Physics Major

What is Physics?

Physics studies the laws of nature, the structure of matter and the behavior of physical processes: the keys to many of the universe's secrets. As a physics major you will participate in research directly with physics faculty as they push the frontiers of physics knowledge.

Physics FAQs

What does a physics major study at Marquette?

Physics students achieve a general understanding of leading edge computational, theoretical and experimental approaches to explaining diverse natural phenomena from sub atomic particles, to exotic stars and galaxies, and progress into areas as diverse as medicine, law, engineering and finance, as well as mainstream areas of physics such as particle physics, astrophysics, solid state, atomic and molecular physics. 

The physics major consists of a common core:

  • PHYS 1013 and 1014 [or 1001, 1002 or 1003, 1004] (Introductory Physics)
  • PHYS 2004 and 2005 (Modern Physics)
  • PHYS 3011 (Classical Mechanics)
  • PHYS 4031/5031 (Electricity and Magnetism)
  • PHYS 2055 (Electronics Lab)
  • Plus 8 additional hours in upper division physics courses
  • Visit the Physics Major Curriculum to learn more about our physics courses

 

What can you do with a physics major from Marquette?

A Physics degree from Marquette opens doors as it ensures a strong education that leads to success in a variety of fields. As early as their sophomore year, our physics majors are invited to teach introductory labs for engineering and non-science majors. They are also invited to perform research, working directly with professors. The experience gained is incredibly valuable in going forward to graduate school or to the workplace.

Other recent graduates have proceeded to teach high school science, and several have continued on to law school and medical school.

How can a physics major prepare me for graduate school?

While many recent graduates have pursued advanced degrees in physics, many others have pursued astronomy, biophysics, materials science, and bioengineering. They have entered into many of the top graduate programs around the country, including Princeton, University of Wisconsin, University of Illinois, Purdue, Notre Dame, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and Vanderbilt. Each has earned a fellowship or assistantship which include full tuition, plus a substantial salary to support their studies!

Remarkably, Physics students scored the highest of all majors on the LSAT, and second highest on the MCAT!


Sample Schedules

The sample schedules below show how students with different career interests might complete a physics major.

Traditional Major

Bachelor of Science in Physics, Traditional Concentration

Class Standing

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

Freshman

PHYS 1013 (4)
FOR. LANG (4)
MATH 1450 (4)
ENGL 1001 (3)
 
Total: 15 credits
PHYS 1014 (4)
FOR. LANG (4)
MATH 1451 (4)
ENGL 1002 (3)
 
Total: 15 credits

Sophomore

PHYS 2004 (3)
PHYS 1018 (0)
MATH 2450 (4)
CHEM 1001 (4)
HIST 1001 or 1002 (3)
Elective (3)
 
Total: 17 credits
PHYS 2005 (3)
PHYS 2055 (2)
MATH 2451 (4)
CHEM 1002 (4)
Literature (3)
 
Total: 16 credits

Junior

PHYS 3011 (3)
PHYS 4031 (3)
PHYS 3056 (2)
PHIL 1001 (3)
MATH Elective (3)
ISB Elective (3)
 
Total: 17 credits
PHYS 4012 (3)
PHYS 4032 (3)
Diverse Cultures (3)
PHIL 2310 (3)
THEO 1001 (3)
Elective (3)
 
Total: 18 credits

Senior

PHYS Electives (3 - 6)
PHIL (3)
HIST/ISB (3)
THEO (2nd level) (3)
Elective (3)

Total: 15-18 Credits
PHYS Electives (3 - 6)
MATH Elective (3)
THEO (3rd level) (3)
Literature (3)
Elective (3)

Total: 15-18 Credits
  • TOTAL: 128-134 semester hours
  • PHYS ELECTIVES which are typically alternated every other year: 4024 (S), 4057 (F), 4062 (S), 4071 (F), 4072 (F), 4075 (F)
  • Recommended MATH ELECTIVES: 3100, 4210, 4510

PreMed/PreDent Concentration

Bachelor of Science in Physics, PreMed/PreDent Concentration (Clinical Career)

