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College of Science


Physics Honors Program

The honors program offers an intensive concentration in physics that provides a solid foundation for advanced studies. Successful graduates of this challenging program are recognized for both the depth and breadth of their physics education. Some have gone on to the premier graduate schools in the country and ultimately to many different career choices.

The honors program provides a solid theoretical and experimental background in mechanics, electromagnetism, optics, thermal physics, quantum mechanics and the microstructure of matter. See the sample program at www.physics.purdue.edu.

A very important feature of this plan is a senior-year research project (PHYS 59300) in some area of modern physics, such as condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, elementary particle physics, biophysics, geophysics, etc. Students receive individual supervision and guidance from a faculty member whose specialty matches the area of their research project. PHYS 59300 introduces students to the type of research atmosphere that they later might encounter as professional physicists, and it promotes self-motivation and independence in their work.

Students interested in the honors program typically start by taking PHYS 17200 (Modern Mechanics) and PHYS 27200 (Electric and Magnetic Interactions) as freshmen. Transfer students or students from other majors who have taken PHYS 15200 (Mechanics) and PHYS 24100 (Electricity and Optics) (3 cr.) or PHYS 26100 (Electricity and Optics) (4 cr.) may switch into the physics honors major by taking PHYS 24200 (Introduction to Heat and Thermal Physics) (1 cr.) and PHYS 25200 (Electricity and Optics Laboratory) (1 cr.). All students should take PHYS 34000 (Modern Physics Laboratory); PHYS 34400 (Modern Physics); PHYS 42200 (Waves and Oscillations), and the two mathematical methods courses during the sophomore year. Admission to, and continuation in, the honors program is contingent upon satisfying the grade requirement described earlier.

Physics Honors Major Course Requirements 62-63 credits
PHYS 17200 (Modern Mechanics) 4 cr.
PHYS 27200 (Electric and Magnetic Interactions) 4 cr.
PHYS 30600 (Mathematical Methods of Physics I) 3 cr.
PHYS 30700 (Mathematical Methods of Physics II) 3 cr.
PHYS 34000 (Modern Physics Laboratory) 1 cr.
PHYS 34400 (Modern Physics) 4 cr.
PHYS 41000 (Physical Mechanics I Honors) 3 cr.
PHYS 41100 (Physical Mechanics II Honors) 2 cr.
PHYS 41600 (Thermal and Statistical Physic Honors) 4 cr.
PHYS 42200 (Waves and Oscillations) 3 cr.
PHYS 43000 (Electricity and Magnetism I Honors) 3 cr.
PHYS 43100 (Electricity and Magnetism II Honors) 2 cr.
PHYS 45000 (Intermediate Laboratory) 2 cr.
PHYS 46000 (Quantum Mechanics I Honors) 3 cr.
PHYS 46100 (Quantum Mechanics II Honors) 3 cr.
Advanced Physics Laboratory Requirement
PHYS 53600 (Electronic Techniques for Research) (4 cr.) or approved advanced laboratory courses, e.g., PHYS 58000 (Advanced Computational Physics) (3 cr.) 3-4 cr.
Science/Engineering Electives Requirement:
Two courses offered by any Science/Engineering department at the 30000 level or higher (or by approval)
6 cr.
Physics Specialty Electives Requirement:
Two physics specialty courses at 50000 level
6 cr.
Senior Honors Project Requirement:
PHYS 59300 (Independent Research), which leads to an approved written final report
3 cr.
The two mathematical methods courses can be replaced by courses from the math department by petition, depending on the content and performance.