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 graduate study in physics.
  • The Applied Option is intended for students who wish to work in industry without graduate study. The required courses give a breadth of knowledge in technical fields rather than specialized preparation for graduate school.
  • The General Option is for students who have an interest in physics but do not expect to become physicists or 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 courses 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.

In addition the department offers a five-year program in cooperation with the College of Engineering, leading to a degree in engineering and a degree in physics.

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, 441, 442, 443, 444, 451, 464. At least one of those three courses must be taken from 305, 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, 441, 442, 443, 444, 451, 464. At least one of those three courses must be taken from 305, 417, 418.

Students who took 01:750:203-204 (or 201-202) as their introductory physics sequence 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, 324, 326, 327, 305, 351, 361
  • Senior Lab: 01:750:389 or 14:332:467
  • Seven credits consisting of courses in chemistry or engineering 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 departmental 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 01:750:323, 324, 326, 327, and two additional 300- or 400-level physics courses (except 490-level). It is recommended, but not required, that these two courses be chosen from the following list: 301, 305, 313, 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, 327, 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.

Five-Year Dual Engineering and Physics Degrees

This is a dual degree program, providing a B.A. or B.S. in physics and a B.S. in an engineering major.

In addition to the courses taken in one of the four-year engineering programs, the following courses are required for the B.A. in physics: 01:750:385-386, 361, either 351 or 305, one advanced lab (387 or 389 or 343), and any three additional 300- or 400-level physics courses, excluding the 490-level. Students who desire a B.S. in physics should consult a departmental adviser.

The student must also satisfy the graduation requirements of the School of Arts and Sciences and complete a minor in a subject other than a natural science. All courses used for the B.A. degree may also be used for the engineering B.S. degree, where appropriate, without taking replacement credits.