Why Physics?

Physics at Cornell

The Department of Physics at Cornell University houses outstanding faculty and students, and world-class research facilities.

Because the concepts and methods of physics impact nearly all areas of human endeavor, the Department offers a broad range of physics courses for the entire Cornell community. 

The Physics Major in the College of Arts and Sciences is designed to serve all students whose primary undergraduate focus is to develop mastery of the skills and concepts of physics. 

All Physics Majors are required to complete a core of physics and math courses. This is comprised of a three semester introductory physics sequence, upper level math courses, and five additional upper level physics courses.Cornell’s Major program is extremely flexible. To accommodate the needs of students with a wide spectrum of possible interests and ultimate goals, there are two approaches to the major:  an “inside concentration” and an “outside concentration”.Students who choose to be “inside concentrators” focus the bulk of their studies within physics, and take several upper level physics courses beyond the Major’s core requirements.  An inside concentration is the principal path to professional or graduate work in physics and closely related fields.

Students who choose to be “outside concentrators” complete the Major core, and then take several courses in other subjects aimed at developing competency in a second area of interest.  An outside concentration provides more flexibility for those who want to develop skills in physics but whose future educational and/or career interests like elsewhere. 

Click here to learn about typical programs of study that are followed by Physics majors. For more information on the major, click here. For more information on suggested courses and schedules, click here.