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Pomona College    
  Feb 22, 2018
2012-13 Pomona College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG] Use the dropdown above to select the current 2017-18 catalog.

Physics Major

Requirements for the Physics Track

A major in physics requires the completion of:

  1. Physics Introductory Sequence (see here ) and PHYS 101 PO 
  2. PHYS 128 PO - Electronics with Laboratory 
  3. MATH 060 PO  and either MATH 032 PO  or MATH 107 PO  (and prerequisites)
  4. One non-Physics laboratory science course selected from the following: ASTR 051 PO , ASTR 101 PO ; BIOL 040 PO ; CHEM 001A PO , CHEM 001B PO , or CHEM 051 PO ENGR 004 HM ENGR 080 HM , or  . Other courses may be substituted with departmental approval.
  5. At least three core courses
  6. One other course chosen from core and upper-division elective courses
  7. PHYS 174 PO 
  8. PHYS 190 PO  and PHYS 193 PO 
  9. PHYS 191 PO 

Courses taken to fulfill requirements for both the physics and astronomy majors must be taken on a letter grade basis.

A rich and varied weekly colloquium series is offered in conjunction with the Harvey Mudd College Physics Department. Junior and senior physics majors are expected to attend at least three-fourths of the Pomona College colloquia and student research/thesis presentations.

A student planning graduate work in physics should take all four core courses, as well as a broader selection of elective courses in physics and mathematics and should acquire a reading knowledge of at least one foreign language and some competence in computer programming. Modified programs within the Physics Major are also available for students interested in medicine and high school teaching. Students interested in chemical physics, engineering, geophysics and other specializations may wish to consider proposing a special major. See the department Web page at for further information.

Requirements for the Astrophysics Track of the Physics Major

Students wishing to pursue the study of modern astronomy and astrophysics and particularly those preparing for graduate work in astronomy and astrophysics, should complete the astronomy track of the Physics Major. The requirements for this track are:

  1. Physics Introductory Sequence (see here ) and PHYS 101 PO 
  2. ASTR 062 PO  and ASTR 101 PO 
  3. Two half-courses from the ASTR 120 PO  series or ASTR 051 PO  and one half-course
  4. Mathematics through MATH 060 PO 
  5. At least two core PHYS courses (PHYS 125 PO , PHYS 142 PO , PHYS 170 PO , or PHYS 175 PO )
  6. One other course chosen from core and upper-division physics electives
  7. PHYS 174 PO  or PHYS 128 PO 
  8. PHYS 190 PO  and PHYS 193 PO 
  9. PHYS 191 PO 

Further aspects of the program may be planned in consultation with Mr. Penprase, Mr. Choi or Ms. Zook.

Additional tracks of the Physics Major include the astronomy track and the earth, planetary and space science (EPSS) track. The astronomy track prepares students to be broadly educated in the sciences of astronomy and physics and is an ideal preparation for teaching, outreach or technical work in astronomy and related fields. The EPSS track blends astronomy, physics and geology and is intended for students who wish to pursue graduate studies and professional careers in planetary astronomy or space science. A similar track with a slightly different earth science and geology emphasis (i.e., disciplinary focus) is offered by the Geology Department. Further details on the program may be obtained from Mr. Penprase or Mr. Grosfils in the Geology Department.

Requirements for the Astronomy Track of the Physics Major

  1. Physics Introductory Sequence (see here ) and PHYS 101 PO 
  2. Two introductory science courses: ASTR 001 PO , ASTR 006 PO  or ASTR 051 PO ; PHYS 003 PO , PHYS 017 PO ; GEOL 20, other science courses with permission
  3. One non-physics lab science course selected from the following: CSCI 051 PO ; CHEM 1 or CHEM 051 PO ; other courses with permission
  4. ASTR 062 PO , ASTR 101 PO 
  5. Two half-courses from the ASTR 120 series
  6. Mathematics through MATH 032 PO 
  7. At least one additional upper-division (100 or above) ASTR, GEOL or PHYS course (PHYS 125 PO , PHYS 142 PO , or additional ASTR 120-series half-courses are recommended)
  8. PHYS 190 PO 
  9. PHYS 191 PO  

Requirements for the Earth, Planetary and Space Science (EPSS) Track of the Physics Major

  1. Introductory courses: GEOL 020B PO ; ASTR 051 PO  or ASTR 062 PO ; Physics Introductory Sequence (see here ); MATH 030 PO , MATH 031 PO , MATH 032 PO 
  2. Disciplinary Focus in Astronomy: ASTR 101 PO  and two of ASTR 120 PO , ASTR 121 PO , ASTR 123 PO . Also requires PHYS 101 PO , MATH 060 PO  and GEOL 125 PO .
  3. PHYS 190 PO 
  4. PHYS 191 PO