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 (the emphasis will show up on the transcript). For this option, students must take the required physics courses for the regular BS degree, physics 4620 Introduction to Materials Science, and four additional physics elective courses. Three of the physics electives must be chosen from the list below:

PHYSCS 4190Physics and Chemistry of Materials3
PHYSCS 4410Analysis of Biological Macromolecules and Biomaterials3
PHYSCS 4600Semiconductor Optics3
PHYSCS 4650Modern Condensed Matter Physics3
PHYSCS 4110Light and Modern Optics4
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.

Only courses with 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.

Semester Plan

Below is a sample plan of study, semester by semester.  A student's actual plan may vary based on course choices where options are available.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYSCS 20102PHYSCS 2750^5
MATH 1500^5MATH 1700^5
CHEM 1320 or CMP_SC 1050^4General Education*3
ENGLSH 1000*3 
 14 13
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYSCS 2760^5PHYSCS 3150W3
MATH 2300^3PHYSCS 41003
General Education*3MATH 4100^3
Foreign Language/Alternative*5General Education*3
 Foreign Language/ Alternative5
 16 17
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYSCS 41403PHYSCS 4120^3
PHYSCS 4060^3Physics Elective^6
Math Elective^3Math Elective^3
Foreign Language/Alternative*3General Education*3
General Education3 
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYSCS 4800^3PHYSCS Electives/Research^6
PHYSCS Elective/Research^6Elective courses9
General Education*3 
Elective courses3 
 15 15
Total Credits: 120

^ Course meets degree program requirements

* Course meets University general education and/or campus graduation requirements

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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 are considering a change of major or are exploring multiple majors, schedule an appointment with an advisor in the Discovery Center by calling (573)884-9700 or through MU Connect Discovery Center service in you success network.

  • If you have decided on a major, visit an academic advisor in the School or College that you are interested in to discuss the process of declaring the major

  • If you would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career 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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