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Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Mississippi

Undergraduate Program

Our physics majors acquire a broad understanding of the physical principles of nature, develop critical thinking and quantitative reasoning skills and become creative scientific thinkers.  Our undergraduates participate in physics research with professors in the department and this along with the physics degree opens up paths to a wide variety of careers including employment in technical areas, finance, law and the health professions.  Read about one of our recent graduates below.  Click here to read more about our alumni.JAROD WRIGHT, BS Physics and Mathematics 2020. Jarod is a graduate student in Mathematics at the Univserity of Tennessee at Chattanooga. His undergraduate research was in computational physics where he studied antiferromagnetic configurations of lattices. "Thanks to faculty in botht he physics and mathematics departments, I've gathered a much more alluring image of physics career. I've gone from a broader more generalized ambition of being a scientist to being excited about specific goals. Pursuing a mathematics BS has been very complementary to my physics education. I would recommend it to anyone studying physics.

 

About the Program

A degree in physics provides the foundation for graduate study in experimental or theoretical physics, astronomy, astrophysics and many other sciences such as chemistry, oceanography, seismology, astronomy.  It can also be applied to the health professions such as medicine and dentistry. Our course of study leads to a unique and effective approach to problem solving which many employers value when looking for potential candidates which makes our majors well prepared to enter the workforce in a wide variety of areas upon graduation.  We offer a Bachelor of Science degree as well as a two-track Bachelor of Arts degree.  One track is targeted to pre-medical students and our graduates have exceptional acceptance rates (>95%) at medical schools.  There are about 35 majors in the program on average.  The department is relatively small and intimate, allowing students and faculty to get to know each other and work closely together.

Degrees

Bachelor of Science

Our Bachelor of Science degree offers a comprehensive curriculum designed to fully prepare students for graduate studies. Recent graduates have gone on to physics and astronomy programs at institutions such as the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

“Honing your problem solving skills in college puts you at the forefront of social sciences, physical sciences, business. finance, and other fields. The University of Mississippi provides a welcoming and supportive learning environment. You will have invaluable opportunities for mentorship from professors who care about you as an individual.”
—Samuel Watson (BS mathematics and physics, BA classics, MS mathematics), who studied mathematics at the University of Cambridge and earned a PhD in mathematics at MIT on a National Science Foundation fellowship, is a faculty member and director graduate studies in the Data Science Initiative at Brown University.

Requirements (120 Total Credit Hours)

Hours

Physics: 45 physics hours are required, including 211, 212, 221, 222 and 34 hours of upper division courses, including 303, 308, 309, 310, 317, 318, 319, 401, 402, 451, 463 or 464 and one more upper division lab-based course. 45
English Composition and Literature 12
Modern or Ancient Language (at the 200 level) 6
Social Science / Humanities 12
Mathematics: 261, 262, 263, 264, 319, and 353 18
Fine or Performing Arts 3
Additional Electives 24

 

Bachelor of Arts

Bachelor of Arts

The B.A. in Physics requires 29 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.

“Physics taught me how to be an abstract thinker and to use science as a toll to unlock my full potential as a learner. It has so many applications in the real world, including the field of medicine and renewable energy. It prepared me well for my path in medicine and can open the door to any career you choose to pursue.”
—Chioma Udemgba (BA physics) attending the Duke University School of Medicine where she was awarded the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Medical Fellowship and researched chemo-resistant ovarian cancer. She is currently completing an internal medicine-pediatrics residency program at Tulane University.

Requirements (120 Total Credit Hours)

Hours

Physics: 29 physics hours are required.  Two tracks are available as described below.

Track 1: Phys 211, 212, 221, 222 and at least 16 hours of approved physics courses at the 300 level or higher including Phys 303.  At least 6 of those 16 hours must be approved physics courses at the 400-level or above.  At least 2 of those 6 hours must be taken from Phys 461, 463 or 464.

Track 2: Phys 213, 214, 223, 224 and at least 16 hours of approved physics courses at the 300 level or higher including Phys 303.  At least 6 of those 16 hours must be approved physics courses at the 400-level or above.  At least 2 of those 6 hours must be taken from Phys 461, 463 or 464.

29
English Composition and Literature 12
Modern or Ancient Language (at the 200 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 46

 

Bachelor of Arts (Premedical Focus)

Bachelor of Arts (Premedical Focus)

The B.A. program with premedical focus is tailored to students whose career goals are in the health professions such as medicine and dentistry. UM 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. Recent graduates have gone on to medical school programs at institutions such as The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine and many go on to the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

The course of study develops the critical thinking skills that students will need to solve the types of problems that they will encounter in their medical studies and career.  The course work prepares students for the physics section of the MCAT exam and also sharpens reasoning ability for the “Science Problems” and “Skills Analysis: Quantitative” sections of the MCAT. 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 that 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.

Requirements (120 Total Credit Hours)

Hours

Physics: 29 physics hours are required. Two tracks are available as described below.

Track 1: Phys 211, 212, 221, 222, 303 and at least 16 hours chosen from Phys 317, 319, 321 413 and 417.  At least 2 hours of Phys 461, 463 or 464 must be taken.

Track 2: Phys 213, 214, 223, 224, 303 and at least 16 hours chosen from Phys 319, 319, 321, 413 and 417.  At least 2 hours of Phys 461, 463 or 464 must be taken.

29
English Composition and Literature 12
Modern or Ancient Language (at the 200 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 46

 

Physics Minor

Physics Minor

A minor consists of 18 hours in physics, which must include the Phys 211, 212, 221, 222 sequence or the 213, 214, 223, 224 sequence, and at least 10 hours in physics courses at the 300 level or above, with the exclusion of Phys 303, 461, 463, and 464. Students may not use both Phys 315 and 317, nor both Phys 415 and 417, towards the minor.

 

Astronomy Minor

Astronomy Minor

A minor in Astronomy familiarizes students with the main concepts in astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology.  It introduces the main facts about the solar system, stellar and galactic astronomy, and cosmology; develops some of the theory needed to understand the astrophysics of those systems; and teaches students some of the observational techniques, including telescopes and astrophotography.

A minor in astronomy consists of the following 6 courses: Astr 103, 204, 325, 436 and Phys 317, 317, 319.  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.

Course List

The UM Catalog contains a full list of all our courses.  Courses at the 400-level or lower can be taken by undergraduates with no restrictions as long as prerequisites are in place.  Courses at the 500-level may require instructor approval.  Click here for a list of our courses.

Credit by Examination

A student may be granted credit for some of our introductory physics courses if they have taken certain domestic and international examinations.  The exams and the course credit granted are detailed on the UM Credit by Examination page here.

Awards, Scholarships, and Financial Aid

The department awards several scholarships annually: the Lewis, the Kennon, the Price and the Bolen scholarships.  Our flagship Lewis scholarship can amount to potentially thousands of dollars annually.  More information about our scholarships and other scholarships for STEM majors available through the College of Liberal Arts can be found here.

Activities

Student Services

Contact our Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Dr. Cecille Labuda, if you have questions or would like more information about the program.