Physics major

web_140131_Michael-Durst_rocket-car_0477Bates physics majors go on to graduate schools, to work in industry and academics. To see what our alumni go on to do, visit our Alumni Page.

Major Requirements. The major in physics can be structured to meet the individual needs of students planning graduate study in physics or engineering, as well as those considering careers in business, teaching, government, law, or medicine. The requirement for a major is ten courses in physics, including the following eight, usually taken in this order: PHYS 108 (or FYS 274), 222, 211, 231, 301, 308, 409 or 412 or 422, and 457 or 458. The additional two courses must be selected from the following: PHYS 107 (only if taken prior to 108, concurrently with FYS 274, or if assigned as Advanced Placement credit), 214, 216, 220, 232, s27, s30, or any physics course numbered 300 or higher. Only one semester of senior thesis may count toward satisfying the minimum ten-course requirement. To learn physics effectively, it is important that courses be taken in the recommended order and, if at all possible, with the recommended background. Nevertheless, prerequisites and corequisites can be waived in appropriate circumstances, especially in cases of incoming students with strong backgrounds. Students considering graduate study in physics or engineering should take PHYS 409 and 422 as well as other courses numbered 300 or higher. In exceptional cases, a student who otherwise meets the ten-course requirement may petition the department to take a comprehensive examination in lieu of the senior thesis project.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the minor or major.

General Education. Students majoring in physics may satisfy the [W2] requirement by completing any four of the following courses in the sophomore and/or junior years: PHYS 211, 214, 222, 231, 301, 341, 381, s27.