Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Programs (ABM) in Physics and Data Science

The UAB Department of Physics is addressing the national need for a 21st century quantum workforce with data fluency. To meet this need, we have developed two modern accelerated bachelor’s/master’s (ABM) programs that are now attracting national recognition:

  • B.S. in Physics/M.S. in Data Science: The Physics/Data Science ABM is an interdisciplinary program jointly offered by the Department of Physics and the Department of Computer Science
  • B.S. in Physics/M.S. in Physics: The Physics ABM is a research-intensive program that allows students to pursue undergraduate and graduate research while completing their Bachelor’s Degree and working toward their Master’s Degree

Why these ABM programs?

Today, we are living in the early days of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, powered in part by artificial intelligence (AI), quantum science and quantum engineering. We are witnessing a convergence of the physical, engineering and data sciences that is forcing companies across all industries to re-examine how they do business. The emergence of the Quantum Information era and Quantum Materials Science has led to the National Quantum Initiative. Training students in quantum physics, data science and advanced materials science is now necessary for preparing a new generation of Quantum Engineers and Data Scientists and for developing the workforce for advanced manufacturing and information technology industries. In addition to finding such highly-sought-after jobs, graduates of our accelerated B.S./M.S. programs can also pursue a Ph.D. degree in Physics if they wish.

Physics/Data Science Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Program (ABM)

The Department of Physics (PH) and the Department of Computer Science (CS) jointly offer an interdisciplinary Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's program of study (ABM). This ABM leads to the accelerated completion of the B.S. degree in Physics (from the Department of Physics) and the M.S. degree in Data Science (from the Department of Computer Science), as compared to independent completion of these two degrees. The ABM program integrates undergraduate-level coursework from physics (B.S. in physics with computational physics concentration) and computer science (CS minor) with the requirements for the M.S. in data science.

How It Works

To accelerate progress through the B.S./M.S. degree, pertinent computational, M.S. level PH and CS courses may substitute the chemistry content (8 credit hours) of the conventional undergraduate PH major. Similarly, the 3 credit hours of the conventional Physics Capstone course may be substituted by the CS/PH 698 research. Alternatively, a limited number of M.S. courses (up to 12 credit hours) may be counted as general electives towards the completion of the B.S. degree in physics and towards the completion of the M.S. degree.

  • Admissions

    The Physics/CS ABM Program is for exceptional students. The accepted student will have:

    • GPA ≥ 3.5 in PH and CS courses,
    • GPA ≥ 3.5 in all UAB courses,
    • a minimum of 60 credit hours, and 36 of these credit hours must have been taken at UAB, and
    • be ready to take an MS course in their next academic year.

    Before applying to the Graduate School, the prospective ABM student should meet with Prof. Camata (Physics UG Program Director) and Prof. Chengcui Zhang (M.S. in Data Science Program Director), as well as with the PH and CS undergraduate advisors; students should also meet with a financial aid/scholarship advisors to determine the impact of ABM on their scholarships and/or aid award.

    Next, students must complete the UAB Graduate School application for the M.S. in Data Science, which includes a personal essay summarizing their academic interests, career goals, and relevant background experience, as well as the submission of their resume or CV. Students must then complete the ABM Program Form (including all approvals) and pay the application fee. As a student submits their application to the Graduate School, they must also send their ABM form to Mellissa Taylor (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), who is managing ABM applications.

    Upon acceptance, a detailed plan for the course of study must be developed that is specific to each Physics/CS ABM student. This plan must be agreed upon by all parties (student; PH undergraduate program director, CS graduate program director, and PH and CS undergraduate advisors). It must be strictly adhered to while in the Physics/CS ABM program to guarantee continued participation in the ABM.

    Acceptance into the program is typically at the end of sophomore year. Admission is granted by a committee co-chaired by the CS graduate program director and the PH undergraduate program director. Additional members of the admissions committee include the CS and PH undergraduate academic advisors.

    Before the first M.S. course is taken, the student must finish the requirements for the CS minor.

    Application deadlines are as follows:

    • Fall Admission: August 1
    • Spring Admission: December 1
    • Summer Admission: May 1
  • Program Requirements

    To maintain status in the Physics/CS ABM, the student must:

    • maintain a 3.5 GPA average in undergraduate PH and CS courses
    • receive a B (or better) in the M.S. courses taken while still an undergraduate student, and
    • maintain fulltime-student status at UAB (with exceptions for medical emergencies).

    If any of these requirements is violated, the student will be withdrawn from the ABM program. If a student is withdrawn from the ABM program, they will retain credit for the courses already taken in the program.

    Once the undergraduate has completed all course requirements for graduation, their undergraduate degree will be awarded.

    Once the student graduates from the B.S., they enter the M.S. program as a regular M.S. student and must maintain the requirements of the M.S. program.

