Semesters 1 and 2: Discovering College-level Physics:
Students wishing to major in physics are expected to take, in the first semester, the introductory course in calculus offered by the Mathematics Department.
The physics-major sequence begins in semester 2, with two courses, one in theoretical physics and the other in experimental physics. The first purpose of these courses is to provide an experience of undergraduate-level physics on the basis of which a student can decide whether or not to major in physics, i.e. they are gateway courses. The second purpose of these courses is to serve as an introduction to the physicist’s way of thinking about problems and solving them, something that has proved useful not just to physicists but also to those in other disciplines that make use of quantitative methods and experiments, e.g. mathematics, computer science, economics, psychology, and biology.
Semesters 3, 4, and 5: The Physics Core:
The physics courses in semesters 3, 4, and 5 form the core of the physicist’s undergraduate canon: Mathematical Physics II, Classical Mechanics, Electricity & Magnetism in Light of Relativity, Thermal & Statistical Physics, Oscillations, Waves & Optics, Quantum Mechanics I, and Statistical Mechanics, and three accompanying labs. Anyone majoring in physics is expected to be thorough in these areas.
Semester 6: Choosing a Direction and Bringing Physics Together:
In semester 6 there will be a required course, The Physics of Matter, that brings together much of the physics learnt in earlier semesters, so that the student leaves with a view of physics as an integrated subject. In addition there will be two more elective courses.