Dec 09, 2019  
2019-2020 University Catalog 
    
2019-2020 University Catalog

Physics - Integrated BS/MS


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The Integrated BS/MS in Physics program is a 4 + 1 program intended to provide students with the state-of-the-art knowledge, skills, and technical foundations in physics required to tackle contemporary scientific and technological challenges. It uniquely offers three tracks representing the leading-edge fields of materials science, biophysics, and complex systems. These offer students expertise in important modern endeavors such as the study of novel materials, the use of physics techniques to better understand biological systems, and the extraordinary world of chaotic dynamics and complex systems. Students in this program complete a set of foundational and core courses in physics and specialized fields, assuring a well-rounded exposure to the subject grounded in vital connections to contemporary scientific and technological advances. Graduates from this program will be well prepared to enter immediately into rewarding professional careers in vital sectors of research and development, manufacturing and entrepreneurship or, if they choose, continue on to other graduate or professional degrees. USciences offers a truly distinctive program in physics that provides the essential training required for modern applications.

Academic Standards

Course Selection

Courses may count toward meeting degree requirements and/or electives either for the undergraduate (BS) degree or for the graduate (MS) degree, but not for both.

The MS degree requires a minimum of three (3) credits at the 800-level, a maximum of six (6) credits at the 300- or 400-level, and the remainder at the 700- or 800-level. Many graduate courses are not offered every year and some may be offered only in the summer and in the evenings or weekends. A student may choose to put off certain undergraduate courses which may delay the student’s ability to earn the BS degree and may also impact the student’s ability to obtain financial aid as an undergraduate student. Students in the Integrated BS/MS in Physics program are responsible for working with their faculty advisor to ensure that they do not significantly disrupt their undergraduate course sequence by pursuing graduate courses.

Undergraduate and Graduate Transcripts

Separate transcripts for the undergraduate degree and for the graduate (MS) degree will be maintained. In order to remain enrolled in the Integrated BS/MS in Physics program, students must maintain a minimum of a 3.00/4.00 cumulative grade point average (GPA) in both their undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Grade Requirements, Probation, and Dropped from Program

Students in the Integrated BS/MS in Physics program must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 as undergraduate students and earn a “B-” or better grades in all courses that are being used to fulfill the requirements for the MS degree.

If a student fails to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 in either the BS program or the MS program, then the student will be placed on probation in the MS program. The student will have two (2) consecutive semesters (not counting summer sessions) to bring up the cumulative GPA to a minimum 3.00 in each program. During this time, the student must maintain a minimum of a 3.00 semester GPA in each program. Failure to maintain this minimum semester GPA or to earn the minimum cumulative GPA within two semesters will cause the student to be dropped from the Integrated BS/MS in Physics program—the student will remain in the BS in Physics program as long as the student continues to meet the minimum criteria for that program.

Students who are dropped from the Integrated BS/MS in Physics program are eligible to apply to a USciences graduate program through the normal process, but will not be allowed to enter any USciences graduate program until they have successfully completed a baccalaureate degree program. Students who do not already hold a baccalaureate degree and are dropped from or leave the BS in Physics program will also be dropped from the graduate program.

Degree Track Review

Students enrolled in the Integrated BS/MS in Physics program must undergo a degree track review for their graduate program at the end of the academic year in which they would normally complete the undergraduate degree and also at the end of their first academic year as a graduate student. Additional degree track reviews can occur at the discretion of the Program Director. Based on this review, a student may be invited to change graduate degree tracks or may be dropped from the graduate program.

Student Classification and Financial Aid

Students enrolled in the Integrated BS/MS in Physics program will be classified as undergraduate students up until the completion of the BS degree. However, at the end of the 4th year of enrolled status as an undergraduate at USciences (less for transfer students), the student will not be eligible for normal undergraduate financial aid, but may be eligible for aid as a graduate student. Additionally, beyond this time frame, the student will be charged at the graduate or integrated degree program tuition rate.

Awarding of the MS Degree

The MS degree will not be awarded prior to earning the BS degree. Unless the student already holds a baccalaureate degree, a student must complete the degree requirements for the BS degree before or simultaneously with the completion of the MS degree. A student who leaves USciences before the completion of the BS degree will not be awarded the MS degree even if all of the graduate degree requirements have been met. In such cases, students may petition to be awarded the MS degree within 3 years of leaving USciences if a baccalaureate degree has been earned at another institution with regional accreditation.

