Earning a Minor in Physics


Students in any field can benefit from earning a minor in physics.  A solid background in science is a requirement for full literacy in our increasingly technological world.  Especially for students in a scientific or technical major, a more in-depth knowledge of the physics principles underlying your major can improve your ability and widen your options in future employment as well as in graduate school.

A minor in physics consists of 18 credits of physics courses, including 9 upper division credits.  Many of these courses are already required of engineering and chemistry majors.  A grade of C or better is required in these courses.  (Labs are recommended but not required for the minor.)

A student studying for a degree in engineering or chemistry can earn a minor in physics with a relatively small number of extra physics credits.  In the chart below, (based on the NMSU 2000-2001 catalog), the physics credits required for a bachelor of science degree in your discipline are shown in yellow.  The additional courses required for a minor in physics are shown in blue.
 
Major
Mechanics Electricity and Magnetism Heat, Light, and Sound Modern Physics or Electronic Materials and Devices  Upper-division physics courses
Physics 213/213L or Physics 215/215L Physics 214/214L or Physics 216/216L Physics 217/217L Physics 315 or  Physics 325
(See possible selections below)
Civil Engineering 4 credits 4 credits 4 credits 3 credits 6 credits
Mechanical Engineering 4 credits 4 credits 4 credits 3 credits 6 credits
Chemical Engineering 4 credits 4 credits 4 credits 3 credits 6 credits
Electrical Engineering 4 credits 4 credits 4 credits 3 credits 6 credits
Chemistry 4 credits 4 credits 4 credits 3 credits 6 credits

 Selection of upper division credits

You are free to select 6 credits of upper-division physics credit based purely on your interests.  A designated minor in physics is possible if the 6 credits of upper-division courses are chosen in a specific area of concentration.  For example, if you are a mechanical engineering major you might be interested in a designated minor in classical mechanics; if you are a chemistry major you might be more interested in a quantum mechanics minor.

Designated Minors in Physics
 

Designated Minor
   
Classical Mechanics Intermediate Mechanics I (Phys 451) Thermodynamics (Phys 480)
Computational Physics Computational Physics (Phys 476) Mathematical Methods I (Phys 495)
Electromagnetism Electricity & Magnetism I (Phys 461) Electricity & Magnetism II (Phys 462)
Materials Condensed Matter Physics (Phys 488) Intro to Modern Materials (Phys 489)
Optics Optics I (Phys 370) Optics II (Phys 470)
Quantum Mechanics Intermediate Modern Physics I (Phys 454) Intermediate Modern Physics II (Phys 455)

If you have any questions about pursuing a minor in physics, please call Steve Pate at 646-2135 or Tom Hearn at 646-5076.