Jun 28, 2022  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics: Interdisciplinary Emphasis Area, BS

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Program Description

Physics, the most fundamental of the natural sciences, forms the basis of study upon which the other branches of science are founded. Physics is concerned with the fundamental behavior of matter and energy. Classical physics encompasses the fields of mechanics, heat and thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, acoustics and optics. Modern physics is concerned with the study of atoms and molecules, atomic nuclei, elementary particles and the properties of liquids, crystalline solids, and other materials, as well as the areas of relativity, cosmology, and the large-scale structure of the universe. The undergraduate Physics curricula provide students with a strong background in the classical areas of physics, as well as an introduction to the more important aspects of modern physics.

The BS curriculum is directed toward preparing students for graduate study ultimately leading to the PhD degree or toward research and development work in industrial or governmental laboratories. It also provides a good background for graduate study or industrial work in many areas or engineering physics and applied science.

Combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Plan

Under this plan, students may reduce the time necessary to earn both degrees by applying graduate credits to both undergraduate and graduate program requirements. Both BS/MS (Master of Science) and BS/MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) plans are available. Students are encouraged to obtain the specific requirements for pursuing the combined degree from the Department of Physics and Astronomy (https://www.clemson.edu/science/departments/physics-astro/) as early as possible in their undergraduate program. Enrollment guidelines and procedures can be found under Academic Regulations  in this catalog.

Program Requirements

Students who select the Bachelor of Science degree in Physics with an interdisciplinary emphasis supplement their study of physics with core courses in complementary fields of study. This emphasis area is an excellent option for students preparing for direct entry into the job market or for medical, law or business school. Depending on a student’s academic goals, it may also be a good option for students preparing for graduate school or for those pursuing both a major and minor or a double major. Because students choosing the interdisciplinary emphasis have a wide variety of academic and career goals, and because the interdisciplinary emphasis requirements cannot be tracked via Clemson’s degree audit system, detailed departmental advising is vital. Students, in consultation with their advisor, must select a technical or professional emphasis area subject to departmental approval no later than the end of the second semester of their sophomore year. Additionally, all potential prerequisite courses for a minor should be completed in the student’s first or second year. For additional information, please visit http://www.clemson.edu/science/departments/physics-astro/.

Note: Student transcripts record a Bachelor of Science in Physics; the interdisciplinary emphasis area is not included on transcripts.

Freshman Year

Sophomore Year

Junior Year

First Semester

Credit Hours: 15

Second Semester

Credit Hours: 15

Senior Year

First Semester

Credit Hours: 15

Second Semester

  • 1-3 Credits 7 (3 Credits Required)
  • Emphasis Area Requirement 6 Credits 4
  • Social Science Requirement 3 Credits 2
Credit Hours: 12

Total Credits: 120


1 Or select from ASTR 1050 , BIOL 1030 , BIOL 1100 , CPSC 1010 , CPSC 1060 , CPSC 1110 , ENGR 1020 , and GEOL 1010 . Other introductory courses may be chosen with departmental approval. If a three-credit course is chosen, an additional elective may be needed to fulfill the total program requirement. 

2 See General Education Requirements . Six of these credits must also satisfy the Cross-Cultural Awareness and the Science and Technology in Society General Education Requirements.

3 Select from CPSC 1010 , CPSC 1060 , or CPSC 1110 . Or select from CPSC 1020  or CPSC 1070  to complete a sequence.

4 See advisor. Twenty-one credit hours, with at least nine at the 3000-4000 level, are required. Courses and emphasis area must be approved by the department. Note: Requirements for a minor may be satisfied with these courses. Emphasis area and courses of study must be approved by the end of sophomore year.

5 ENGL 3040 , ENGL 3120 , ENGL 3140 , ENGL 3150 , ENGL 3450 , ENGL 3460 , ENGL 3480 , ML 4020  or THEA 3470  

6 Any 2000-4000-level course in ASTR, BIOL, CH, ENSP, GEOL, PHYS or STS. Other science courses require departmental approval.

7 Students may select an approved synthesis or capstone course or directed research in their emphasis area. Students in the honors program must complete a senior thesis in physics.

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