Physics, Liberal Arts Emphasis, Major

Liberal Arts (Code 230-201)

University Requirements

GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS FOR BACCALAUREATE DEGREE
Credit Requirements
Minimum total for graduation 1120
Upper division credits (courses numbered 300 and higher)39
Liberal Education Core36
Academic Concentrations
Grade Point Requirements 2
Total2.00 average
Resident2.00 average
Major2.00 average
Minor2.00 average
Certificate2.00 average
University Residency Requirements
Minimum total30
Senior year23
Major, Standard, upper division in residence12
Major, Comprehensive, upper division in residence21
Certificate25 percent of credits
Procedures Required for Graduation
Obtain admission to the degree program and/or the College offering it.
Apply for graduation on CampS.
1

Certain programs exceed this minimum.

2

See special requirements in each College.

Applicability of Credits Toward Graduation

Junior College or Two-Year College Credits. A maximum of 72 semester credits earned in a junior college or two-year college will be accepted as degree credits at UW-Eau Claire.

Extension Credits. Credits earned in credit outreach courses offered by UW-Eau Claire are treated as resident credits. Credits earned in extension courses offered by other units of the University of Wisconsin System are treated as transfer credits. All other (non-UW) extension and correspondence credits are normally limited to one-fourth of the total required for graduation from any curriculum.

WTCS Credits. A maximum of 72 semester credits earned in college parallel programs at Madison Area Technical College, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Nicolet Area Technical College, or Chippewa Valley Technical College may be accepted as degree credits at UW-Eau Claire. A set number of general education courses will be accepted from other technical schools. Occupational and technical courses may also be considered for transfer if the quality and content of the course work from the technical college is judged to be comparable to course work at UW-Eau Claire. Refer to the Transfer Credit Wizard or contact the UW-Eau Claire Admissions Office for information about the current transfer policy.

USAFI Credit. UW-Eau Claire will accept up to 32 semester credits for work done through the United States Armed Forces Institute, under the provision for non-UW correspondence credit (see Extension Credits above).

Activity Credit (band, chorus, drama, KINS 100-184 courses) Students may count toward graduation no more than one credit of KINS 110-184 courses. Students may count toward graduation no more than four credits earned in any single activity course and no more than 12 credits resulting from any combination of activity courses (excluding KINS 110-184 courses). 

Other Restricted Credits. For other University restrictions, see the following: Cooperative Education; Credit by Examination; Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Registration; Transfer of Credits. College or departmental restrictions may also be placed on Independent Study (399-499 courses), Directed Study (395-495), and other types of credits.

APPLICABILITY OF CREDITS TOWARD GRADUATIONCredit Restrictions
Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory
Total degree creditmaximum 12
Major, Standardmaximum 1 course
Major, Comprehensivemaximum 2 courses
Minormaximum 1 course
Credit by Examination
Total degree creditmaximum ¼ of total
Major or minormaximum ½ of total
Two-Year College Credits
Total degree creditmaximum 72 credits
Activity credit (band, chorus, drama, KINS 100-184)
Total KINS 100-184maximum 1 credit
Total Band, chorus, dramamaximum 12 credits
Single course band, chorus, dramamaximum 4 credits
Extension credits
UW-Systemno maximum
Other extension/correspondencemaximum ¼ of total
USAFI
USAFImaximum 32 credits

Liberal Education Core

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire measures learning outcomes to ensure that its graduates have achieved a liberal education and prepared themselves to contribute to a complex society. Upon graduation, each undergraduate will have met the five learning goals of our liberal education core and the 12 learning outcomes they comprise. 

LIBERAL EDUCATION CORE REQUIREMENTSa minimum of 36 credits
Knowledge Goal
Knowledge Outcome 1 (K1): Natural SciencesTwo (2) learning experiences
One experience in laboratory science must be selected from either K1 or K2.
Knowledge Outcome 2 (K2): Social SciencesTwo (2) learning experiences
One experience in laboratory science must be selected from either K1 or K2.
Knowledge Outcome 3 (K3): HumanitiesTwo (2) learning experiences
Knowledge Outcome 4 (K4): Fine ArtsOne (1) learning experience
Skills Goal
Skills Outcome 1 (S1): Written and Oral CommunicationTwo (2) learning experiences
Skills Outcome 2 (S2): MathematicsOne (1) learning experience
Skills Outcome 3 (S3): CreativityOne (1) learning experience
Responsibility Goal
Responsibility Outcome 1 (R1): Equity, Diversity, and InclusivityTwo (2) learning experiences
Responsibility Outcome 2 (R2): Global PerspectivesOne (1) learning experience
Responsibility Outcome 3 (R3): Civic and Environmental IssuesOne (1) learning experience
Integration Goal
Integration Outcome 1 (I1): IntegrationTwo (2) learning experiences
Service-Learning Goal
Service-Learning30 hours

College Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science Degree (B.A./B.S.)

University Graduation Requirements. All candidates for degrees must fulfill the requirements for credits, curriculum, GPA, and University residency as specified in the section of this catalog titled University Graduation Requirements.

College Graduation Requirements: Grade Point Averages. All candidates for degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences must earn minimum resident and total GPAs of 2.00 in the major, the minor, and the certificate. The resident and total GPAs for the major are computed using all attempted credits applicable to the major including those offered by departments other than the major department. The resident and total GPAs for the minor and the certificate are computed similarly.

Major-Minor and Major-Certificate Requirements. A standard major (a minimum of 36 credits) must be supplemented by a minor (a minimum of 24 credits) or by a certificate (12 to 18 credits) to meet graduation requirements for completing a first and second degree program. No minor or certificate is required with a Comprehensive Major (60 or more credits) or with two majors of 36 or more credits each.

Certain degree programs, which include Comprehensive Majors, may require more than the minimum of 120 credits for graduation.

Acceptable academic program combinations are determined at the college level. A major and a minor or a major and certificate or two majors (if available) may not be elected in the same department or program, except in the approved combinations listed here.

College Credits. Earn at least 90 credits in courses offered by the College of Arts and Sciences.

Bachelor of Arts Degree in the College of Arts and Sciences (B.A.)

Fulfillment of all University Graduation Requirements (which includes the Liberal Education Core); all College-level degree requirements (major and minor/certificate emphases, GPAs, earning at least 90 credits in Arts and Sciences course work); foreign language competency at the 102 level.  Foreign language competency may be met in one of two ways:  (1) Achieve a score on the foreign language placement test that qualifies the student to enter the 201-level course in a foreign language.  (2) Earn a grade of at least C (not C-) or a mark of S in a 102-level foreign language course (or AIS 112 or AIS 122 / LANG 122 or CSD 103).

Bachelor of Science Degree in the College of Arts and Sciences (B.S.)

Fulfillment of all University Graduation Requirements (which includes the Liberal Education Core); all College-level degree requirements (major and minor/certificate emphases, GPAs, earning at least 90 credits in Arts and Sciences course work); mathematics competency at the MATH 111, MATH 112 or MATH 113 level.  Mathematics competency can be met in one of three ways:  (1) Achieve a score on the mathematics placement test that qualifies the student to enter MATH 114.  (2) Earn a grade of at least C (not C-) or a mark of S in MATH 111, MATH 112, or MATH 113.  (3) Achieve a satisfactory score on the MATH 112 competency test.  This test may be attempted no more than two times.

Major Requirements

Liberal Arts (Code 230-201)

The Liberal Arts emphasis is the traditional physics major, providing preparation for graduate school as well as a broad range of careers in business and industry following completion of the baccalaureate degree.

The Liberal Arts Emphasis requires 36 credits of physics coursework including:
PHYS 186Introductory Seminar0.5
PHYS 231University Physics I5
PHYS 232University Physics II5
PHYS 332University Physics III3
PHYS 333Quantum Physics3
PHYS 350Electric and Electronic Circuits4
PHYS 340Optics4
or PHYS 360 Electronics
PHYS 365Theoretical Mechanics4
PHYS 486Senior Seminar0.5
The remaining Physics credits are to be selected from any physics course above 325 (including PHYS 374/MSE 374) and MSE 315, MSE 357, MSE 372, and MSE 451.
Required courses not counted toward credits in major:
Differential Equations and Linear Algebra
Computational Physics 1
Programming for New Programmers
Introduction to Programming in C++
Computing for the Sciences and Mathematics
1

Many upper division physics courses require proficiency in Python so PHYS 240 is preferred. If CS 145,CS 163 or CS 170 is taken, Python proficiency will be required prior to enrollment in relevant upper division physics courses.  Contact the department to complete the required programming exercise.

