Physics Major Faculty Courses Physics/Engineering Dual Degree Astronomy Minor Alumni

Physics Major

The Physics major at Radford University has been used by students to go to graduate school in physics and engineering, to go straight into industry (often in engineering-related fields), and to go into high school teaching positions. We offer three concentrations that allow students to tailor their physics major to their specific career goals. These concentrations are Physics, Earth and Space Science, and Physics Education.

For the traditional Physics major, students in the Physics Concentration take the full slate of physics courses that we offer. This also includes Independent Study courses in their junior and senior year to delve into areas beyond our usual course offerings. In recent years these Independent Study courses have considered various topics including Einstein's General Theory of Relativity (gravitational waves), introductory quantum field theory, processing of raw environmental satellite data and various studies in fluid dynamics. For physics majors who want to pursue careers in astronomy, elective courses would include our advanced astronomy courses (ASTR 310, 421, 422). Physics majors are encouraged to consider summer internships at locations such as Green Bank NRAO, NASA and other locations through the National Science Foundation's Summer REU Program.

The Earth and Space Science Concentration allows students to take a number of applied physics classes such as our Geophysics class, advanced Astronomy classes, and Engineering Geology (offered by the RU Geology Department). This concentration prepares students for a career immediately upon graduation in fields such as applied physics, civil engineering, and others. This also allows students in our 3:2 Engineering program with Virginia Tech to take upper level applied classes that will better prepare them for their chosen engineering concentration. This might also be the concentration of choice for those who would like a career in astronomy given the suite of upper level observational (ASTR 310) and theoretical (ASTR 421, 422) astronomy classes that we offer.

The Physics Education Concentration requires the traditional year of introductory physics, along with a core group of intermediate physics courses. This allows for flexibility for students who want to take their physics degree into a teaching career. Students who start this concentration their freshman year can complete the physics requirements as well as receive their teaching certification within their 4 years at Radford.

All students work closely with their individual academic advisor to plan the course of study that best suits their own career goals.

Further information:

Physics Major--Physics Concentration Checklist

Required Physics Courses: 28 hours

____ PHYS 221:222. Physics. (4,4) 
____ PHYS 305. Modern Physics. (4)
____ PHYS 306. Intermediate Mechanics. (3)
____ PHYS 308. Electricity and Magmetism. (3)
____ PHYS 309. Electronics Lab. (1)
____ PHYS 320. Mechanics. (3)
____ PHYS 421. Electromagnetic theory I. (3)
____ PHYS 430. Quantum Mechanics. (3)

Required Math Courses: 12 hours

____ MATH 151. Calculus I (3)
____ MATH 152. Calculus II. (3)
____ MATH 251. Calculus III. (3)
____ MATH 252. Calculus IV. (3)

Other Courses: 6 hours. A minimum of 6 semester hours must be selected from the following:

____ PHYS 310. Optics. (4)
____ PHYS 330. Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics. (3)
____ PHYS 422. Electromagnetic Theory II. (3)
____ PHYS 450. Selected Topics in Physics. (3-4)

BS or BA requirements: 8 or 12 hours

B.S. Requirement (8 hours): CHEM 101:102. General Chemistry. (4:4)

B.A. Requirement (12 hours): The Bachelor of Arts degree requires completion of the B.A. language requirement described in the RU catalog.

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Physics Major--Earth and Space Concentration Checklist

Required Physics Courses: 19 hours

____ PHYS 111:112. General Physics (4:4)
        or PHYS 221:222. Physics (4:4)
____ PHYS 305. Modern Physics. (4)
____ PHYS 306. Intermediate Mechanics. (3)
____ PHYS 308. Electricity and Magmetism. (3)
____ PHYS 309. Electronics Lab. (1)

Required Math Courses: 12 hours

____ MATH 151. Calculus I. (3)
____ MATH 152. Calculus II. (3)

Other Courses: 16 hours. A minimum of 16 semester hours must be selected from the following:

____ ASTR 111. General Astronomy I. (4)
____ ASTR 112. General Astronomy II. (4)
____ ASTR 310. Observational Astronomy. (3)
____ ASTR 421. Solar System Astronomy. (3)
____ ASTR 422. Galactic Astronomy & Cosmology. (3)
____ PHYS/GEOL 406. Geophysics. (4)
____ GEOL 455. Engineering Geology. (4)
____ Any PHYS course at the 300 level or above except PHYS 470.

BS or BA requirements: 8 or 12 hours

B.S. Requirement (8 hours): CHEM 101:102. General Chemistry. (4:4)

B.A. Requirement (12 hours): The Bachelor of Arts degree requires completion of the B.A. language requirement described in the RU catalog.

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Physics Major--Physics Teaching Concentration Checklist

Required Physics Courses: 22hours

____ PHYS 221:222. Physics. (4,4) 
____ PHYS 305. Modern Physics. (4)
____ PHYS 306. Intermediate Mechanics. (3)
____ PHYS 308. Electricity and Magmetism. (3)
____ PHYS 309. Electronics Lab. (1)
____ PHYS 430. quantum Mechanics. (3)

Required Math Courses: 9 hours

____ MATH 151. Calculus I (3)
____ MATH 152. Calculus II. (3)
____ MATH 251. Calculus III. (3)

Other courses. 9 hours. A minimum of 9 semester hours must bel selected from the following:

____ PHYS 310. Optics. (4)
____ PHYS 320. Mechanics. (3)
____ PHYS 330. Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics. (3)
____ PHYS 421. Electromagnetic theory I. (3)
____ PHYS 422. Electromagnetic Theory II. (3)
____ PHYS 450. Selected Topics in Physics. (3-4)
____ ASTR 421. Solar System Astronomy. (3)
____ ASTR 422. Galactic Astronomy and Cosmology. (3)

BS or BA requirements: 8 or 12 hours

B. S. Requirement (8 hours): CHEM 101:102. .General Chemistry I:II (4,4)

B. A. Requirement (12 hours): The Bachelor of Arts degree requires completion of the B.A. language requirement described in the RU catalog.

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To graduate with a major in Physics, a student must attain an overall grade point average of 2.0 in the courses (cumulative) required for the major.