The program in physics is designed to familiarize students with the techniques of mathematical and experimental physics that would be useful to them in an industrial research or engineering position; in physics teaching; as a general preparation for more advanced graduate work in any of the varied fields of physics; or in such disciplines as astronomy, space science, biophysics, computer science, engineering, geophysics, medicine, law, and oceanography.

The physics major requires 46 semester hours of specific physics courses, 16 semester hours of specific mathematics/computer science courses, and 4-5 semester hours of specific chemistry or biology courses. To strengthen and broaden the background of all Xavier students, a liberal arts core curriculum consisting of courses in history, literature, foreign language, philosophy, social sciences, fine arts, and theology is also a part of the program. Upon successful completion of the undergraduate program, students receive a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in physics.

The following block schedule serves as a guideline for progress toward a degree in Physics.

Freshman Year

First Semester Credit Hours Second Semester Credit Hours
PHYS 170
University Physics I
3 PHYS 172
University Physics II
PHYS 171
Explorations in Physics
1 PHYS 173
Explorations in Physics II
MATH 170
Calculus I
4 MATH 171
Calculus II
Second Language I 3 Second Language II 3
First Year Seminar 3 Theology 111 3
Total 14 Total 14

Sophomore Year

First Semester Credit Hours Second Semester Credit Hours
PHYS 242
Electronics I
3 PHYS 340
Modern Physics II
PHYS 243
Electronics I Lab
1 PHYS 341
Modern Physics II Lab
PHYS 330
Modern Physics I
3 MATH 230
Differential Equations
PHYS 331
Modern Physics I Lab
1 Philosophy 100 3
MATH 220
Calculus III
4 Lit. & Moral Imagination 205 3
Composition 100 or Rhetoric 115 3 Historical Perspectives elective 3
Total 15 Total 16

Junior Year

First Semester Credit Hours Second Semester Credit Hours
PHYS 350
Theoretical Mechanics I
3 PHYS 364
Physical Optics
PHYS 360
Electromagnetism I
3 PHYS 365
Physical Optics Lab
PHYS 355
Advanced Physics Lab
2 PHYS 382
MATH elective** 3 CSCI 170
Computer Science I
General Chemistry Lecture & Lab
4 PHIL 200
Philosophical Perspectives
    Theological Perspectives elective 3
Total 15 Total 16

Senior Year

First Semester Credit Hours Second Semester Credit Hours
PHYS 376
Quantum Mechanics I
3 PHYS 377
Quantum Mechanics II
PHYS 395
Physics Research
1 PHYS 398
Physics Thesis
PHYS/ENGR/MATH/CSCI elective*** 3 Physics Capstone elective 3
Humanities elective 3 Creative Perspectives elective 3
Social Sciences elective 3 Writing Intensive* or General elective 3
DCR* or General elective 3 ER/S* or General elective 3
Total 16 Total 16

* May double count with other core or major courses.

**Students wishing to minor in Applied Mathematics should take MATH 222 as their math elective.  Student wishing to major or minor in Mathematics should take MATH 225 as their math elective.  One additional course above MATH 225 is then required for the Mathematics Minor. 

***Not required, but strongly recommended for students interested in attending a graduate program.

Note – Scientific Perspectives, Mathematical Perspectives, Natural Sciences, Oral Communications and Quantitative Reasoning electives satisfied in major.