Information For Prospective Undergraduates
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The Department of Physics at Cornell offers an education hard to find at any other university. From award-winning faculty to research and experimental facilities such as the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source and Cornell Center for Nanoscale Systems, your education at Cornell will include classroom and laboratory experiences that are second to none.
How to Apply
Students interested in applying for admission to Cornell University can indicate their desire to major in physics on their application to the College of Arts and Sciences. Information on applying to Cornell can be found at the College of Arts and Sciences and the main Cornell Admissions site. Cornell Days has been cancelled for spring 2020. Please email Professor Liam McAllister, the Director of Undergraduate Studies at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about the Physics Major at Cornell. In addition, you can find more information on the main Cornell Days website.
Current Cornell Students
Current students meeting the entrance requirements for the major [two physics courses (and the associated mathematics) with a grade of B- or better] can find the forms for joining the major at the Main Physics Office, 117 Clark Hall.
Students should then arrange to meet with the Physics Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS), Professor Liam McAllister, by emailing email@example.com, to schedule a virtual meeting over the summer.
Students who are not yet ready to join the major, but would like to find ways to become involved with Cornell Physics, are encouraged to join the Society of Physics Students.
The Physics Core – All physics majors must complete a core of physics and mathematics courses as follows:
Three-semester introductory physics sequence plus special relativity:
PHYS 2207 students with life/chemical/health science interests who decide to switch to the physics major may complete:
Mathematics courses covering single and multivariable calculus, linear algebra, series representations, and complex analysis:
MATH 2220 – Multivariable Calculus or
MATH 2240 – Theoretical Linear Algebra and Calculus
Five upper-level courses beyond the three-semester introductory sequence, consisting of:
(2) At least three semester hours of laboratory work selected from:
PHYS 3310 – Intermediate Experimental Physics
PHYS 3330 – Modern Experimental Optics (crosslisted)
PHYS 3360 – Electronic Circuits (crosslisted)
PHYS 4410 – Advanced Experimental Physics
AEP 2640 – Computer-Instrumentation Design (crosslisted)
ASTRO 4410 – Experimental Astronomy
BEE 4500 – Bioinstrumentation
(3) An intermediate course in classical mechanics:
PHYS 3318 – Analytical Mechanics
Physics 3314 and 3318 have been merged so all physics majors should take Physics 3318.
(4) An intermediate course in electromagnetism:
PHYS 3327 – Advanced Electricity and Magnetism
Physics 3323 and 3327 have been merged so all physics majors should take Physics 3327.
In addition to the core, each physics major must complete at least 15 semester hours of credit in an area of concentration that has been agreed upon by the student and major faculty advisor consistent with the guidelines found here.
To learn more about the Physics Department and major, read the Freshman Brochure.