Course Selection & Recommendations

Course selection may seem difficult. We have a number of introductory courses from which to choose, most courses are only offered once per academic year. and some courses require prerequisites that make sequencing very important. For these reasons, it's very important that you plan ahead.

To assist you, we've provided some sample course schedules to give physics majors an idea of how to fit in all of their required classes. We've also outlined our Introductory Courses to let you know which you should be taking — depending on if you are a potential physics or biophysics major, an engineering student, or majoring in a different discipline.

For those students who are thinking about majoring in physics, we strongly encourage you to complete a year-long college-level calculus-based introductory physics course by the end of your freshman year. While it is possible to start the physics major with introductory physics in the sophomore year, this leads to a compressed and challenging academic schedule, with little extra time to take physics electives or to do an independent study involving research.

Also realize that students without advanced placement credit in calculus or physics will need to take five courses per semester twice in order to fulfill the 34-course graduation requirement.

If you have questions about which courses to take, or whether your background is suitable for taking a particular course (especially PHYSICS 161D & 161L and PHYSICS 162D & 162L), contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Physics.