Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2018-2019

Physics

College of Humanities and Sciences

 
Program description

The curriculum in physics prepares students for technical careers in physics or an allied area, for careers in engineering and for the teaching of physics in secondary schools. The curriculum also prepares students for graduate studies in physics or a related area.

Students will learn to perform scientific reasoning and complex problem-solving. Physics majors will receive a fundamental understanding of the main areas of physics so that they are prepared for jobs that use physics-based technologies. They are expected to have mastered the analytical approach to solving technical problems by identifying simple subsystems that obey known physical laws and using these laws to approximate the behavior of the whole system.

Career opportunities

With a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics, students can pursue careers in research and development, science, engineering, education, medicine, law, business, and the military.


Bachelor-level job titles
  • Automotive engineer
  • Computer systems analyst
  • Environmental compliance inspector
  • Geophysical data technician
  • High school teacher
  • Photonics engineer
  • Quality control analyst
  • Regulatory affairs specialist
  • Software quality assurance engineer/tester
  • Technical writer
  • Web developer
Degree requirements in Bulletin
Plan of study in Bulletin
Highest level of math required
  • MATH 201 or higher
Science required
  • 5+ additional science courses
Foreign language requirements
  • Yes
Additional tuition/fees
  • Yes
GPA requirements (to progress/graduate in the major)
  • 2.0
Department name:
Department of Physics
Building/room location:
701 West Grace Street
Campus (where 75% of courses are taken):
Monroe park
Phone:
(804) 828-1821
Email:
physics@vcu.edu

Major map compass icon
Major map

Explore
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor each semester to discuss tutoring, course electives, and degree progression.
  • Complete MATH 201 and PHYS by end of first year.
  • Utilize Campus Learning Center resources.
  • Attend Ready, Set, Go – Sophomore Transition Experience.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Register to vote in Virginia and explore Richmond, including its museums, parks, festivals, and cultural events!
  • Apply to live in the ASPiRE, Globe, INNOVATE, or LEAD Living & Learning Programs.
  • Get involved with VCU Student Government or one of over 450 clubs and organizations on campus.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Learn about your study abroad options by visiting a study abroad fair and attending a First Advising Session in the Global Education Office.
  • Review the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs(OMSA) website for programs, events, and resources.
  • Join a living-learning program such as VCU Globe.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Explore “What Can I Do With This Major” to learn about employers/ job titles in your field of study.
  • Complete your Handshake profile and opt-in to industry email lists to learn about opportunities.
  • Complete a “Gap Analysis” Strategic Plan with your academic or career advisor.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Explore Career Pathways on VCU Career Services’ website.
  • Practice independent living skills (such as money management, self-care, time management, and personal responsibility).

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor and explore minors, certificates, and skills-based value added courses and your plan to complete the Biology core and collateral coursework.
  • Talk to your professors about research interests, picking future classes in your major, and strategies for success in your degree program.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Take service-learning classes or volunteer to address a social issue (ConnectVA & HandsOnRVA).
  • Join a student organization such as Medical Physics Scholastic Society, Women in Science, STEM at VCU, Black Women in STEM, or a pre-professional health track club.
  • Explore peer leadership opportunities or apply for I-LEAD Connect, Alternative Spring Break, and other leadership and service events.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Attend Diversity Scholars in Research Week.
  • Get to know other VCU students from all over the world at a monthly Global Café.
  • Join a cultural organization.
  • Consider short-term, semester and year long Study Abroad opportunities.
  • Attend OMSA Social Justice Conference.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Create a draft of your resume and go to drop-ins at VCU Career Services to have it reviewed.
  • Attend Career & Internship Fairs and career events throughout the year to explore your interests.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Conduct numerous informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Using LinkedIn, connect to at least 10 people. Check out the VCU alumni page in My Network.
  • Consider who you would like to have serve as professional and academic references for future letters of recommendation.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • See your advisor each semester to discuss degree progression and plans for elective coursework.
  • Work with a professor as a preceptor or through a directed reading and/or independent study.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Create and complete a science related community-engaged research project.
  • Attend civic meetings, such as school board, neighborhood associations, city council, or state legislative sessions.
  • Attend at least two or three public talks or other events advertised by the department.
  • Attend a program through the Wellness Resource Center.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • With careful planning, a study abroad semester works well during junior or senior year.
  • Consider becoming a diversity ambassador with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.
  • Apply for a Fulbright or other post-graduate international fellowship program through VCU’s National Scholarship Office.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Develop tangible skills in internships that you can demonstrate to employers.
  • Meet with a career adviser to discuss your career direction and create an action plan.
  • Go to a conference for a professional association, club or other organization.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Based on career goals, talk to a career/academic advisor or a faculty member about whether graduate school or a job fits your career goals.
  • Join job listserv sites that provide access to job postings in desired fields. Revisit gap analysis assessment and continue adjusting strategic career plan with Career Services.

