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General Physics Track

NOTE THAT THE INFORMATION BELOW APPLIES TO STUDENTS WHO ENTERED VANDERBILT PRIOR TO THE FALL 2017 SEMESTER AND WHO ARE COMPLETING THE MAJOR UNDER THE OLD SET OF REQUIREMENTS.

NOTE ALSO THAT THIS TRACK IS MERELY GUIDANCE FOR STUDENTS WITH POST-GRADUATION GOAL THAT ARE SOMETHING OTHER THAN CONTINUING THEIR STUDIES IN PHYSICS.  IT IS NOT A SEPARATE MAJOR.

STUDENTS WITH QUESTIONS SHOULD CONSULT WITH THE DIRECTOR OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDIES.

 

This track prepares students for applying technical knowledge in such fields as business, law, public policy and education. It is designed to be completed in three years, thus meeting the needs of a student who discovers in the freshman year that physics is an attractive major option. Note that this 'track' is simply for advising purposes for help in choosing electives. All physics majors complete the same requirements for the major.

The Curriculum

Physics introductory courses [4 or 5 hours]:  The first semester of either introductory sequence is a pre-requisite for the major, while the second semester begins the formal requirements of the major; as appropriate, any combination of first semester calculus-based physics plus second semester calculus-based physics satisfies the Introductory Course requirement:

  1. first semester introductory, calculus-based physics (pre-requisite for the major):
    • PHYS 1501 (Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences I) with PHYS 1501L (Laboratory for Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences I) [offered only in Fall semester] [4] or
    • PHYS 1601 (General Physics I) with PHYS 1601L (General Physics I Laboratory) [offered in both Spring and Fall semesters] [4] or
    • PHYS 1901: Principles of Physics I (includes lab and recitation section) [offered only in Fall semester] [5]
    2. second semester introductory, calculus-based physics (pre-requisite for the major):
    • PHYS 1502 (Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences II) with PHYS 1502L (Laboratory for Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences II) [offered only in Spring semester] [4] or
    • PHYS 1602 (General Physics II) with PHYS 1602L (General Physics II Laboratory) [offered in both Spring and Fall semesters] [4] or
    • PHYS 1902: Principles of Physics II (includes lab and recitation section) [offered only in Spring semester] [5]

 

Core curriculum [19 hours]:

  • PHYS 2250 or 2250W: Concepts and Applications of Quantum Physics I [Fall, 4]
  • PHYS 2260 or 2260W: Concepts and Applications of Quantum Physics II [Spring, 4]
  • PHYS 3200: Thermal and Statistical Physics [3] or PHYS 3207: Computational Thermal and Statistical Physics [Fall, 3]
  • PHYS 2270: Classical Mechanics I [Fall, 3]
  • PHYS 2290: Electricity, Magnetism and Electrodynamics I [Spring, 3]
  • PHYS 3600: Physics Undergraduate Seminar [1]
  • ASTR 2600: Astronomy Undergraduate Seminar [1]
  • Nine credit hours of electives in Physics and/or Astronomy, with a cap of 6 of these 9 credit hours that can be earned from any combination of Directed Study (Phys 3840 or Astr 3840), Independent Study (Phys 3860 or Astr 3860), and/or Honors research (Phys 4998 or Astr 4998) [9 hours], for example:
    • PHYS 2271: Intermediate Classical Mechanics [3]
    • PHYS 3651: Quantum Mechanics [3]
    • PHYS 2237: Computational Physics [3]

 

Sample general physics program

  Fall Semester Spring Semester
First Year Math 1300
first year writing seminar
Humanities 1 (W)
Foreign language 1
Math 1301
perspectives
History and Culture 1(W)
Foreign Language 2
Second Year Physics 1501 or 1601 and 1501L or 1601L, or 1901
Math 2300
Humanities 2 (W)
History and Culture 2
General Elective
Physics 1502 or 1602 and 1502L or 1602L, or 1902
Math 2410 or Math 2600
Computer Science 1010
Social Science 1
General Elective
Third Year Physics 2250 or 2250W
Physics 3207
Math 2420 or 2610
Humanities 3
General Elective
Physics 2260 or 2260W
Physics 2291
Math 3600
Social Science 2
History and Culture 3
Fourth Year Physics 2270
Physics 3600 or Astronomy 2600
Physics 3860 [1]
History and Culture 4
General Elective
Physics 2271
Physics or Astronomy elective
Astronomy 2600 or Physics 3600
Physics 3860 [3]
General Elective