# Physics Major, B.A.

**Christian Iliadis, Chair**

**Dylan Delisle, Academic Affairs Coordinator, Physics and Astronomy**

**Frank Tsui, Director of Undergraduate Studies**

**Sean Washburn, Physics Advisor (students with last names beginning with A–D)**

**Dan Reichart, Physics Advisor (students with last names beginning with E–K)**

**Jennifer Weinberg-Wolf, Physics Advisor (students with last names beginning with L–R)**

**Yue Wu, Physics Advisor (students with last names beginning with S–Z)**

The goal of physics and astronomy is a unified description of the properties of matter and energy. The study of matter and energy encompasses a range of phenomena, from the subnuclear to the cosmological. Physics seeks to understand the way the universe “works,” from the very small scale (quarks and neutrinos) to the human scale (materials encountered in daily life) to the very large (the structure of the cosmos). Different approaches and technologies are used in these different regimes.

## Department Programs

**Majors**

**Minors**

**Graduate Programs**

## Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the physics program, students should be able to:

- Demonstrate knowledge of major concepts, theoretical reasoning, and empirical findings in physics and/or astronomy — Knowledge Base in Physics
- Apply knowledge of physics and mathematics to solve problems — Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
- Effectively conduct research under guidance of faculty member — Research and the Advancement of Physics and Astronomy

- Gain entry to top graduate programs, employment as physicists in industry, teaching positions in high school physics and astronomy, or apply their skills in other rewarding careers — Preparation for Future Career

## Requirements

In addition to the program requirements listed below, students must

- attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
- complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
- take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill
- earn a minimum of 18 hours of C or better in the major core requirements (some majors require 21 hours).

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

### Physics Major, B.A. – Standard Option

Code | Title | Hours |
---|---|---|

Core Requirements | ||

PHYS 118 | Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity | 4 |

PHYS 119 | Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta | 4 |

PHYS 201 | Basic Mechanics ^{1} | 3 |

or PHYS 401 | Mechanics I | |

PHYS 211 | Intermediate Electromagnetism ^{2} | 3 |

or PHYS 311 | Electromagnetism I | |

PHYS 281L | Experimental Techniques in Physics | 2 |

PHYS 331 | Introduction to Numerical Techniques in Physics | 4 |

Nine additional credits chosen from ASTR (numbered above 300) and PHYS (numbered above 200) | 9 | |

Additional Requirements | ||

CHEM 101 & 101L | General Descriptive Chemistry I and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I | 4 |

CHEM 102 & 102L | General Descriptive Chemistry II and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II ^{H} | 4 |

MATH 231 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable I | 4 |

MATH 232 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable II | 4 |

MATH 233 | Calculus of Functions of Several Variables ^{H} | 4 |

MATH 383 | First Course in Differential Equations ^{H} | 3 |

Total Hours | 52 |

H | Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply. |

^{1} | Spring course |

^{2} | Fall course |

Astronomy (ASTR) and Physics (PHYS) course descriptions.

### Physics Major, B.A. – Astronomy Option

Code | Title | Hours |
---|---|---|

Core Requirements | ||

PHYS 118 | Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity | 4 |

PHYS 119 | Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta | 4 |

PHYS 201 | Basic Mechanics ^{1} | 3 |

or PHYS 401 | Mechanics I | |

PHYS 211 | Intermediate Electromagnetism ^{2} | 3 |

or PHYS 311 | Electromagnetism I | |

PHYS 281L | Experimental Techniques in Physics | 2 |

PHYS 331 | Introduction to Numerical Techniques in Physics | 4 |

Six additional credits chosen from ASTR (numbered above 300) | 6 | |

Three additional credits chosen from: | 3 | |

ASTR (numbered above 300) | ||

Physical Computing ^{1} | ||

Research with Faculty Mentor I | ||

Research with Faculty Mentor II ^{H} | ||

Imaging Science: From Cells to Stars | ||

Senior Honor Thesis Research I | ||

Senior Honor Thesis Research II | ||

Additional Requirements | ||

ASTR 101 | Introduction to Astronomy: The Solar System ^{H} | 3 |

ASTR 101L | Introduction to Astronomy Laboratory: Our Place in Space | 1 |

or ASTR 111L | Educational Research in Radio Astronomy | |

ASTR 202 | Introduction to Astrophysics ^{2} | 3 |

MATH 231 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable I | 4 |

MATH 232 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable II | 4 |

MATH 233 | Calculus of Functions of Several Variables ^{H} | 4 |

MATH 383 | First Course in Differential Equations ^{H} | 3 |

Total Hours | 51 |

H | Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply. |

^{1} | Spring course |

^{2} | Fall course |

Astronomy (ASTR) and Physics (PHYS) course descriptions.

