B.S. in Space Physics

The Bachelor of Science in Space Physics is an applied physics program designed to prepare students for graduate studies in physics and astrophysics, as well as for work in space-related and aerospace-related industries. Physics is the study of the forces of nature, space and time at the most fundamental level, and provides the foundation on which all physical sciences rest. Students will study the structure of the Universe on all scales from the smallest (elementary particles) to the largest (cosmology) and will gain hands-on experience with research-quality equipment and modern sensing techniques.

In their senior year, students satisfying course and GPA requirements have the option of completing a senior thesis project in an area of interest that overlaps with the research interests of a supervising faculty member. Current faculty interests include: astrophysics, particle physics and cosmology, gravitational waves, general relativity, and exotic propulsion.

Admission Requirements

To enter this program, students must have completed four years of high school science and mathematics, demonstrating a high level of competency. Successful candidates for this program will be prepared to enter Calculus I, Physics I, and General Chemistry and must have a good command of written English.

Degree Requirements

The Bachelor of Science in Space Physics is a 120 credit hour program that can be completed in eight semesters. The list of courses below comprises the complete requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Space Physics. The list is organized as a “vertical outline” according to the year in which the courses would normally be taken. While it is not a requirement that the courses be taken during the year shown, students should be aware that several courses in each academic year may have prerequisites and/or corequisites. Therefore, it is recommended that students keep their schedule as close as possible to the one shown below. Before registering for a course, check the course description section of this catalog to ensure that all prerequisites and/or corequisites are met. Note that prerequisites for a course are only considered met if the student obtained a grade of “C” or better in the prerequisite courses. Students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in core PS courses.

Students may not pursue both a Space Physics B.S. degree and an Astronomy B.S. degree. However, also note that the degree requirements for the first three semesters of both degree programs can be satisfied with the same courses. Thus, a student who is making appropriate progress in either the Space Physics or Astronomy degree programs can switch to the other program after the third semester with a complete transfer of credit from one program to the other.

Suggested Program of Study

Freshman Year
Communication Elective * 3
CHM 110
CHM 110L
General Chemistry I 4
CS 118 Fundamentals of Computer Programming 3
Introduction to Computing for Engineers
MA 241 Calculus and Analytical Geometry I 4
MA 242 Calculus and Analytical Geometry II 4
PS 204 General Astronomy 3
PS 208 Physics II 3
PS 215 Physics I 3
PS 216 Physics I Laboratory 1
PS 221 Intermediate Physics Laboratory 2
UNIV 101 College Success **1
 Credits Subtotal31.0
Sophomore Year
Communication Elective * 3
Humanities Lower-Level Elective * 3
MA 243 Calculus and Analytical Geometry III 4
MA 335 Introduction to Linear and Abstract Algebra 3
MA 345 Differential Equations and Matrix Methods 4
PS 219 Physics III 3
PS 222 Intermediate Astronomy 3
PS 232  3
PS 303 Modern Physics 3
PS 315 Modern Physics Laboratory 2
 Credits Subtotal31.0
Junior Year
Communication Elective * 3
MA 435 Linear and Abstract Algebra II 3
MA 441 Mathematical Methods for Engineering and Physics I 3
MA 442 Mathematical Methods for Engineering and Physics II 3
PS 321 Classical Mechanics I 3
PS 330 Electricity and Magnetism I 3
PS 350 Quantum Mechanics I 3
PS 380 Optics Laboratory 3
Technical Elective 3
Social Science Lower-Level Elective * 3
 Credits Subtotal30.0
Senior Year
Humanities Upper-Level Elective 3
Open Electives 4
PS 405 Atomic Nuclear Physics 3
PS 430 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics 3
PS 490 Senior Research Thesis, Part I ***3
PS 491 Senior Research Thesis, Part II ***3
Social Science Upper-Level Elective 3
Technical Electives 6
 Credits Subtotal28.0
 Credits Total: 120.0
Communications Electives
COM 122English Composition3
COM 219Speech3
COM 221Technical Report Writing3
COM 222Business Communication3
or any COM 3XX or COM 4XX course
Humanities Lower-Level Electives
Any Humanities
Humanities Upper-Level Electives
Any Upper-Level HU course
Social Sciences Lower-Level Electives
EC 210Microeconomics3
EC 211Macroeconomics3
Any Lower-Level SS, RS, or SIS course
Sciences Electives Upper-Level Social
Any Upper-Level SS course
Technical Electives
MA 299Special Topics in Mathematics1-4
or MA 399 Special Topics in Mathematics
or MA 499 Special Topics in Mathematics
MA 412Probability and Statistics3
MA 443Complex Variables3
PS 299Special Topics in Physical Science1-4
or PS 399 Special Topic in Physical Science
or PS 499 Special Topic in Physical Science
PS 322Classical Mechanics II3
PS 331Electricity and Magnetism II3
PS 340Astrophysics I3
PS 375Planetary Science3
PS 408Astrophysics II3
PS 412Particle Physics and Cosmology3
PS 413Particle Physics and Cosmology II3
PS 420Remote Sensing3
PS 422Space Propulsion3
PS 451Quantum Mechanics II3
Any other upper-division technical course with approval of the Physics Department Chair.