys 317)
  • Introduction to Modern Physics II (Phys 318)
  • Optics (Phys 319)
  • Electronics (Phys 321)
  • Electromagnetic Theory I (Phys 401)
  • Electromagnetic Theory II (Phys 402)
  • Either the Radiation Physics Laboratory (Phys 415) or the Modern Physics Laboratory (Phys 417)
  • Digital Electronics & Microprocessors (Phys 422)
  • Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (Phys 451)

Note that all 300- and 400-level physics courses have prerequisites of at least Math 261 and Math 262. Physics courses at the appropriate level may be substituted at the discretion of the department. For more information please see the online catalog.
 

For more information please see the complete undergraduate catalog at the academic programs web page.

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