Undergraduate Degree & Course Catalog
2016-17

Physics - Degrees & Policies

Degrees Offered

Undergraduate: BS and BA in Physics, BA in Physics with Teaching of Science Concentration, BS in Mathematical Physics, Minor in Physics; participation in Computational Physics BS and Engineering Physics BS joint degrees (see those catalog entries).
Graduate: MS, PhD

Acceptance Information

It is necessary to apply for acceptance into any of the above programs. The acceptance criteria for students who have completed the relevant coursework at UB are given with the summaries for each degree program. Students who receive a 4 or 5 on the Physics C Mechanics AP exam, and the Physics C Electricity and Magnetism AP exam, can get credit for PHY 107 General Physics 1 and PHY 108/ PHY 158 General Physics 2/General Physics 2 Lab, respectively. In general, it is possible to apply for any of the programs in the sophomore year. The undergraduate director, Professor John Cerne, should be contacted at jcerne@buffalo.edu for acceptance into any of the degree programs except for the BS in engineering physics, which is administered by the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Transfer Policy

  1. Transfer students from accredited institutions are granted acceptance to the Department of Physics majors if they satisfy the following requirements with a minimum GPA of 2.0:
    1. one-year calculus-based physics course similar to PHY 107-PHY 108/PHY 158
    2. one-year calculus course similar to MTH 141-MTH 142

  2. For transfer students with more than the minimum coursework listed in (1) above, admission is granted if the student has a minimum GPA of 2.0 in all physics and mathematics courses previously attempted.
  3. Academic transfer credit is granted for physics and mathematics courses completed with a grade of C or better that are suitable to the department's degree programs.
SUNY Seamless Transfer Path
SUNY Seamless Transfer is a SUNY-wide program intended to make transferring to UB and other SUNY Schools simple and efficient for SUNY students. SUNY has defined courses that SUNY students can take before transferring which will apply to the major at UB and ensure timely graduation.

Information about the Transfer Path for this major can be found on the SUNY Website.

Students are encouraged to contact their academic advisor or department to discuss how their coursework will apply to their degree.

Physics - B.S.

Acceptance Criteria

Minimum GPA of 2.0 in the prerequisite courses.

Prerequisite Courses

MTH 141 College Calculus I
MTH 142 College Calculus II
PHY 107 General Physics I or PHY 117 Honors Physics I (preferred)
PHY 108 General Physics II or PHY 118 Honors Physics II (preferred)
PHY 158 General Physics II Lab

Required Courses

CHE 101 General Chemistry
CHE 102 General Chemistry
MTH 241 College Calculus III
MTH 306 Introduction to Differential Equations
MTH 417 Survey of Multivariable Calculus
MTH 418 Survey of Partial Differential Equations
PHY 207 General Physics III or PHY 217 Honors Physics III
PHY 208 General Physics IV
PHY 257 General Physics III Lab
PHY 301 Intermediate Mechanics I
PHY 302 Intermediate Mechanics II
PHY 307 Modern Physics Lab
PHY 401 Quantum Mechanics I - fundamentals
PHY 402 Quantum Mechanics II - applications
PHY 403 Electricity and Magnetism I
PHY 404 Electricity and Magnetism II
PHY 405 Thermal and Statistical Physics I
PHY 407 Advanced Laboratory or PHY 408 Advanced Laboratory
Two PHY electives (one of the following: PHY 406 Thermal and Statistical Physics II, PHY 425 Intermediate Optics, PHY 410 Computational Physics I, PHY 412 Nuclear and Particle Physics, PHY 413 Electronics, PHY 431 Introduction to Mathematical Physics I, or PHY 434 Solid State Physics)
One additional 3-credit technical elective course in physics, another science, engineering, or mathematics at or above the 300-level, as approved by the physics undergraduate director.

Undergraduate Credit Requirements Chart
Credits Required for Major 86
Additional Credits Required for Gen Ed 32
Additional Credits Required for Electives 2
Total Credits Required for Degree 120

Students should consult with an academic advisor to determine how any transfer or exam credit might be utilized in meeting general education, prerequisite, or major requirements.

See Baccalaureate Degree Requirements (UB Curriculum) for general education and remaining university requirements.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of all requirements, the student will have knowledge of:
  • The basic laws of physics, their corollaries, and comprehension of how they can be applied to explain specific natural phenomena
  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills in physics, related to hypothesis building, application of the scientific method, and mathematical methods to analyze physics theories and experiments, and devise solution strategies.
  • Laboratory skills and exposure to a variety of experiments illustrating important phenomena, measuring techniques, and quantitative analysis of data and uncertainty at appropriate levels
  • Contemporary areas of physics inquiry
  • Written and oral communication skills for presentation of scientific results

Recommended Sequence of Program Requirements

View the Finish in Four Curricular Plan for the Physics BS which is a recommended sequence of courses to help achieve this degree in four years.

Physics - B.A.

Acceptance Criteria

Minimum GPA of 2.0 in the prerequisite courses.

