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Typical Plans of Study

What follows are some common plans of study for the physics major. While it is ideal to start the major in the fall of your first year, you can complete the major starting in in the spring of your first year or even in the fall of your second year.  Several plans are given as a guide (three plans with different starting semesters, two plans for semester abroad).

These plans are not the only ones possible because there is a lot of flexibility in when you might take certain courses (except that 201 needs to be taken before senior year and that the order of 300-level laboratory courses should be 320, 310, and 335). Apart from PHY 120/130 and PHY 220/230, the courses listed are only either taught in the fall or the spring. For example, PHY 320, 310, and 360 are always in the fall and PHY 200, 201, 335, and 350 are always in the spring.  There is at least one 400-level elective offered every semester.

We strongly recommend that you talk to the chair of the department as soon as possible if you are considering majoring in physics.

Starting Major Fall of First Year

Year 1   Year 2  
Fall Spring Fall Spring
PHY 130/120 PHY 230/220 PHY 320 PHY 200
      PHY 201
Year 3   Year 4  
Fall Spring Fall Spring
PHY 310 PHY 350 PHY 360 PHY 335
PHY 330   elective

Starting Major Spring of First Year

Year 1   Year 2  
Fall Spring Fall Spring
PHY 130 PHY 230 PHY 200
      PHY 201
Year 3   Year 4  
Fall Spring Fall Spring
PHY 320 PHY 350 PHY 310 PHY 335
PHY 330  PHY 360 elective

Starting Major During Fall of Sophomore Year

Year 1   Year 2  
Fall Spring Fall Spring
PHY 130/120 PHY 230/220
      PHY 201
Year 3   Year 4  
Fall Spring Fall Spring
PHY 320 PHY 200  PHY 310 PHY 335
PHY 330 PHY 350 PHY 360 elective

Plan for Studying Abroad Fall Junior Year

Year 1   Year 2  
Fall Spring Fall Spring
PHY 130/120  PHY 230/220 PHY 320 PHY 200
  PHY 201  PHY 330 
Year 3   Year 4  
Fall Spring Fall Spring
PHY 350 PHY 360 PHY 335
PHY 310 elective

Plan for Studying Abroad Spring Junior Year

Year 1   Year 2  
Fall Spring Fall Spring
PHY 130/120  PHY 230/220 PHY 320 PHY 200
  PHY 201
Year 3   Year 4  
Fall Spring Fall Spring
PHY 310 PHY 360 PHY 335
PHY 330 elective PHY 350