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College of Science


Physics Major

Students wishing to major in physics should complete the General Degree Requirements plus requirements specific to the physics option.


This program offers a specialization in physics as the core of a broad general education. By using free electives in the program, a student can include concentrations in condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, astrophysics, particle physics and other areas. Students also are encouraged to participate in one or two semesters of individual research projects with a selected faculty member.

Opportunities for employment in fields related to physics will be enhanced by taking free electives in other science courses, such as biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geosciences, geophysics, mathematics, meteorology, statistics and/or in various branches of engineering. With assistance from an advisor, a student can prepare an individualized program suited to career plans by selecting electives from these areas or from any other area within the University. Normally, these courses are taken as juniors or seniors. (See the sample program at www.physics.purdue.edu.)

Physics Major Course Requirements 49-50 credits
PHYS 17200 (Modern Mechanics) 4 cr.
PHYS 27200 (Electric and Magnetic Interactions) 4 cr.
PHYS 30600 (Mathematical Methods of Physics I) 3 cr.
PHYS 30700 (Mathematical Methods of Physics II) 3 cr.
PHYS 34000 (Modern Physics Laboratory) 1 cr.
PHYS 34400 (Modern Physics) 4 cr.
PHYS 31000 (Intermediate Mechanics) 4 cr.
PHYS 33000 (Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism) 3 cr.
PHYS 36000 (Quantum Mechanics) 3 cr.
PHYS 42200 (Waves and Oscillations) 3 cr.
PHYS 45000 (Intermediate Laboratory) 2 cr.
PHYS 51500 (Thermal and Statistical Physics) 3 cr.
Advanced Physics Laboratory Requirement: 
PHYS 53600 (Electronic Techniques for Research) (4 cr.) or approved advanced laboratory courses, e.g., PHYS 58000 (Computational Physics) (3 cr.)
3-4 cr.
Science/Engineering Electives Requirement:
Two courses offered by any Science/ Engineering department at 30000 level or higher (or by approval)
6 cr.
Physics/Astronomy Elective Requirement: 
One physics or astronomy course at the 30000 level or higher (or by approval)
3 cr.
The two mathematical methods courses can be replaced by courses from the math department by petition, depending on the content and performance.