Chemistry (CHEM 115 or CHEM 105CHEM 106, and CHEM 109) is strongly recommended.

NOTE 1: An approved research project must be completed prior to PHYS 486 (see PHYS 486 course description for details).

NOTE 2: A maximum of six credits of any combination of PHYS 399, PHYS 491, and PHYS 499 can be counted toward the major.

NOTE 3: Limit of 3 credits of PHYS 495 counted toward major.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students completing this program will be expected to meet the following learning outcomes:

  • Qualitatively describe natural phenomena and man-made devices in terms of the basic laws of physics in areas of classical mechanics, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, optics, electronic circuits, quantum physics, and special relativity.
  • Convert a physical situation described in English into a mathematical model.
  • Apply the mathematical tools commonly used in physics to obtain analytical and numerical solutions to problems modeling physical situations.
  • Design experiments and demonstrate the ability to use measurement technology, computational tools, and statistical techniques to collect and analyze data.
  • Communicate verbally, graphically, and in writing the results of theoretical analysis, numerical computations, and laboratory experiments in a clear and concise manner that incorporates the stylistic conventions used by physicists worldwide.
  • Synthesize appropriate concepts and methods from different courses in the solutions of problems and apply physical and mathematical principles across disciplinary boundaries.
  • Solve Schrödinger’s equation for a number of physically important problems.
  • Solve a number of physically important problems using noninertial reference frames.

Sample Degree Plan

Physics, Liberal Arts Emphasis, Major, B.S.

The following is a sample degree plan, based on the 2022-2023 catalog. It is based on the 120-credit graduation requirement and assumes no transferred credits, no requirements waived by placement tests, no courses taken in the summer or winter, no repeated courses, and no remedial courses that may be required. This sample degree plan is intended for first-year students entering UW-Eau Claire in the fall semester. Your own degree plan may differ depending on the course of study selected (second major, minor, etc.). UW-Eau Claire cannot guarantee all courses will be offered as shown, but will provide a range of courses that may enable prepared students to fulfill their requirements in a timely period. This sample degree plan is just a guide. Please consult your advisor, your degree audit, and the catalog to create your own degree plan. Note: In order to earn the required minimum of 120 credits for the degree in four years, you should plan to take 15 credits each semester or 30 credits each year.

To earn a degree, students must fulfill all University Graduation Requirements, including the Liberal Education (LE) Core.  LE Core course work in the following sample degree plan uses abbreviations such as LE-K1, LE-S2, LE-R3, and LE-I1 to represent the learning outcomes students will meet via completion of their liberal education course work.  Please click here for a description of the Liberal Education Core outcomes and requirements.  Note that the LE Core may be completed through both course and non-course experiences.

Students in this major have the option to pursue either a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree.  The degrees are distinguished by foreign language competency for the B.A. and a higher level of mathematics competency for the B.S.

FIRST YEAR
FIRST SEMESTER
MATH 114Calculus I (LE-S2)4
PHYS 186Introductory Seminar a0.5
PHYS 231University Physics I (LE-K1)5
WRIT 114Intensive Blugold Seminar in Critical Reading and Writing (LE-S1)5
or WRIT 116 Blugold Seminar in Critical Reading and Writing
SECOND SEMESTER
PHYS 240Computational Physics3
MATH 215Calculus II4
PHYS 232University Physics II (LE-K1)5
LE Option: Knowledge 3 (K3) Humanities and LE Option: Responsibility 1 (R1, DDIV) Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity with Design for Diversity3
TOTAL29.5
SECOND YEAR
FIRST SEMESTER
MATH 216Calculus III4
PHYS 332University Physics III (LE-I1)3
PHYS 350Electric and Electronic Circuits a4
LE Option: Skills 1 (S1) Written and Oral Communication3
SECOND SEMESTER
MATH 312Differential Equations and Linear Algebra4
PHYS 340Optics b4
Minor3
LE Option: Knowledge 3 (K3) Humanities and LE Option: Responsibility 2 (R2) Global Perspectives 3
TOTAL28
THIRD YEAR
FIRST SEMESTER
PHYS 333Quantum Physics c3-4
OR
Theoretical Mechanics
Minor3
Minor3
LE Option: Knowledge 2 (K2) Social Sciences and LE Option: Responsibility 1 (R1) Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity3
LE Option: Integration (I1)3
SECOND SEMESTER
Physics Elective - See elective list d4
LE Option: Knowledge 4 (K4) Fine Arts3
LE Option: Knowledge 2 (K2) Social Sciences and LE Option: Responsibility 3 (R3) Civic and Environmental Issues 3
Minor3
Minor3
TOTAL31-32
FOURTH YEAR
FIRST SEMESTER
PHYS 333Quantum Physics c3-4
OR
Theoretical Mechanics
Physics Elective - See elective list e4
PHYS 486Senior Seminar (LE-S3) a.5
Minor3
Electives e9
SECOND SEMESTER
Physics Elective - See elective list e4
Minor3
Minor3
Electives e6
TOTAL31.5-32.5
Minimum total for the baccalaureate degree = 120 credits
a