Prerequisite Courses

MTH 141 College Calculus I
MTH 142 College Calculus II
PHY 107 General Physics I or PHY 117 Honors Physics I (preferred)
PHY 108 General Physics II or PHY 118 Honors Physics II (preferred)
PHY 158 General Physics II Lab

Required Courses

CHE 101 General Chemistry
CHE 102 General Chemistry
MTH 241 College Calculus III
MTH 306 Introduction to Differential Equations
PHY 207 General Physics III or PHY 217 Honors Physics III
PHY 208 General Physics IV
PHY 257 General Physics III Lab
PHY 301 Intermediate Mechanics I
PHY 307 Modern Physics Lab
PHY 401 Quantum Mechanics I - fundamentals
PHY 402 Quantum Mechanics II - applications
PHY 403Electricity and Magnetism I
PHY 405 Thermal and Statistical Physics I
PHY 407 Advanced Laboratory or PHY 408 Advanced Laboratory
Two PHY electives (choose from PHY 302 Intermediate Mechanics II, PHY 404 Electricity and Magnetism II, PHY 406 Thermal and Statistical Physics II, PHY 410 Computational Physics I, PHY 412 Nuclear and Particle Physics, PHY 413 Electronics, PHY 425 Intermediate Optics, PHY 431 Introduction to Mathematical Physics I, or PHY 434 Solid State Physics)
One additional 300/400-level PHY course (excluding PHY 499)

Undergraduate Credit Requirements Chart
Credits Required for Major 72
Additional Credits Required for UB Curriculum 32
Additional Credits Required for Electives 16
Total Credits Required for Degree 120

Students should consult with an academic advisor to determine how any transfer or exam credit might be utilized in meeting general education, prerequisite, or major requirements.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of all requirements, the student will have knowledge of:
  • The basic laws of physics, their corollaries, and comprehension of how they can be applied to explain specific natural phenomena
  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills in physics, related to hypothesis building, application of the scientific method, and mathematical methods to analyze physics theories and experiments, and devise solution strategies.
  • Laboratory skills and exposure to a variety of experiments illustrating important phenomena, measuring techniques, and qualitative analysis of data and uncertainty at appropriate levels
  • Contemporary areas of physics inquiry
  • Written and oral communication skills for presentation of scientific results

Recommended Sequence of Program Requirements

View the Finish in Four Curricular Plan for the Physics BA which is a recommended sequence of courses to help achieve this degree in four years.

Mathematical Physics - B.S.

Acceptance Criteria

Minimum GPA of 2.5 in the prerequisite courses.

Advising Notes

This is a joint program administered by the physics department. However, students should consult with the undergraduate directors in the physics and mathematics departments regarding approved electives. A student who follows this program but does not complete it will have difficulty completing a math major without substantial additional coursework.

Prerequisite Courses

MTH 141 College Calculus I
MTH 142 College Calculus II
PHY 107 General Physics I or PHY 117 Honors Physics I (preferred)
PHY 108 General Physics II or PHY 118 Honors Physics II (preferred)
PHY 158 General Physics II Lab

Required Courses

MTH 241 College Calculus III
MTH 306 Introduction to Differential Equations
MTH 309 Introductory Linear Algebra
MTH 417 Survey of Multivariable Calculus
MTH 418 Survey of Partial Differential Equations
MTH 419 Introduction to Abstract Algebra or MTH 420 Advanced Linear Algebra
MTH 425 Introduction to Complex Variables I
PHY 207 General Physics III or PHY 217 Honors Physics III
PHY 208 General Physics IV
PHY 257 General Physics III Lab
PHY 301 Intermediate Mechanics I
PHY 307 Modern Physics Lab
PHY 401 Quantum Mechanics I - fundamentals
PHY 403 Electricity and Magnetism I
PHY 405 Thermal and Statistical Physics I
PHY 407 Advanced Laboratory or PHY 408 Advanced Laboratory
PHY 431 Introduction to Mathematical Physics I (or MTH 424, if offered)
One 300/400-level MTH elective
One PHY elective (one of the following: PHY 302 Intermediate Mechanics II, PHY 402 Quantum Mechanics II, PHY 404 Electricity and Magnetism II, or PHY 406 Thermal and Statistical Physics II)

Undergraduate Credit Requirements Chart
Credits Required for Major 798/td>
Additional Credits Required for UB Curriculum 32
Additional Credits Required for Electives 10
Total Credits Required for Degree 120

Students should consult with an academic advisor to determine how any transfer or exam credit might be utilized in meeting general education, prerequisite, or major requirements.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of all requirements, the student will have knowledge of:
  • The basic laws of physics, their corollaries, and comprehension of how they can be applied to explain specific natural phenomena
  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills in physics, related to hypothesis building, application of the scientific method, and mathematical methods to analyze physics theories and experiments, and devise solution strategies.
  • Laboratory skills and exposure to a variety of experiments illustrating important phenomena, measuring techniques, and qualitative analysis of data and uncertainty at appropriate levels
  • Contemporary areas of physics inquiry
  • Written and oral communication skills for presentation of scientific results

Recommended Sequence of Program Requirements

View the Finish in Four Curricular Plan for the Mathematical Physics BS which is a recommended sequence of courses to help achieve this degree in four years.

