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Requirements

Physics and Astronomy

 

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE ASTRONOMY MAJOR

The courses required for the major in astronomy are:

PHYS BC 2001 Physics I: Mechanics

PHYS BC 2002 Physics II: Electricity & Magnetism

PHYS BC 3001 Physics III: Classical Waves and Optics

Students may substitute a Columbia College three-semester calculus-based introductory physics sequence with lab taken at Barnard, as in the physics major.

Calculus through IV is required, with additional work in mathematics recommended.

Also:

ASTR C 2001, 2002 Introduction to Astrophysics I, II

Students who have taken ASTR BC 1753-4 (Introduction to Astronomy I, II) or

C 1403-4 may substitute an additional 3000-level ASTR course for ASTR C 2001-2.

Finally, students are required to take four additional 3000-level ASTR or PHYS courses, including at least one of ASTR C 3102 Extrasolar Planets and Astrobiology or PHYS W 3003 Mechanics, and selected so that at least six total points of 3000-level lecture classes are ASTR courses.

Some of the ASTR courses offered in recent years include:

  • ASTR C 3101 Stellar Structure and Evolution
  • ASTR C 3102 Extrasolar Planets and Astrobiology
  • ASTR C 3601 General Relativity, Black Holes, and Cosmology
  • ASTR C 3273 High Energy Astrophysics
  • ASTR C 3602 Physical Cosmology
  • ASTR C 3646 Observational Astronomy

Students planning to study astronomy or astrophysics in graduate school are strongly urged to take PHYS BC 3006, W 3003, W 3007-8, G 4023, some additional courses in mathematics, and Computer Science (COMS) W 1003 Programming in C or W 1004 Programming in Java. Note: When any of the required courses is not being given, the department will recommend appropriate substitutions.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE PHYSICS MAJOR

The courses required for the major in physics are:

PHYS BC 2001 Physics I: Mechanics

PHYS BC 2002 Physics II: Electricity & Magnetism

PHYS BC 3001 Physics III: Classical Waves and Optics

In lieu of the above, any three-semester Columbia introductory sequence acceptable for the physics major in Columbia College will do (e.g., PHYS C 1601-2, 2601, taken with labs at Barnard). The accelerated two-semester Columbia College sequence PHYS C 2801-2 is also acceptable.

Calculus through IV is required, with additional work in mathematics recommended; e.g., Math E 1210x, y Ordinary Differential Equations, APMA E 3102y Applied Mathematics II. The calculus sequence should be completed by the end of the sophomore year.

At the upper level:

PHYS W 3003 Mechanics
PHYS BC 3006 Quantum Physics
PHYS W 3007 Electricity and Magnetism
PHYS W 3008 Electromagnetic Waves and Optics
PHYS G 4023 Statistical Physics

are required, and a total of 6.0 points of advanced lab work, PHYS BC 3086 and 3088, taken concurrently with their cognate lecture courses. Finally, the student must take Computer Science W 1003 Programming in C, W 1004 Programming in Java, or PHYS W 3083 Electronics Laboratory.

Students planning to study physics in graduate school should include several 4000-level electives in their senior year program.

 

INTERDISCIPLINARY MAJOR

Special majors in, for example, astrophysics, biophysics, chemical physics, engineering physics, or mathematical physics are all possible and are arranged in conjunction with the relevant second department at Barnard. A student interested in such possibilities should speak to a faculty member early on (i.e., by late fall of her sophomore year) in order to permit the most effective construction of her program of study and the appropriate petition to be made to the Committee on Programs and Academic Standing. The latter is a straightforward procedure associated with the declaration of all special majors at Barnard.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE PHYSICS MINOR

Five courses are required for the minor in physics. They are: any three-semester introductory sequence acceptable for the major (see above) plus two additional 3-point courses at the 3000-level.