### Physics Major, B.A. – Biological Physics Option

Code | Title | Hours |
---|---|---|

Core Requirements | ||

PHYS 118 | Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity | 4 |

PHYS 119 | Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta | 4 |

PHYS 201 | Basic Mechanics ^{1} | 3 |

or PHYS 401 | Mechanics I | |

PHYS 211 | Intermediate Electromagnetism ^{2} | 3 |

or PHYS 311 | Electromagnetism I | |

PHYS 281L | Experimental Techniques in Physics | 2 |

PHYS 331 | Introduction to Numerical Techniques in Physics | 4 |

PHYS 405 | Biological Physics ^{2} | 3 |

PHYS 441/BMME 341 | Thermal Physics ^{2} | 3 |

or CHEM 481 | Physical Chemistry I | |

PHYS 585 | Imaging Science: From Cells to Stars (capstone) | 3 |

Additional Requirements | ||

BIOL 101 | Principles of Biology ^{H} | 3 |

CHEM 101 & 101L | General Descriptive Chemistry I and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I | 4 |

CHEM 102 & 102L | General Descriptive Chemistry II and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II ^{H} | 4 |

MATH 231 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable I | 4 |

MATH 232 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable II | 4 |

MATH 233 | Calculus of Functions of Several Variables ^{H} | 4 |

MATH 383 | First Course in Differential Equations ^{H} | 3 |

Six additional credits chosen from: | 6 | |

BIOL (numbered above 200) | ||

Introduction to Organic Chemistry I ^{H} | ||

Introduction to Organic Chemistry II ^{H} | ||

Introduction to Biological Chemistry ^{H} | ||

PHYS (numbered above 200) | ||

Total Hours | 61 |

H | Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply. |

^{1} | Spring course |

^{2} | Fall course |

Biology (BIOL) course descriptions.

Physics (PHYS) course descriptions.

### Physics Major, B.A. – Energy Option

Code | Title | Hours |
---|---|---|

Core Requirements | ||

PHYS 118 | Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity | 4 |

PHYS 119 | Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta | 4 |

PHYS 131 | Energy: Physical Principles and the Quest for Alternatives to Dwindling Oil and Gas ^{1} | 3 |

PHYS 131L | Energy: Physical Principles and the Quest for Alternatives to Dwindling Oil and Gas | 1 |

or PHYS 281L | Experimental Techniques in Physics | |

PHYS 201 | Basic Mechanics ^{1} | 3 |

or PHYS 401 | Mechanics I | |

PHYS 211 | Intermediate Electromagnetism ^{2} | 3 |

or PHYS 311 | Electromagnetism I | |

PHYS 331 | Introduction to Numerical Techniques in Physics | 4 |

PHYS 351 | Electronics I ^{2} | 4 |

PHYS 581 | Renewable Electric Power Systems | 3 |

or PHYS 582 | Decarbonizing Fuels | |

Additional Requirements | ||

BIOL 101 & 101L | Principles of Biology and Introductory Biology Laboratory ^{H} | 4 |

BIOL 202 | Molecular Biology and Genetics ^{H} | 4 |

or BIOL 271 | Plant Biology | |

CHEM 101 & 101L | General Descriptive Chemistry I and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I | 4 |

CHEM 102 | General Descriptive Chemistry II ^{H} | 3 |

CHEM 261 | Introduction to Organic Chemistry I ^{H} | 3 |

CHEM 481 | Physical Chemistry I | 3 |

MATH 231 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable I | 4 |

MATH 232 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable II | 4 |

MATH 233 | Calculus of Functions of Several Variables ^{H} | 4 |

MATH 383 | First Course in Differential Equations ^{H} | 3 |

Total Hours | 65 |

H |

^{1} | Spring course |

^{2} | Fall course |

Physics (PHYS) course descriptions.

