Academic Catalog 2023-2024

Physics Major with an Astrophysics emphasis

Major Requirements

The requirements for a major in physics with an astrophysics emphasis are 58 credits:

Physics Courses
PHYS/ESC 104Introductory Astronomy: Solar System4
or PHYS/ESC 106 Introductory Astronomy: Stars, Nebulae and Cosmology
PHYS 115Foundations of Modern Physics4
PHYS 128Physics for Scientists and Engineers4
PHYS 211Physics for Scientists and Engineers II4
PHYS 231Introduction to Instrumentation2
PHYS 233Introduction to Computational Physics2
PHYS 324Modern Physics4
PHYS 357Astrophysics4
PHYS 419Introduction to General Relativity4
PHYS 430Senior Seminar2
2 additional courses at 300-level or above8
Required Supporting Courses
MATH 121Calculus I4
MATH 122Calculus II4
MATH 223Calculus III4
MATH 311Differential Equations4
Total Hours58

The following courses are recommended but not required:

CSC 125Introduction to Computer Science4
CHEM 127General Chemistry I4
CHEM 128General Chemistry II4

Degree and Graduation Requirements
In addition to the program-specific requirements listed above, all students must complete the graduation requirements specified for their degree.  See the Degree and Graduation Requirements section for more information.

Suggested Four-Year Plan

The four-year plan detailed below is a suggested coursework sequence. This plan may need to be adapted based on course offerings as well as individual student circumstances, such as transfer credit and study away experiences. 

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
PHYS 115 Foundations of Modern Physics 1 4
MATH 121 Calculus I 2 4
FYS 110 Engaged Citizenship Seminar 4
COM 110
Communicating to Engage
or Writing to Engage
PHYS 128 Physics for Scientists and Engineers 1 4
MATH 122 Calculus II 2 4
COM 110
Communicating to Engage
or Writing to Engage
Core course 1 4
Second Year
PHYS 211 Physics for Scientists and Engineers II 1 4
PHYS 231
PHYS 233
Introduction to Instrumentation
and Introduction to Computational Physics 1
MATH 223 Calculus III 2 4
Core course 1 4
PHYS 324 Modern Physics 1 4
MATH 311 Differential Equations 2 4
Core course 2 4
Core course 3 4
Third Year
PHYS 419 Introduction to General Relativity 1 4
Core course 4 4
PEAK course I 4
Elective 4
Advanced Physics Course 1 1 4
PHYS 327 Techniques for Experimental Physics (suggested elective) 1 4
Core course 5 4
Core course 6 4
Fourth Year
PHYS 430 Senior Seminar 1 2
PHYS 357 Astrophysics 1 4
Core course 7 4
PEAK Course II 4
Elective 2
Advanced Physics Course II 1 4
Core course 8 4
Elective 4
Elective 4
 Total Hours128

Offered by the Physics department


Required supporting courses offered by the Mathematics department

Suggested Physics Major with Astrophysics Emphasis path for students entering the college on an even-numbered year. Students starting on an odd-numbered year follow a similar path, with the advanced physics courses for Fall 3/Fall 4 and Spring 3/Spring 4 swapped, except for PHYS 430 Senior Seminar . It is suggested that PHYS 104 Introductory Astronomy: Solar System/ESC 104 Introductory Astronomy: Solar System be taken as a summer course.