  • Courses

      Physics/CS ABM Course No. Credit Hours
    UAB Core Area I - 6
    Area II   12
    Area III - N/A   -
    Area IV - 12
    Math Required Cal 1 MA 125 4
    Cal 2 MA 126 4
    Cal 3 MA 227 4
    Intro Diff. Eqn. MA 252 3
    Intro Lin. Algebra MA 260 3
    Chem Acceleration feature: Computational and Data-Science Pertinent - -
    M.S. CS/PH 6xx-level courses may substitute Chemistry - 8
    B.S. The World Through Data PH 103 3
    Physics Required Topics in Contemporary Physics PH 110 1
    Gen. Physics I: Mechanics PH 221 4
    Gen. Physics II: Electricity & Magnetism PH 222 4
    Gen. Physics III: Quantum Physics & Thermodyn. PH 223 4
    Comp., Theory, Measurement in Quantum Physics PH 350 3
    Mathematical Methods of Physics PH 420 3
    Statistical Thermodynamics I PH 432 3
    Classical Mechanics I PH 461 3
    Electromagnetic Theory I PH 445 3
    Introductory Quantum Mechanics I PH 450 3
    Capstone Acceleration feature: Computational and Data-Science Pertinent - -
    CS/PH 698 research may substitute PH Capstone - 3
    CS Minor Required Intro to Comp. Sci. CS 103/L 4
    Obj-oriented Program CS 203/L 4
    Discrete Structures CS 250 3
    Alg. & Data Structures CS 303/L 4
    Comp. Org. & Assembly Lang. Progr. CS 330 3
    General Electives Acceleration feature: M.S. courses (up to 12 credit hours) may count as general electives towards completion of BS degree and MS degree - 12
    M.S. Data Science Required Database Application Development CS 510 3
    Introduction to Probability & Statistics in Computer Science CS 555 3
    Advanced Algorithms and Applications CS 652 3
    Machine Learning CS 667 3
    Foundations of Data Science CS 685 3
    CS or CS-approved elective CS 6xx 3
    CS or CS-approved elective CS 6xx 3
    CS or CS-approved elective CS 6xx 3
    CS or CS-approved elective or Thesis CS 6xx 3
    CS or CS-approved elective or Thesis CS 6xx 3
    Undergraduate Hours 124
    Graduate Hours 30
  • Typical Five-Year Plan

    Qualified and motivated student may complete the Physics/CS ABM in 5 years without recourse to summer courses. The summers can be devoted to internships to enhance a student’s professional prospects [Frequency of CS 6xx course offerings may require adjustments to this plan.]

    AY Fall Spring Summer
    1st MA 125
    PH 103
    PH 110
    CS 103/L
    UG Core
    MA 126
    PH 221/L
    CS 203/L
    CH 115/L
    UG Core
     
    2nd MA 227
    MA 260
    PH 222/L
    CS 250
    UG Core
    MA 252
    PH 223/L
    CS 303/L
    UG Core
     
    3rd PH 350/L
    PH 420
    PH 461
    CS 330
    UG Core
    PH 432
    CS 510
    CS 555
    UG Core
     
    4th PH 445
    PH 450
    CS 652
    CS667
    UG Core
    PH 618
    PH 499
    CS 685
    CS 6xx
    UG Core
     
    5th CS 6xx
    CS 6xx
    CS 6xx
    CS 6xx
     

Research-Intensive Physics Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Program

Interested in doing research? Looking for an employable degree? Excited about uncovering the basic understanding of 'how things work'? If you answered yes to these three questions, then the Physics ABM is for you. This is a new research intensive program that allows students to perform undergraduate and graduate research while completing their bachelor’s degree and working toward their master’s degree. The program will save both time and money by

  • applying credit hours for selected classes to both the B.S. and M.S. degrees
  • providing a Tuition Scholarship from the Department during M.S. studies
  • Eligible students may also be awarded a teaching assistantship stipend while in the M.S. program, or be awarded a scholarship during their undergraduate years

This ABM requires intensive research training and experiential learning at the undergraduate level, in preparation for the M.S. The research is designed to lead to a successful defense of the M.S. thesis. A successful graduate will earn a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree offered by the department of Physics within an accelerated time period as compared to the sequential completion of the two degrees. A student working toward a degree in any of the department’s five concentration may be admitted into the program. Mentored research will be supervised by approved faculty from the Department of Physics, as well as from other departments that include, but not limited to, Math, Computer Science, Materials Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, and Biology.

  • Admissions

    The Research-Intensive Physics ABM program encourages interested Freshmen and Sophomores to discuss with faculty whether the Physics ABM is the best path for them. Acceptance into the program is typically granted at the beginning of the junior year.

    Before applying, the student must meet with the Physics graduate and undergraduate program directors, as well as with their undergraduate advisor, to discuss program requirements; students should also meet with a financial aid/scholarship advisor to determine the impact of the ABM on their scholarships and/or aid award.