### Physics Major, B.A. – Quantitative Finance Option

Code | Title | Hours |
---|---|---|

Core Requirements | ||

PHYS 118 | Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity | 4 |

PHYS 119 | Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta | 4 |

PHYS 201 | Basic Mechanics ^{1} | 3 |

or PHYS 401 | Mechanics I | |

PHYS 211 | Intermediate Electromagnetism ^{2} | 3 |

or PHYS 311 | Electromagnetism I | |

PHYS 281L | Experimental Techniques in Physics | 2 |

PHYS 331 | Introduction to Numerical Techniques in Physics | 4 |

PHYS 441/BMME 341 | Thermal Physics ^{2} | 3 |

or CHEM 481 | Physical Chemistry I | |

Six additional credits chosen from BUSI (numbered above 400), MATH (numbered above 200), and PHYS (numbered above 200) | 6 | |

Additional Requirements | ||

BUSI 408 | Corporate Finance ^{3} | 3 |

BUSI 580 | Investments ^{H} | 3 |

BUSI 588 | Introduction to Derivative Securities and Risk Management ^{H} | 1.5 |

BUSI 589 | Fixed Income ^{H} | 1.5 |

BUSI 600 | Risk Management | 1.5 |

BUSI 688 | Applied Derivatives ^{H} | 1.5 |

CHEM 101 | General Descriptive Chemistry I | 3 |

CHEM 102 | General Descriptive Chemistry II ^{H} | 3 |

MATH 231 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable I | 4 |

MATH 232 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable II | 4 |

MATH 233 | Calculus of Functions of Several Variables ^{H} | 4 |

MATH 383 | First Course in Differential Equations ^{H} | 3 |

Total Hours | 62 |

H |

^{1} | Spring course |

^{2} | Fall course |

^{3} | BUSI 101 and ECON 101 are prerequisites for BUSI 408, but these prerequisites may be waived for students in the Quantitative Finance program. |

Business Administration (BUSI) course descriptions.

Mathematics (MATH) course descriptions.

Physics (PHYS) course descriptions.

As part of these course requirements, candidates for the B.A. degree must earn grades of C (not C-) or better in at least 18 credit hours of courses that are listed under Core Requirements.

## Sample Plan of Study

Sample plans can be used as a guide to identify the courses required to complete the major and other requirements needed for degree completion within the expected eight semesters. The actual degree plan may differ depending on the course of study selected (second major, minor, etc.). Students should meet with their academic advisor to create a degree plan that is specific and unique to their interests. The sample plans represented in this catalog are intended for first-year students entering UNC–Chapel Hill in the fall term. Some courses may not be offered every term.

## Standard Option

First Year | ||
---|---|---|

Fall Semester | Hours | |

MATH 231 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable I | 4 |

CHEM 101 & 101L |
General Descriptive Chemistry I and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I |
4 |

Hours | 8 | |

Spring Semester | ||

MATH 232 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable II | 4 |

CHEM 102 & 102L |
General Descriptive Chemistry II and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II ^{H} |
4 |

Hours | 8 | |

Sophomore Year | ||

Fall Semester | ||

PHYS 118 | Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity | 4 |

MATH 233 | Calculus of Functions of Several Variables ^{H} |
4 |

Hours | 8 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHYS 119 | Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta | 4 |

MATH 383 | First Course in Differential Equations ^{H} |
3 |

Hours | 7 | |

Junior Year | ||

Fall Semester | ||

PHYS 281L | Experimental Techniques in Physics | 2 |

PHYS 211 or PHYS 311 |
Intermediate Electromagnetism or Electromagnetism I |
3 |

Hours | 5 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHYS 201 or PHYS 401 |
Basic Mechanics or Mechanics I |
3 |

PHYS 331 | Introduction to Numerical Techniques in Physics | 4 |

One course (3 hours) chosen from ASTR (numbered above 300) and PHYS (numbered above 200) | 3 | |

Hours | 10 | |

Senior Year | ||

Fall Semester | ||

One course (3 hours) chosen from ASTR (numbered above 300) and PHYS (numbered above 200) | 3 | |

Hours | 3 | |

Spring Semester | ||

One course (3 hours) chosen from ASTR (numbered above 300) and PHYS (numbered above 200) | 3 | |

Hours | 3 | |

Total Hours | 52 |

H |

## Astronomy Option

First Year | ||
---|---|---|

Fall Semester | Hours | |

MATH 231 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable I | 4 |

ASTR 101 & 101L |
Introduction to Astronomy: The Solar System and Introduction to Astronomy Laboratory: Our Place in Space ^{H} |
4 |

Hours | 8 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHYS 118 | Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity | 4 |

MATH 232 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable II | 4 |

Hours | 8 | |

Sophomore Year | ||

Fall Semester | ||

PHYS 119 | Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta | 4 |

MATH 233 | Calculus of Functions of Several Variables ^{H} |
4 |

Hours | 8 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHYS 281L | Experimental Techniques in Physics | 2 |

