Skip to main content
Department of Physics

Bachelor of Arts in Physics

Students on Summer 2020, Fall 2020, or Spring 2021 requirements PHYSBA

The Bachelor of Arts in Physics curriculum introduces students to the study of matter and energy, including their nature and properties. Students learn theoretical and experimental approaches including Newtonian mechanics, oscillations, and waves, bulk properties of matter and thermodynamics. Upper-level courses focus modern, environmental and theoretical physics, materials science, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, radiation science, analog and digital electronics. At all levels, physics courses combine lectures and labs, and majors gain hands-on experience using advanced instruments and computing systems, gaining the skills necessary for successful research and industry careers.


The major requires at least 30 credit hours (41 with the Addenda requirements), including the requirements listed below.
  1. Physics I. One (1) course:
    • PHYS-P 201 General Physics I
    • PHYS-P 221 Physics I
    • PHYS-H 221 Honors Physics I
  2. Physics II. One (1) course:
    • PHYS-P 202 General Physics II
    • PHYS-P 222 Physics II
    • PHYS-H 222 Honors Physics II
  3. Physics III. One (1) course:
    • PHYS-P 301 Physics III
  4. Electives. Additional courses, as needed, to fulfill remaining requirements:
    • Any PHYS-P 300–399 except PHYS-P 301
    • Any PHYS-P 400–499
  5. Addenda Requirements*.
    • Calculus I. One (1) course:
      • MATH-M 211 Calculus I
      • MATH-S 211
    • Calculus II. One (1) course:
      • MATH-M 212 Calculus II
      • MATH-S 212 Honors Calculus II
    • Introduction to Differential Equations with Applications I. One (1) course:
      • MATH-M 343
      • MATH-S 343 Honors Course in Differential Equations
  6. Major GPA, Hours, and Minimum Grade Requirements.
    1. Major GPA. A GPA of at least 2.000 for all courses taken in the major—including those where a grade lower than C- is earned—is required.
    2. Major Minimum Grade. Except for the GPA requirement, a grade of C- or higher is required for a course to count toward a requirement in the major.
    3. Major Upper Division Credit Hours. At least 18 credit hours in the major must be completed at the 300–499 level.
    4. Major Residency. At least 18 credit hours in the major must be completed in courses taken through the Indiana University Bloomington campus or an IU-administered or IU co-sponsored Overseas Study program.
    5. College Breadth. At least 58 credit hours must be completed in courses from College of Arts and Sciences disciplines outside of the major area.

Major Area Courses

Unless otherwise noted below, the following courses are considered in the academic program and will count toward academic program requirements as appropriate:

  • Any course at the 100–499 level with the PHYS subject area prefix—as well as any other subject areas that are deemed functionally equivalent
  • Any course contained on the course lists for the academic program requirements at the time the course is taken—as well as any other courses that are deemed functionally equivalent—except for those listed only under Addenda Requirements
  • Any course directed to a non-Addenda requirement through an approved exception

    The following courses cannot be applied toward major requirements or the College Breadth requirement:

    • PHYS-E 250
    • PHYS-P 101 Physics in the Modern World
    • PHYS-P 105 Basic Physics of Sound
    • PHYS-P 108 Audio Technology Acoustics Laboratory
    • PHYS-P 109 Introductory Acoustics Laboratory
    • PHYS-P 110 Energy
    • PHYS-P 111 Physics of Extraterrestrial Life
    • PHYS-P 120 Energy and Technology
    • PHYS-P 125 Energy in the 21st Century
    • PHYS-P 133 Physics for Future Leaders
    • PHYS-P 150 How Things Work
    • PHYS-P 151 21st Century Physics
    • PHYS-P 199 Physical Science through Inquiry
    • PHYS-Q 202

    This program of study cannot be combined with the following:

    • Bachelor of Science in Physics (PHYSBS)
    • Minor in Physics (PHYSMIN)

    Exceptions to and substitutions for major requirements may be made with the approval of the unit's Director of Undergraduate Studies, subject to final approval by the College of Arts and Sciences.