Majors

Major in Physics

Physics Major Requirements

For the major in physics, there are four options available. In all physics major Options, at least 15 credits of physics courses at the 300-level or higher that are applied towards the major must be completed at Rutgers New Brunswick.

  • The Professional Option is a thorough introduction to the subject for all those who expect to make physics an important component of their career. It may lead to careers in research, technical development, or education in physics or related fields. It provides suitable preparation for Ph.D. study in physics.
  • The Applied Option is intended for students who wish to work in industry without graduate studies in physics. The required courses give a breadth of knowledge in technical fields rather than specialized preparation for Ph.D studies in physics or astrophysics.
  • The General Option is for students who have an interest in physics or astronomy but do not expect to do graduate work in physics. It is suitable preparation for careers in education, medicine, law, and business, and is particularly appropriate in an interdisciplinary course of study. A well-balanced sequence of natural science electives should be chosen in consultation with an adviser in the department.
  • The Planetary Physics Option is is for students who wish to pursue a career in physics applied to the study of Earth and other planets. Students will receive a firm foundation in physics. They will receive a broad exposure to planetary physics by taking a course in each of the three fields of concentration: geophysics, atmospheric physics and ocean physics and will take three courses in their area of concentration.

School of Engineering students are welcome to complete a second major or minor in Physics or Astrophysics/Astronomy upon approval by both the SOE and Physics and Astronomy advisors.

Prospective majors should This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in the physics department before choosing their courses.

Professional Option (Bachelor of Science)

Required courses and suggested curricula for honors students and other well-prepared students:

  • First year: 01:750:271-272, 275-276; 01:640:151-152.
  • Second year: 01:750:273, 326, 327, 381-382, 351; 01:640:251, 244.
  • Third year: 01:750:361, 385-386, 387 or 388; 01:640:423 or 421.
  • Fourth year: At least three courses out of 01:750:305, 406, 417, 418, 421, 431, 441, 442, 443, 444, 451, 464. At least one of those three courses must be taken from 305, 406, 417, 418.

An alternate curriculum is available for students who did not begin with the Honors Physics sequence:

  • First year: 01:750:123-124; 01:640:151-152.
  • Second year: 01:750:227-228, 229-230, 381-382; 01:640:251, 244.
  • Third year: 01:750:361, 385-386, 326, 327, 351.
  • Fourth year: 01:750:387 or 388, 01:640:423 or 421, and at least three courses out of 01:750:305, 406, 417, 418, 421, 441, 442, 443, 444, 451, 464. At least one of those three courses must be taken from 305, 406, 417, 418.

Students who took 01:750:203-204 (or 201-202) as their introductory physics sequence or have AP credit should consult a departmental adviser to plan an appropriate curriculum for the professional physics major.

Applied Option (Bachelor of Science)

  • Introductory physics sequence: 01:750:123, 124, 227, 228, 229, 230 or 01:750:271, 272, 273, 275, 276
  • Calculus: 01:640:CALC1, CALC2, CALC3, CALC4
  • Computing: 01:198:107 or 01:198:111 or 14:440:127
  • Physics: 01:750:323 or 381, 324 or 385, 326, 327, 305, 351, 313 or 361
  • Senior Lab: 01:750:387 or 388 or 389
  • Seven credits consisting of courses in engineering, chemistry or another physical science chosen in consultation with a departmental adviser to form a coherent concentration in a physics-related applied area.
  • Six credits in natural science electives chosen in consultation with a departmental adviser to form a coherent concentration in a physics-related applied area. With the approval of the department, three of these credits may be for a department-sponsored outside internship.

A grade-point average of at least a C in the courses applied toward the major is required for graduation in the applied option.

General Option (Bachelor of Arts)

  • Introductory courses: 01:750:203-204 (or any other equivalent sequence) and laboratory 205-206 (or 229-230 or 275-276). Two terms of any calculus sequence.
  • Advanced courses: Six advanced physics courses including 01:750:313, 323, 324; two lab courses either 326 and 327 or 345 and 346, and one additional 300- or 400-level physics course (except 490-level). It is recommended, but not required, that this course be chosen from the following list: 301, 305, 341, 342, 397.
  • Electives: 18 additional credits with grades of C or better in natural science or mathematics chosen in consultation with a departmental adviser to form a coherent sequence.

At least a C average in the physics and mathematics courses is required for admission, retention, and graduation in the general option. Four of the six advanced physics courses must be taken at Rutgers- New Brunswick.

Planetary Physics Option (Bachelor of Science)

  • Introductory physics sequence: 01:750:123, 124, 227, 228, 229, 230 or 01:750:271, 272, 273, 275, 276
  • Calculus: 01:640:CALC1, CALC2, CALC3, CALC4
  • Computing: 01:198:107 or 01:198:111 or 14:440:127
  • Physics: 01:750:323, 324; 326 and 327 or 345 and 346; 351; 305 or 342
  • Planetary Physics: 01:460:442, 11:628:451, 11:670:323
  • Nine credits in a field of concentration (geophysics, atmospheric physics or ocean physics) chosen in consultation with an advisor in the field of concentration

A grade-point average of at least a C in the courses applied toward the major is required for graduation in the applied option.

Contacts

Departmental Chair
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Undergraduate Director
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Undergraduate Program Coordinator
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