BS in Physics with Emphasis in Materials Science

Degree Program Description

Physics is the science that studies the structure and properties of matter and transformations of energy. With math as the language and experimental verification as a guide, physical study has established the fundamental laws of nature that are the foundation of all natural science and technology. The study of physics includes learning the general principles and the phenomena that have been discovered and developing the skills that enable such knowledge to be advanced through research. Materials Science is an interdisciplinary field encompassing several disciplines of science and technology. Physics lies at the heart of materials science since it provides a rationale for understanding the mechanical, thermal, optical, and magnetic properties of matter. The emphasis area in materials science prepares students in areas of high demand for the 21st century workforce in the US. Materials scientists are employed by companies who make products ranging from metals, ceramics, and biomedical implants to integrated-circuit chips and superconducting materials. A major concentration of the program is on nanomaterials, which prepares students in areas of nanotechnology and energy-related issues.

Major Program Requirements

Students interested in materials science may choose to pursue a BS in Physics with an Emphasis in Materials Science. For this option, students must take the same required courses as the students pursuing a regular BS degree, take PHYSCS 4620 Introduction to Materials Science, and three additional physics electives (3 courses) from the list below:

PHYSCS 4190Physics and Chemistry of Materials3
PHYSCS 4230Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis3
PHYSCS 4410Analysis of Biological Macromolecules and Biomaterials3
PHYSCS 4600Semiconductor Optics3
PHYSCS 4620Introduction to Materials Science3
PHYSCS 4650Modern Condensed Matter Physics3
PHYSCS 4950Undergraduate Research in Physics1-3
PHYSCS 4960Senior Thesis in Physics3

With approval, one materials science related course may be taken from outside the physics program. Only courses in which a grade of C- or above will be counted toward the emphasis area.

In addition, students must complete all College of Arts and Science and University graduation requirements, including University general education.

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Semester Plan

First Year
MATH 1500^5MATH 1700^5
General Education*3PHYSCS 2750^5
ENGLSH 1000*3General Education*3
PHYSCS 28002 
CHEM 1320^4 
 17 13
Second Year
MATH 2300^3MATH 4100^3
General Education*3PHYSCS 4140^3
General Education*3General Education*3
PHYSCS 2760^5Specialized/Foreign Language3
 PHYSCS 3150^3
 14 15
Third Year
PHYSCS 4100^3PHYSCS 4120^3
PHYSCS 46203MATH Elective^3
MATH 4500^3General Education*3
PHYSCS 4060^3Specialized/Foreign Language*3
Specialized/Foreign Language*3PHYSCS Elective^3
 15 15
Fourth Year
PHYSCS 4800^3PHYSCS 4810^3
PHYSCS Elective^3PHYSCS 4985^3
PHYSCS Elective^3PHYSCS Elective^3
Specialized/Foreign Language*3Electives/Research3
 12 12
Total Credits: 113

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Degree Audit

The degree audit is an automated report reflecting a student’s academic progress toward the completion of a degree.  Degree Audits are not available for all programs; however, please consult with the appropriate college or school for audit information.

MU students can request a degree audit by logging in to myDegreePlanner.  Students may also access myDegreePlanner via myZou, in the Student Center, by clicking on the Request Degree Audit link. The audit automatically pulls in the student’s MU course work, transfer courses and courses in progress.  This is available to current students, admitted students, and those who last attended less than three terms ago.

Past MU students can request a degree audit by contacting the Academic Advising Unit of the division in which they were last enrolled at MU. For contact information, go to

Prospective students, can access a preliminary MU degree audit via Information on the college credits already earned will have to be manually entered before it can be evaluated against current degree requirements.

For additional details on degree audits, go to

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Major and Career Exploration

The University of Missouri has many resources to assist you in exploring majors and career possibilities.  For guidance, visit the Majors and Careers website or view specific resources below.

  • If you would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career Center in the lower level of the Student Success Center.  No appointment is necessary to explore career options with one of our staff members.

For additional major and career exploration resources, visit Major & Career Exploration in the catalog.

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