The Colorado State University Physics major is designed to give each student a good basic background in physics, but allow flexibility in course selection so students can prepare for diverse careers. The Physics major is offered in two “concentrations”, Physics and Applied Physics, which have most requirements in common and lead to the same degree (B.S. in Physics). The former is the standard concentration, and is recommended for students planning to apply to graduate programs in Physics or related disciplines. The latter requires the student to select a specific “field’: there are a variety to choose from, and each has its own menu of associated electives. The Applied Physics concentration is ideal for students who are double-majoring in other technical disciplines, or who anticipate further education towards a career in health professions (including, notably, Medical Physics).
All physics majors are required to take a core set of courses in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Communications. To round out your curriculum, you select courses that fit your personal interests and long-term goals. There are also University breadth requirements (the All-University Core Curriculum) that give your education greater diversity.
Substitutions for departmentally required courses can be made upon written approval of the Key Adviser. Waivers of departmental requirements can be authorized only by the Department Chair. Both of these concentrations can be completed in four years, as long as the student starts physics coursework in their second term.
The requirements for the physics concentration are listed in the University Catalog and are conveniently summarized in the chart to the right (click to enlarge).
Students who do not start calculus and physics (or just physics) their first semester can complete the degree in four years by following the plan outlined in the “offset” chart, conveniently summarized in the chart to the right (click to enlarge).
Applied Physics Concentration
The requirements for the applied physics concentration are listed in the University Catalog and are conveniently summarized in the chart to the right (click to enlarge).
Changing Majors and Double Majors
For students transferring into Physics from other majors within CSU or double-majoring, the following substitutions are generally acceptable if grades of C or higher were obtained: M155 for M160; EE 202 for PH 245; EE 341 and EE 342 for PH 351. Other substitutions are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Transfer students entering CSU in a Fall term with an A.S. degree from a community college and appropriate coursework (two semesters of calculus-based physics and three semesters of calculus) can generally expect to complete a Physics major at CSU in five semesters (with one semester of planned undergraduate leave, in the spring of the second year).
Students who have completed an A.S. from a Colorado community college and satisfied all the requirements for the Colorado community college articulation agreement need only 60 credits at CSU. Graduation is possible in four semesters following a plan such as the one described in the chart to the right.
Minor in Physics
Students in other fields may find that some upper division courses in Physics are valuable, and a Minor in Physics is offered to recognize their efforts. Beyond the introductory Physics sequence, the Introduction to Modern Physics (4 credit) course and 8 further credits in upper division Physics or Astronomy courses are required.