The Physics, BS prepares students for graduate school and careers in education, business, or industry.

Teacher Licensure

Students who wish to become teachers and plan to seek teacher licensure should consider the following options:

Interested students should attend an information session early in their undergraduate career. For more information, visit the Graduate School of Education's website.

Admissions

University-wide admissions policies can be found in the Undergraduate Admissions Policies section of this catalog.

To apply for this program, please complete the George Mason University Admissions Application.

Policies

Students must fulfill all Requirements for Bachelor's Degrees including the Mason Core.

The intensive writing requirement is fulfilled by taking PHYS 407 Senior Laboratory in Modern Physics (Mason Core) or ASTR 402 RS: Methods of Observational Astronomy (Mason Core), which are also capstone courses for the major.

For policies governing all undergraduate programs, see AP.5 Undergraduate Policies.           

Double Majors

Students in the fields of mathematics, science, and engineering who are considering a double major in physics should discuss this option with the respective undergraduate coordinators.

Note that at least 18 credits used to fulfill the Physics, BS cannot be used to fulfill another major or minor. Some course substitutions are allowed for double majors, but these should be discussed in advance.

Alternative Introductory Sequence

Normally, students who intend to major in physics should take the physics introductory sequence:

PHYS 160University Physics I (Mason Core)3
PHYS 161University Physics I Laboratory (Mason Core)1
PHYS 260University Physics II (Mason Core)3
PHYS 261University Physics II Laboratory (Mason Core)1

Students who decide to major in physics after completing PHYS 243 College Physics (Mason Core), PHYS 244 College Physics Lab (Mason Core), PHYS 245 College Physics (Mason Core), and PHYS 246 College Physics Lab (Mason Core) are welcome, but are required to obtain written permission from the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Banner Code: SC-BS-PHYS

Degree Requirements

Total credits: minimum 120

Students should refer to the Admissions & Policies tab for specific policies related to this program.

Students must complete a total of 75 credits in the major (69 credits if completing a second major), including at least 11 credits in mathematics, with a minimum GPA of 2.00.

Students must complete the coursework described below and either select a concentration or select the "BS without Concentration" option:

Physics Core Courses

PHYS 160University Physics I (Mason Core)3
PHYS 161University Physics I Laboratory (Mason Core)1
PHYS 251Introduction to Computer Techniques in Physics (Mason Core)3
PHYS 260University Physics II (Mason Core)3
PHYS 261University Physics II Laboratory (Mason Core)1
PHYS 301Analytical Methods of Physics3
PHYS 303Classical Mechanics3
PHYS 305Electromagnetic Theory 13
PHYS 307Thermal Physics3
PHYS 308Modern Physics with Applications3
PHYS 402Introduction to Quantum Mechanics and Atomic Physics3
PHYS 416Special Topics in Modern Physics1
Total Credits30
1

Students double majoring in engineering and physics may substitute ECE 305 Electromagnetic Theory for PHYS 305 Electromagnetic Theory.

Mathematics

MATH 113Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core)4
MATH 114Analytic Geometry and Calculus II4
MATH 213Analytic Geometry and Calculus III3
Total Credits11

BS without Concentration

Mathematics/Computational Physics6
Select 6 credits from the following:
Computational Physics I
Linear Algebra
Elementary Differential Equations
Intermediate Laboratory6
Instrumentation
Wave and Optics
Research, Internship, or Independent Study3
Select 3 credits from the following:
Problems in Physics II
Honors Thesis in Physics
Honors Thesis in Physics
Senior Research
Physics Internship
Capstone4
Senior Laboratory in Modern Physics (Mason Core) 1
Physics Theory9-15
All students complete the following 9 credits:
Wave Motion and Electromagnetic Radiation
Quantum Mechanics II
Relativity
Only students who are not completing a second major must select 6 additional credits from the following:
Introduction to Astrophysics
Stars and Interstellar Medium
Planetary Sciences
Galaxies and Cosmology
Molecular Biophysics
Solid State Physics and Applications
Nuclear and Particle Physics
Planetary Atmospheres and Ionospheres
Atmospheric Physics
Total Credits28-34
1

Fulfills the writing intensive requirement.

