Director of Undergraduate Studies: Dr. Jeremy Dodd, 924 Pupin; 854-3969; firstname.lastname@example.org
Departmental Office: 704 Pupin; 854-3348
Senior Lecturer in Discipline
The physics major offers a rigorous preparation in the intellectual developments of modern physics, along with extensive exposure to the mathematical and experimental techniques required to conduct basic and applied research in physics.
For the major, the department offers a set of required courses well-suited to prepare students for the most rigorous course of graduate study. These can be supplemented by elective courses in a variety of advanced topics. Although most majors go on to graduate work in physics, the intellectual skills acquired in the study of physics can also provide the basis for work in a variety of other scientific and nonscientific areas.
The physics concentration is for students who are interested in physics but are uncertain about graduate study in physics; for those who want to explore other subjects along with physics; for those who want to find a physics- or technology-related job after graduation; or for those who are considering a professional school such as law or medicine. The department helps concentrators custom design programs to ensure maximum flexibility in meeting students’ intellectual needs and career goals. With appropriate selection of courses, the concentrator can explore other subjects yet maintain the option of graduate study in physics.
Research is an extremely important component of the Columbia physics experience. Because the department has a very small student-to-faculty ratio, essentially all physics majors and concentrators engage in experimental, computational, or theoretical research under the close supervision of a faculty member during part, if not all, of their time at Columbia.
Registration for Introductory Courses
The department offers three groups of beginning sequences in physics. Students are given credit for courses from only one of the three sequence groups.
Mixing courses across the groups is strongly discouraged; however, physics majors who begin their studies with PHYS C1401-C1402 should take C2601 as the third-semester course. The sequences are intended primarily for:
Engineering and physical science majors: Sequence A (PHYS C1401, C1402, C1403) or Sequence B (PHYS C1601, C1602, C2601) or Sequence C (PHYS C2801, C2802), with the accompanying laboratories. Sequence A is a self-contained group of three courses, while Sequences B and C anticipate more course work in the Physics Department. Students considering a physics major are strongly encouraged to begin one of these sequences in their first year.
Many of the introductory courses include a laboratory, as indicated. A $50 per term laboratory fee is charged for all 1000-level and 2000-level laboratories.
Students may earn a maximum of 6 credits in physics. The department grants 6 credits for a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Physics B exam but the student is not entitled to any exemptions. The amount of credit is reduced to 3 if the student takes a 1000-level physics course.
The department grants 3 credits for a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Physics C/MECH exam, but the student is not entitled to any exemptions. The amount of credit is reduced to 0 if the student takes PHYS 1001, 1002, 1201, 1401 or 1601.
The department grants 3 credits for a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Physics C/E&M exam, but the student is not entitled to any exemptions. The amount of credit is reduced to 0 if the student takes PHYS 1001, 1002, 1202, 1402 or 1602.