Courses of Interest in Other Departments

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Physics has close ties to a large number of other areas. Here is a partial list of some of the course offerings at Cornell which have overlap with physics. This list is by no means comprehensive. Not all courses are offered in all semesters. We highly recommend discussing course selection with your advisor.

  • Applied Physics — Cornell’s applied physics department offers a number of courses which complement those offered by physics. These include AEP 1100 Lasers and Photonics, AEP 1200 Nanoscience, AEP 3240 Maple Supplement to Mathematical Physics, AEP 3330 Mechanics of Particles and Solid Bodies, AEP 4230 Statistical Thermodynamics, AEP 4340 Continuum Physics, AEP 4440 Quantum and Nonlinear Optics, AEP 4840 Fusion, and the AEP courses listed below under “Biology.”
  • Astronomy — Introductory astronomy courses particularly appropriate to physics majors: ASTRO 2211 Extrasolar, ASTRO 2212, Solar, ASTRO 2233 Special Topics, ASTRO 2290 Relativity. Any astronomy course labeled 3000+ should also be considered (many have no astronomy prerequisites).
  • Applied Mathematics — Physics heavily draws on applied mathematics such as Calculus, Differential Equations, Complex Analysis, and Differential Geometry. Please see an advisor for help on selecting mathematics courses.
  • Abstract Mathematics — Students with an interest in abstract mathematics should consider taking courses in real analysis and abstract algebra. Other major branches of abstract mathematics include Differential Geometry, Topology, and Number Theory.
  • Biology — Physics is important in understanding micro and macro biology, and has application in areas such as bioinformatics. Physics is also a major part of bio-instrumentation. Biology related courses some physics flavor include: AEP 2520/5520 Physics of Life, AEP 4700/5710 Biophysical methods, BEE 3310 Bio-Fluid Mechanics, BEE 4500 Bioinstrumentation, BEE 4590 Biosensors, BME 1310 Biomedical Engineering, BME 5030 Biomedical Instrumentation. Introductory Biology (BIOG 1101-1104) are naturally incorporated into a well-rounded science education.
  • Communication/Writing – Technical writing skills are essential to success in physics. General technical writing courses: ENGL 2880/2890, ENGRC 3350/3500, BEE 4930, BEE 4890, COMM 2630. Science journalism courses: COMM 3520/3530. Writing in the Majors courses such as ASTRO 2201 or MATH 4540 are a way of combining discipline courses with writing. The College of Engineering maintains a list of writing-intensive courses.
  • Computers — Computer skills are essential for success in many areas of physics. Physics students are encouraged to consider an introductory computer science course such as CS 1112, as well as more targeted courses such as PHYS 4480 Computational Physics , AEP 4380 Computational Engineering Physics, CS 3220 Scientific Computing, CS 3200 Engineering Computation, and MATH 4250/60 Numerical Analysis.
  • Chemistry — Quantum physics forms the basis of most chemical processes. Chemistry related courses with some physics flavor include: CHEM3890-3900, CHEME 4840 Microchemical/Microfluidic Systems. Introductory chemistry (CHEM 2070/80/90), and organic chemistry (CHEM 3590-3600) are naturally incorporated into a well-rounded science education.