Physics Requirements

Physics student presents research during Hartwick Student Showcase

Physics Major Requirements

The minimum requirements for a Physics major are 16 credits in the Physics, Mathematics, and Chemistry Departments as follows:

Twelve Courses in Physics:

  • PHYS 160 Light and Relativity
  • PHYS 201 General Physics I
  • PHYS 202 General Physics II
  • PHYS 265 Electronics
  • PHYS 271 Mathematics for the Physical Sciences
  • PHYS 305 Atomic and Nuclear Physics
  • PHYS 314 Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics or PHYS 318 Optics
  • PHYS 344 Astrophysics
  • PHYS 361 Classical Mechanics I
  • PHYS 410 Quantum Mechanics
  • PHYS 401 Electricity and Magnetism I
  • PHYS 489 Pre-Thesis Research
  • PHYS 490 Senior Project

Four Courses in Mathematics:

  • MATH 121, 122, 221 Calculus I, II, III
  • MATH 311 Differential Equations

Two Courses in Chemistry:

  • CHEM 107, 108 General Chemistry I, II or CHEM 109 Accelerated General Chemistry

Senior Thesis in Physics

All Physics majors are required to complete a Senior Thesis. Ideally a student in the spring of the their junior year will identify a thesis advisor and identify a topic of interest, so that by the start of their senior year they can begin research. Students are required to write a thesis paper and present their findings at an open forum. Recent projects have included:  measure the temperature dependence of the efficiency of solar panels, computational studies of chaos in electrical circuits, Monte Carlo calculations of gamma rays travelling through a medium, programming a FPGA to be oscilloscope, programming a computer cluster out of Raspbery Pi computers, measuring the quantized conductance of gold nanowires, building nickel foam batteries, and building induction heaters.

Physics Minor Requirements

  • PHYS 201 General Physics I
  • PHYS 202 General Physics II
  • PHYS 305 Atomic and Nuclear Physics

Two more Physics courses at a level of 160 and above.


Astronomy & Planetary Sciences Minor Requirements

A minimum of 18 credits, distributed as follows:

  • GEOL 203 Planetology

At least one, but no more than two, of the following courses:

  • CHEM 107 General Chemistry I
  • CHEM 108 General Chemistry II
  • CHEM 109 Accelerated General Chemistry
  • GEOL 107 Physical Geology
  • GEOL 109 The Global Environment
  • GEOL 208 Historical Geology
  • PHYS 201 General Physics I
  • PHYS 201 General Physics I
  • PHYS 140 Principles of Physics I
  • PHYS 141 Principles of Physics II

One of the following two courses:

  • PHYS 165 The Search for Life in the Universe: Exoplanets
  • Any 3 credit course with an astronomy/planetary emphasis approved by the Program faculty

One of the following two courses:

  • PHYS 163 General Astronomy – Stars and Galaxies
  • PHYS 121 Astronomy with Lab

At least one of the following courses:

  • PHYS 344 Astrophysics
  • CHEM 344 Spectroscopy
  • PHYS 250 Modern Astronomy and Recent Advances
  • GEOL490 Senior thesis (astronomy/planetology theme)
  • CHEM 490 Senior thesis (astronomy/planetology theme)
  • PHYS 490 Senior thesis (astronomy/planetology theme)

At least one semester of the following seminar:

  • GEOL/PHYS 112 Astronomy and Planetary Sciences Seminar