A concentration in physics consists of 10 courses: 190, 195, 290, 295, 390, 550 and four other courses chosen in consultation with an advisor who is a member of the physics faculty. Normally at least one of the electives will be selected from physics courses at the 300 level or above. Students who wish to prepare for graduate school in physics or engineering should choose electives from physics courses at the 300 level and above. Students with other interests may, in consultation with their advisor, select up to two electives from other science courses. Such courses should normally support interdisciplinary interests or career goals. Normally 390 is taken in the spring semester of the junior year in preparation for the research project undertaken in 550. Honors in physics requires outstanding work in the senior research project.
In the first year, prospective concentrators should take 190 and 195, and Mathematics 113 and 114. If the Mathematics Department grants advanced placement, students may wish to take linear algebra (Mathematics 224) followed by vector calculus (215) or differential equations (235). Physics 290 and 295 should be taken in the second year. Other options should be discussed with a member of the faculty. Students who wish to major in physics but who have taken either 100-105 or 200-205, or who wish to begin the major belatedly should consult with the department chair. Students with advanced placement in physics should consult with a member of the department before registering for a physics class.A minor in physics consists of five courses: 190, 195, 290 or 295, and two other physics courses, or 100, 105, and three other physics courses, of which one must be at the 200 level or above. A minor in astronomy consists of five courses: a 2-course introductory sequence (190-195, 100-105, or 200-205), 290, 160 and either 330 or an independent study in astronomy. A student who majors in physics may not minor in astronomy.
Students interested in the 3-2 or 4-2 engineering programs affiliating Hamilton with engineering schools should take 190, 195 and calculus (or linear algebra if mathematics placement so warrants) in their first year. There are many possible options in engineering programs, and because of their complexity beyond the first year, interested students should consult the engineering advisor, Professor Millet. This is also the case for those who have taken 100-105 and have then become interested in engineering.
Juniors or seniors without prior courses in the department may enroll in 100, 130, 160, 190 and 245.