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  • College of Arts & Sciences

    • Science Division
    • Kirkbride Hall, Room 323
    • tel: 610-499-4003
    • fax: 610-499-4496
  • Steve Adams

    • Chair, Department of Physics and Astronomy
    • Kirkbride Hall, Room 366B
    • tel: 610-499-4006


Curriculum, Physics & Astronomy

The physics curriculum provides a basic understanding of the various subdisciplines of physics, methods of measurement and analysis, and mathematical and computational analysis. In addition, students receive a broad background in the liberal arts.

This mix provides a strong foundation for success.

Degree Options

  • A specialized four-year curriculum allows students to acquire dual degrees in physics and electrical engineering or mechanical engineering.
  • Physics majors may pursue a minor in astronomy.
  • Students majoring in physics can seek secondary certification in physics.
  • Physics majors can follow a research track that leads to an honors designation.

A physics minor is an appropriate option for students majoring in disciplines such as engineeringmathematicscomputer science, and chemistry.

Sample Courses

View a selection of courses students may take as a physics major.

PHYS 281 Physics Seminar
A forum for students and faculty to discuss current topics in physics and astrophysics. A new topic is covered at every meeting in a two-hour session. Readings are assigned by the instructor to facilitate the discussions. 

ASTR 210 Astronomy and Astrophysics Laboratory 
Hands-on practical laboratory experience in astrophysics. Students become proficient in planning to take data, using a telescope to obtain their own data, reducing their data using software packages, and presenting results. 

PHYS 323 Classical Mechanics Lab
Selected advanced experiments in the area of Newtonian mechanics. Experiments and projects involve such topics as Kepler's laws of planetary motion, the frictional drag on falling bodies, resonance and damping in a harmonic oscillator, determination of the universal gravitational constant G using a Cavendish balance, numerical integration of galactic orbits, and Rutherford scattering of alpha particles.

PHYS 413 Quantum Mechanics
An introduction to quantum theory, beginning with the Schrödinger equation and the statistical interpretation of the wave function. One-dimensional applications include the infinite square well, finite square well, and harmonic oscillator; three-dimensional applications include the theory of angular momentum, central potentials, and the hydrogen atom; spin, identical particles, and the Pauli exclusion principle; and time-independent perturbation theory.

For more information about courses and requirements for physics and the astronomy minor, please refer to page 77 in our course catalog.