Physics and Astronomy

Major in Physics 

Three programs are available to students who want to major in physics.

  1. An intensive major for students who intend to pursue graduate work in the physical sciences: eight one-semester lecture courses, Physics 305 and 306; two half-course seminars; plus Chemistry 101, 102; Mathematics 207 and 212. The Graduate Record Examination is required as part of the comprehensive examination.
  2. A broad major for students who intend to pursue graduate work in medicine, engineering, biophysics, environmental sciences, health physics, or teaching: six one-semester lecture courses, including Physics 203, 303, and 307; Physics 305 and 306; two half-course seminars; plus five full courses in other science or mathematics courses approved by the physics department.
  3. The 3/2 plan for engineering students: six one-semester lecture courses including Physics 203 and 303, four with associated laboratories; one half-course seminar; plus Chemistry 101, 102; Computer Science 157; Mathematics 207 and 212.

Research participation and laboratory assistantship are encouraged in all three programs.

For a first-year student planning to major in physics, the following curriculum is recommended:

  • Physics 103, 104*
  • Humanities 101, 102
  • Mathematics 101, 102*
  • Physical Education
  • Foreign Language 103, 104*

*Students may seek advanced placement in physics, mathematics, and foreign language.

The second-year program should be planned in consultation with the department chair.