MATH 383 | First Course in Differential Equations ^{H} |
3 |

Hours | 5 | |

Junior Year | ||

Fall Semester | ||

ASTR 202 | Introduction to Astrophysics | 3 |

PHYS 211 or PHYS 311 |
Intermediate Electromagnetism or Electromagnetism I |
3 |

Hours | 6 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHYS 201 or PHYS 401 |
Basic Mechanics or Mechanics I |
3 |

PHYS 331 | Introduction to Numerical Techniques in Physics | 4 |

One course chosen from ASTR (numbered above 300) | 3 | |

Hours | 10 | |

Senior Year | ||

Fall Semester | ||

One course chosen from ASTR (numbered above 300) | 3 | |

One additional elective course ^{1} |
3 | |

Hours | 6 | |

Total Hours | 51 |

H |

^{1} | Three credits chosen from ASTR (numbered above 300) and PHYS 231, PHYS 295, PHYS 395, PHYS 585, PHYS 691H, PHYS 692H. |

## Biological Physics Option

First Year | ||
---|---|---|

Fall Semester | Hours | |

MATH 231 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable I | 4 |

BIOL 101 | Principles of Biology ^{H} |
3 |

Hours | 7 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHYS 118 | Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity | 4 |

MATH 232 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable II | 4 |

CHEM 101 & 101L |
General Descriptive Chemistry I and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I |
4 |

Hours | 12 | |

Sophomore Year | ||

Fall Semester | ||

PHYS 119 | Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta | 4 |

MATH 233 | Calculus of Functions of Several Variables ^{H} |
4 |

CHEM 102 & 102L |
General Descriptive Chemistry II and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II ^{H} |
4 |

Hours | 12 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHYS 281L | Experimental Techniques in Physics | 2 |

MATH 383 | First Course in Differential Equations ^{H} |
3 |

Hours | 5 | |

Junior Year | ||

Fall Semester | ||

PHYS 405 | Biological Physics | 3 |

Elective course ^{2} |
3 | |

Hours | 6 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHYS 201 or PHYS 401 |
Basic Mechanics or Mechanics I |
3 |

PHYS 331 | Introduction to Numerical Techniques in Physics | 4 |

Elective course ^{2} |
3 | |

Hours | 10 | |

Senior Year | ||

Fall Semester | ||

PHYS 211 or PHYS 311 |
Intermediate Electromagnetism or Electromagnetism I |
3 |

PHYS 441 or CHEM 481 |
Thermal Physics or Physical Chemistry I |
3 |

Hours | 6 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHYS 585 | Imaging Science: From Cells to Stars | 3 |

Hours | 3 | |

Total Hours | 61 |

H |

^{2} | Courses may be chosen from BIOL (numbered above 200), CHEM 261, CHEM 262, CHEM 430, PHYS (numbered above 200). |

## Energy Option

First Year | ||
---|---|---|

Fall Semester | Hours | |

MATH 231 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable I | 4 |

CHEM 101 & 101L |
General Descriptive Chemistry I and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I |
4 |

Hours | 8 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHYS 118 | Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity | 4 |

MATH 232 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable II | 4 |

CHEM 102 | General Descriptive Chemistry II ^{H} |
3 |

Hours | 11 | |

Sophomore Year | ||

Fall Semester | ||

PHYS 119 | Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta | 4 |

MATH 233 | Calculus of Functions of Several Variables ^{H} |
4 |

BIOL 101 & 101L |
Principles of Biology and Introductory Biology Laboratory ^{H} |
4 |

Hours | 12 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHYS 131 | Energy: Physical Principles and the Quest for Alternatives to Dwindling Oil and Gas | 3 |

PHYS 131L or PHYS 281L |
Energy: Physical Principles and the Quest for Alternatives to Dwindling Oil and Gas or Experimental Techniques in Physics |
1 |

MATH 383 | First Course in Differential Equations ^{H} |
3 |

CHEM 261 | Introduction to Organic Chemistry I ^{H} |
3 |

Hours | 10 | |

Junior Year | ||

Fall Semester | ||

PHYS 211 or PHYS 311 |
Intermediate Electromagnetism or Electromagnetism I |
3 |

BIOL 202 or BIOL 271 |
Molecular Biology and Genetics ^{H}or Plant Biology |
4 |

Hours | 7 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHYS 201 or PHYS 401 |
Basic Mechanics or Mechanics I |
3 |

PHYS 331 | Introduction to Numerical Techniques in Physics | 4 |

CHEM 481 | Physical Chemistry I | 3 |

Hours | 10 | |

Senior Year | ||

Fall Semester | ||

PHYS 351 | Electronics I | 4 |

Hours | 4 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHYS 581 or PHYS 582 |
Renewable Electric Power Systems or Decarbonizing Fuels |
3 |

