Physics (Major, Minor)

Math, Computer Studies, and Physics Department

Pamela O'Brien, Dean, School of Arts, Sciences and Business
Alexandra Chaillou, Ph.D, Chair
Brian Christy, Ph.D.

Degrees offered



Main Campus

The Mathematics/Physics/Computer Information Systems Department of the School of Arts, Sciences, and Business offers a Major and Minor in Physics to students in the Women's College. Recognizing the role our field plays in other disciplines, we offer courses for department majors and non-majors that serve the students of NDMU in the Catholic Liberal Arts tradition. As an integral part of the liberal arts, we provide the students at NDMU with an understanding of the physical world, quantitative and technologically based knowledge, and enable our students to become leaders in their future professions.


Women's College

Physics represents humanity's most profound attempt to understand the universe in which we live by studying the events and interactions that occur in nature and by trying to comprehend the truths or laws that govern these physical processes. As the most fundamental and all-inclusive of the sciences, physics naturally forms an educational base from which students may enter many diverse occupations and careers. Graduates are employed at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center the U.S. Department of Energy, Lockheed Martin, U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center, Thornton Tomasetti, and the Peace Corps. Among the institutions where graduates have pursued advanced studies are Rochester University, Princeton University, Drexel University, George Washington University, University of Delaware, Delaware State, and Boston College.

Students majoring in physics must earn a 2.0 GPA in all courses required for the major.

Physics Majors may add an additional Major in a discipline such as Mathematics, Computer Studies or Chemistry, or Minor in one of several fields.

A student may fulfill the General Education Requirement in natural science by taking PHY-101, 111 (College of Adult Undergraduate Studies), 132 (College of Adult Undergraduate Studies), or 155. The cooperative program with neighboring colleges provides concentrators with a wide choice of upper-level courses and a variety of faculty viewpoints.

Programs of Study

Required Courses for a Major in Physics

       PHY-101 and PHY-102 General Physics I, II (8)
       PHY-201 Modern Physics (3)
       PHY-316L Classical Mechanics (3)
       PHY-314 Quantum Mechanics (3)
       PHY-315 Electricity and Magnetism (3)
       PHY-463 Investigations in Physics (1-4)
       2 or 3 upper electives (7+credits) chosen in consultation with your advisor
             CST 200, 300 or 400 level
             EDU/SPE 300 or 400 level
             EGR 200, 300 or 400 level (Loyola or other BSEP school)
             MAT 300 or 400 level
             PHY 300 or 400 level

Credit is earned for PHY 463 by completing one of the following:

      • Internship
      • Teaching Apprenticeship
      • Research Experience

       CHM-111 General Chemistry II (4)
       CST-171 Programming Concepts or CST-295 C++ Programming (3)

       MAT-212, MAT-213 Calculus II, III (7)
       MAT-214 Calculus of Vector Fields (1)
       MAT-243 Linear Algebra (3)
       MAT-315 Differential Equations (3)

Required Courses for a Minor in Physics 

       MAT-212 Calculus II (4)
       PHY-101 and PHY-102 General Physics I, II (8)
       PHY-201 Modern Physics (3)
       Plus one other course in mathematics, physics or computer science at the 200-level or higher (3)

Four-Year Plan

Below is a sample Program of Study for the Physics Major. Students should select courses with the assistance of a faculty advisor.

Fall Spring 
First year      
PHY-101 General Physics I 4 PHY-102 General Physics II 4
MAT-211 Calculus I 4 MAT-212 Calculus II 4
ENG-101 College Writing 3 MAT-243 Linear Algebra or
CST-171 Program Concepts
NDMU-100 First Year Seminar 4 Foreign Language 3
[15 credits] [14 credits]
Second year      
PHY-201 Modern Physics 3 PHY-316L Classical Mechanics* 3
MAT-213 Calculus III 3 CHM-111 General Chemistry II 4
CHM-110 General Chem I 4 CST-171 Program Concepts or
MAT-243 Linear Algebra
General Education/Electives 6 General Education 3
[16 credits]   MAT-214 Calculus of Vector Fields 1
    [14 credits]
Third year      
PH 314 Quantum Mechanics* or 3 Program Electives 6
PH 315 Electricity & Magnetism I* 3 MAT 315 Differential Equations 3
Gen Education/Electives 9 Physical Education 1
[15 credits]   PHYS 330+ 3
    [16 credits]  
Fourth year      
PH 315 or PH 314 3 Program Electives 3
Gen Education/Electives 12 Gen Education/Electives 9
PHYS 463 1-4
[15 credits] [13-17 credits]

+ Need to take at least two Physics courses at level 300 or higher [excluding PHY 463]’

Depending on transfer credit and courses chosen, students must complete between 28-46 credit hours of General Education coursework. Please consult with the faculty advisor for your particular situation and which courses to take that best align with your interests and career path’

‘Students are required to take 120 credit hours total in order to earn the degree. Consult the faculty advisor for which courses are most appropriate to select based on interests and career goals.’

Need to take at least two physics courses at level 300 or higher

*Courses with a designation of "L" are taught at Loyola. Notre Dame students take the courses through the cooperative program. For more information, contact the Program Chair.