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The ideas of physics have a profound significance for anyone who would think about nature and its intelligibility. The department offers a sequence of courses that provides an opportunity for students to study the models, theories, and laws that have been developed in an attempt to describe the physical universe.

In addition to serving the general liberal arts education, the department offers majors in physics, applied physics, and engineering physics (3-2 engineering program). The department also offers minors in physics and engineering science.

The Physics major consists of the following required courses:

  • PS 131-132 Classical Physics I & II
  • PS 231 Modern Physics
  • PS 242 Dynamics
  • PS 346 Thermodynamics
  • PS 380 Electricity and Magnetism
  • PS 383 Quantum Mechanics
  • PS 386 Mathematical Methods of Physics
  • PS 449* Topics in Physics
  • PS 451†-452 Independent Research I & II (taken in senior year)
  • MA 170-180 Calculus with Analytic Geometry I & II
  • MA 210 Calculus III
  • MA 220 Vector Analysis and Differential Equations
  • MA 310 Linear Analysis

* In the past, this course has included such topics as Laser Physics, Modern Astrophysics, General Relativity, History of Physics, Quantum Cryptography, and Elementary Particle Physics.

†This is a zero-credit course but is a prerequisite to PS452.

Course Sequence - Classes of 2015 - 2017

Please refer to the College Catalogue and consult with your academic advisor for recommended course sequencing. Revised graduation requirements for each graduating class can be found in the Guide to the Core Curriculum.

Course Sequence - Class of 2018 and Beyond

Freshman Year
Conversatio I Conversatio II
Freshman English Core Course
Mathematics 170 Mathematics 180
Physics 131 Physics 132

In subsequent years, students majoring in Physics will continue to take courses in Physics and Mathematics, along with core courses and 3 free electives.