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Programs How many concentration courses in an undergraduate degree

  1. Sep 3, 2016 #1

    I hope someone can help. I'm a highschool student in Canada who is thinking about majoring in Physics in university. I've started researching different potential programs and had a question regarding the structure of undergraduate programs at US universities. How many core courses, physics & math, are required for an undergraduate degree in physics? I've been investigating honours physics programs at Canadian universities (to keep my options for grad school open) and the ones I'm considering require a range of 72-97 credits out of 120. Most also have additional mandatory courses in other sciences, primarily chemistry and computer science. Do US programs require a similar number of core concentration credits or is there more room for non-major electives?

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 3, 2016 #2
    I think 72-97 credits sounds like a good range for a physics program in the US. Generally getting a BS in physics requires, say, 60 credits (based off my own undergrad degree) in physics, and another 15-20 in math/CS/chemistry. If you go straight to a four-year university, you will probably have to take some flavor of general education courses (English, history, art, what have you) - though you can usually make some decisions about which courses you want to take, often they are required.

    So if by "non-major electives" you mean extra not-required-at-all courses, you're pretty limited time-wise.
  4. Sep 3, 2016 #3
    Thanks that's basically what I was wondering. While I'd like to major in physics, I still want to be able to take courses in English, history, music, and philosophy etc. Most graduate programs in Canada seem to require a 4 year honours undergraduate degree and most of those programs don't seem to leave much room for non-major electives.
  5. Sep 3, 2016 #4
    It's certainly doable. I went four years taking the minimum number of credits (12, which means usually 3-4 courses) whereas most people took ~15. (one more course). This meant that, if I had wanted to take an extra course for fun as opposed to doing research and working, I could have. So it can be done!
  6. Sep 4, 2016 #5
    Ok thanks.
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