Frequently Asked Questions for Prospective Physics Majors
The Department of Physics and Astronomy is small enough that we can work individually with students. We have no need for group meetings.
Who can I speak with in your department to learn more about the physics major?
Currently Drs. Qualls, Severson and Shi are the Department Advisors. They would be happy to meet with prospective students. Make an appointment by contacting one of them. All members of the Department faculty are also available to talk with you.
Who can I speak with in your department about my interest in declaring this major?
One of the Department Advisors, Drs. Jeremy Qualls, Scott Severson, or Hongtao Shi.
Is there a GPA requirement for declaring this major?
Is there any special application process to declare this major?
No. Just bring a change of major form to your meeting with the Department Advisor.
Is there a deadline every semester to declare this major?
Are there other required criteria?
What prerequisites, if any, do I need to have completed before I can declare this major?
None. We encourage declaration as early as possible so that you can be properly advised to take the right courses.
Do I need to be eligible for GE English and Math before I take your major prerequisites?
This does not apply since there are no prerequisites.
Once I am declared, what classes will I need to take?
Please see the list in the catalog (pdf download), as well as this prerequisites/corequisites Chart for physics courses so you can plan ahead.
What career paths are available to people who major in this subject?
Please see our Jobs page, especially the first section on career planning, and Steps toward Grad School. See also what our graduates are doing and their achievements at the Graduates page.
If I am currently declared and interested in changing my major, is there any course work from my current major that would count toward the new major I am interested in?
There might be, especially if you have taken some calculus or chemistry.
Once I decide this major will I have an advisor?
Yes! All physics majors are required to see the Department Advisor every semester. We want to coach you and help you succeed.
Are there any highly recommended GE courses for this major?
Math 161, Chemistry 115A, and Physics 114 and 116 all meet GE requirements as well as requirements for the major, but please do talk with the advisor.
What courses are restricted to majors/minors?
Are there specific concentrations in this major?
Yes. You can earn a B.S. in physics with a concentration in applied physics. The B.A. in physics requires 12 units in one other subject.
What is required for a minor?
This is detailed in the catalog (pdf download). Note that we also offer a minor in astronomy (pdf download).
Can I work with a faculty advisor if I declare a minor?