2023-2024 Edition

Academic Catalog

Physics Minor


Physics is the foundation of a liberal arts education for innovations in science and engineering. Students who study physics emerge with an appreciation for how physics allows for a more quantitative and predictive description of natural phenomena through the inclusion of the more rigorous language of mathematics. While the physics major has multiple tracks allowing students to tailor their physics experience toward particular directions through a flexible choice of electives, the physics minor provides exposure to the basic core areas with minimal electives.

Admission to the Minor

Students are welcome to declare a physics minor in the spring of their sophomore year or later, and must have completed, or be taking, PHYS116, General Physics.

Minor Requirements

To complete the minor, students must take the following physics offerings, which have the math courses listed as prerequisites.

Required Lecture Courses (5 credits)

PHYS113General Physics I1
PHYS116General Physics II1
PHYS213Waves and Oscillations1
PHYS214Quantum Mechanics I1
PHYS3XX: Any Physics lecture course at the 300-level


  • PHYS213 and PHYS214 must be taken as graded to fulfill the minor.
  • If a student places out of PHYS113, they may substitute one credit from the 200 level not listed among the required courses. Currently, this includes PHYS207 (Biophysics), PHYS217 (Nonlinear Dynamics) or the combination of 0.5 credit courses PHYS215 (Special Relativity) and PHYS219 (Contemporary Physics).

Required Lab Courses (1 credit)

Students must take one introductory lab class, and one advanced lab class, 0.5 credit each.

PHYS123General Physics Laboratory I0.5
or PHYS124 General Physics Laboratory II
PHYS342Experimental Optics.5
or PHYS345 Electronics Lab
or PHYS395 Structural Biology Laboratory
or PHYS340 Computational Physics

Math Prerequisites (3 credits, if not placed out)

Calculus I
and Calculus II *
MATH222Multivariable Calculus1
or MATH221 Vectors and Matrices
or MATH223 Linear Algebra

*Students may be placed out of these by the Math department.

Additional Information

Please note that the physics minor would not be a sufficient preparation for graduate study in physics. The physics major, General Physics track, is the recommended path for students interested in physics graduate study options.