Department of Physics

Location: 112 Archer Building, Phone: (409) 880-7391

Chair: Dr. Philip Cole

Physics is the most fundamental of the sciences. Indeed, one can say, everything derives from Physics.  All physical principles and the very laws of the universe stem from Physics: ranging from the whispering of gravitational waves resulting from the cataclysmic merging of two black holes a billion years ago, to how the sun shines so brightly and why it will continue to do so for another 4 billion years, to the forces that bind together the atoms that make up the transistors in this computer, to the interactions of electromagnetic radiation with this screen monitor and your eye, which enables you to read these very words.  Physics is all about the infinitesimally small to the infinitely big. Therefore, having a solid background in Physics will serve you well in succeeding in other STEM fields, such as astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, and all aspects of engineering. 

The study of physics is subdivided into several basic areas of study, including Newtonian (classical and celestial) mechanics, statistical physics and thermodynamics, electricity & magnetism, quantum mechanics, optics and photonics, solid-state physics, nuclear physics, particle physics, and Einstein’s general relativity.    The study of physics offers a vast multitude of opportunities. A good foundation in physics will prepare a student for specializing in any number of areas of research, as well as provide for an excellent background upon entering such wide-ranging fields as electrical engineering, computer science, astronomy, nuclear engineering, unconventional energy sources, imaging, biology, mathematics, communications, meteorology, oceanography, law, medicine, and teaching.   And most importantly, physics is fun!

The emphasis of the Lamar University physics program is on quality instruction at the undergraduate level.  We strongly focus on face-to-face classroom instruction and encourage one-to-one interactions, with a personalized approach.  Undergraduate students are strongly encouraged to participate in research activities directed by faculty mentors. We have a very solid track record. The program of study in physics is one of the most flexible in the university. It offers many options and electives that make it possible to get a good foundation in physics as well as the necessary background to go into many other fields. The undergraduate degree offered is the Bachelor of Science (B.S.).

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Science in Physics -120 hrs, with at least 45 hours at the 3000-4000-level.
Concentrations: Mathematics, Chemistry or Engineering

Bachelor of Science – Physics Major

This degree plan places a strong emphasis on physics and mathematics. It can be tailored to meet the needs of students preparing for graduate school or employment in a variety of fields. Many students with B.S. degrees in physics from Lamar University have been highly successful graduate students in physics at some of the best universities in the U.S. Others have succeeded as engineers, mathematicians, physicians, medical researchers, lawyers, teachers, etc. Faculty advisors help plan programs to satisfy the needs of individual students.

The degree of Bachelor of Science in Physics will be awarded upon completion of the following requirements:

A. General Requirements:See core curriculum General Education Core and the Minimum Standards for Undergraduate Majors in the College of Arts and Sciences.

B. Science and Mathematics: CHEM 1311/1111, 1312/1112; MATH 2413, 2414, 3435, 3301, 3328.

C. Physics: Most students will take PHYS 1370 Mathematical Methods in Physics as a preparation for PHYS 2425. PHYS 2425, 2426 University Physics; PHYS 3430 Analytical Mechanics; PHYS 3350 Modern Physics; PHYS 3380 Electricity and Magnetism; PHYS 3390 Statistical Physics; PHYS 4310 Experiments in Physics, PHYS 4320 Quantum Physics; PHYS 4370 Solid State Physics; PHYS 4480 Optics.

D. Concentration Area: A concentration in either Chemistry, or Engineering or Mathematics to include - 

  1. Chemistry: CHEM 3401, CHEM 4311.
  2. Engineering: ENGR 2301, ENGR 2302, ENGR 2411 (ENGR 2374 replaces CHEM 1312/1112).
  3. Mathematics: MATH 4302 and 3-4 hours of MATH at the 3000 or 4000 level..

E. Electives: Additional physics electives to attain at least 32 semester hours of physics. Additional general electives to attain a total of 120 semester hours. 3000-4000-level courses to total 45 hours.

Bachelor of Science in Physics – Total Min. Hours: 120

Suggested Program of Study

First Year
Fall Spring
PHYS 1370 3 PHYS 2425 4
MATH 2413 4 MATH 2414 4
CHEM 1311 3 CHEM 1312 3
CHEM 1111 1 CHEM 1112 1
ENGL 1301 3 ENGL 1302 3
TOTAL 14 15
Second Year
Fall Spring
PHYS 2426 4 PHYS 3350 3
MATH 3435 4 PHYS 3430 4
MATH 3328 3 MATH 3301 3
Language/Philosophy/Culture*** Communication*** 3
Concentration** 3
TOTAL 14 16
Third Year
Fall Spring
PHYS 3380 3 PHYS 3390 3
PHYS 4320 3 PHYS 4480 4
MATH Elective*** 3 Concentration** 3
Social/Behavioral Science*** 3 Physics/General Electives*** 3
HIST 1301 3 HIST 1302 3
TOTAL 15 16
Fourth Year
Fall Spring
PHYS 4370 3 POLS 2302 3
PHYS 4310 3 PHYS/General Electives*** 6
PHYS/General Electives*** 3 Creative Arts*** 3
Concentration*** 3 Special Topics*** 3
POLS 2301 3
TOTAL 15 15

**Concentration can be in MATH, ENGR or CHEM

***See a Physics advisor about options.


Physics as a Second Major

Physics may be selected as a second major for students wishing to broaden their education. The most popular options are to combine Physics with Engineering or Mathematics. Combinations are also available with Chemistry and Computer Science. A student may choose one degree with a double major or two separate degrees (dual degree). A Physics advisor can give you specific details on your choice of the field combinations.

Minor in Physics

A physics minor consists of (PHYS 1401 and PHYS 1402) or (PHYS 2425 and PHYS 2426), PHYS 3350, and nine additional hours of PHYS 3000/4000 level courses to total 20 credits with no grade less than “C”.