Physics Undergraduate Advising
BGSU Major Requirements and Course Information
- Physics major including details & course requirements (a handy check sheet of required courses)
- Choose a minor -- popular ones include Astronomy, Math, Computer Science, and general Science)
- Online course catalog
- Sample 4-year curriculum for Physics majors
- Sample 4-year curriculum for Physics minors
- Sample 2-year curriculum for Pre-Engineering (then transfer to a university granting Engineering degrees)
- Remember: you must take a minimum of 1 hour of PHYS 4700 Independent Study two times (two separate projects, to broaden your research experience) in order to graduate (for example, 2 CH in Fall plus 3 CH in Spring). See more below.
- Some Physics and Astronomy courses are offered every other year:
- Fall 2021, 2023, 2025, 2027: PHYS 4180 (E&M), ASTR 3070 (Cosmos)
- Spring 2022, 2024, 2026, 2028: PHYS 4170 (Quantum Mech), ASTR 4030 (Stellar Structure)
- Fall 2022, 2024, 2026, 2028: PHYS 4160 (Classical Mech), ASTR 3090 (Observational)
- Spring 2021, 2023, 2025, 2027: PHYS 4100 (Solid State), ASTR 3210 (Recent Progress)
- Spring upon demand: PHYS 3090 (Atomic & Nuclear)
- In today's career workplace, it is rare for a person to keep the same job from graduation to retirement, and the nature of most jobs changes quickly as technology and economic needs change. With this in mind, BGSU aims to train you not to be a "cog in the machine", but to be "a hand with a thumb" -- a person with a broad set of skills that will enable you to adapt to the changing job market in both industry and academia. With this in mind, BGSU and the College of Arts and Sciences have several academic requirements designed to broaden your educational experience beyond your major and minor.
- The BG Perspective (BGP), taken by all students at BGSU, is designed to expose you to topics, ways of thinking, and perspectives on the world that give you a wider skill-set and broader viewpoint, and to make you a better citizen. I encourage you to take the opportunity to learn more about things you are interested in, and make it more than a "hoop to jump through."
- The College of Arts and Sciences requires additional "broadening" courses, both in demonstrating proficiency in a foreign language and through the Multi-Disciplinary Component (MDC). Some courses our Physics majors have enjoyed and recommend as MDC courses include:
- ASTR 3050 "Life in the Universe" or ASTR 3070 "Understanding the Cosmos" [For Astronomy Minors, these likely count toward your minor instead of MDC!]
- ASTR 3210 "Recent Progress in Astronomy" [Good practice at reading/research and presentation skills]
- CHEM 1230/1330/1270/1370 "General Chemistry I & II" with Labs [Especially if you will work in materials science research]
- CHEM 3520 "Essentials of Physical Chemistry" [Lots of quantum from a different perspective]
- BIOL 1040 "Intro to Biology" [Particularly if you are interested in medical physics]
- BIOL 1090 "Life in Extreme Environments" [Not yet student-recommended; a good pairing with ASTR 3050?]
- CLCV 2410/2420 "Great Greek/Roman Minds" [Seminal thoughts from thinkers of yore]
- CLCV 3800 "Classical Mythology" [If you want to follow up on myths from astronomy class]
- HNRS 2010 "Intro to Critical Thinking" [Open to Honors students only]
- PHIL 1030 "Intro to Logic"
- PHIL 3100 "Philosophy of Mind" or PHIL 3300 "Theory of Knowledge" [Require one 3-CH class in PHIL]
- PHIL 4140 "Metaphysics" [Explore the fundamental nature of reality. Not yet student-recommended, requires 2 previous classes in PHIL]
- PSYC 3300 "Intro to Neuroscience"
- CS 2010 "Programming Fundamentals" (or CS 2020) [These currently don't count as MDC, but may change soon!]
- Philosophies for success: "Adopt a Growth Mindset," build on previous learning, strive to grow, college is much more than high school.
Choosing a PHYS 4700 Independent Study
This is an independent study course which you design in consultation with a faculty member. Basically, it starts you working in a research group -- that might be an experimental lab (Dr. Zamkov, Sun, Selim), computational program (Dr. Zayak, Fulcher, Xi, Mandell), or with an astronomer (Dr. Layden, Laird, Tiede, Rogel, Dellenbush). At this point, you have some experience with physics topics (types of physics that interest you) and faculty (who might you work well with). You can refine this understanding by reviewing the descriptions of people's research at
Then, visit or email a prof you are interested in working with and ask them if they have a project you can help with, for PHYS 4700 credit. You can choose from 1-3 CH (the # should scale with the size of the project). Finally, visit Sandy in the Dept office to register for the course (you can't do it online; it requires the OK of the prof you will be working with). Sandy will want a short title (like, "Variable Stars in M30") that will appear on your transcript. Put a little though into this, as it may start a conversation between you and a future employer or grad school committee.
BGSU Information and Policies
Summer Research Programs
Next Steps: Career Information
Last updated Aug 2015 by Andy Layden, Undergrad Advisor for Physics