Physics Major Requirements

Physics Major Planning Sheet

Download this PDF form to help you plan your physics major.

Core Courses

Ten courses in physics and mathematics are required to complete the physics major. These include:

Two additional electives are required to complete the major. Please see the College Bulletin (pdf) for more detailed information about the major requirements and for a discussion of advanced placement procedures.


In addition to the required sequence courses listed above, we offer a number of intermediate and upper level electives.  Note that several of these courses are offered on an alternating year basis, so physics majors will have an opportunity to take these courses in their junior or senior years.

  • Physics 234: Introduction to Materials Science – Offered Spring 2018
  • Physics 312: Philosophy and Modern Physics – Offered Spring 2017
  • Physics 315: Computational Biology – Offered Fall 2014
  • Physics 316: Protecting Information: Applications of Abstract Algebra and Quantum Physics – Offered Spring 2017
  • Physics 402T: Applications of Quantum Mechanics (Tutorial) – Offered Spring 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, …
  • Physics 405T: Electromagnetic Theory (Tutorial) – Offered Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2021, …
  • Physics 411T: Classical Mechanics (Tutorial) – Offered Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, …
  • Physics 418: Gravity (Tutorial) – Offered Spring 2014, Spring 2016
  • Physics 451: Condensed Matter Physics – Offered Spring 2017

Those students expecting to do graduate work in physics, engineering, or related fields should plan to take at least some of these courses, as well as additional courses in mathematics and computer science. For example, the first year graduate school curriculum in physics normally includes courses presuming familiarity with material covered in Physics 402T, Physics 405T, and Physics 411T.  Students interested in experimental physics or in engineering also find Physics 014: Electronics (Winter Study) useful.


The degree with honors in physics can be earned by carrying out a senior honors thesis project in addition to the requirements listed above. The thesis normally consists of one course each semester (Physics 493 & 494) during the senior year including the Winter Study Period (Physics 031), thus bringing the minimum course requirements for an honors degree to twelve semester courses plus a Winter Study course.