Physics - Bachelor of Science

A Bachelor of Science degree in physics at NMSU prepares a student well for graduate study in physics, geophysics, or engineering or for a variety of careers in research and teaching. Specialization in one of the emphasis areas should increase employability at the BS level.

Nondepartmental Requirements 1
MATH 191GCalculus and Analytic Geometry I4
MATH 192GCalculus and Analytic Geometry II4
MATH 291GCalculus and Analytic Geometry III3
MATH 392Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations3
Select one of the following:8
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
Principles of Chemistry I
and Principles of Chemistry II (or higher-level courses)
Department Requirements 1
PHYS 150Elementary Computational Physics3
PHYS 213Mechanics3
PHYS 213 LExperimental Mechanics1
PHYS 214Electricity and Magnetism3
PHYS 214 LElectricity and Magnetism Laboratory1
PHYS 217Heat, Light, and Sound3
PHYS 217 LExperimental Heat, Light and Sound1
PHYS 315Modern Physics3
PHYS 315 LExperimental Modern Physics3
PHYS 395Intermediate Mathematical Methods of Physics3
PHYS 451Intermediate Mechanics I3
PHYS 454Intermediate Modern Physics I3
PHYS 455Intermediate Modern Physics II3
PHYS 461Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism I3
PHYS 462Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism II3
PHYS 480Thermodynamics3
Select an additional 6 credits in physics or geophysics numbered 300 or above6
Advanced Laboratory
Select at least 3 credits from the following (in any combination):3
Modern Experimental Optics3
Advanced Physics Laboratory1-3
Experimental Nuclear Physics3
Select sufficient electives to bring total number of credits to 128, including 48 upper-division.55
Second Language Requirement: (required - see bottom of the page)
Total Credits128

May not be taken S/U and must earn a grade of C- or better.

Students who plan to pursue graduate study in physics or geophysics are strongly advised to take one or more senior-level courses in optics, nuclear physics, space physics, condensed matter physics, geophysics, or computational physics.

Students who plan to seek employment at the B.S. level are advised to take one of the following concentration area curricula in addition to the general and departmental requirements. The program of study should be chosen by the student in consultation with an advisor. Some recommended courses are listed below.

Concentration: Applied Optics

Required Courses
PHYS 473Introduction to Optics4
PHYS 478Fundamentals of Photonics4
Total Credits8

Concentration: Applied Physics

The program of study in applied physics is planned by the student and the physics advisor and includes 12 credits of upper division classes in electrical and mechanical engineering along with classes in computer science.

Concentration: Computational Physics

Required Courses
C S 157Topics in Software Programming and Applications3
or C S 150 C Programming
C S 171GIntroduction to Computer Science4
MATH 279Introduction to Higher Mathematics3
PHYS 476Computational Physics3
Total Credits13

Concentration: Geophysics

Required Courses
GEOL 111GIntroductory Geology4
GPHY 340VPlanet Earth3
GPHY 450Selected Topics 13
Upper-division course in the general area of geophysics/geology 23
Total Credits13

For the geophysics concentration, students must take at least three credits of GPHY 450 Selected Topics.


 The upper-division course should be agreed upon between the student and the geophysics advisor.

Concentration: Materials Science

Required Courses
CHME 361Engineering Materials3
PHYS 475Advanced Physics Laboratory 33
PHYS 488Introduction to Condensed Matter Physics3
PHYS 489Introduction to Modern Materials3
Total Credits12

For the materials science concentration, students must take three credits of PHYS 475 Advanced Physics Laboratory.

Geophysics courses are offered by the Department of Physics and are listed under "Geophysics" in the course description chapter of this catalog.

Second Language Requirement

For the Bachelor of Science in the Physics there is a one year second language requirement, the student must do one of the following:

Option 1:

Complete two semesters from the following:
CHIN 111Elementary Chinese I4
or FREN 111 Elementary French I
or GER 111 Elementary German I
or JPNS 111 Elementary Japanese I
or SPAN 111 Elementary Spanish I
CHIN 112Elementary Chinese II4
or FREN 112 Elementary French II
or GER 112 Elementary German II
or JPNS 112 Elementary Japanese II
or SPAN 112 Elementary Spanish II
For Heritage Learners:
SPAN 213Spanish for Heritage Learners II3
or SPAN 214 Spanish for Heritage Learners III
or PORT 213 Portuguese for Romance Language Students I
or PORT 214 Portuguese for Romance Language Students II

Option 2:

Complete two semesters of American Sign Language (with a C- or better):
C D 374American Sign Language I3
C D 375American Sign Language II3

Option 3:

Challenge the 112 level for the following courses:
CHIN 112Elementary Chinese II4
or FREN 112 Elementary French II
or GER 112 Elementary German II
or SPAN 112 Elementary Spanish II
Challenge the 213 level for the following courses:
PORT 213Portuguese for Romance Language Students I3
or SPAN 213 Spanish for Heritage Learners II

Option 4:

Pass a three-credit, upper-division course (numbered 300 or above) taught in a second language by the department of Languages and Linguistics.

Option 5:

Obtain college certification of completion of two years of a second language at the high school level with a grade of C- or higher in the second-year level.

Option 6:

By obtaining certification of a working knowledge of a Native American language from the American Indian program director.

Option 7:

By obtaining, from the head of the Department of Languages and Linguistics, certification of a working knowledge of a second language if such language is not taught at NMSU.

Option 8:

In the case of a foreign student who is required to take the TOEFL exam admission, the dean will automatically waive the second language requirement.

Dual Degree (BS/MS) Program

This program option is designed to provide a means for PHYS undergraduates to obtain both a BS and an MS degree with 146 credits (normally: BS=128 credits, MS=30 credits). Students electing this option will follow the regular undergraduate BS in physics curriculum, except that they take the advanced laboratory course at the 5XX level to meet their BS requirements. They also apply nine other credits of their undergraduate courses numbered 450 and higher towards their MS degree, requiring only an additional 18 credits for the MS. These 18 credits can be obtained in two semesters (and perhaps one summer term to write and defend an MS thesis). Students interested in this dual degree must be admitted to the MS in Physics graduate program and must fulfill all degree requirements for the MS in Physics.