Physics Major Planning Sheet
Download this PDF form to help you plan your physics major.
Ten courses in physics and mathematics are required to complete the physics major. These include:
- Physics 141: Mechanics and Waves
- or Physics 131: Introduction to Mechanics
- Physics 142: Foundations of Modern Physics
- or Physics 151: Seminar in Modern Physics
- Math 150 or 151: Multivariable Calculus (formerly Math 105 or 106)
- Physics 201: Electricity and Magnetism
- Physics 202: Vibrations, Waves, and Optics
- Physics 210: Mathematical Methods for Scientists
- Physics 301: Quantum Physics
- Physics 302: Statistical Mechanics & Thermodynamics
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 2020
- Physics 312: Philosophy and Modern Physics – Offered Spring 2022
- Physics 314T: Controlling Quanta – Offered Spring 2020
- Physics 315: Computational Biology – Offered Fall 2021
- Physics 316: Protecting Information: Applications of Abstract Algebra and Quantum Physics – Offered Spring 2017
- Physics 321: Particle Physics – Offered Spring 2021
- Physics 402T: Applications of Quantum Mechanics (Tutorial) – Taught in alternating years, most recently Spring 2021
- Physics 405T: Electromagnetic Theory (Tutorial) – Taught in alternating years, most recently Fall 2021
- Physics 411T: Classical Mechanics (Tutorial) – Taught in alternating years, most recently Fall 2022
- Physics 418: Gravity (Tutorial) – Usually taught in alternating years, most recently Spring 2022
- Physics 451: Condensed Matter Physics – Offered Fall 2021
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 may 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.