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Requirements

The Department of Physics offers a flexible program of study in physics that may be designed to suit the individual needs of the student. The curriculum leading to the bachelor degree in physics is intended to provide a thorough foundation in the principles of physics. With appropriately selected advanced courses, a student is well prepared for graduate study in physics, applied physics, engineering, medicine, or law, or for entry-level positions in research, business, teaching, and other fields.

Major 

Three math courses and 10 physics courses (plus labs)

  • Three semesters of calculus (MATH 135/136 or 133/134, and 241, or the equivalent)
  • Two semesters of intro-level physics (PHYS 115 followed by PHYS 116)
  • Methods of Physics (PHYS 221)
  • Modern Physics with the laboratory (PHYS 223, 225)
  • Classical Mechanics (PHYS 342)
  • Thermal Physics (PHYS 344)
  • Electromagnetic Theory (PHYS 351)
  • Quantum Mechanics (PHYS 353)
  • at least two additional lecture courses and one laboratory course, at the 200 level or above.

Advanced electives include Optics with the laboratory (PHYS 231, 233), Electronics with the laboratory (PHYS 234, 236), Introduction to Astrophysics (PHYS 355), and Advanced Topics in Physics (PHYS 399).

Introductory Physics 1, 2 are prerequisites for all 200 level physics courses; Multivariable Calculus (MATH 241) and Methods of Physics (PHYS 221) are prerequisites for 300 level physics courses. (See a flowchart of prerequisites and corequisites.)

Students may take Independent Study (PHYS 461, 462) under faculty guidance to pursue topics of interest that fall outside the regularly offered courses. Programs of supervised research in theoretical or experimental physics (PHYS 471, 472) are available for qualified physics majors.

Minor

Two math courses and six physics courses

  • Two semesters of calculus (MATH 135, 136 or the equivalent)
  • Two semesters of intro-level physics (PHYS 115 and PHYS 116)
  • Modern Physics (PHYS 223)
  • at least three additional courses, two of which must be lecture courses at the 200 level or above.

Courses at the 200 level or above include Methods of Physics (PHYS 221), Optics with the laboratory (PHYS 231, 233), Electronics with the laboratory (PHYS 234, 236), Classical Mechanics (PHYS 342), Thermal Physics (PHYS 344), Electromagnetic Theory (PHYS 351), Quantum Mechanics (PHYS 353), Introduction to Astrophysics (PHYS 355), and Advanced Topics in Physics (PHYS 399).

Introductory Physics 1, 2 are prerequisites for all 200 level physics courses; Multivariable Calculus (MATH 241) and Methods of Physics (PHYS 221) are prerequisites for 300 level physics courses. (See a flowchart of prerequisites and corequisites.) 

All students are expected to uphold the College standards of academic honesty as stated in the College Catalog. The department policy explicitly states how academic honesty is interpreted with respect to homework and take-home exams. 

Advanced Placement Credit: Students with AP credit in Physics do not receive credit toward the minimum number of courses required in the major or advanced standing in the physics curriculum.