Nov 17, 2018  
2014-2015 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog 
2014-2015 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]


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BS degree

The Physics program prepares students for pure or applied research into the physical phenomena of nature, from the subatomic to the cosmic realm. The curriculum provides students with a powerful array of scientific skills, including mathematical analysis, computer modeling, and hands-on experimentation.

The first two years of the physics program provide the core scientific and mathematical background required for advanced courses taken during the third and fourth years. The selection of  advanced courses should be consistent with students’ interests and career goals. Many courses are designed to prepare students for graduate study in the field. Students must consult with their advisors at least once each semester to plan their schedule. Students are encouraged to work on faculty-sponsored research or independent study projects, which carry course credits that can be applied to their physics major program. The department also offers a Bachelor of Science Degree Option in Astronomy/Astrophysics, as well as a graduate program leading to the Master of Science Degree in Physics.

Calculation of GPA in the Physics Major

Students must have earned a minimum 2.000 cumulative grade point average (GPA) for all courses taken at the university in order to graduate. Students must also have a minimum 2.000 cumulative GPA in the major. For purposes of this computation:

  1. All courses with a PHY prefix at the 300-level or higher together with PHY courses 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 213, 225, 227, 234 and 252 count in calculating the GPA for a physics major.
  2. Courses required for the major but taken outside the major discipline are not counted in the calculation of the major cumulative GPA.
  3. If a course is repeated, only the most recent course grade (whether higher or lower) shall be used to calculate the major cumulative GPA.


To graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics, a minimum of 120 university credits are required. Of these, 45 credits are approved courses in physics; 12 credits in specified courses in mathematics; 6 credits in courses in a second science, mathematics or engineering; and 30 credits at the 300 level or higher are required. Students are required to consult with their advisor before registering for courses.

Students who earn below a grade of C in PHY 111/113, PHY 112/114, or PHY 213 must consult with their advisor before the start of the following semester to develop a strategy for academic improvement.

First Year (Recommended Sequence)

First Semester: 16 credits

  • University Studies requirement - 3 credits (see Footnote 1 below)

Second Semester: 17 credits

  • University Studies requirement - 3 credits (see Footnote 1 below)
  • Free Elective - 3 credits

Second Year (Recommended Sequence)

First Semester: 14 credits

  •  University Studies requirement - 3 credits (see Footnote 1 below)

Third Year (Recommended Sequence)

First Semester: 15 credits

  • University Studies requirement - 3 credits (see Footnote 1 below)
  • Second Science elective I - 3 credits (see Footnote 7 below)

Second Semester: 15 credits

  • Second Science elective II - 3 credits (see Footnote 7 below)

Fourth Year (Recommended Sequence)

First Semester: 15 credits

  • University Studies requirement - 3 credits (see Footnote 1 below)
  • Free Elective (300+ level) - 3 credits
  • Physics Elective (200+ level) - 3 credits

Second Semester: 15 credits

  • PHY 300+ University Studies Capstone Project - 3 credits (see Footnote 10 below)
  • Physics Electives (300+ level) - 3 credits
  • Free Elective (300+ level) - 3 credits
  • Free Elective - 3 credits

Total Credits: 120


  1. These courses must be selected from approved courses in Clusters 3 and 4 of the University Studies curriculum and should be discussed with your advisor.
  2. ENL 101 and ENL 102 satisfy University Studies Clusters 1A and 1B, respectively.
  3. PHY 109 satisfies University Studies Cluster 1E.
  4. PHY 115 satisfies University Studies Cluster 2B.
  5. PHY 114 satisfies University Studies Cluster 2A.
  6. PHY 225 satisfies University Studies Cluster 1C.
  7. Students must complete 6 credits in a second science, mathematics, or engineering. Both courses must be from the same department (Biology, Chemistry, Computer and Information Science, Mathematics, Bioengineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering) or in Astrophysics (PHY 252, PHY 363). Courses must satisfy the major requirement for the respective department and be approved by the faculty advisor.
  8. A minimum of 6 credits of advanced laboratory courses is required. Other courses may be substituted with approval of faculty advisor.
  9. PHY 441 and PHY 442 are typically offered on an alternating basis.
  10. An approved Capstone Study satisfies University Studies Clusters 5A and 5B.

Physics Electives (at least 7 credits from this list)


* Students who intend to continue their studies in physics at the graduate level should consult frequently with their advisors. Advanced physics courses typically taken by these students are indicated above by an asterisk.

Alternative Curricula and Programs

Depending on the results of placement testing, incoming first-year students may be placed in MTH 150 Pre-Calculus, whose successful completion is required before moving on to MTH 151/153 Calculus. Students in the Pathways program or START (Steps Toward Abstract Reasoning and Thinking) program take a first-year preparatory curriculum established by those programs before pursuing the standard physics curriculum. Students should consult their advisor for further information.

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