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BA in Physics

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. The BA degree provides a broad coverage of classical and modern physics while permitting a broader liberal arts education. It is normally selected by students who plan to enter a professional school later in their academic career, e.g. medicine, dentistry or law, or who desire to pursue a teaching certificate. Physics plays a pivotal role in such areas of expanding and societal importance as biomedical optical imaging/biomedicine, materials science, and homeland security, and as such, courses are offered in optical sciences, biological physics, materials sciences and nanotechnology.

Major Program Requirements

In addition to University, general education, and College of Arts and Science requirements, students must also meet the following major program requirements. All major requirements in the College of Arts and Science must be completed with grades of C- or higher unless otherwise indicated.

PHYSCS 2010Undergraduate Seminar in Physics1
University Physics I
and University Physics II
PHYSCS 3150Introduction to Modern Physics3
MATH 1500
MATH 1700
MATH 2300
Analytic Geometry and Calculus I
and Calculus II
and Calculus III
MATH 4100Differential Equations3
CHEM 1400
CHEM 1401
College Chemistry I
and College Chemistry I Laboratory
or CMP_SC 1050 Algorithm Design and Programming I
or INFOTC 1040 Introduction to Problem Solving and Programming
Additional physics/astronomy15
Total Credits48-49

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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
PHYSCS 20101MATH 170015
MATH 150015PHYSCS 275015
ENGLSH 1000*3Humanities/Fine Arts Course*3
HIST 1100, 1200, or POL_SC 1100*3 
 12 13
Second Year
MATH 230013PHYSCS 3150W3
PHYSCS 276015MATH 410013
Second language I*4-6Second language II*4-6
Behavioral Science Course*3Behavioral Science Course*3
 Social Science Course3
 15-17 16-18
Third Year
PHYSCS electives16PHYSCS electives16
Second language III*3-4CHEM 1400, CMP_SC 1050, or INFOTC 10403
2000-level Social Science Course*3CHEM 14011
2000-level Behavioral Science Course*32000-level Humanities/Fine Arts Course (Writing Intensive)*3
 Elective Course3
 15-16 16
Fourth Year
PHYSCS Elective/Research13PHYSCS Elective/Research13
Humanities/Fine Arts Course*6Humanities/Fine Arts course*3
Elective Course3Elective Course3
Elective Course3Elective Course3
 Elective Course4
 15 16
Total Credits: 118-123

Course meets degree program requirements


Course meets University general education and/or campus graduation requirements

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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. 

MU students can request a degree audit by logging in to myDegreePlanner. Students may also access myDegreePlanner via myZou, in the Student Center, click on the Academic Progress Tile, then select Request Degree Audit. 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 https://advising.missouri.edu/contact/.

Prospective students, can access a preliminary MU degree audit via https://www.transferology.com. 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 https://registrar.missouri.edu/degrees-audits/degree-audits/.

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Major and Course 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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