Integrated BS/MS Degree Requirements - Biophysics


Undergraduate Requirements


Graduate Requirements


Sample BS/MS in Physics Biophysics Track Curriculum Plan


First Year


Second Year


Credits/Semester: 18


Spring Semester


  • Multidisciplinary Inquiry Credits: 3 

Credits/Semester: 18


Third Year


Fall Semester


  • General Education Humanities or Social Science Requirement Credits: 6 

Credits/Semester: 18


Credits/Semester: 18


Fourth Year (Thesis Option)


Credits/Semester: 18


Spring Semester


  • General Education Humanities or Social Science Requirement Credits: 6 

Credits/Semester: 18


Credits/Semester: 3


Fifth Year (Thesis Option)


Total Minimum Credits: 160


Fourth Year (Non-Thesis Option)


Credits/Semester: 17


Spring Semester


  • General Education Humanities or Social Requirement Credits: 6

Credits/Semester: 16


Spring Semester


Fifth Year (Non-Thesis Option)


Credits/Semester: 9


Spring Semester


  • Graduate Physics Electives Credits: 6 

Credits/Semester: 10


Total Minimum Credits: 156


Integrated BS/MS Degree Requirements - General/Complex Track


Undergraduate Requirements


Graduate Requirements


General/Complex Track Requirements


Thesis and Non-Thesis option Graduate Elective Requirement


  • Non-thesis students must take 12 credits of physics electives from the list below and 3 credits of either biology, chemistry or physics electives from the list below.
  • Thesis students must take 6 credits of physics electives from the list below and 3 credits of either biology, chemistry, or physics from the list below. 

Thesis option Graduate Requirement


Sample BS/MS in Physics General/Complex Track Curriculum Plan


First Year


Second Year


Fall Semester


  • General Education Humanities or Social Science Requirement Credits: 3 
  • Multidisciplinary Inquiry Requirement Credits: 6

Credits/Semester: 17


Spring Semester


  • General Education Humanities or Social Science Requirement Credits: 3 

Credits/Semester: 17


Third Year


Fall Semester


  • General Education Humanities or Social Science Requirement Credits: 3 

Credits/Semester: 18


Credits/Semester: 18


Fourth Year (Thesis Option)


Credits/Semester: 18


Spring Semester


  • Physics Elective Credits: 6
  • Physics/Chemistry/Biology Elective Credits: 3 

Credits/Semester: 17


Credits/Semester: 3


Fifth Year (Thesis Option)


Credits/Semester: 9


Spring Semester


  • Graduate Physics Elective Credits: 3 

Credits/Semester: 9


Total Minimum Credits: 156


Fourth Year (Non-Thesis Option)


Credits/Semester: 18


Spring Semester


  • Physics/Chemistry/Biology Elective Credits: 3 
  • Physics Elective Credits: 6 

Credits/Semester: 18


Fifth Year (Non-Thesis Option)


Credits/Semester: 9


Spring Semester


  • Graduate Physics Elective Credits: 9 

Credits/Semester: 10


Total Minimum Credits: 152


Integrated BS/MS Degree Requirements - Materials Science


Undergraduate Requirements


Graduate Requirements


Materials Science Track Requirements


Thesis option Graduate Requirement


Thesis and Non-Thesis option Graduate Elective Requirement


Non-thesis and thesis students must take 6 credits of physics electives from the list below and 3 credits of biology, chemistry, or physics electives from the list below.

Sample BS/MS in Physics Materials Science Track Curriculum Plan


First Year


Fall Semester


  • General Education Humanities or Social Science Requirement Credits: 3 

Credits/Semester: 14


Credits/Semester: 16


Second Year


Fall Semester


  • General Education Humanities or Social Science Requirement Credits: 3
  • Multidisciplinary Inquiry Requirement Credits: 6 

Credits/Semester: 17


Spring Semester


  • General Education Humanities or Social Science Requirement Credits: 3 

Credits/Semester: 17


Third Year


Fourth Year (Thesis Option)


Fall Semester


  • Free Elective Credits: 3
  • General Education Humanities or Social Science Requirement Credits: 3 

Credits/Semester: 18


Spring Semester


  • Physics/Chemistry/Biology Elective Credits: 3 

Credits/Semester: 17


Credits/Semester: 3


Fifth Year (Thesis Option)


Total Minimum Credits: 156


Fourth Year (Non-Thesis Option)


Fall Semester


  • Free Elective Credits: 3 
  • General Education Humanities or Social Science Requirement Credits: 3

Credits/Semester: 17


Spring Semester


  • Physics/Chemistry/Biology Elective Credits: 3 

Credits/Semester: 16


Fifth Year (Non-Thesis Option)


Credits/Semester: 9


Spring Semester


  • Graduate Physics Electives Credits: 6 

Credits/Semester: 9


Total Minimum Credits: 152


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