In the United States and the United Kingdom, the scope of a Bachelor of Science in physics includes four years of instruction in mathematics and physics courses. In the first year, courses such as electricity and magnetism, calculus, mechanics and dynamics, light waves and quanta, and mathematical physics are introduced.

Second-year physics courses extend the fundamental topics from the first year and include electromagnetic theory, special relativity, higher levels of calculus and mathematical physics, and laboratory courses. There are optional but recommended classes in astronomy, quantum mechanics and higher-level mathematics. The third and fourth years are extensions of these classes, with an eye towards preparation for graduate school for interested students.