Physics (Astrophysics Concentration)
Physics (Astrophysics Concentration)
Bachelor of Science Degree
Arts and Sciences
Time to Completion
Evening Courses Offered
Distance Learning Courses Offered
Weekend Courses Offered
Contact InformationDepartment Website
PO Box 210011
What Is Physics (Astrophysics Concentration) ?
Astrophysics is the study of the structure and evolution of the universe, from the smallest scales measurable to the limits of detectability. It encompasses such diverse areas as the formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems, to the chemical evolution of galaxies, to the deep connections between the quantum nature of matter and the large-scale structure of the cosmos.
The successful student in astrophysics will need to have strong math and writing skills, imagination, the ability to engage in analytic thinking and problem-solving, as well as a keen interest in understanding how the universe works.
The study of astrophysics provides excellent training in quantitative and analytical approaches to solving problems. Astrophysics graduates are highly sought for graduate and professional programs in engineering, computer science, law, economics, medicine, business and teaching. The emphasis on modeling and problem-solving, along with the rigorous mathematical background needed for the major, means graduates of this major pursue many different careers.
Graduates have found careers as:
- Planetarium operator
- Telescope operator
- Museum curator
Additional careers are possible in space industry, science writing, patent industry, programming, military and biomedical industry.
Most of the curriculum is identical to that of the standard physics major and includes courses in mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermal physics and quantum physics. In addition, the student is expected to take the introductory course in astronomy and lab, a one-quarter course in advanced topics in astronomy (generally in the second or third year) and a two-quarter sequence in astrophysics in the senior year. The entire degree is expected to take four years to complete.
The UC McMicken College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) offers flexible degree requirements that allow for and highly encourage multiple areas of study. Free electives allow for enough credits for students to pursue a minor, certificate program or even complete a second major. Some of the most common pairings are listed below.
- Biological sciences
- Mathematical sciences
The undergraduate minor in physics (concentration in astrophysics) is designed to provide students with a sound introduction to astronomy and astrophysics. It is offered to students in any college at the University of Cincinnati; however, the required physics courses must be taken within A&S.
Required Credits: at least 30 credits in physics courses at the 200- level or higher; nine of these must be at the 300- level or higher. For specifics, please visit the college Web site.
I. Intro Courses:
The introductory astronomy sequence should be completed:
Astronomy: Solar System (PHYS 120)
Astronomy: Stars and Galaxies (PHYS 121)
Astronomy: Life in the Universe (PHYS 122)
The following are required.
ONE of the following sequences (15 credits)
204-205-206, 214-215-216 (General Physics - for physics majors);
201H-202H-320H, 211H-212H-213H (General Physics - Honors);
201-202-203, 211-212-213 (General Physics);
206-207-208, 211-212-213 (General Physics - industrial management);
AND (9 credits)
341* (Advanced Topics in Astronomy)
521-522 (Intro. Astrophysics)
III. Math: 251-252-253 (Calculus)
IV. 200-Level or Higher Physics Courses acceptable for remaining credits
276 (Modern Physics for Engineers) 3 credits
278 (Introduction to Nanotechnology) 3 credits
279 (Introduction to Nanotechnology ? lab course) 3 credits
301/302/**303 (Mechanics) 3 credits
304/305/**306 (Electricity & Magnetism) 3 credits
**311 (Intermediate Laboratory) 3 credits
**321/**322 (Methods in Physics) 3 credits
331/332 (Thermodynamics & Statistical Physics) 3 credits
351/352/353 (Intermediate Physics) 3 credits
361/2 (Experiments in Modern Physics) 3 credits
403 (Special Relativity) 3 credits
406 (Optics) 3 credits
501/502/503 (Special Problems) 1-3 credits
507/508/509 (Introductory Quantum Mechanics) 3 credits
511/512 (Advanced Laboratory) 3 credits
671 (Introduction to Computational Physics and Mathematica) 3 credits
* Students may substitute Special Problems (501, 502, or 503) for 341, with permission from the department.
** No longer offered, but will apply toward the minor.
For further information please consult the Department of Physics, room 400 Geology/Physics Building, 556?0501, or http://www.physics.uc.edu/.
This curriculum information is intended as a general information guide for students considering enrollment in this major. These online tools are designed to assist you, but are not a substitute for planning with an academic or faculty advisor.
If you are currently enrolled at UC, you can audit your degree online. If you are considering transferring to this major from another school use the course applicability system (CAS) to see how credits you have earned will apply to this major at UC. For course descriptions by college, click here.
