Why major in physics? Many students who major in physics as undergraduates enter graduate schools for work leading to the M.S. or Ph.D. degrees. Others seek employment in a wide range of fields in government, business, and industry. Since current research, both pure and applied, involves interdisciplinary efforts, the broad training of physics with its stress on fundamentals proves to be a valuable experience.
If you are an L&S student, you will be listed for either a “BS” or “BA” degree. This affects only your breadth requirements and is easily changed. No one but you will ever care, so pick the one where the breadth requirements work best for you. The physics major requirements are exactly the same for BA, BS, and other non-L&S degrees.
Declaring a Physics Major
Students are encouraged to declare a major as early as possible. This gets you connected with a departmental advisor and on our mailing list, and avoids potential problems with the 86 credit rule. To declare a major, you must have completed at least one physics course numbered above 200 on the UW–Madison campus and have a 2.5 average in all physics and math courses taken here. There are some extra declaration steps if you are not an L&S student — see section C on the declaration form — but the degree requirements are identical.
Requirements for the Major
Requirements for completing a physics BA or BS in Physics can be found in the Guide.
Requirements for Honors in the Major
Requirements for earning Honors in the major can be found in the Guide.