Physics Major (B.A.)

Physics Major (B.A.)

UNH students studying outside

What is a Bachelor of Arts in physics?

This degree program is tailored to students who want a broad education, and it’s excellent preparation for middle and high school physics teachers, pre-med and pre-law students, as well as those wishing to pursue a technical career in industry. With fewer required courses than the B.S., students pursing the B.A. have time to explore other academic interests.

Why study physics at UNH?

The program offers introductory physics in a lecture and studio format – an active learning environment that includes group work and labs all in a single room with a professor and graduate teaching assistants. This style allows for a coherent, connected and supportive experience. One studio course integrates the study of calculus and physics, for a deeper understanding of both subjects. You’ll have many opportunities to conduct research with physics faculty and other scientists, working on projects funded by NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health and other agencies and organizations. You’ll learn how to approach, analyze and solve complex problems as you develop new technologies, methods and theories that will prepare you for a range of careers in research, engineering and education.

Potential Careers

  • Accelerator operator
  • Aerospace sciences
  • Applied optics
  • Engineering research
  • Fluids engineering and research
  • High school physics teacher
  • Materials research
  • Physical sciences technician
  • Software engineering
  • Systems engineering


Department of Physics
DeMeritt Hall 237A
9 Library Way
Durham, NH 03824

Phone: (603) 862-2669
Email: Physics 

Curriculum & Requirements

This program provides an opportunity for a broad and liberal education, which in some cases may be sufficient for graduate work. This program can also be excellent preparation for middle and high school physics teachers, pre-med and pre-law students, and those wishing to pursue a technical career in industry. Because there are fewer required courses than for a B.S., you have time to pursue other academic interests. A judicious choice of electives may also prepare students for interdisciplinary programs that require proficiency in a specialized area of physics.

Suggested Curriculum for B.A. in Physics

In the following table, "other required courses" include Discovery courses, writing-intensive courses, language courses required for the B.A., and free-choice electives.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
PHYS 400 Freshman Seminar 1
PHYS 407 General Physics I 4
MATH 425 Calculus I 4
Other Required Courses 8
PHYS 408 General Physics II 4
MATH 426 Calculus II 4
ENGL 401 First-Year Writing 4
CS 410P
or IAM 550
Introduction to Scientific Programming/Python
or Introduction to Engineering Computing
Second Year
PHYS 505
PHYS 506
General Physics III
and General Physics III Laboratory
MATH 525
or MATH 527
Linearity I
or Differential Equations with Linear Algebra
Other Required Courses 8
PHYS 615 Classical Mechanics and Mathematical Physics I 4
MATH 526
or MATH 528
Linearity II
or Multidimensional Calculus
Other Required Courses 8
Third Year
PHYS 616 Classical Mechanics and Mathematical Physics II 4
PHYS 701 Quantum Mechanics I 4
Other Required Courses 8
PHYS 703 Electricity and Magnetism I 4
PHYS 605 Experimental Physics I 5
Other Required Courses 8
Fourth Year
PHYS 705 Experimental Physics II 4
PHYS 508 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics 4
Other Required Courses 4
Capstone 4
Other Required Courses 12
Capstone 4
 Total Credits130-134
University Discovery Program requirements 1
Bachelor of Arts Degree requirements
PHYS 400Freshman Seminar1
PHYS 407General Physics I4
PHYS 408General Physics II4
CS 410PIntroduction to Scientific Programming/Python4
or IAM 550 Introduction to Engineering Computing
PHYS 505
PHYS 506
General Physics III
and General Physics III Laboratory
PHYS 508Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics4
PHYS 605Experimental Physics I5
PHYS 615Classical Mechanics and Mathematical Physics I4
PHYS 616Classical Mechanics and Mathematical Physics II4
PHYS 701Quantum Mechanics I4
PHYS 703Electricity and Magnetism I4
PHYS 705Experimental Physics II4
Capstone: 22-8
PHYS 795
PHYS 799
Independent Study
and Thesis
or INCO 790
PHYS 799
Advanced Research Experience
and Thesis
or PHYS 798
Senior Project
Total Credits48-54

Note that MATH 425 Calculus I, MATH 426 Calculus II, and MATH 525 Linearity I, MATH 526 Linearity II or MATH 527 Differential Equations with Linear Algebra, MATH 528 Multidimensional Calculus are prerequisites for some of the courses.

Explore Program Details

The following gives a suggested schedule for a student obtaining a B.A. in Physics. Please note that Physics courses numbered 500 and higher are offered only once a year, and elective courses (numbered above 706) are typically offered only every other year. Only 400 level physics courses are offered in the summer (and even these are not guaranteed to be offered at that time.) Also, most courses above 600 have several physics and mathematics prerequisites. All this means that the schedule given below is somewhat rigid (although Physics 508, 701 and 703 can be taken in any order in the last two years). If you feel you need to deviate from this schedule for any reason, it is best to do so in consultation with your Physics advisor.

There are spaces for seventeen electives. These spaces must be used to fulfill the following requirements:

  • the two writing intensive requirements (in addition to ENG 401 and PHYS 705)
  • the eight general education requirements (in addition to ENG 401 and MATH 425)

Note that many courses are both general education courses and writing intensive, so you can fulfill these requirements with as few as eight courses. The remaining electives can be used to pursue other academic interests.

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