    The Academic Requirements are:

    • a minimum average GPA of 3.5 in the Physics, Math, Chemistry and Engineering courses required for their Physics B.S.,
    • a minimum average GPA of 3.5 in all UAB courses,
    • a minimum of 60 credit hours, and 36 of these credit hours must have been taken at UAB

    A student interested in entering the Research-Intensive Physics ABM should complete the ABM program application form and an application to the M.S. Program in Physics. The ABM application should be sent to Mellissa Taylor (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); the M.S. application is automatically forwarded to the Graduate School.

    If accepted, ABM Students will be enrolled in both the Physics B.S. and M.S. programs. Before the first M.S. course is taken, the student must have finished their Physics course requirements, except for the 400-level Physics courses.

    Upon acceptance, a detailed personalized plan of study must be designed for each Physics ABM student. This plan must be approved by the student, the Physics graduate program director, the Physics undergraduate program director, and the student’s physics undergraduate research mentor.

    Admission is granted by a committee consisting of at least one member of the graduate admissions committee and the undergraduate program director. The committee will be chaired by the graduate program director or his/her appointed representative.

  • Credit Sharing Policy

    To accelerate progress through the M.S. degree, a limited number of M.S. courses (up to 12 credit hours) may be counted as a Physics elective towards the completion of the B.S. degree AND towards the completion of the M.S. degree.

    • The selected courses are typically courses in the B.S. program that are also cross-listed with graduate level courses for the M.S. program. See the below for a complete list.
    • PH 698 (8 credit hours), Nonthesis Research, will be taken instead of undergraduate research courses such as PH 491, PH 491, PH 492, PH 495.
    • The selected M.S. courses must be approved by the department.
  • Maintaining Status in the ABM

    To maintain status in ABM, the student must:

    • maintain a 3.5 GPA average in undergraduate Physics courses
    • receive a B (or better) in the M.S. courses taken while still an undergraduate student, and
    • maintain fulltime-student status at UAB (with exceptions for medical emergencies).

    If any of these requirements is not met, the student will withdraw from the ABM program. However, they will still retain credit for the courses already taken in the program.

    Once the undergraduate student has completed all course requirements for graduation, their undergraduate degree will be awarded. Once the student graduates from the B.S., they will complete the remaining requirements of the M.S. Physics Program, and then be awarded a master's degree in Physics.

    Further information about these ABM opportunities may be obtained from Dr. Renato P. Camata, Undergraduate Program Director, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Dr. Mary Ellen Zvanut, Graduate Program Director, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Additional details and online application are available through the UAB Graduate School Web Page.

  • Graduate Courses Allowed for Credit Sharing

    Any of the PH5xx and PH6xx courses offered, with approval of the department and their research mentor. These courses include the following:

    • PH 518 Computational Solid State Physics
    • PH 520 Introduction to Methods in Theoretical Physics I
    • PH 532 Statistical Thermodynamics I
    • PH 545/546 Electromagnetic Theory I/II
    • PH 550/551 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics I/II
    • PH 553/554 Solid State Physics I/II
    • PH 561 Classical Mechanics I
    • PH 575 Intro to Biophysics I
    • PH 581/2 Laser Physics I/II
    • PH 587 Nanoscale Science and Applications
    • PH 610 Classical Mechanics I
    • PH 618 Computational Solid State Physics
    • PH 635 Advanced Statistical Mechanics
    • PH 650/651 Electromagnetic Theory I/II
    • PH 653/4 Solid State Physics I/II
    • PH 660 Methods of Mathematical Physics
    • PH 671/2 Quantum Mechanics I/II
    • PH 698 Nonthesis Research

    In summary, the typical student in the Physics ABM will follow the Junior and Senior four-year plan of their chosen Physics track such as that shown below; however, 600-level courses may be taken instead of the suggested 400-level courses. In addition, a student will enroll in PH 698 (up to 8 credit hours) instead of the undergraduate research courses PH 490, PH 491, PH 492, or PH 495, in order to accelerate their path to the Physics M.S. degree.

    Junior
    First Term Hours Second Term Hours
    PH 350 4 PH 432 3
    PH 420 3 PH 490, 491, or 495 1-4
    PH 461 3 Track Electives (e.g., PH 423, PH 475, PH 486, etc.) 3-6
    Track Elective (e.g., PH 336, PH 410, PH 487, etc.) 3 -  
    - 13 - 7-13
    Senior
    First Term Hours Second Term Hours
    PH 445 3 PH 446 or 466 3
    PH 450 3 PH 451 3
    PH 490, 491, 492, 495 1-4 PH 499 3
    Track Elective (e.g., PH 418, PH 453, PH 481, etc.) 3 Track Elective (e.g., PH 454, PH 482, PH 497, etc.) 3