Sep 26, 2021  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog

Physics, B.S.

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Return to: 3460 Department of Physics and Astronomy  

All degree programs described below are built on a core of 24 semester hours of physics numbered 3300 or above and 4 semester hours of mathematics. The standard program is designed to prepare the student for graduate school or immediate employment upon graduation. Students selecting the standard program must complete 21 semester hours of physics, astronomy and mathematics beyond the core set of physics and mathematics courses listed below. As alternatives to the standard program, courses in one of several specific areas of concentration may be chosen as described below. The available areas of concentration are applied physics, astronomy, pre-medicine, biophysics, geology, computer science, and education.

A central objective of Georgia State University is that all graduates from its programs will be proficient in writing, critical and analytical thinking, and use of information resources. In support of this objective, the Department of Physics and Astronomy explicitly incorporates activities to develop these skills as appropriate in each course.

To schedule an effective program of study, it is very important that all students intending to major in physics consult with the physics faculty adviser as soon as possible. Physics majors are strongly encouraged to complete PHYS 1000 in their first or second semester. PHYS 1000 is also appropriate for students considering physics and astronomy. Physics majors should pay special attention to the early completion of the mathematical requirements if they are to complete their physics requirements during the usual four-year span. The first calculus course should be taken during the freshman year, and the second and third calculus courses should be completed during the sophomore year. The department recommends that General Chemistry I and II be taken during the freshman year. The beginning physics sequence (PHYS 2211K-PHYS 2212K) should be completed before the end of the sophomore year. Students who enter the physics major after completing a non-calculus level elementary physics sequence should consult with the undergraduate director in physics on the best method of preparing for more advanced courses in physics.

In addition to the program Degree Requirements, students must fulfill the College of Arts and Sciences Degree Requirements (see Office of Academic Assistance ) and the University Degree Requirements (see 1400 University Degree Requirements and Graduation ).

University Grade-Point Average and Grade Requirements

Georgia State University undergraduate students must achieve an overall institutional grade-point average of 2.0 and a major GPA of 2.0 in Areas G and H to receive a bachelor’s degree from the university. Grades of C- can be used to satisfy graduation requirements. However, some courses have prerequisites that require a grade of C or higher. (See 1460 GPA Requirement  for additional information.)

Degree Requirements

Area A

Required course:

  • 3 Credit Hours or higher level MATH must be taken in Area A. A section of MATH 1113 - Precalculus  that is designated specifically for this major is recommended (see GoSolar listing to identify appropriate sections).

Areas D

Required course

Recommended courses

Area F: Courses Appropriate to the Major (18 Hours)

  • Students should choose courses appropriate to their intended concentration. Consult the Undergraduate Director for the BS in Physics for advice.
  • All courses above ending in K may also be offered as separate lecture and lab (L) courses. The combined (K) courses and separate lecture and lab (L) courses cover the same subject matter and are equivalent courses.
  • Any credit hours exceeding 18 earned to complete the Area F requirements will count toward elective hours.

Required Courses (18 Hours)

(Unless used to satisfy Area D requirements)

Area G: Major Courses

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers several concentrations within the B.S. in Physics degree program. The standard program is recommended for those who plan to pursue graduate study in physics. Other options include concentrations in applied physics, astronomy, pre-medicine, biophysics, geology, computer science, and education. Course requirements listed below for each of the options are in addition to the courses listed under Area F and the required lower division courses listed above. The standard program and all concentrations are centered on the 24-hour core of physics courses and the four-hour core of mathematics courses listed below.

Physics and Mathematics Core (28 Hours)

Required courses to fulfill CTW requirement (6 Hours)

Mathematics Requirements (4 Hours)

Area H: Minor and/or Additional Courses

  1. Students earning a B.S. through the Department of Physics and Astronomy are not required to take a minor.
  2. Additional courses must be taken as electives to complete a minimum of 120 semester hours. Although not a requirement, the department recommends that physics majors take these elective courses at the 2000 level or above in mathematics, computer science, chemistry, biology, geology, physics, or astronomy. (Consult with the departmental academic adviser.)

Graduation with Distinction in the Major

To qualify for Graduation with Distinction in Physics, students need a minimum grade-point average of 3.4 for all their GSU courses, plus a minimum grade-point average of 3.4 for all courses taken for their major, plus a grade of either A or A+ in the course PHYS 4900 - Research Project-CTW.

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