Offered only in fall semesters. 

b

Offered only in spring semesters. 

c

Offered only in fall of even numbered years. 

d

Select from the following: any physics course numbered 325 or higher, including PHYS/MSE 374 and MSE 315, 357, 372, and 451. 

e

Electives need to be carefully selected to ensure that a student’s degree comprises at least 39 credits of upper division courses (300-400 level). 

Note:  All students must complete the 30-hour Service-Learning Requirement via a non-credit or credit option (see https://nextcatalog.uwec.edu/undergraduate/graduation-requirements/).

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HIGH IMPACT PRACTICES (HIPs)
The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire encourages all students to participate in High Impact Practices.  The following information identifies any specific recommendations that faculty in this major have concerning which HIPs might be most beneficial to students, and any recommendations about when those HIPs best fit into the degree plan. Students should also consult their faculty advisor for information on HIPs. There are many additional high impact opportunities available. Talk to your academic advisor for more information about incorporating HIPs like Study AbroadIntercultural ImmersionInternship, and/or  Student/Faculty Collaborative Research into your time at UW-Eau Claire.

Liberal Education (LE) Core Guidance

Liberal Education Core (LE Core) 

The LE Core comprises 17 learning experiences across 11 learning outcomes. Students must complete a minimum of 36 credits in courses approved for the LE Core. 

  • K1 – Natural Sciences; two experiences (one lab science experience is required in K1 or K2). 

  • K2 – Social Sciences; two experiences (one lab science experience is required in K1 or K2). 

  • K3 – Humanities; two experiences. 

  • K4 – Fine Arts; one experience. 

  • S1 – Written and Oral Communication; two experiences (one experience must satisfy the University writing requirement). 

  • S2 – Mathematics; one experience (must satisfy the University math competency requirement). 

  • S3 – Creativity; one experience (can be fulfilled in a student’s major). 

  • R1 – Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity; two experiences (one experience must meet the UW System Design for Diversity (DD) requirement). 

  • R2 – Global Perspectives; one experience. 

  • R3 – Civic and Environmental Issues; one experience. 

  • I1 – Integration; two experiences (one experience can be fulfilled in a student’s major). 

  • SL—Service Learning; 30 hours 

Additional LE Core Information 

  • Most LE Core learning experiences are course based, and many courses meet more than one learning outcome (e.g., K3 and R2 or K1 and R3). 

  • Some learning experiences can also be met outside of a traditional course (e.g., undergraduate research (S3), study abroad (I1)). 

  • S1 – An English placement score that fulfills the University writing requirement fulfills one S1 experience. 

  • S1 – A foreign Language placement score that qualifies the student to enter the 102 level satisfies one S1 experience. 

  • S1, R2 – A foreign language placement score that qualifies the student to enter the 202 level satisfies one experience in S1 and the R2 experience. 

  • S2 – A math placement score that qualifies the student to enter Math 111, 112, 113 or 114 fulfills the S2 experience. 

  • S3 – Completion of two credits from any approved music ensemble fulfills the S3 experience. 

  • I1 – Any semester long study abroad program can fulfill one I1 experience.