Course Planning

Physics Major - Planning

The course planning advice here is limited to completing this major which is just one piece of the overall Hendrix College degree requirements.  For a full description of degree requirements see the Catalog.

Possible Degree Path – starting in the first year. The following is a typical major plan for this 14 course major.  This is not the only way forward.  Please consult with your advisor to create your unique path. 

  Fall Semester Spring Semester
First Year

Complete the following through coursework or Advanced Placement Credits

  • Gen. Physics I (PHYS 235)
  • Calculus I (MATH 130)

Complete the following through coursework or Advanced Placement Credits

  • Gen. Physics II (PHYS 245)
  • Calculus II (MATH 140)
Sophomore
  • Vibrations & Waves (PHYS 305)
  • Differential Equations (MATH 260)

  • Modern Physics (PHYS 315)

Possibly one additional upper-level Physics course* or the elective:

  • Thermal Physics (PHYS 470)
  • Electronics (PHYS 340)
  • Electrodynamics (PHYS 420)
  • Classical Mechanics (PHYS 480)
Junior
  • General Chem I (CHEM 110)
  • Quantum Mechanics (PHYS 430)
-

1-2 upper-level Physics courses* or the elective:

  • Thermal Physics (PHYS 470)
  • Electronics (PHYS 340)
  • Electrodynamics (PHYS 420)
  • Classical Mechanics (PHYS 480)
Senior

Remaining upper-level Physics courses* or the elective:

  • Thermal Physics (PHYS 470)
  • Electronics (PHYS 340)
  • Electrodynamics (PHYS 420)
  • Classical Dynamics (PHYS 480)

*Many upper-level Physics courses are offered every other year. Please plan accordingly.

Possible Degree Path – starting in the second year. The following is a typical plan to complete this major. Please consult with your advisor or a member of the Department to create your unique path.

  Fall Semester Spring Semester
First Year -
Sophomore

Complete the following through coursework or Advanced Placement Credits

  • Gen. Physics I (PHYS 235)
  • Calculus I (MATH 130)

Complete the following through coursework or Advanced Placement Credits

  • Gen. Physics II (PHYS 245)
  • Calculus II (MATH 140)

Possibly Gen Chem I (CHEM 110) or the elective.

Junior
  • Vibrations & Waves (PHYS 305)
  • Differential Equations (MATH 260)

 
  • Modern Physics (PHYS 315)
  • 1-2  upper-level Physics courses* or Gen Chem I (CHEM 110)
  • Quantum Physics (PHYS 430)

1-2 upper-level Physics courses* or the elective:

  • Thermal Physics (PHYS 470)
  • Electronics (PHYS 340)
  • Electrodynamics (PHYS 420)
  • Classical Dynamics (PHYS 480)

Possibly General Chem I (CHEM 110)

Senior

Quantum Mechanics (PHYS 430)

Remaining upper-level Physics courses* or an elective:

  • Thermal Physics (PHYS 470)
  • Electronics (PHYS 340)
  • Electrodynamics (PHYS 420)
  • Classical Dynamics (PHYS 480)

If not previously completed: General Chem I (CHEM 110)

*Many upper-level Physics courses are offered every other year. Please plan accordingly.

Planning Recommendations:

Three 400-level courses are offered on an every-other-year basis. Please work your physics advisor to design a course plan suited to your professional goals.

While research is not required for the major, interested students should consult with the Department Chair in the Department of Physics early in the sophomore year.

Study Abroad/ Study Away semesters can be difficult due to the highly sequenced nature of the Physics major. With careful, early planning, physics students completing their major in four years can arrange their courses to study away for a semester, typically in the spring of the second year or the fall of the third or fourth year. Summer programs are another good option.  

Capstone Comments:  The Senior Capstone Experience for physics majors consists of a comprehensive exam taken in the senior year. Please see your departmental advisor for more details.