Hours | 3 | |

Total Hours | 65 |

H |

## Quantitative Finance Option

First Year | ||
---|---|---|

Fall Semester | Hours | |

MATH 231 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable I | 4 |

CHEM 101 | General Descriptive Chemistry I | 3 |

Hours | 7 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHYS 118 | Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity | 4 |

MATH 232 | Calculus of Functions of One Variable II | 4 |

CHEM 102 | General Descriptive Chemistry II ^{H} |
3 |

Hours | 11 | |

Sophomore Year | ||

Fall Semester | ||

PHYS 119 | Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta | 4 |

MATH 233 | Calculus of Functions of Several Variables ^{H} |
4 |

Hours | 8 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHYS 281L | Experimental Techniques in Physics | 2 |

PHYS 331 | Introduction to Numerical Techniques in Physics | 4 |

MATH 383 | First Course in Differential Equations ^{H} |
3 |

Hours | 9 | |

Junior Year | ||

Fall Semester | ||

PHYS 211 or PHYS 311 |
Intermediate Electromagnetism or Electromagnetism I |
3 |

PHYS 441 or CHEM 481 |
Thermal Physics or Physical Chemistry I |
3 |

BUSI 408 | Corporate Finance | 3 |

Hours | 9 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHYS 201 or PHYS 401 |
Basic Mechanics or Mechanics I |
3 |

BUSI 580 | Investments ^{H} |
3 |

Hours | 6 | |

Senior Year | ||

Fall Semester | ||

BUSI 588 | Introduction to Derivative Securities and Risk Management ^{H} |
1.5 |

BUSI 589 | Fixed Income ^{H} |
1.5 |

BUSI 688 | Applied Derivatives ^{H} |
1.5 |

One course chosen from BUSI (numbered above 400), MATH (numbered above 200), and PHYS (numbered above 200) | 3 | |

Hours | 7.5 | |

Spring Semester | ||

BUSI 600 | Risk Management | 1.5 |

One course chosen from BUSI (numbered above 400), MATH (numbered above 200), and PHYS (numbered above 200) | 3 | |

Hours | 4.5 | |

Total Hours | 62 |

H |

## Special Opportunities in Physics and Astronomy

### Honors in Physics and Astronomy

The honors program offers exceptionally well-qualified students an opportunity to perform original research with a faculty member and graduate with honors or highest honors. It requires an overall grade point average of at least 3.3 and a grade point average of at least 3.4 for physics courses at the end of the junior year.

Students who wish to enter the honors program should consult with the departmental coordinator for the program no later than the preregistration period in the spring semester of their junior year.

### Departmental Involvement

The Society of Physics Students, open to anyone interested in physics, builds connections between undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and alumni. The society invites visitors to give talks and sponsors a number of events for students each year. Women in Physics at UNC–Chapel Hill, an organization that aims to provide resources, advice, and an encouraging social atmosphere for women in the field of physics, welcomes physics majors and all women interested in physics.

### UNC–BEST

The UNC Baccalaureate Education in Science and Teaching (UNC–BEST) Program is a collaboration between the School of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences and is designed to allow undergraduate science majors interested in teaching high school science the opportunity to earn their science degree and obtain licensure as a North Carolina high school science teacher in four years. UNC–BEST students meet all the degree requirements for their degree using PHYS 410 as one of their upper-level physics courses.

Code | Title | Hours |
---|---|---|

PHYS 410 | Teaching and Learning Physics | 4 |

EDUC 689 | Foundations of Special Education (may substitute EDUC 516) | 3 |

EDUC 532 | Introduction to Development and Learning (may substitute EDUC 403) | 3 |

EDUC 615 | Schools and Community Collaboration (may substitute EDUC 533) | 3 |

EDUC 593 | Internship/Student Teaching | 12 |

EDUC 601 | Education Workshops | 1 |

For more details on admission requirements, application deadlines, and submitting an online application, visit the School of Education Web site.

### Undergraduate Awards

The department gives awards each year to the senior (Shearin Award) and junior (Johnson Award) who demonstrate the greatest achievement. In addition, the department awards the major with the most research achievement the Robert Sheldon Award for Undergraduate Research.

### Undergraduate Research

All majors conduct at least one semester of research under the supervision of a faculty member. Many enjoy the experience so much that they continue for several semesters. An approved learning contract is required prior to registering for PHYS 295 and PHYS 395, and students must be registered within the first week of classes.