Department: Physics and Astronomy


Physics is the study of the basic interactions that govern the behavior of the universe as we know it. As such, a knowledge of physics is necessary for the proper understanding of any science, and, of course, it is an exciting field of study in its own right. The primary mission of the Department of Physics and Astronomy is to provide an outstanding education for our students. Our curriculum serves undergraduate liberal arts students who seek, by the study of physics, to acquire critical thinking skills and develop the understanding and problem-solving abilities which are increasingly needed in our technological society. Undergraduate science majors pursue courses of study such as pre-medicine and computer science, in which a sound foundation in physics is essential to further advancement.  The major includes lecture courses, laboratory courses, and a chance for qualified students to participate in research with faculty members.

What can I do with my degree in Physics?

The department offers comprehensive training in physics that can lead to industrial, institutional and government work; graduate study, and a teaching position in grades 7-12

Physics for Non-Physics Majors

A minimum of one year of physics is recommended for all majors in sciences and health sciences.

Medical and dental schools also require one year of physics. Students requiring one year of physics may take either the PHYS 11000 (STEM)-PHYS 12000 (STEM) sequence (9 cr) or the PHYS 11100 (STEM)-PHYS 12100 (STEM) sequence (11 cr). Although both sequences cover the same topics, PHYS 11100 (STEM)-PHYS 12100 (STEM) utilizes elementary calculus and meets for one additional lecture hour each week. It is recommended for science students and those premed students who satisfy the mathematics prerequisite. PHYS 10000 (3 cr) should be taken only by those who want a one semester terminal course in physics; it does not satisfy pre-professional requirements. Students should take no more than one first-semester course (PHYS 10100, PHYS 11000 (STEM), PHYS 11100 (STEM)) and  no more than one second-semester course (PHYS 12000 (STEM), PHYS 12100 (STEM)) since they may receive credit for no more than one course from each group.



Ying-Chih Chen
1238 North
(212) 772-4526

Department Office:

Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
1225 North
(212) 772-5248
Web site:

1224 North
(212) 650-3029
Administrative Coordinator: Nanette Rivers