Requirements for the B.A. Degree

as of Spring 2012

Physics Courses

  • "Fundamentals of Physics I", Physics 161+161L or its equivalent*
  • "Fundamentals of Physics II", Physics 162+162L or its equivalent*
  • "Optics and Modern Physics", Physics 264L
  • "Thermal Physics", Physics 363
  • Two courses out of the following:
    • "Intermediate Mechanics", Physics 361
    • "Electricity and Magnetism", Physics 362
    • "Quantum Mechanics I", Physics 464
    • "Nonlinear Dynamics", Physics 513
    • A 300-level or higher physics-related course approved by the Physics DUS after discussion with the DUS.
  • One of the following laboratory courses:
    • "Electronics", Physics 271L
    • "Advanced Physics Laboratory and Seminar", Physics 417S
    • "Research Independent Study, Physics 493, with a substantial experimental component.
  • One other physics elective numbered above 200.

BA students are strongly encouraged to get some physics-related research experience, either through a research independent study (Physics 493) or through summer research.

Mathematics Courses

  • "Introductory Calculus", Math 122 or its equivalent
  • "Multivariable Calculus", Math 212
  • "Linear Algebra and Applications", Math 221

The math course "Elementary Differential Equations", Math 356, is strongly recommended since it provides useful preparation for most upper-level physics courses.

*141L/142L or 151L/152L are acceptable for satisfying introductory physics requirements for physics majors, for students who have already taken these when starting as a physics major.  However 161+161L and 162+162L are strongly encouraged, as they provide better preparation for subsequent courses.   Calculus-based physics AP credit is also accepted, although in most cases, prospective physics majors are encouraged to take introductory physics at Duke regardless of AP credit.

Brief descriptions of these courses can be found in the Duke University Undergraduate Bulletin and on this course listing.

Knowing How to Program

All physics majors should know how to write computer programs at the level of an introductory computer science course such as Computer Science 6, and they should learn this skill as soon as possible, preferably by the end of their sophomore year. Knowing how to program greatly increases the opportunities for undergraduate research, theoretical and experimental.