|First Year||Course Number||Credits|
|*English Composition||ENGL 101, 102||6|
|General Physics for Physics Majors & Lab||PHYS 204/214, 205/215, 206/216||15|
|Calculus I, II & Lab, and III & Lab||MATH 251, 252/256, 253/257||15|
|Astronomy||PHYS 120, 121, 122||9|
|Total for first year||45|
|Second Year||Course Number||Credits|
|*Intermediate Composition||ENGL 289||3|
|*Foreign Language||see checklist||9-15|
|Calculus IV||MATH 264||5|
|Differential Equations||MATH 273||5|
|Intermediate Physics||PHYS 351, 352, 353||15|
|Advanced Topics in Astronomy||PHYS 341||3|
|Free electives (recommended to count in a minor or other program)||see options||0-6|
|Total for first year||46|
|Third Year||Course Number||Credits|
|Mechanics||PHYS 301, 302||6|
|Electricity & Magnetism||PHYS 304, 305||6|
|Physics Elective||PHYS 300-level or above||3|
|*Foreign Language (if necessary)||see checklist||0-9|
|*Social Sciences (SS)||see offerings||9|
|*Humanities (HU)||see offerings||3|
|*Literature (LT)||see offerings||3|
|*Humanities, Literature, or Fine Arts (HU, LT, or FA)||see offerings||3|
|Free electives (recommended to count in a minor or other program)||see options||3-12|
|Total for third year||45|
|Fourth Year||Course Number||Credits|
|Thermal Physics||PHYS 331, 332||6|
|Advanced Laboratory I, and II||PHYS 511, 512||6|
|Physics Capstone||PHYS 499||3|
|Introduction to Astrophysics I & II||PHYS 521, 522||6|
|*Historical Perspectives (HP)||see offerings||9|
|*Social & Ethical Issues (if not already taken, SE)||see offerings||3|
|Free electives (recommended to count in a minor or other program)||see options||12|
|Total for fourth year||45|
|Total overall||Minimum 180|
*Needed to fulfill A&S college requirements.
Students in McMicken College of Arts and Sciences enjoy many benefits afforded through study at a research-intensive institution ranked among the nation's top 25 public research universities. UC's urban, tri-state location offers exciting opportunities for global education, research and service learning, while its student-centered focus includes an 11:1 student-faculty ratio, a nationally recognized Center for Exploratory Studies and a highly successful First Year Experience program that teaches critical skills for first-year students and provides connections with important campus resources.
The UC faculty consists of researchers in observational astrophysics, theoretical particle astrophysics and general relativity, and experimental particle physics closely related to astrophysics. The observational astrophysics group has regular access to world-class telescope facilities, such as 3-to-8 meter telescopes in Hawaii and Chile, the Hubble space telescope and the Spitzer space telescope. Undergraduate students are encouraged to work with faculty on research projects with the potential to lead to published papers.
Admission criteria for this program vary based on the relative strength of test scores, class rank and GPA. Please see the Freshman Class Profile for this major in the Quick Facts sidebar on this page for the range of academic credentials typically accepted into this program. Test scores in the lower range may be acceptable with higher class rank and/or GPA. Freshmen applying to this program should also have completed the following state of Ohio articulation requirements with no more than two units missing:
- English (4 units)*
- College-preparatory mathematics (3 units)*
- Science (2 units)
- Social science (2 units)
- Foreign language (2 units)*
- Additional college-prep subjects (3 units)
*McMicken College of Arts and Sciences does not allow units missing from these areas.
Applicants to A&S whose most recent enrollment was not in any of the UC colleges must apply through the Office of Admissions. Applicants in this category must submit transcripts for all secondary school and college-level work. A cumulative GPA of 2.0 for all college-level work is required for admission consideration. Admission to A&S is generally available for any off-campus applicants who have received an associate degree from an accredited college or university and whose cumulative GPA is 2.0 or higher.Although midyear, off-campus transfer students are not able to participate in early registration in the quarter prior to their enrollment, they are included in the summer registration period prior to their fall quarter enrollment.
Changing Major Requirements
Applicants to A&S whose most recent enrollment was as a degree student in one of UC’s other colleges can apply directly to the A&S college office. Admission to A&S is generally available for any on-campus students who have:
- at least a 2.0 GPA in all college-level courses (both at UC and at other institutions),
- successfully completed two quarters of English Composition or its equivalent, and
- gained credit for a college-level mathematics course.
A&S students must meet the college residency requirement of 45.0 hours which begins immediately upon matriculation in the college and consists of courses taught with McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.
To graduate from UC McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, students must:
- Earn at least 180 credits. This can include transfer credit, AP credit and free electives, but does not include preparatory coursework. Students who have met all other degree requirements must continue earning credit until the total number of their earned hours comes to at least 180.
- Attain a 2.0 grade point average for all courses taken at the University of Cincinnati.
- Be in good academic standing, that is, not on either academic probation or disciplinary probation or suspension.
- Complete the residency requirement by earning at least 45 credits after matriculating into the college. These minimum 45 credits must be taught within McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, and also must be completed after gaining admission to the college.
- Complete all of the requirements of at least one major (see major requirements above).
- Complete the College Core Requirements.
- Submit an application for graduation to the registrar's office by their posted deadline.
UC operates on a quarter system, with 10-week grading periods beginning in late September, early January, late March and mid-June. While midyear admission is possible, fall quarter is generally the best time to enter the college, since many course sequences begin in that quarter. Applicants to McMicken College of Arts and Sciences who are enrolled or who were previously enrolled as degree-seeking students in A&S or in other UC colleges should apply for admission directly to A&S (in French West, 2nd Floor). All other applicants who wish to earn an undergraduate degree from A&S should apply through the Office of Admissions (3rd Floor, University Pavilion).