Applied and Engineering Physics Concentration (PHAE)

Mathematics/Computational Physics3
Computational Physics I
Intermediate Laboratory6
Instrumentation
Wave and Optics
Physics Theory9
Wave Motion and Electromagnetic Radiation
Select 6 credits from the following:
Molecular Biophysics
Quantum Mechanics II
Solid State Physics and Applications
Capstone4
Senior Laboratory in Modern Physics (Mason Core) 1
Practical Work6-12
Students who are not completing a second major should select 12 credits from the following. Students who are completing a second major should select 6 credits:
Honors Thesis in Physics
Honors Thesis in Physics
Senior Research
Physics Internship
Bioengineering Signals and Systems
Or other approved 300 or 400-level Volgenau School of Engineering courses
Total Credits28-34
1

Fulfills the writing intensive requirement.

Astrophysics Concentration (PHAP)

Mathematics/Computational Physics3
Select 3 credits from the following:
Computer Simulation in Astronomy
Computational Physics I
Elementary Differential Equations
Intermediate Laboratory6
Instrumentation
Wave and Optics
Research, Internship, or Independent Study3
Select 3 credits from the following:
Honors Thesis in Astronomy I
Honors Thesis in Astronomy II
Senior Research
Astronomy Internship
Problems in Physics II
Honors Thesis in Physics
Honors Thesis in Physics
Senior Research
Physics Internship
Capstone4
Select 4 credits from the following:
RS: Methods of Observational Astronomy (Mason Core)
Senior Laboratory in Modern Physics (Mason Core) 1
Physics and Astronomy Theory12-18
Students who are not completing a second major must complete the following:
Introduction to Astrophysics
Stars and Interstellar Medium
Planetary Sciences
Galaxies and Cosmology
Wave Motion and Electromagnetic Radiation
Relativity
Students who are completing a second major must complete the following:
Introduction to Astrophysics
Stars and Interstellar Medium
Additionally, select 3 credits from the following:
Wave Motion and Electromagnetic Radiation
Relativity
Lastly, select 3 credits from the following:
Planetary Sciences
Galaxies and Cosmology
Total Credits28-34
1

Fulfills the writing intensive requirement.

Computational Physics Concentration (PHCP)

Mathematics/Computational Physics15
Computational Physics I
Linear Algebra
Elementary Differential Equations
Additionally, select 6 credits from the following:
Computer Simulation in Astronomy
Scientific Data and Databases
Scientific Data Mining
Numerical Analysis I
Numerical Analysis II
Intermediate Laboratory3
Instrumentation
Research, Internship, or Independent Study3
Select 3 credits from the following:
Problems in Physics II
Honors Thesis in Physics
Honors Thesis in Physics
Senior Research
Physics Internship
Capstone4
Select 4 credits from the following:
RS: Methods of Observational Astronomy (Mason Core) 1
Senior Laboratory in Modern Physics (Mason Core) 1
Physics and Astronomy Theory3-9
Students who are not completing a second major must select 9 credits of the following. Students who are completing a second major must select 3 credits from the following:
Introduction to Astrophysics
Stars and Interstellar Medium
Planetary Sciences
Wave Motion and Electromagnetic Radiation
Solid State Physics and Applications
Total Credits28-34
1

Fulfills the writing intensive requirement.

Mason Core and Elective Credits

In order to meet a minimum of 120 credits, this degree requires 45 (or 51 if completing a second major) additional credits, which may be applied toward any remaining Mason Core requirements (outlined below), Requirements for Bachelor's Degrees, and elective courses. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisors to ensure that they fulfill all requirements.

Mason Core

Note: Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.

