Physics: Computer Techniques, BA

Physics and astronomy are fundamental sciences aimed at discovering the basic principles that govern our universe. Physicists study the interplay between space, time, matter, and energy. Complex behavior in nature is explained in terms of elementary relations between constituent elements and the forces that bind them, over distances ranging from subatomic to cosmic scale. Astronomy encompasses the entire physical universe beyond the earth: the solar system, stars, galaxies, galaxy clusters and superclusters, quasars, and the large-scale structure of the universe. The basic tools in physics and astronomy are mathematics and experimental investigation and observation of the world around us.

At Penn, the curriculum for undergraduate Physics majors, which includes extensive laboratory experience, is based on faculty strengths in Condensed Matter Physics, Elementary Particle Physics, and Astrophysics. Undergraduate teaching is linked to faculty research efforts in these areas, and participation by undergraduates in research is strongly encouraged.

This concentration is particularly appropriate for students planning a career in the computer or electronics industries or contemplating a dual degree in Physics and either Computer Science or Electrical Engineering.

The minimum total course units for graduation in this major is 36. Double majors may entail more course units.

For information about the General Education requirements, please visit the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum page.

College General Education Requirements and Free Electives
Foundational Approaches + Sectors1 + Free Electives17.5
Major Requirements
Core Requirements
MATH 1400Calculus, Part I1
MATH 1410Calculus, Part II1
MATH 2400Calculus, Part III1
MATH 2410Calculus, Part IV1
PHYS 1230Principles of Physics III: Thermal Physics and Waves1
PHYS 1250Principles of Physics IV: Modern Physics1.5
PHYS 3351Analytical Mechanics1
PHYS 3361Electromagnetism I: Electricity and Potential Theory1
PHYS 3362Electromagnetism II: Magnetism, Maxwell's Equations, and Electromagnetic Waves1
PHYS 4411Introduction to Quantum Mechanics I1
PHYS 0150Principles of Physics I: Mechanics and Wave Motion1.5
or PHYS 0170 Honors Physics I: Mechanics and Wave Motion
PHYS 0151Principles of Physics II: Electromagnetism and Radiation1.5
or PHYS 0171 Honors Physics II: Electromagnetism and Radiation
Concentration Requirements
Select 3 course units in Concentration approved by the Undergraduate Chair 23
PHYS 4401Thermodynamics and the Introduction to Statistical Mechanics and Kinetic Theory1
Select one of the following options:1
Laboratory Electronics (Option 1)
Laboratory in Modern Physics (Option 2)
Total Course Units36

You may count no more than one course toward both a Major and a Sector requirement. For Exceptions, check the Policy Statement.


See sample program in Physics Major Program.


Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.3 in major-related courses.

PHYS 4498Senior Honor Thesis (Semester 1)1
PHYS 4498Senior Honor Thesis (Semester 2)1
Thesis Accepted


The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2023 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.