Students who are interested in pursuing physics (or astrophysics) while at Williams, or are considering doing so, should strongly consider beginning their coursework during their first year. The most common starting point is for students to take Phys 141 during the fall semester. However, students with prior work in physics and strong mathematics backgrounds, typically in the form of AP or IB coursework, may earn placement into more advanced coursework.
More information on course selections for students who are interested in pursuing advanced placement in physics, as well as a survey and short placement exam, is included with the online Placement Survey, available as a course on Glow. Note that completion of the survey is not required unless students are seeking to place out of Phys 141. Incoming first-year students will need to activate their Williams College email account prior to accessing Glow. First-year students should already have access to the appropriate course; any more-senior students interested in the Placement Survey should contact Prof. Charlie Doret to gain access. For those students enrolled for the 2023-2024 academic year, we request that, if at all possible, the placement exam be completed by 8/21 so that students can receive their results prior to the end of registration (8/21-8/28).
The Placement Survey consists of three parts: an Honor Code statement, a survey of prior physics and mathematics experience, and a set of physics questions. In total the three sections should take approximately one hour to complete.
Questions? Contact Prof. Charlie Doret to learn more.