A Few Things That You Should Consider if You Want to Major in Physics
Are you interested in learning the inner secrets of our strangely beautiful universe?
Do you have a passion for discovering the hidden symmetries behind apparent disorder?
Do you enjoy studying the world with specialized laboratory equipment, and expressing your
findings mathematically? If so, majoring in physics will be a rewarding experience that can
be a gateway to an exciting career in a variety of fields. However, a major in physics
at Centre also requires some careful planning and preparation to ensure that you make the
most of your time here. The following items are things to keep in mind if you have even a
remote interest in majoring in physics. Following these suggestions will help make your time spent with Centre's physics program enjoyable and productive.
- Meet with a physics faculty member as soon as possible. Each of us is happy to spend
some time telling you about the major, and making sure that you are on track to complete the
major in a timely manner and with the maximum flexibility. If your assigned advisor is not
from the physics program, send us an email or stop by and we will arrange a time to discuss
- Take physics your first year. If possible, you should take PHY 210 and PHY 230
your first year. If you have taken PHY 110 in your first year and have discovered an
interest in physics, you can still comfortably complete the major as long as you consult regularly with
a physics advisor to carefully plan your courses.
- Meet with a physics faculty member each term before registration. Several required
courses for the major are not offered every year, so it takes some planning to be sure that
all of the courses can be completed by graduation. In addition, the term in which a course
is planned to be offered may change, so consult with a physics advisor each term to be sure
that your plan for each term is up-to-date. If you have plans to study abroad, be
aware that this may severely limit when you can take cetain required physics courses, so
discuss these plans with your physics advisor as soon as possible.
- Plan ahead to take some extra physics electives. Physics is fun, and the more you know about the different fields of physics, the more easily you will be able to tackle any problem that you encounter. Satisfying only the minimum requirements for the major will leave some sizeable holes in your understanding. Become a well-rounded scientist by learning as much about each of the major areas of physics as you can. Your physics advisor can describe the various options to you and let you know when each is likely to be offered.
- Join our physics club, the Society of Physics Students. The club organizes talks, trips and social events for students interested in physics. Get the most out of your Centre physics experience by becoming an active member of the club. Organize a trip, plan a picnic, or invite a speaker, and encourage your friends to attend! If you plan it, others will come and our physics community will become stronger and more lively.
- Participate in other organized physics activities outside of class. Occasionally there will be talks related to physics given by faculty members or visitors to campus. Plan to attend each of these, setting aside time in your schedule beforehand. These talks will give you glimpses of current research in physics and other topics that you are not seeing in the classroom. Your presence at the talks helps to cultivate a lively atmosphere in the Centre physics program.
- Talk to your physics instructors and other physics faculty members often. We all enjoy talking about physics and pondering new questions. You will never be boring us or wasting our time with conversation or questions about physics. In fact, if you do not stop by regularly outside of class, we will wonder if something is wrong, and it may appear that you have lost interest in physics. Make a point of stopping by just to say hello fairly regularly.