Physics Major and Minor

From spacecraft to polymers, physics requires the integration of other fields. While everyone has the same foundation, majors pick an interdisciplinary track to meet their interests and goals, making our curriculum as individual as our students.

students presenting physics research

Physics At a Glance


Program Student-Faculty Ratio


Best Value Ranking of Physics Majors in Pennsylvania

Top 7

Private Undergraduate Colleges in Production of Students Earning Physics Ph.D.s

Collaborative Student Research

Several papers a year are published by physics faculty with students as coauthors.

Create your own path through the major

First-year physics students take foundational courses in physics and mathematics. They also take an introductory course in a different area of science so that they can start to appreciate the connections between physics and other areas.

student in class

Second-year students take intermediate level courses that familiarize them with theoretical, computational and experimental physics. They also take FS PHYS 201 — Communication in Physics in which they learn the error analysis, experimental techniques, and writing and speaking skills needed to complete the Senior Comp.

student presenting poster

Third-year students, with the aid of their advisor, prepare a plan of advanced courses to be taken to complete the major. This plan includes their rationale for the course of study, and how those courses satisfy the student's goals.

Fourth-year physics students complete their advanced courses and work on their Senior Comp. The Senior Comp is a significant piece of original work, designed by the student and a faculty advisor, that demonstrates to employers and graduate schools the ability to complete a major assignment, to work independently, to analyze and synthesize information, and to write and speak persuasively.

Learning Outcomes

Students graduating in physics will:

Have strong analytical and problem-solving skills and physical intuition.

Know physics’ fundamentals, its limitations and its connections to other areas.

Be able to design and carry-out an independent research project.

Understand the societal impacts of science and technology.

Appreciate physics as a valuable human endeavor.

Olivia Krieger, Alumna

Physics Major/Philosophy and Mathematics Double Minor, Class of 2020

“ The physics major is very flexible, which is great if (like me) you are unsure what you are most interested in. You get to decide which physics classes to take, allowing you to tune your schedule to best reflect what you are most excited to learn. ”

Next Steps

Early Decision App Deadline

November 15, 2020

Regular Decision App Deadline

February 15, 2021

For More Info

James Lombardi

Professor of Physics