Physics Major: Materials Science Option (B.S.)

Physics Major: Materials Science Option (B.S.)

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What is the materials science option in physics?

The materials science option in the physics degree program prepares students for a wide variety of opportunities in high-demand industrial fields such as microelectronics, advanced materials synthesis and design, and thin film engineering. Students gain a foundation in classical and modern physics while also studying materials synthesis and properties.

Why study physics at UNH?

This program offers introductory physics in a lecture and studio format – an active learning environment that includes group work and labs. The style allows for a coherent, connected and supportive experience. You’ll get hands-on training in materials characterization techniques such as diffraction, electron microscopy, scanning probe microscopy, and photoelectron spectroscopy.  You’ll also have many research opportunities with physics faculty and research 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
  • Medical physics
  • 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 option combines courses from the Physics and other departments to provide training in physics and materials science, an area that has proven industrial demand. In addition to the core courses in classical and modern physics, the students will take six courses in which they will study materials synthesis and properties and get hands-on training in materials characterization techniques, such as diffraction, electron microscopy, scanning probe microscopy, and photoelectron spectroscopy. Two semesters of thesis work in a research lab complement the training in the classroom. Students completing this program will have a wide variety of career opportunities to pursue, for example, in microelectronics, advanced materials synthesis and design, and thin film engineering. Alternatively, they are qualified for postgraduate programs in condensed matter physics or materials science.

University Discovery requirements 1
Bachelor of Science requirements
Physics requirements:
PHYS 400Freshman Seminar1
PHYS 407General Physics I4
PHYS 408General Physics II4
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
PHYS 795
PHYS 799
Independent Study
and Thesis
or INCO 790
PHYS 799
Advanced Research Experience
and Thesis
or PHYS 798
Senior Project
Mechanical Engineering:
ME 561Introduction to Materials Science4
ME 730Mechanical Behavior of Materials4
ME #760Physical Metallurgy I0 or 4
MATH 425Calculus I4
MATH 426Calculus II4
Select one of the following options: 212
Option A:
MATH 525
Linearity I
MATH 526
Linearity II
Option B:
MATH 528
Multidimensional Calculus
MATH 527
Differential Equations with Linear Algebra
MATH 545
Introduction to Linear Algebra
or MATH 645
Linear Algebra for Applications
Computer Programming:
CS 410PIntroduction to Scientific Programming/Python4
or IAM 550 Introduction to Engineering Computing
Electives in Option
Select three courses of the following:
ME #731
Fracture and Fatigue Engineering Material
ME 761
Diffraction and Imaging Methods in Materials Science
ME 795
Special Topics
PHYS 718
Condensed Matter Physics
CHEM 403General Chemistry I4
or CHEM 405 Chemical Principles for Engineers

By the end of the spring semester of the sophomore year, a student must have a minimum grade of C in each 400- or 500-level course specifically required for the B.S. degree and an overall grade-point average of at least 2.33 in these courses in order to continue in the B.S. program.

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