Starting a major

  • Almost all students begin the physics major with Physics 130. This course is only offered in the fall semester.

Are there courses students MUST/SHOULD take their First Year?

  • Must/Should:
    • Students are strongly encouraged to begin the physics major during their first year by taking Physics 130 in the fall. However, it is possible to start as a sophomore and complete the major in three years.
  • Should:
    • Students should complete mathematics courses through at least Calculus II during their first year.

Credit for previous coursework

  • Receiving credit for previous coursework does not imply placement beyond Physics 130. Consult with the department chair to discuss placement.
  • AP / IB: Course credit is given for a score of 5 on AP Physics 1, 2, B, C-Mech. or C-E&M, or a score of 5-7 on IB HL. Lab portfolio review is required to be considered for fulfillment of the ‘SED’ general education requirement.
  • Cambridge A Levels: Course credit and fulfillment of the ‘SED’ requirement are given for a score of “A”.
  • Credits for transfer courses or other programs are done in consultation with the Registrar and the Physics Chair.


  • Consult with the department chair if you are interested in starting with Physics 131 or 232. Though rare, these placements are appropriate in some cases.

Informational Events

  • Week One Departmental Information Sessions
  • Visiting speakers, career panels, graduate school panels, picnics and more.

Other Information/College Catalog Link/Website Link

Contacts & Department Location

Physics Department Office: Regents Hall of Natural Science (RNS) 260

To download and print, click on this link: Physics Information Sheet