The Major and Minor
A physics major is an excellent preparation for work in many fields, including physics, astronomy, engineering, medical school and more.
Please see this chart documenting the physics major courses and the order in which the requirements should be taken.
- PHY 115 General Physics I
or 117 Advanced General Physics I
- PHY 118 General Physics II
- PHY 210 Mathematical Methods of Physical Sciences and Engineering I
- PHY 215 Modern Physics I
- PHY 240 Physical Electronics
- PHY 317 Classical Mechanics
- PHY 318 Electricity & Magnetism
- PHY 319 Thermal Physics***
- PHY 327 Quantum Mechanics****
- PHY 350 Advanced Physics Lab
- PHY 399 Current Topics in Physics
- One additional 300-level physics course or approved course from another department (including AST 228, AST 335, and AST 352)
*Students pursuing a double major in engineering and physics as a way of further strengthening their preparation for a career in engineering will benefit from taking both PHY240 and EGR220 (Engineering Circuit Theory) but may substitute EGR220 for the PHY240 major requirement if desired. Students planning further study in experimental physics are encouraged to take EGR220 in addition to the PHY240 requirement.
**or GEO 221 Mineralogy: theory and application to mineralogic problems of crystallography, crystal chemistry, crystal optics, x-ray diffraction and quantitative x-ray spectroscopy.
***or CHM332 Physical Chemistry II: Thermodynamics and kinetics. This course does not include the statistical physics included in PHY319; Students planning graduate study in physics should either take PHY319 or supplement CHM332 with an additional course in statistical physics.
****Students interested in pursuing a career in chemistry, material science, or a related field (or interested in pursuing a double major with chemistry) may substitute CHM331 Physical Chemistry I: Quantum Chemistry for PHY327.
See the Smith College Course Catalog for details.
- PHY 115 or 117
- PHY 118
- PHY 217 Modern Physics I
- THREE additional 200- or 300-level physics courses.
Examples of qualifying 200 level courses: PHY201 Renewable and Non-Renewable Energy, PHY210 Math Methods, PHY240 Physical Electronics, and Astronomy 228 Astrophysics I.