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Physics

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:

  • PS131-132 Classical Physics I & II
  • PS231 Modern Physics
  • PS242 Dynamics
  • PS346 Thermodynamics
  • PS380 Electricity and Magnetism
  • PS383 Quantum Mechanics
  • PS386 Mathematical Methods of Physics
  • PS449* Topics in Physics
  • PS451†-452 Independent Research I & II (taken in senior year)
  • MA170-180 Calculus with Analytic Geometry I & II
  • MA210 Calculus III
  • MA220 Vector Analysis and Differential Equations
  • MA310 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


Freshman Year
Humanities I Humanities II
Freshman English 103 Freshman English 104
Language Language
Physics 131 Physics 132
Mathematics 170 Mathematics 180
Sophomore Year
Humanities III Humanities IV
Philosophy/Theology Philosophy/Theology
Language Language
Physics 231 Physics 242
Mathematics 210 Mathematics 220
Junior Year
Philosophy/Theology Philosophy/Theology
Physics 380 Physics 346
Mathematics 310 Physics 383
Elective Physics 386
Elective Elective
Senior Year
Philosophy/Theology Philosophy/Theology
Physics 449 Physics 452
Physics 451 Elective
Elective Elective
Elective Elective