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Honors Physics

Students who are performing at a high level (roughly a 3.4 GPA or better) in Physics in their first or second year are encouraged to meet with a faculty advisor and elect an Honors Physics/IP concentration.  A student must maintain at least a 3.4 GPA to graduate with Honors.

An Honors Concentration in Physics or Interdisciplinary Physics (IP) puts you in a distinguished category of individuals who are focused on becoming next generation leaders, in physics as well as in related scientific, technical and policy areas.   The Physics/IP Honors Concentration provides first-year students with smaller introductory classes and offers all students the chance to develop their talents in a research-focused, community setting.  Many research projects involve collaborations, on scales ranging from other University of Michigan programs, such as the Astronomy Department or the Medical School, to global research enterprises such as the Large Hadron Collider or the Dark Energy Survey

In addition to extra course work, Honors students complete a senior research thesis under the mentorship of a UM Physics faculty member. The research typically begins during the student's third year and takes place over several terms, sometimes including spring/summer. The skills gained, papers published, presentations given, and friends and colleagues made are among the many lasting rewards of such a deeply immersive experience.  The research frequently helps guide students toward their next stage in life, be it graduate school or a career in teaching, industry, government or elsewhere.    

Each student who completes an Honors Thesis is encouraged to apply to the William L. Williams award by submitting their thesis electronically as a .pdf to physics.sso@umich.edu with the subject line "William L. Williams".

Honors Concentration in Physics

  • Regular departmental requirements for a physics concentration
  • Must elect six credits of physics from courses numbered 401 and above which are not otherwise required.
  • Must also complete a senior honors thesis based on research done under the supervision of a faculty member. You may register for Physics 498/499: Introduction to Research for Honors Students and PHYSICS 496/497: Senior Thesis as part of the senior thesis work. (Credits earned in PHYSICS498/499 or PHYSICS 496/497 cannot be counted towards your additional honors credit requirements.)

Honors Concentration in Interdisciplinary Physics

  • Must elect three credits of physics from courses numbered 401 and above which are not otherwise required.
  • Must elect an additional three credit cognate course as part of the cognate program.
  • Must also complete a senior honors thesis based on research done under the supervision of a faculty member. You may register for Physics 498/499: Introduction to Research for Honors Students as part of the senior thesis work. (Credits earned in PHYSICS498/499 or PHYSICS 496/497 cannot be counted towards your additional honors credit requirements.)

Thesis Deadlines:

Fall Graduates: 5:00 pm on the last day of class.

Winter Graduates: 5:00 pm on the second Monday in March.

Spring/Summer Graduates: 5:00 pm on the second Monday in August.

Submit thesis as a .pdf file to physics.sso@umich.edu

We quite often hear from students that it would be helpful to see theses written by former students.  As of April 2006, we are collecting electronic copies of completed theses.  We hope to continue this practice through the years, thereby creating an impressive collection of undergraduate works.  All students have consented to having their theses posted on this site. 

We hope that you find this helpful as you prepare to write your own thesis.