Jul 21, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
    
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics Pathway Guide


Click here for more information about transferring to SMU.

Preparation for Transfer as a Physics Major


The following sequences are suggested courses to take in your semesters prior to transferring to SMU as a physics major. For students attending a Texas public community college or university, Texas Common Course Numbers (TCCNS) are listed. If you are transferring from a college or university outside of Texas, click on the SMU course for a course description which may be used to select/compare courses at your current institution.

CC listings refer to SMU’s Common Curriculum, which all undergraduates are required to complete. Refer to the Common Curriculum Transfer Guide  for a list of courses satisfying CC components. Interactive equivalency guides organized by transfer institution are available on the Transfer and Transition Services’ website.

Save all of your course syllabi! 

Please note: These plans assume students are ready to take calculus. If you are not “calculus ready,” take math courses to prepare you for calculus so that you advance to calculus as soon as possible. Also, if you are planning a minor, typically only one or two transfer courses will be applied.

Preparing for a Smooth Transition


A seamless transfer to SMU and the Physics Program requires planning. This guide is designed to assist you in planning your transition. Taking the time to prepare for your move lays the best foundation for success. The following are a few important points to remember:

  • The second language requirement of the Common Curriculum  may be satisfied by 1) transferring two terms of college courses in the same world language, 2) placing out of four terms of world language by taking an SMU placement test or through AP or IB credit, or 3) being literate in a native language other than English.
  • SMU accepts AP scores of 4 or 5.
  • Work on the Common Curriculum  prior to transfer is highly encouraged.
  • Compare Course Descriptions  found in SMU’s University Catalog to course descriptions at your current institution to maximize your awarded transfer credits.
  • For additional information on the Physics major, visit the department website or call 214-768-2495.
  • For more information about transferring to SMU, click here or call 214-768-3417.

B.S. in Physics


SCHs = Semester Credit Hours

First Year

Fall TCCN SCHs
WRTR 10XX - First Year Writing I ENGL 1301 3
MATH 1337 - Calculus I   MATH 2413 3
PHYS 1303 - Introductory Mechanics  / PHYS 1105 - Mechanics Laboratory   PHYS 2425 4
SPCH 10XX SPCH 1315 3
CC Breadth - Creativity and Aesthetics Choose One: ARTS 1301, ARTS 1316, ARTS 2316 , ARTS 2326, ARTS 2333, ARTS 2346, ARTS 2356, DRAM 1351, HUMA 1315, MUSI 1306 3
  SCHs 16
Spring TCCN SCHs
WRTR 10YY - First Year Writing II ENGL 1302 3
MATH 1338 - Calculus II   MATH 2414 3
PHYS 1304 - Introductory Electricity and Magnetism  / PHYS 1106 - Electricity and Magnetism Laboratory   PHYS 2426 4
CC Breadth - Historical Contexts Choose One: ARTS 1303, ARTS 1304, HIST 1301, HIST 1302, HIST 2321, HIST 2322 3
Second major, minor or elective course 3
  SCHs 16

Second Year

Fall TCCN SCHs
MATH 3302 - Calculus III: Multi–Variable and Vector Calculus   MATH 2415 4
CC Breadth - Literary Analysis and Interpretation Choose One: ENGL 2321, ENGL 2322, ENGL 2323, ENGL 2326, ENGL 2327, ENGL 2328, ENGL 2331, ENGL 2332, ENGL 2333 3
CC Breadth - Social and Behavioral Sciences Choose One: ANTH 2351, GOVT 2305, GOVT 2371, PSYC 2301, PSYC 2314, PSYC 2319, SOCI 1301 3
World Language* 4
  SCHs 14
Spring TCCN SCHs
MATH 3304 - Introduction to Linear Algebra   MATH 2318 3
MATH 3313 - Ordinary Differential Equations   MATH 2320 3
CC Breadth Course - Philosophical, Religious and Ethical Inquiry Choose One: PHIL 1301, PHIL 1304, PHIL 2303, PHIL 2306 3
CC Breadth Course - Technological Advances and Society Choose One: COSC 1301/1401, BCIS 1305, COSC 1309 3
World Language* 4
  SCHs 16

B.A. in Physics


SCHs = Semester Credit Hours

First Year

Fall TCCN SCHs
WRTR 10XX - First Year Writing I ENGL 1301 3
MATH 1337 - Calculus I   MATH 2413 3
PHYS 1303 - Introductory Mechanics  / PHYS 1105 - Mechanics Laboratory   PHYS 2425 4
SPCH 10XX SPCH 1315 3
CC Breadth - Creativity and Aesthetics Choose One: ARTS 1301, ARTS 1316, ARTS 2316 , ARTS 2326, ARTS 2333, ARTS 2346, ARTS 2356, DRAM 1351, HUMA 1315, MUSI 1306 3
  SCHs 16
Spring TCCN SCHs
WRTR 10YY - First Year Writing II ENGL 1302 3
MATH 1338 - Calculus II   MATH 2414 3
PHYS 1304 - Introductory Electricity and Magnetism  / PHYS 1106 - Electricity and Magnetism Laboratory   PHYS 2426 4
CC Breadth - Historical Contexts Choose One: ARTS 1303, ARTS 1304, HIST 1301, HIST 1302, HIST 2321, HIST 2322 3
Second major, minor or elective course 3
  SCHs 16