Foundation Requirements
Written Communication6
Oral Communication3
Quantitative Reasoning3
Information Technology3-7
Core Requirements
Arts3
Global Understanding3
Literature3
Natural Science7
Social and Behavioral Sciences3
Western Civilization/World History3
Synthesis/Capstone Requirement 1
Synthesis/Capstone3
Total Credits40
1

minimum 3 credits

Honors in the Major

Physics majors who have maintained an overall GPA of at least 3.50 in physics courses and a GPA of 3.50 in all courses taken at George Mason University may apply to the physics honors program when they complete the first semester of their junior year.

To graduate with honors in physics, a student is required to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 in physics courses and successfully complete PHYS 405 Honors Thesis in Physics and PHYS 406 Honors Thesis in Physics with a GPA of at least 3.50 and a grade of at least ‘A-’ in PHYS 406 Honors Thesis in Physics.

Physics, BS/Curriculum and Instruction, Accelerated MEd (Secondary Education Physics concentration)

Overview

Highly-qualified undergraduates may be admitted to the bachelor's/accelerated master's program and obtain both a BS in Physics and an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction, Secondary Education Physics Concentration in an accelerated time-frame after satisfactory completion of 149 credits. See AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees for policies related to this program.

This accelerated option is offered jointly by the department of Physics and Astronomy and the Graduate School of Education.

Students in an accelerated degree program must fulfill all university requirements for the master's degree. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Application Requirements

Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in Graduate Admissions Policies. For information specific to this accelerated master's program, see Application Requirements and Deadlines.

Accelerated Option Requirements

Students complete the following courses in their senior year:

Senior
Fall SemesterCreditsSpring SemesterCredits
EDCI 5733EDCI 6733
EDUC 6723EDRD 6193
 6 6
Total Credits 12

While undergraduate students, accelerated master's students are able to apply two of the courses listed above to both the bachelor's and master's degrees. These courses are considered advanced standing for the MEd. A minimum grade of B must be earned to be eligible to count as advanced standing. The other two courses are taken as reserve graduate credit and do not apply to the undergraduate degree. Early in their final undergraduate semester, students must submit the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition Form to the CEHD Admissions Office and specify which of the four courses are to be designated as advanced standing and reserve graduate credit.

Physics, BS/Applied and Engineering Physics, Accelerated MS

Overview

This program allows academically strong undergraduates with a demonstrable commitment to research to obtain the Physics, BS and Applied and Engineering Physics, MS degrees by successfully completing 144 credits. Upon completion, students are well-prepared for entry into a professional school or a PhD program in physics or a related discipline.

Admitted students take selected graduate courses during their senior year and are able to use up to 6 graduate credits in partial satisfaction of requirements for the undergraduate degree. Upon completion and conferral of the bachelor's degree and with satisfactory performance (grade of 'B' or better) in each of the graduate courses, students are given advanced standing in the master's program and complete an additional 24 credits to receive the master's degree.

For more detailed information, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Application Requirements

Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in the Graduate Admission Policies section of this catalog.

Successful applicants will have completed at least 90 credits toward their undergraduate degree and 45 credits in physics major coursework. The physics major GPA must be at least 3.50. One or more recommendation letters from one or more research supervisors are also required. Interested applicants should submit a letter to the undergraduate physics coordinator requesting admission along with the aforementioned recommendation letter(s). Contact the physics undergraduate or graduate coordinator for further details.

Accelerated Option Requirements

At the beginning of the student's final undergraduate semester, students must submit a bachelor's/accelerated master's transition form to the College of Science's Office of Academic and Student Affairs. Students must begin their master's program in the semester immediately following conferral of the bachelor's degree.

Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.00 or higher in graduate coursework.

Reserve Graduate Credit

While still in undergraduate status, a maximum of 6 additional graduate credits may be taken as reserve graduate credit and applied to the master's program. Reserve graduate credits do not apply to the undergraduate degree.