Physics Major

Department Advanced Placement Policy

Students who scored 4 or 5 on the AP Physics exam may receive advanced standing in the Physics curriculum. Contact the department chair to discuss this option. 


The requirements for a major in physics are the following:

Required Math courses:
Calculus 1
Calculus 2
Multivariable Calculus (or the equivalent) 1
Required Physics courses:
Introductory Physics 1: Mechanics, Fluids and Waves
and Introductory Physics 2: Electromagnetism, Optics and Modern Physics 2, 3
Methods Of Physics 1, 4
Modern Physics
and Modern Physics Lab
Classical Mechanics
Thermal Physics
Electromagnetic Theory
Quantum Mechanics
At least two additional lecture courses and one laboratory course, at the 200 level or above.
Optics Lab
Electronics Lab
Introduction To Astrophysics

In some instances, after consulting with the chair, a course taken outside the department may be substituted for an advanced elective. Students may take PHYS 461 Independent Studyunder 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 Undergraduate Research, PHYS 472 Undergraduate Research) are available for qualified physics majors. In addition, summer research positions with a stipend are usually available, on a competitive basis.

Notes: A laboratory course is taken as a fifth course in any given semester. Two special academic programs may be of interest to Physics majors.

  1. The 3-2 Program in Engineering provides the opportunity to combine the study of physics with training in engineering.
  2. The Teacher Education Program leads to state licensure as a secondary school teacher of physics.

Students interested in one of these programs should consult early in their career with the department chair and either the 3-2 program advisor or the director of the Teacher Education Program.