As of Spring 2012
- PHYSICS 161D: Fundamentals of Physics I and PHYSICS 161L: Introductory Experimental Physics I or equivalent*
- PHYSICS 162D: Fundamentals of Physics II and PHYSICS 162L: Introductory Experimental Physics II or equivalent*
- PHYSICS 264L: Optics and Modern Physics
- PHYSICS 363: Thermal Physics
- Two courses out of the following:
- One of the following laboratory courses:
- One other physics elective numbered above 200.
BA students are strongly encouraged to get some physics-related research experience, either through a research independent study (PHYSICS 493) or through summer research. Research can be highly rewarding and prepares a student well for graduate school, for employment, and for professional schools. Research can also lead to much stronger letters of recommendation since a faculty member will get to know you well through collaboration. You can talk to the Director of Undergraduate Studies or with any of the professors in the Physics Department to learn about research opportunities.
- MATH 122: Introductory Calculus or its equivalent
- MATH 212: Multivariable Calculus
- MATH 221: Linear Algebra and Applications
The math course MATH 356: Elementary Differential Equations, is strongly recommended since it provides useful preparation for most upper-level physics courses.
*PHYSICS 141L/142L or 151L/152L are acceptable for satisfying introductory physics requirements for physics majors, for students who have already taken these when starting as a physics major. However 161+161L and 162+162L are strongly encouraged, as they provide better preparation for subsequent courses. Calculus-based physics AP credit is also accepted, although in most cases, prospective physics majors are encouraged to take introductory physics at Duke regardless of AP credit.
Knowing How to Program
All physics majors should know how to write computer programs at the level of an introductory computer science course such as Computer Science 101, and they should learn this skill as soon as possible, preferably by the end of their sophomore year. Knowing how to program greatly increases the opportunities for undergraduate research, theoretical and experimental.
Possible Courses at UNC
Duke students can take physics courses at nearby UNC Chapel Hill, which substantially increases the variety of possible physics courses. Travel back and forth between Duke and UNC is made convenient by the free Robertson Scholarship bus that runs about every half hour between Duke and UNC.
You can take up to one course per semester at UNC-CH (or at any other of the local universities like NC State although UNC is by far the easiest to get to) as long as Duke does not offer an equivalent course. UNC's Physics Department especially has advanced undergraduate courses in condensed matter physics and astrophysics that are currently not offered at Duke.
Please see the UNC physics course offerings. Check out these courses and then sit down with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to see if one of them can fit into your educational plan.