The department offers an undergraduate certificate in physics. An understanding of the physical universe informs many disciplines. The study of physics is essential to understanding nature and to advancing technology in the coming century. A certificate in physics increases the opportunities for students to become better informed on technological issues at the local, state, national, and international levels.

The certificate is designed to serve undergraduates majoring in biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, education and other fields who wish to extend their study of physics beyond what may be required or recommended for their major without completing the full L&S physics major requirements.

To declare a certificate in physics, students must fill out a major/certificate declaration form. An undergraduate physics advisor must sign the form. The form to declare the certificate can be obtained at the Physics departmental office. All undergraduate students are eligible to declare the certificate, except those declared in the following majors: Physics, Astronomy-Physics, and Applied Mathematics, Engineering, and Physics (AMEP).

Certificate Requirements

The physics certificate requires 18 credits of Intermediate or Advanced level undergraduate PHYSICS courses, with the following restrictions:

  • At least 9 of the credits must be in residence.
  • At most one course from each of the three semesters of an introductory sequence can be counted.
  • At most 3 credits of directed study can be counted.
  • Only graded courses may be used toward the certificate.
  • A minimum grade point average of 2.000 is required in all certificate courses.
First Introductory Course (complete only one):5
A Modern Introduction to Physics (recommended)
General Physics
General Physics
and Dynamics 1
and Dynamics 1
Second Introductory Course (complete only one):5
A Modern Introduction to Physics (recommended) 2
General Physics
General Physics
Third Introductory Course (complete only one):3-4
A Modern Introduction to Physics (recommended) 2
Modern Physics for Engineers
Introduction to Solid State Electronics
Introduction to Modern Physics
Directed Study (optional, maximum 3 credits)0-3
Directed Study
Directed Study
Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Thesis
Senior Thesis
Additional Intermediate and Advanced PHYSICS courses1-5
Introduction to Medical Physics
Physics Today
Intermediate Laboratory-Mechanics and Modern Physics
Electric Circuits and Electronics
Electromagnetic Fields
Electromagnetic Fields
Acoustics for Musicians
Advanced Laboratory
Thermal Physics
Atomic and Quantum Physics
Atomic and Quantum Physics
Scientific Background to Global Environmental Problems
Radiological Physics and Dosimetry
Introduction to Plasmas
Plasma Confinement and Heating
Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
Introduction to Particle Physics
Introduction to Atomic Structure
Solid State Physics
Radionuclides in Medicine and Biology
Microscopy of Life
Electronic Aids to Measurement
Applied Optics
Total Credits18


This undergraduate certificate must be completed concurrently with the student’s undergraduate degree. Students cannot delay degree completion to complete the certificate.

Physics Undergraduate Advisors

Professor Jan Egedal
3275 Chamberlin Hall

Professor Dan McCammon
6207 Chamberlin Hall

Professor Deniz Yavuz
5320 Chamberlin Hall

Physics AMEP Advisors

Professor Cary Forest
3277 Chamberlin Hall

Professor Robert McDermott
5112 Chamberlin Hall


Yang Bai, Associate Professor

Baha Balantekin, Eugene P. Wigner Professor

Vernon Barger, Vilas Professor and Van Vleck Professor

Keith Bechtol, Assistant Professor

Uwe Bergmann, Professor

Kevin Black, Professor

Stas Boldyrev, Professor

Tulika Bose, Professor

Victor Brar, Assistant Professor

Duncan Carlsmith, Professor

Daniel Chung, Professor

Susan Coppersmith, Robert E. Fassnacht Professor and Vilas Professor

Sridhara Dasu, Department Chairperson and Professor

Jan Egedal, Professor

Mark Eriksson, Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor

Lisa Everett, Professor

Ke Fang, Assistant Professor

Cary Forest, Prager Professor of Experimental Physics

Pupa Gilbert, Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor

Francis Halzen, Gregory Breit Professor and Hilldale Professor

Kael Hanson, Professor, WIPAC Director

Aki Hashimoto, Professor

Matthew Herndon, Professor

Lev Ioffe, Professor

Robert Joynt, Professor

Albrecht Karle, Professor, IceCube Associate Director, Science and Instrumentation

Shimon Kolkowtiz, Assistant Professor

James Lawler, Arthur and Aurelia Schawlow Professor

Alex Levchenko, Associate Professor

Lu Lu, Assistant Professor

Dan McCammon, Professor

Robert McDermott, Professor

Moritz Cornelius Muenchmeyer, Assistant Professor

Marshall Onellion, Professor

Kimberly Palladino, Assistant Professor

Yibin Pan, Associate Professor

Brian Rebel, Associate Professor

Mark Rzchowski, Associate Chairperson and Professor

Mark Saffman, Professor

John Sarff, Professor

Gary Shiu, Professor

Paul Terry, Professor

Peter Timbie, Professor

Justin Vandenbroucke, Assistant Professor

Maxim Vavilov, Professor

Thad Walker, Professor

Sau Lan Wu, Enrico Fermi Professor and Vilas Professor

Deniz Yavuz, Professor

Ellen Zweibel, William L Kraushaar Professor of Astronomy & Physics