Physics Major

UWM Schedule of Classes: Physics
Fall
UWinteriM
Spring
Summer
UWM Schedule of Classes: Astronomy
Fall
UWinteriM
Spring
Summer

The Department offers a standard Physics Major which provides a thorough background in physics. Students who wish to specialize in astronomy may pursue a somewhat different course of study.

How do I sign up? Simply visit with an undergraduate advisor and fill out a short form to enroll.

General requirements

All options require that students take at least 15 credits in advanced-level courses (numbered 300 and above) in residence at UWM. The College requires that students attain at least a 2.5 GPA on all credits in the major attempted at UWM, and students must attain a 2.5 GPA on all major credits attempted, including transfer work. In addition, the College also has requirements regarding the minimum number of credits at the 300-level and above (36 credits, with at least 30 credits from courses approved as advanced L&S natural science), and for General Education Requirements - please check with an L&S advisor for the latest information.

All students in the College are required to complete a research experience in their majors. Physics majors meet this requirement by successfully completing one of the following upper-level, 3-credit laboratory courses:

Physics 406 Introduction to Infrared Microspectroscopy
Physics 408 Experiments in Linear Electronics
Physics 409 Modern Physics Laboratory
Physics 410 Optics Laboratory
Physics 670 Electron Microscopy Laboratory
or  
Physics 391 Undergraduate Research Participation
The research proposal must be approved by the Undergraduate Advisor and the Departmental Undergraduate Committee; it must demonstrate clear pedagogical value. Unfocused laboratory internships are not acceptable.

Planning Your Major

To help plan, here is a tentative listing of future advanced undergraduate Physics and Astronomy course offerings. Download this worksheet to chart your course to graduation! Details of courses and their prerequistes can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog.

Standard Physics Major

A typical course of study for the standard physics major (including the math co- and pre-requisites) is:


Fall Spring
Year 1 Physics 209 (Math 232(C)) Physics 210 (Math 233(C))

Physics 214 Physics 215



Year 2 Physics 309 (Math 234(C)) Physics 317

Physics 370 Physics 411

physics elective*



Year 3 Physics 420 (Math 321(P)) Physics 422

Physics 441 (Math 321(C)) Physics 442

advanced physics lab*

*Note: You should talk to the Physics Advisor to discuss which electives and advanced laboratories to take and during which semester.

A minimum of 41 credits in physics, of which 15 must be taken in advanced-level courses (numbered 300 and above) in residence at UWM, are required, including:

a. Two semesters of calculus-based introductory physics

Physics 209 Physics I (Calculus Treatment) 4

Physics 214 Lab Physics I (Calculus Treatment) 1

Physics 210 Physics II (Calculus Treatment) 4

Physics 215 Lab Physics II (Calculus Treatment) 1




b. Physics 309 Physics III: Modern Physics 3




c. One of either

Physics 270 Introduction to Computational Physics 3

Physics 370 Computational Physics 3




d. Physics 317 Thermodynamics 3




e. One of the following advanced laboratory courses:
(Note: these courses are NOT offered every semester; check with the undergraduate advisor to plan for completing this requirement.)

Physics 406 Infrared Microspectroscopy Laboratory 3

Physics 408 Experiments in Linear Electronics 3

Physics 409 Modern Physics Laboratory 3

Physics 410 Optics Laboratory 3

Physics 670 Electron Microscopy Laboratory 3

Or


Physics 391 Undergraduate Research Participation
(The research proposal must be approved by the Undergraduate Advisor and the Departmental Undergraduate Committee; it must demonstrate clear pedagogical value. Unfocused laboratory internships are not acceptable.)





f. Physics 411 Mechanics 4




g. Physics 420 Electricity and Magnetism I 3




h. Physics 422 Electricity and Magnetism II 3




i. Physics 441 Quantum Physics I 4




j. Physics 442 Quantum Physics II
(Students who major in both physics and engineering are not required to take Physics 442; however, it is recommended strongly that they do so.)
4






