BA/MA in Physics

The combined BA/MA degree program in physics, offered by the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) and the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GRS) at Boston University, gives students a foundation of knowledge and problem-solving ability on which they can build a variety of careers. The Physics Department prides itself on the quality of its teaching while also maintaining a vigorous research program. The diverse faculty ensures majors an opportunity for close interaction with their instructors and mentors. Students are encouraged to participate in ongoing research projects; many students get involved as early as their sophomore year.

This five-year program is intended for students who want to continue their education in physics at a graduate level, as well as for students who want to extend their knowledge of physics beyond the undergraduate level before entering the job market. Students should enroll in this program no later than the end of their sophomore year. No student will be admitted to the program later than the end of the junior year.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate understanding and mastery of techniques for solving problems in electro- and magnetostatics.
  • Demonstrate a thorough and advanced understanding of the core areas of physics, including mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermal and statistical physics, and quantum mechanics, along with the mathematics necessary for qualitative and quantitative analyses in these areas.
  • Show evidence of the ability to acquire, analyze, and interpret quantitative data in the core areas of physics.


Students must complete all the requirements for a BA in Physics in addition to the requirements for the MA in Physics.

Before entering the program, students must achieve an overall GPA of 3.0 and a minimum GPA of 2.7 (B–) in sciences and mathematics, as well as complete the 300-level course requirements for the BA with a major in physics. Before award of the dual degree, students must satisfy all College of Arts & Sciences degree requirements.

The total number of semester courses required for both degrees is 36. For general information, please refer to the BA/MA and BA/MS Programs section of this Bulletin.

Unless otherwise indicated, all required courses are 4 credit hours.


  • CAS MA 123 and 124, or 127
  • CAS PY 251, 252, 351, 355

Principal Courses

  • CAS PY 405, 406, 408, 410, 451, 452, 501, 511, 512, 521, 541, 581, and either 543 or 551

In the principal courses numbered 300–499, a minimum average grade of C must be attained. In the principal courses numbered 500 or above, the minimum passing grade is B–.

Required Related Courses

  • CAS MA 225 and one other mathematics course at the 200 level or higher chosen in consultation with the student’s physics advisor

Recommended Courses

  • CAS PY 502, 522, 536, 538, 542, 543, 551; CAS MA 242, 411, 412, 531, 561