Physics Minor

Physics Minor

Physics is the fundamental science from which many fields of science and engineering developed. Understanding it gives you insights into your field at broad and fundamental levels. This strengthens your abilities to innovate and to see basic connections in your specialization or across disciplines.

A physics minor can provide you with a cross-disciplinary background that is highly valued by industry and academics. For engineering majors, a physics minor provides a strong background in fundamentals, giving you the depth and flexibility to explore a wider range of career opportunities, such as in optics or solid state applications. A math major with an interest in applied math will find that a physics minor provides the hands-on experience and intuitive background that is helpful in understanding and building mathematical models. There are many overlapping areas in biology and physics, especially in biotechnology and biophysics. In medicine, a physics minor differentiates you among the applicants for medical school. For chemistry majors, particularly those interested in physical chemistry, a physics minor gives a better understanding of the many overlapping areas of the two disciplines. Students can also combine a business or humanities major and a physics minor. In an increasingly technical society, there is a need for managers who understand the science behind the product.

Minor Requirements

If you are already an engineering or science major, you have, or will take several of the courses required for the physics minor.

The minor requirements include the introductory 200-level physics courses, PHYS 237, and several 400-level physics courses for a total of 23 credits. At the 400-level, you can design your own program to include interests in optics, solid-state physics, mechanics, electro-magnetic fields, thermodynamics, or other areas. Note that, depending on your major, some of the classes may fulfill technical elective requirements in your major.

You should carefully plan your program with the help of your major adviser and a physics adviser. Upper division 400-level courses are taught on a rotating basis; each course taught once every two years.

Required Courses:

  • MATH 140 (4 credits)
  • MATH 141 (4 credits)
  • PHYS 211 (4 credits)
  • PHYS 212 (4 credits)
  • PHYS 213 (2 credits)
  • PHYS 214 (2 credits)
  • PHYS 237 (3 credits)

Supporting Courses:
In addition, students select two 400-level PHYS courses (6-8 credits), except PHYS 444, 445, 446, 457, 457W, 494, 494H, 495, 496, 496H, or 499.