Explore your interests in physics at Lawrence.

Academic advising at Lawrence seeks to empower each student to craft and pursue a transformative liberal arts experience that prepares them for impactful and personally fulfilling lives. Faculty advisors support students in planning and achieving their educational goals, facilitate connections to campus resources and communities, and guide students to make informed decisions as they pursue their academic interests and aspirations. 

Course Planning for New and Exploring Students

Physics majors without advanced placement or a strong background in high school physics should start with PHYS 141: Introduction to Physics I. Majors who do not intend to pursue graduate study in physics may petition the department to substitute appropriate upper-level offerings in other departments for up to two of the required physics electives.

The following program is typical:

  • First Year: PHYS 141 & 151, PHYS 220; MATH 140, 155, 200 
  • Second Year: PHYS 225, 230, 260; MATH 250
  • Third Year: PHYS 310, 320, 330; physics electives
  • Fourth Year: PHYS 699: Independent Study in Physics, PHYS 650: Senior Seminar in Physics; physics electives

The Second Year Entry Track allows a physics outreach class for non-majors to count in place of an introductory class or upper-level elective.

  • First Year:  PHYS 110 or PHYS 115; MATH 140, 155; UNIC 175
  • Second Year:  PHYS 141, 151, 220; MATH 200
  • Third Year: PHYS 225, 230, 260; MATH 250
  • Fourth Year: PHYS 310, 320, 330, Senior Experience

Additional courses in mathematics, chemistry, computer science, biology, and geosciences are often elected. The prospective major should consult early and regularly with the faculty in the department.

The 3/2 Engineering Track adds chemistry and computer science, as required by our partner schools, in place of some third-pass classes, and allows students to transfer back upper-level engineering courses for the upper-level physics electives.

  • First Year:  PHYS 141, 151, 220; MATH 140, 155, 200
  • Second Year:  PHYS 225, 230, 260; CHEM 115, 116; MATH 350
  • Third Year: PHYS 320, Senior Experience; CSMC 150
  • Fourth Year: Transfer Classes

The Physics Teaching Track emphasizes core areas at the second pass level, with more requirements from other sciences to enable students to receive the broad-science certification and highlight connections between sciences at the high school level. The five education classes for the teaching certification are in addition to the physics requirement; this path can be completed in 12 terms if started in the first year, or in 13 terms if started later.   The courses for this track include:

  • PHYS 110, 141, 151, 220, 225, 230, 260, 330, and Senior Experience
  • CHEM 115, 116
  • GEOS 110
  • MATH 140, 155, 200, 250
  • EDST 180, 350, 440
  • EDUC 430, 560

AP/IB Credit and Advanced Placement

Students may earn no more than 12 units of credit for multiple AP or IB Physics exams. Students with AP/IB credit should consult the physics department chair for appropriate course placement. Students may fulfill their Quantitative Competency (Q) General Education Requirement with a 4 or 5 score on any of the following AP Physics exams: AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2, AP Physics C - Electricity & Magnetism, or AP Physics C - Mechanics.

Declare a Major/Minor

All students are expected to declare a major before the end of sophomore year. Ideally, sophomore students will declare a major (and switch to an advisor in the major) before advance registration advising begins in spring term.

Major Advising

All students will transition to a major advisor upon declaration. The major advisor will help students plan their coursework to satisfy requirements for the major, select courses in other areas to complement the major or satisfy personal interests, and prepare for their Senior Experience. Prospective physics majors can consult with any of the following physics faculty about serving as a major advisor:

Add a Major Advisor

Need help identifying an advisor in the major? Students can contact advising@lawrence.edu for assistance with advisor matching.

Minor Advising

Students do not need an official advisor for the physics minor. Instead, physics minors are encouraged to consult with the department chair or other physics faculty for advice on course selection and satisfying minor requirements.

Additional Student Resources

If you still have questions about advising support related to the physics program, we invite you to contact the department chair.