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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Bachelor of Science

Pure & Applied Track


Pure and Applied Track

Our traditional physics track, Pure & Applied physics, is intended for those preparing for graduate school, teaching careers, or careers in industry or applied physics. Students preparing for employment in an interdisciplinary area, such as environmental, geophysical, or energy study, can choose to add an appropriate minor or arrange a specific major program on an individual basis, as approved by an advisor. Students should consult with an advisor before choosing a major track in physics.

For a printable pdf of Physics B.S. information click Major in Physics.pdfMajor in Physics.pdf.

  • All courses in the major must be taken for a letter grade; pass/fail grades will not apply. 
  • Students must declare their intention to major in physics by the time they have completed 60 semester hours
  • Students must complete between 46 (Pure & Applied Physics Track) and 50 (Biophysics and Medical Physics) semester hours in physics and related topics
  • All tracks require 16 semester hours in math ancillary courses
  • At least 12 semester hours of the requirements for the major must be completed at UC Denver.
  • Students must earn a “C” (2.0) or higher in all courses used to satisfy degree requirements, with an overall minimum UC Denver Physics cumulative GPA of a 2.0.
  • Courses must be taken within 10 years of graduation
  • Physics courses taken at other colleges and universities must be approved by the UC Denver Physics advisor before they can be applied toward the major requirements.
  • A senior thesis, usually from participation in research, is required for all students wishing to graduate with departmental honors. A cumulative GPA in both Physics and overall at UC Denver must meet the following: cum laude > 3.25; magna cum laude > 3.50; suma cum laude > 3.75.
  • All majors are encouraged to consult a Physics major advisor annually and must meet with an advisor early in the semester they plan to graduate.
  • Students with transfer credit, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) or CLEP credits must meet with a Physics major advisor for placement.
  • Students declared pre-health should also consult a Health Careers advisor.

  • In addition to the physics major requirements listed, students must meet all graduation requirements set by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Students should consult the University Catalog and CLAS Advising Office for specific requirements.

Required Courses Common to All Tracks (25 credits)

Courses must be completed with a “C” (2.0) or higher and an overall UCD Biology cumulative GPA of a 2.0

  1. General Physics I: Calculus – Based (PHYS 2311 – 4)
  2. General Physics Laboratory I (PHYS 2321 – 1)
  3. General Physics II: Calculus –Based (PHYS 2331 – 4)
  4. General Physics Laboratory II (PHYS 2341 – 1)
  5. Vibrations and Waves (PHYS 2711 – 3)
  6. Modern Physics (PHYS 2811 – 4)
  7. Methods of Mathematical Physics (PHYS 3120 – 3)
  8. Junior Lab I (PHYS 3711 – 2)
  9. Quantum Mechanics (PHYS 3811 – 3)

Required Courses Specific to Pure & Applied Physics Track (21 credits)

Courses must be completed with a “C” (2.0) or higher and an overall UCD Biology cumulative GPA of a 2.0

  1. Analytical Mechanics (PHYS 3211 – 4)
  2. Thermal Physics (PHYS 3411 – 3)
  3. Junior Lab II (PHYS 3721 – 2)
  4. Senior Lab I (PHYS 4711 – 2)
  5. Principles of Electricity and Magnetism (PHYS 4331 – 4)*
  6. 6 credits of Physics related electives at 3000 level or above approved by advisor (may include up to 3 credits of independent study)

  • *Note: students who must retake PHYS 4331 may fulfill this requirement by obtaining a “C” or better in PHYS 4351 Bio-electromagnetism.

Required Ancillary Courses (16 credits)

Courses must be completed with a “C” (2.0) or higher and an overall UCD Biology cumulative GPA of a 2.0

  1. Analytical Geometry and Calculus I (MATH 1401 – 4)
  2. Analytical Geometry and Calculus II (MATH 2411 – 4)
  3. Analytical Geometry and Calculus III (MATH 2421 – 4)
  4. Linear Algebra and Differential Equations (MATH 3195 – 4)

Note: the department will accept the following combination of math courses in place of MATH 3195:

  • MATH 3191 Applied Linear Algebra (3 credits)

  • MATH 3200 Elementary Differential Equations (3 credits)