American University of Beirut


BS in Physics

The Department of Physics offers courses at the undergraduate level leading to a bachelor’s degree in physics. The requirements for a BS in Physics are 90 credits for students entering at the sophomore level. The distributions of these courses are as follows:

  • 39 credits in Physics (27 credits required Physics courses; 6 credits elective Physics courses; 6 credits  required Physics Lab courses). 40 credits if PHYS 228 is chosen as an elective.

  • 9 credits in Quantitative Thought (6 credits in Math; 3 credits in CMPS 200 or EECE 230).

  • 12 credits in free electives

  • 30 credits in General Education (GE) distributed as follows:

  • 9 credits in Communication Skills (3 credits in Arabic; 6 credits in English - Eng. 203 and Eng. 204)

  • 12 credits in the Humanities (including 6 credits in CVSP); 6 credits in Social Sciences

  • 6 credits in Social Sciences

  • 3 credits in a Natural Science course (must be from outside the major and approved as a GE course)

The program for the physics major includes the following required courses: PHYS 210 Or PHYS 211, PHYS 210L OR PHYS 211L, PHYS 212, PHYS 216, PHYS 217, PHYS 220, PHYS 221L, PHYS 222, PHYS 226, PHYS 235, PHYS 236, and PHYS 257L. Moreover, two elective courses must be selected from PHYS 223, PHYS 228/228L, PHYS 231, PHYS 232, PHYS 248, PHYS 249. Also required are the following courses in mathematics: MATH 201, MATH 202, and CMPS 200 (or EECE 230).

Following is the distribution of credits:

​LECTURE COURSES (84 Credits) ​ ​ ​ ​

​English & Arabic (9 credits)Humanities (12 credits)​​Social Sciences (6 credits)​Physics and Natural Sciences (54 credits)​Quantitative Thought (9 credits)
  • Required English courses (6): ENGL 203(3), 204(3)

  • Required Arabic courses: ARAB 201A or any General  Education Arabic communication skills

  • 12 credits including 6 credits from CVSP (see CVSP requirements under Civilization Sequence Program)

  • ​Two courses: The Department recommends that at least one of them is a level-200 Economics (approved as GE courses)

  • Required physics courses (27): PHYS 210(3) OR 211(3), 212(3), 216(3), 217(3), 220(3), 222(3), 226(3), 235(3), 236(3)
  • Two elective physics courses (6): PHYS 228 + 228L (3+1), 223(3), 231(3), 232(3), 249(3), or other selected topics in physics
  • Four free elective courses  from inside or outside the Department (12)
  • One natural science course  must be an approved GE course from outside the major (3)
  • ​Required mathematics and technology courses (9):  MATH 201(3), 202(3), CMPS 200(3) OR EECE 230(3)

SEMINAR (1 Credit)​ ​ ​ ​ ​

​PHYS 248(1)

LABORATORY (6 Credits)​ ​ ​ ​ ​

​Required Physics Labs: PHYS 210L(1) OR 211L(1), 221L(2), 257L(3)


The following courses may include a research project: PHYS 222, 226, 231, 232, 235, 236, 249

Freshman students who intend to major in Physics are required to complete PHYS 101 and PHYS 101L with a minimum cumulative average of 70 and to complete MATH 101 and MATH 102 (or their equivalent) with a minimum cumulative average of 70.

Students who wish to transfer to physics must obtain a cumulative average of at least 70 in the physics courses normally taken in the sophomore year (PHYS 210 or PHYS 211, PHYS 210L or PHYS 211L, PHYS 212) and a cumulative average of at least 70 in MATH 201 and 202 before they are allowed to proceed to junior level courses.    

Physics majors whose physics average falls below 70 or whose cumulative average in MATH 201 and 202 is below 70 after three semesters in the major, will be dropped from the Department.

Program Leaning Outcomes

  • Relate the physical principles to everyday life and to developments and discoveries in science and particularly in the field of physics
  • Apply the essential mathematical methods to formulate physical principles
  • Use experimental techniques to demonstrate the validity of basic physics principles
  • Design and set-up experiments through their knowledge of basic electronics and instrumentation
  • Perform numerical simulations to tackle problems in Physics
  • Explain the fundamental concepts and principles governing the laws of physics

Minor Program in Physics

The minor in Physics requires 17 credits: 8 credits of PHYS 210 or PHYS 211, PHYS 212, PHYS 221L  and 9 more credits in physics selected from the following: PHYS 217, PHYS 220, PHYS 226, PHYS 235, PHYS 236, or a special topic course.


PHYS 101, PHYS 101L, PHYS 210, PHYS 210L, PHYS 211, PHYS 211L, and PHYS 212 are introductory courses for students of chemistry or engineering.

PHYS 103, PHYS 204, PHYS 204L, PHYS 205, and PHYS 205L are introductory courses for students of nursing, public health, biology, petroleum studies, and for students wishing to enter the Medical School and are not physics or chemistry majors.

PHYS 204, PHYS 204L, PHYS 205 and PHYS 205L are not equivalent totally or in part to PHYS 210, PHYS 210L, PHYS 211, PHYS 211L,  or PHYS 212. Students shall receive credit for courses in only one of the preceding two sets.


​Course #




Freshman Courses​ ​ ​ ​

​Phys101 ​Introductory Physics I​4​Spring/Summer
​Phys101L​Introductory Physics I Lab
​Phys103​Physics for the Life Sciences
​3​Each semester
​Phys103L​Physics for the Life Sciences Lab​1​Spring/Summer

​ ​ ​ ​Sophomore Courses

​Phys210*​Introductory Physics II​3​Each semester
​Phys210L​Introductory Physics II Lab​1​Each semester
​Phys212​Modern Physics​3​Each semester

Junior Courses​ ​ ​ ​

​Phys216​Mathematical Methods for Physics​3​Fall
​Phys220​Electromagnetic Theory​3​Spring
​Phys221L​Junior Lab​2​Fall
​Senior Courses ​ ​
​Phys222​Computational Physics
​Phys226​Solid State Physics​3Spring
​Phys235​Statistical Physics​3​Fall
​Phys236​Quantum Mechanics​3​Spring
​Phys257L​Advanced Lab​3​Spring

​Electives ​ ​ ​

​Phys225​Introduction to Astronomy & Astrophysics​3
​Phys228L​Electronics Lab​1​Each semester
​Phys231​Selected Topic​3
​Phys237​Introduction to Plasma Physics​3
​Phys249​Elementary Particle Physics​3

Service Courses​ ​ ​ ​

​Phys204​Classical Physics for Life Sciences
​Phys204L​Classical Physics for Life Sciences Lab
​Phys205​Modern Physics for Life Sciences​3​Spring/Summer
​Phys205L​Modern Physics for Life Sciences Lab
​Phys211​Electricity & Magnetism​3​Each semester
​Phys211L​Electricity & Magnetism Lab​1​Each semester

General Education Courses​ ​ ​ ​

​Phys200 ​Understanding the Universe​3​Each semester

*Phys 210/210L and Phys 228/228L fall under service courses as well

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