Total:  39 credits

k. Electives from Physics or Astronomy courses 300 level or above, minimum 2 cr, selected from the following list:

Astron 300 Astronomy I 3

Astron 320 Astronomy II 3

Physics 305 (405) Medical Physics 3

Physics 306 Introduction to Biophysics 3

Physics 325 Optics 3

Physics 370 Computational Physics (if not selected above) 3

Physics 391 Undergraduate Research Participation 1-6

Physics 406 Infrared Microspectroscopy Laboratory (if not selected above) 3

Physics 408 Experiments in Linear Electronics (if not selected above) 3

Physics 409 Modern Physics Laboratory (if not selected above) 3

Physics 410 Optics Laboratory (if not selected above) 3

Physics 498 Undergraduate Seminar 1

Physics 515 Statistical Mechanics 3

Physics 517 Special Relativity 3

Physics 531 Principles of Quantum Mechanics I 3

Physics 532 Principles of Quantum Mechanics II 3

Physics 541 Elementary Particles 3

Physics 551 Introduction to Solid State Physics I 3

Physics 651 Introduction to Solid State Physics II 3

Physics 670 Electron Microscope Laboratory (if not selected above) 3

Physics Major with Astronomy emphasis

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee offers a physics degree for students wishing to specialize in Astronomy. Students satisfy all of the regular requirements for the physics major as well as taking concentrated studies in astronomy. The whole program takes the same length of time as any other undergraduate degree. It is especially intended for students who wish to work in the field of astronomy or pursue graduate studies in the field.

a. Two semesters of calculus-based introductory physics

Physics 209 Physics I (Calculus Treatment) 4

Physics 214 Lab Physics I (Calculus Treatment) 1

Physics 210 Physics II (Calculus Treatment) 4

Physics 215 Lab Physics II (Calculus Treatment) 1




b. Physics 309 Physics III: Modern Physics 3




c. One of either

Physics 270 Introduction to Computational Physics 3

Physics 370 Computational Physics 3




d. Physics 317 Thermodynamics 3




e. Physics 325
Optics 3




f. Physics 410 Optics Laboratory
2




g. Physics 411 Mechanics 4




h. Physics 420 Electricity and Magnetism I
3




i. Physics 422 Electricity and Magnetism II 3




j. Physics 441 Quantum Physics I 4




k. Physics 442 Quantum Physics II
(Students who major in both physics and engineering are not required to take Physics 442; however, it is recommended strongly that they do so.)
3




l. Astron 104
Astronomy Laboratory
1




m. Astron 300
Astronomy I
3




n. Astron 320
Astronomy II
3




o. 6 credits of electives from the following:
  Astron 381
Honors Seminar
3




  Atm Sci 110
The Origin, Composition, and Structure of Planetary Atmospheres 3




  Geo Sci 120
Geology of the Planets
3




  Physics 391
Undergraduate Research Participation
1-6




  Physics 517
Special Relativity
3




  Physics 541
Nuclear and Elementary Particle Phsyics
3






Total:  55 credits

Double Major in Physics and Engineering 

We offer a special degree combination in which a student completes the requirements for both Physics and an Engineering Major. More information can be obtained here.

Physics 498: Undergrad Physics Seminar

The aim of the course is to provide students with an appreciation of recent developments in various subfields of physics and astronomy. Topics in engineering, mathematics, chemistry, science education and other fields may also be included from time to time. Students will be expected to present a seminar on a topic of their own choosing. Questions and discussions will be encouraged. Students are expected to attend the Departmental colloquia.

Prerequisite: Senior standing.

Credits:1 credit 

Physics Colloquium

Selected Fridays at 3:00 pm in room 135 in UWM Physics building. Coffee and Cookies served at 2:45 pm.

The Physics Colloquium Program is a series of physics talks for faculty members, postdocs, graduate and advanced undergraduate students interested in physics. There is a list of upcoming and past talks. Everyone is welcome to attend.