Physics-Teaching Of Science Concentration - B.A.

About the Programs

Students pursuing this concentration must also pursue the Undergraduate Minor in Education, which is administered by the Department of Learning and Instruction (LAI). Applications to the minor must be filed with the LAI office in 505 Baldy Hall (the application is available online at http://gse.buffalo.edu/programs/edminor).

This concentration is designed for the student whose career goal is to teach physics (or physics and chemistry, see below) in grades 7-12. Students interested in this concentration should obtain advisement from the director of undergraduate studies in physics and, for questions related to the education courses, from the LAI office.

Completion of the major concentration (including the required education courses) provides a strong foundation in content knowledge and a head start on education coursework required for an Initial Teacher Certificate to begin teaching in grades 7-12 in New York. In order to receive a University at Buffalo recommendation for the issuance of the Initial Teacher Certificate, a student must successfully complete the graduate-level initial teacher education program within the Graduate School of Education http://gse.buffalo.edu/tei). It is then possible to complete, within the state-mandated five years, the master's degree required for a Professional Teacher Certificate, provided all New York State requirements have been successfully completed.

Acceptance Criteria

Minimum GPA of 2.0 in MTH 141-MTH 142 and PHY 107-PHY 108 (or PHY 117-PHY 118, preferred), PHY 158. Department of Learning and Instruction (LAI) also requires a minimum GPA of 2.5 overall for admission.

Teaching of Science - Physics

Prerequisite Courses
MTH 141 College Calculus I
MTH 142 College Calculus II
PHY 107 General Physics I or PHY 117 Honors Physics I
PHY 108 General Physics II or PHY 118 Honors Physics II
PHY 158 General Physics II Lab

Required Courses
CHE 101 General Chemistry
CHE 102 General Chemistry
MTH 241 College Calculus III
MTH 306 Introduction to Differential Equations
PHY 207 General Physics III or PHY 217 Honors Physics III
PHY 208 General Physics IV
PHY 257 General Physics III Lab
PHY 307 Modern Physics Lab
Four 300/400-level PHY electives (excluding PHY 497, 498, and 499)

View the Finish in Four Curricular Plan for the Physics - Teaching of Science BA which is a recommended sequence of courses to help achieve this degree in four years.

Teaching of Science - Physics and Chemistry

Prerequisite Courses
MTH 141 College Calculus I
MTH 142 College Calculus II
PHY 107 General Physics I or PHY 117 Honors Physics I
PHY 108 General Physics II or PHY 118 Honors Physics II
PHY 158 General Physics II Lab

Required Courses
CHE 101 General Chemistry
CHE 102 General Chemistry
CHE 201 Organic Chemistry
CHE 202 Organic Chemistry
CHE 214 Introduction to Analytical Chemistry
MTH 241 College Calculus III
MTH 306 Introduction to Differential Equations
PHY 207 General Physics III or PHY 217 Honors Physics III
PHY 208 General Physics IV
PHY 257 General Physics III Lab
PHY 307 Modern Physics Lab
Two 300/400-level PHY electives (excluding PHY 497, 498, and 499)

Undergraduate Credit Requirements Chart
Credits Required for Major 57
Additional Credits Required for UB Curriculum 31
Additional Credits Required for Electives Minor: 19; Electives: 13; Total: 32
Total Credits Required for Degree 120

Students should consult with an academic advisor to determine how any transfer or exam credit might be utilized in meeting general education, prerequisite, or major requirements.

View the Finish in Four Curricular Plan for the Physics - Teaching of Science Concentration BS which is a recommended sequence of courses to help achieve this degree in four years.

Computational Physics - B.S./M.S.

About the Program

These interdisciplinary programs are offered jointly by the Departments of Physics (PHY) and Computer Science and Engineering (CSE). For further information, see the Computational Physics entry.

Engineering Physics - B.S.

About the Program

This interdisciplinary program is offered jointly by the Departments of Electrical Engineering (EE) and Physics (PHY). For further information, see the Engineering Physics entry, and the undergraduate advisor in the Electrical Engineering Department.

Physics - Minor

Acceptance Criteria

Minimum GPA of 2.0 in the prerequisite courses.

Prerequisite Courses

MTH 141 College Calculus I
MTH 142 College Calculus II
PHY 107 General Physics I or PHY 117 Honors Physics I
PHY 108 General Physics II or PHY 118 Honors Physics II
PHY 158 General Physics II Lab

Required Courses

PHY 207 General Physics III or PHY 217 Honors Physics III (lab is not required)
PHY 208 General Physics IV (lab is not required)
PHY 301 Intermediate Mechanics I
PHY 403 Electricity and Magnetism I
One 300/400-level PHY elective course (excluding PHY 497, 498, and 499; PHY 401 Quantum Mechanics I - fundamentals is strongly recommended)

Minor Credit Requirements Chart
Total Credits Required for Minor/Certificate 33

Minors and certificates must be completed in conjunction with a major and all university degree requirements must be met.

Students should consult with an academic advisor to determine how any transfer or exam credit might be utilized in meeting general education, prerequisite, or major requirements.

Last updated: February 22 2022 21:08:39