Physics majors and others interested in exploring physics

Students interested in seeing what physics is all about, especially those who are considering majoring in physics, should take Physics 130: Relativity, Spacetime, and Contemporary Physics in the fall of their first year. This is the gateway course for physics majors, but it is designed for all students interested in exploring physics regardless of physics or math placement credit.

For physics majors, a typical sequence for subsequent semesters is:

First YearPhysics 130Physics 131 or Physics 151
Math 161Math 162
First-Year SeminarElective
Second YearPhysics 133 or Physics 152 Physics 215
Math 263Physics 218
ElectiveMath 264

Advanced placement?

Prospective physics majors with advanced placement credit should register for Physics 130, as described above, and should E-mail Prof. David Nice to discuss course selection.

Undecided between physics and engineering?

If you are undecided between engineering and physics, please E-mail both Prof. David Nice (physics) and Prof. Scott Hummel (engineering) to discuss your course selections. Based on your individual background and interests, we will work with you to pick courses that will best serve your needs.

Starting the physics major sequence after the first semester

Students who have not taken Physics 130 in their first year but are interested in majoring in Physics should contact Prof. David Nice for guidance about future course selection.

Other physics courses open to first-year students

Physics 104: Astronomy: The Solar SystemPhysics 108: Astronomy: Stars, Galaxies and the Big Bang</a
Physics 111: General Physics IPhysics 112: General Physics II
Physics 130: Relativity, Spacetime, and Contemporary PhysicsPhysics 131: Physics I: Mechanics
Physics 151: Accelerated Physics I
With Physics 131 AP Credit:Physics 133: Physics II: Electricity, Magnetism, and Waves

Physics 104 and Physics 108 are courses designed primarily for liberal arts majors seeking a lab science course. Physics 111 and Physics 112 are non-calculus courses for students in biology, geology, neuroscience, psychology, and pre-med programs; they are typically taken by upper-class students, though they are open to first-year students as well. Physics 130 is the gateway course to the Physics major, but can be taken in later years as well. Physics 131 and 133 are calculus-based courses for chemistry, biochemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics, and engineering, but are open to all students who meet the mathematics pre-requisites. Physics 151 and 152 cover topics similar to Physics 131 and 133, but with greater breadth and depth; they are designed for students with a strong interest in physics and/or a strong high school background in physics. More information can be found at Choosing the Right Physics Course.