Second Year

Fall TCCN SCHs
MATH 3302 - Calculus III: Multi–Variable and Vector Calculus   MATH 2415 4
CC Breadth - Literary Analysis and Interpretation Choose One: ENGL 2321, ENGL 2322, ENGL 2323, ENGL 2326, ENGL 2327, ENGL 2328, ENGL 2331, ENGL 2332, ENGL 2333 3
CC Breadth - Social and Behavioral Sciences Choose One: ANTH 2351, GOVT 2305, GOVT 2371, PSYC 2301, PSYC 2314, PSYC 2319, SOCI 1301 3
World Language* 4
  SCHs 14
Spring TCCN SCHs
CC Breadth Course - Philosophical, Religious and Ethical Inquiry Choose One: PHIL 1301, PHIL 1304, PHIL 2303, PHIL 2306 3
CC Breadth Course - Technological Advances and Society Choose One: COSC 1301/1401, BCIS 1305, COSC 1309 3
World Language* 4
 

Note


*The second language requirement may be satisfied by (1) transferring two terms of college courses in the same world language, (2) placing out of four terms of a world language by taking an SMU placement test or through AP or IB credit, or (3) being literate in a native language other than English.

The Physics Department


Physics is the study of space, time, energy and matter. It tries to ask and answer, in a verifiable and reproducible way, the deepest questions about the origin, nature and fate of the universe.

The Department of Physics  at SMU offers both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees, including a specialization in cosmology and astrophysics, as well as a minor in physics. In addition to participating in research and leading experiments, students are given the opportunity to join leadership and organizational activities such as the local chapter of the Society of Physics Students.

Research Program


The SMU Department of Physics research programs are concentrated in experimental and theoretical particle physics, astrophysics, and astronomy. The general aim of the research programs are to establish the properties of the most fundamental constituents of matter and the laws governing their behavior as well as the properties, behaviors, and histories of stars, galaxies, and the cosmos. SMU particle physicists work on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, the NOvA and DUNE experiments based at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, and nuclear collider programs at Jefferson National Accelerator Laboratory and the Brookhaven National Laboratory. Astrophysics and particle physics intersect in the SuperCDMS SNOLAB program at the SNOLAB underground science facility in Canada. The astrophysics and astronomy programs employ a range of satellite- and ground-based telescopes studying the Cosmic Microwave Background, galactic-scale phenomena (including supermassive black holes), and individual stars. All of these areas touch on leading questions that challenge modern physics, such as the origin of the elementary particle properties, the apparent asymmetry between matter and anti-matter in the universe, the nature of dark matter and dark energy, and the birth of the cosmos.

Undergraduate Research


Undergraduate students are strongly encouraged to engage in research projects to supplement their curriculum. SMU’s undergraduate research program covers particle physics, applied physics, astrophysics, astronomy, cosmology, and physics pedagogy. Students are invited to attend the Physics Department Speaker Series every Monday at 4pm to hear nationally acclaimed physicists speak on their successes in the field and new discoveries.

Outreach


There are several ways students can connect further with the physics department. These include a department newsletter and a free monthly podcast, which features research discussions and interviews with faculty and guests.

Majoring or Minoring in Physics


Two majors and one minor are offered by the department:

B.S. in Physics  - 40 hours in physics, 15 hours in mathematics, and three hours in computer science and engineering. This major is for students planning careers in industry, laboratories or academia. 

B.A. in Physics  - 30 hours in physics and 15 hours in mathematics. This major is for students pursuing careers in medicine, teaching, business and government. 

Minor in Physics  - 17 hours in physics and nine hours of advanced coursework.

The physics department also offers an integrated curriculum that enables a student to obtain both a B.S.E.E. or B.S.M.E degree with a B.S. in physics. For more in-depth information on those majors, visit the Physics Department website.

SMU Degree


A degree from SMU is typically comprised of a minimum of 120 hours, 60 of which must be completed through SMU, 42 of which must be in courses at the 3000 and higher levels. Components of the degree include:

  • Courses in your major.
  • Courses required for the Common Curriculum (CC) .
  • Elective courses. These electives may be used to add a second major or minor.

The Common Curriculum (CC)


The Common Curriculum is required of all undergraduate students and consists of three main components: 

  1. Foundations - 6 hours of Writing courses, 3 hours of Quantitative Reasoning courses, proficiency in a second language. 
  2. Breadth - 7 Breadth courses which may double count with majors and minors.
  3. Proficiencies and Experiences - 8 Proficiencies and Experiences requirements, met through coursework or approved, noncredit activities.

NOTE: If you transfer with 23 or fewer credit hours and/or transfer in your first year out of high school, transfer work earned prior to high school graduation (dual/concurrent credit) will not satisfy CC requirements.

Apply Now!


Click here for more information about transferring to SMU.