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.

Renee Sullivan-Gonzalez, BA physics '18. Renee is technical analyst studying data from infrasound sensors and various military systems for Hyperion Technology Group, Inc. "It's exciting and somewhat surreal to work on projects I learned about in the classroom, especially since Hyperion collaborates with the National Center for Physics Acoustics on a number of projects and devices. "I was fortunate to do my undegraduate research with Dr. Joel Mobley and Dr. Cecille Labuda improving image capture for the measurements of the primary Bjerknes force in a cavitating ultrasonic field. I played with bubbles produced by sound waves in water while utilizing the knowledge and skills I'd learned in the classroom. The experience laid the foundation for my work at Hyperion and introduced me to people with whom I work professionally."

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.

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.

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 13 hours of approved physics courses at the 300 level or higher including Phys 303.  At least 6 of those 13 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

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.

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 13 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 in Physics consists of 18 hours in physics, which must include either Phys 211, 212, 221 and 222 or Phys 213, 214, 223, 224; and at least 10 hours chosen from Phys 303, 308, 309, 310, 317, 318, 319, 321, 401, 402 and 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.

 

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.

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.