Freshman

Fall Semester

 
BIOL 1001 3
ENGL 1001 3
MATH 1450 4
PHYS 1013 4
 
Total 14

Spring Semester

 
BIOL 2001 3
ENGL 1002 3
MATH 1451 4
PHYS 1014 4
Intro to Research 0
 
Total 14

Sophomore

Fall Semester

 
CHEM 1001 4
FOLL 3-4
MATH 2450 4
PHYS 2004 3
Soc./Beh. Science 3
 
Total 17-18

Spring Semester

 
BIOL 1002 3
CHEM 1002 4
FOLL 3-4
MATH 2451 4
PHYS 2005 3
 
Total 17-18

Junior

Fall Semester

 
CHEM 2113 4
HIST 1001 3
Literature 3
PHIL 3660 3
PHYS 3011 3
 
Total 16

Spring Semester

 
BIOL 4101 / 5101* 3
CHEM 2114 4
PHIL 2310 3
THEO 1001 3
PHYS elective 3
 
Total 16

Senior

Fall Semester

 
PHIL Elective 3
PHYS 4031/5031 3
PHYS 2055 2
PHYS Elective 3
THEO (2nd level) 3
Elective 3
 
Total 17

Spring Semester

 
Literature 3
HIST/Soc. Sci./ 3
Diverse Cultures
PHYS Elective 2-3
THEO (3rd level) 3
Electives 6
 
Total 17-18
  • TOTAL: 128-131 semester hours

  • * Required by some medical and dental schools

Physics in Medicine or Research Concentration

Bachelor of Science in Physics, Physics in Medicine, Research Track

Freshman

Fall Semester

 
BIOL 1001 3
ENGL 1001 3
MATH 1450 4
PHYS 1013 4
 
Total 14

Spring Semester

 
BIOL 2001 3
ENGL 1002 3
MATH 1451 4
PHYS 1014 4
*Intro. to Research 0
 
Total 14

Sophomore

Fall Semester

 
CHEM 1001 4
FOLL 3-4
MATH 2450 4
PHYS 2004 3
Soc./Beh. Science 3
 
Total 17-18

Spring Semester

 
BIOL 1002 3
CHEM 1002 4
FOLL 3-4
MATH 2451 4
PHYS 2005 3
 
Total 17-18

Junior

Fall Semester

 
CHEM 2113 4
HIST 1001 3
Literature 3
PHIL 3660 3
PHYS 3011 3
*Biophysics Seminar 1
 
Total 17

Spring Semester

 
BIOL 4101 / 5101* 3
CHEM 2114 4
HIST/Soc. Sci. 3
PHIL 2310 3
THEO 1001 3
*Biophysics Seminar 1
 
Total 17

Senior

Fall Semester

 
Literature 3
*MATH 4720/5720 3
PHYS 4031/5031 3
PHYS 2055 2
THEO (2nd level) 3
*Biophysics Seminar 1
COSC – database 0
 
Total 15

Spring Semester

 
PHIL elective 3
PHYS 4012/5012 3
*PHYS 4032/5032 3
THEO (3rd level) 3
*Biophysics Seminar 1
Div. Cul. Elective 3
 
Total 16
  • TOTAL: 131-133 semester hours
  • * Recommended as electives

Mathematical Physics Concentration

 

Bachelor of Science in Physics, Mathematical Physics Concentration

Freshman

Fall Semester

 
ENGL 1001 3
FOLL 3-4
MATH 1450 4
PHYS 1013 4
 
Total 14-15

Spring Semester

 
ENGL 1002 3
FOLL 3-4
MATH 1451 4
PHYS 1014 4
Intro to Research 0
 
Total 14-15

Sophomore

Fall Semester

 
HIST 1001 3
MATH 2450 4
PHYS 2004 3
Soc./Beh. Science 3
Elective 3
 
Total 16

Spring Semester

 
HIST/Soc. Sci. 3
MATH 2451 4
PHYS 2005 3
Div. Cult. Elec. 3
Electives 3
 
Total 16

Junior

Fall Semester

 
MATH 3100 3
PHIL 3660 3
PHYS 3011 3
PHYS 4031/5031 3
THEO 1001 3
PHYS 2055 2
 
Total 17

Spring Semester

 
Literature 3
PHIL 2310 3
MATH 4210/5210 3
PHYS 4012/5012 3
PHYS elective 3
Elective 3
 
Total 18

Senior

Fall Semester

 
PHIL Elective 3
MATH 4120/5120 3
MATH electives 6
THEO (2nd level) 3
PHYS 4062/5062 3
 
Total 18

Spring Semester

 
Literature 3
MATH electives 6
THEO (3rd level) 3
PHYS elective 3
 
Total 15
  • TOTAL: 128-130 semester hours


Physics Major Curriculum

For an extensive course work guide on the physics major, and for the areas of concentration offered, please visit the Marquette Bulletin.