Excel
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor a semester before your anticipated graduation to ensure all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Take supplemental courses that will help you build your skill set and resume including internship, directed and/or independent study, labs, preceptorship and service-learning.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Consider jobs in the nonprofit sector.
  • Consider applying for a year-long service opportunity after graduation through programs like VCU AmeriCorps, Literacy Lab, Peace Corps, Fulbright Student Scholars, Teach for America and City Year.
  • Consider getting a job as a tutor or Supplemental Instruction (SI) leader in the Campus Learning Center or in Student Athlete Support Services for a course you did well in or enjoyed.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in STEM.
  • Reflect on your own cultural competency, and be prepared to answer interview questions that outline how you have worked with diverse populations. Schedule a mock interview with VCU Career Services.
  • Attend Office of Multicultural Student Affairs I Love Diversity Week.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Present your research at conference/meeting such as UROP Undergraduate Research Symposium or other discipline- specific conference.
  • Gain practical experience related to your career goal through internships, externships and skill building.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Complete necessary exams, applications, or self-marketing activities for next steps beyond graduation.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have your personal statement or cover letter reviewed, and do a mock interview at VCU Career Services.
Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2018-2019

Physics

College of Humanities and Sciences

Concentration(s):
No concentration
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE GET REAL EXPERIENCE PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
Explore Year 1
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor each semester to discuss tutoring, course electives, and degree progression.
  • Complete MATH 201 and PHYS by end of first year.
  • Utilize Campus Learning Center resources.
  • Attend Ready, Set, Go – Sophomore Transition Experience.
  • Explore “What Can I Do With This Major” to learn about employers/ job titles in your field of study.
  • Complete your Handshake profile and opt-in to industry email lists to learn about opportunities.
  • Complete a “Gap Analysis” Strategic Plan with your academic or career advisor.
  • Explore Career Pathways on VCU Career Services’ website.
  • Practice independent living skills (such as money management, self-care, time management, and personal responsibility).
Experience Year 2
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor and explore minors, certificates, and skills-based value added courses and your plan to complete the Biology core and collateral coursework.
  • Talk to your professors about research interests, picking future classes in your major, and strategies for success in your degree program.
  • Take service-learning classes or volunteer to address a social issue (ConnectVA & HandsOnRVA).
  • Join a student organization such as Medical Physics Scholastic Society, Women in Science, STEM at VCU, Black Women in STEM, or a pre-professional health track club.
  • Explore peer leadership opportunities or apply for I-LEAD Connect, Alternative Spring Break, and other leadership and service events.
  • Attend Diversity Scholars in Research Week
  • Get to know other VCU students from all over the world at a monthly Global Café
  • Join a cultural organization.
  • Consider short-term, semester and year long Study Abroad opportunities.
  • Attend OMSA Social Justice Conference.
  • Conduct numerous informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Using LinkedIn, connect to at least 10 people. Check out the VCU alumni page in My Network.
  • Consider who you would like to have serve as professional and academic references for future letters of recommendation.
Year 3
  • See your advisor each semester to discuss degree progression and plans for elective coursework.
  • Work with a professor as a preceptor or through a directed reading and/or independent study.
  • Develop tangible skills in internships that you can demonstrate to employers.
  • Meet with a career adviser to discuss your career direction and create an action plan.
  • Go to a conference for a professional association, club or other organization.
  • Based on career goals, talk to a career/academic advisor or a faculty member about whether graduate school or a job fits your career goals.
  • Join job listserv sites that provide access to job postings in desired fields. Revisit gap analysis assessment and continue adjusting strategic career plan with Career Services
Excel Year 4
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor a semester before your anticipated graduation to ensure all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Take supplemental courses that will help you build your skill set and resume including internship, directed and/or independent study, labs, preceptorship and service-learning.
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in STEM.
  • Reflect on your own cultural competency, and be prepared to answer interview questions that outline how you have worked with diverse populations. Schedule a mock interview with VCU Career Services
  • Attend Office of Multicultural Student Affairs I Love Diversity Week.
  • Complete necessary exams, applications, or self-marketing activities for next steps beyond graduation.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have your personal statement or cover letter reviewed, and do a mock interview at VCU Career Services