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2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
    Sep 26, 2023  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics and Astronomy

Major Requirements   Minor Requirements

Hanno Weitering, Head

Batista, C.D. (Lincoln Chair), PhD – Universidad Nacional de Cuyo (Argentina)
Breinig, M.J., PhD – Oregon
Dagotto, E.R. (Distinguished Scientist), PhD – Bariloche (Argentina)
Davis, L. (UTSI), PhD – Auckland (New Zealand)
Efremenko, Y.Y. (Joint Faculty), PhD – ITEP (Russia)
Eguiluz, A.G., PhD – Brown
Elston, S.B., PhD – Massachusetts
Greene, G.L. (Joint Faculty), PhD – Harvard
Grzywacz, R., PhD – Warsaw (Poland)
Grzywacz-Jones, K.L., PhD – Surrey (England)
Guidry, M.W., PhD – Tennessee
Hix, W.R. (Joint Faculty), PhD – Harvard
Kamyshkov, Y., PhD – ITEP (Russia)
Mezzacappa, A., PhD – Texas (Austin)
Moreo, A. (Joint Faculty), PhD – Bariloche (Argentina)
Papenbrock, T.F. (Joint Faculty), PhD – Heidelberg (Germany)
Read, K.F. (Joint Faculty), PhD – Cornell
Siopsis, G., PhD – California Institute of Technology
Spanier, S.M., PhD – Mainz (Germany)
Sorensen, S.P., PhD – Copenhagen (Denmark)
Weitering, H.H. (Joint Faculty), PhD – Groningen (Netherlands)

Associate Professors
Fomin, N., PhD – Virginia
Johnston, S., PhD – Waterloo (Canada)
Mannella, N., PhD – California (Davis)
Mannik, J., PhD – Stony Brook
Nattrass, C., PhD – Yale
Parigger, C. (UTSI), PhD – Otago (New Zealand)
Zhou, H., PhD – Texas (Austin)

Assistant Professors
Lavrentovich, M., PhD – Harvard
Liu, J., PhD – Arkansas
Madurga Flores, M., PhD – Madrid
Platter, L. (Joint Faculty), PhD – Bonn (Germany)
Steiner, A. (Joint Faculty), PhD – Stony Brook

Director of Undergraduate Laboratories
Cheney, C., PhD – Vanderbilt

Abdelrazek, M.M., PhD – Florida State
Lindsey, S.S., PhD – New Mexico State

Astronomy Coordinator
Lindsay, S., PhD – New Mexico State

Physics is the study of matter and energy and their interactions from microscopic to macroscopic regimes. It is the most fundamental physical science in the sense that the laws of physics form the foundation of all natural sciences. The undergraduate physics major provides a thorough introduction to the core areas of physics while offering students flexibility to pursue special interests through our academic, astronomy, or general concentrations. The academic concentration is intended for students interested in professional employment or graduate work in physics or closely related fields such as astronomy, engineering, laser technology, or computational science. The astronomy concentration is designed for students who may wish to do graduate work in astronomy or astrophysics. The general concentration is intended for students who wish to apply a  substantial knowledge of physics to fields such as secondary education, medicine, law, journalism, business, or any field of their choice.


Students pursuing a B.S. degree in the Department of Physics and Astronomy are eligible to participate in the University’s VolsTeach program (, which permits students to simultaneously complete a major in mathematics or science and receive secondary education teaching licensure within the 4-year undergraduate degree program through completion of a VolsTeach minor. For more information about VolsTeach, including advising associated with teaching licensure requirements, contact the Center for Enhancing Education in Mathematics and Science (101 Greve Hall).

Five-Year BS/MS with Physics Minor

Qualified students completing a BS degree from a department of the Tickle College of Engineering or the College of Arts and Sciences may add a physics minor by completing the requirements listed below. Six hours of 400-level courses required for a minor in physics combined with a BS engineering degree may be applied toward a master’s degree (project option or non-thesis option) in physics during a fifth year following the award of the BS. This program is designed for students attending the University of Tennessee for their Master of Science degree because other universities may not accept these courses for graduate credit since they were used to satisfy requirements for an undergraduate program. Significant components of the program are:

  • Students must have an overall GPA of 3.4 in required coursework. Conditional admission may be granted after completing the required 100- and 200-level requirements for the minor while full admission is granted after enrolling in the final semester of courses required for all BS and minor course requirements with a minimum overall GPA of 3.4.
  • Students must at least be conditionally admitted to the program prior to taking graduate courses for both their minor and master’s degree. All courses taken for graduate credit must be approved by the graduate program director. Students admitted to the program must request permission from the Graduate School to take approved courses for graduate credit.
  • Students admitted to the program must also follow the normal procedure for admission to the Graduate School. Admission of students into this program must be approved by the department and the Graduate School. Students will not be eligible for assistantships until they are enrolled as graduate-level students in the Graduate School.