Getting Started

College: CNS

Information below is meant to guide first year students in getting started with this major.  More advanced students interested in this major would also likely start with proposed foundation/pre-requisites courses.  Please refer to the Major page located in the left menu bar to learn about the full major requirements.

How to Explore the Major

Suggested General Education Courses:

All Undergraduates are required to satisfy the General Education Requirements. Guidelines for students, are available at  Students should choose a wide variety of Gen Ed courses, providing breadth of experience.

Suggested Major and Pre-requisite Courses:

Required prerequisites, including recommended sequence:

First semester: MATH 131 and PHYSICS 181 are required;  PHYSICS 185 is recommended. If credit for MATH131 was already reeceived, then students should move on to the next math course in the calculus sequence.
Second semester: MATH 132 and PHYSICS 182 are required; PHYSICS 186 and PHYSICS 192M are recommended.

For details on opportunities, courses, and the Professional, Applied and General tracks, please see the Physics Majors Handbook at

How to Declare/Change into the Major

For current & admitted students:  This major is unrestricted, which means any student may declare the major.  Unrestricted majors may still have an entry process such as meeting with an advisor or attending an informational meeting.

It is very important to see a Physics advisor for proper course selection and to choose a Physics track. Incoming students should see a Physics advisor as soon as possible, ideally before the beginning of their first semester at the University. If you are already a declared physics major, then the best time to meet with an advisor is during New Student Orientation (NSO). If you are enrolled as physics major but cannot attend NSO, then the Undergraduate Program Director (UPD) will contact you by email.  If you are not initially a declared physics major but want to learn about it, please contact the UPD by email to If you wish, you can change your major (or add physics as a second major) when you meet with the UPD.

Engaging in research and teaching projects

We encourage all physics majors to join a faculty-led group and undertake an independent project in teaching or research. This is a very valuable experience and excellent preparation for many kinds of jobs and graduate programs. To learn more, ask your advisor.

Summary of Requirements for the Major

Refer to the Major page located in the left menu bar to learn more.

What else is there?

The physics department offers many additional courses, beyond the requirements listed above. These courses provide technical skills (e.g., Introduction to Measurement for freshmen, using the Arduino microcontroller board), or training in selected areas of physics (e.g., special topics courses in cosmology, paricle physics, solid state physics, biophysics, or optics) and teaching (e.g., a course on teaching physics). 

Physics students are also active in student-led organizations. Examples include the Society of Physics Students (SPS), the Science Outreach Club, and Minorities in Astronomy and Physics (MAP). 

Is there a minor? If so, what are the requirements?
Yes - A minor is available!  Refer to the Minor page located in the left menu bar to learn more.

For further information, contact:
Professor Anthony Dinsmore
Hasbrouck 404
Also see "Physics Majors Handbook" at