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Frequently Asked Questions: Physics

In your first two years, you will take courses covering Mechanics, Kinematics and Conservation Laws, Electricity and Magnetism, Waves and Oscillations , and Modern Physics. You will also take two semesters of general chemistry, English composition, three semesters of calculus, and three semesters of foreign language courses or equal cultural competency. Later in the curriculum, you will also be required to take:

  • Additional Physics courses
  • General education electives
  • Great issues and multidisciplinary courses
  • Statistics and computer science courses

Typical Freshman Year Coursework

Semester one:

PHYS 172 (H), Mechanics, 4 credit hours

CHM 115, General Chemistry I, 4 credit hours

MA 161 or 165, Calculus I and Analytical Geometry, 4-5 credit hours

ENGL 106, English Composition, 4 credit hours

Total: 16 to 17 credit hours


Semester two:

PHYS 272 (H), Electricity and Magnetism, 4 credit hours

CHM 116, General Chemistry II, 4 credit hours

MA 162 or 166, Calculus II and Analytical Geometry, 4-5 credit hours

Foreign Language, 3-4 credit hours

Total: 15 to 17 credit hours


* Students must earn a minimum of 124 credit hours to graduate, which is an average of 15.5 credit hours / per semester.


Science at Purdue

By phone: 765.494.1771 or 800.804.8061
By web:
Department of Physics:
By email: (for advisors) (for current students)

Purdue University College of Science, 150 N. University St, West Lafayette, IN 47907 • Phone: (765) 494-1729, Fax: (765) 494-1736

Student Advising Office: (765) 494-1771, Fax: (765) 496-3015 • Science IT, (765) 494-4488

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