Physics & Astronomy Department
2401 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240-1807
Physics and Astronomy Majors
The Departmental offers a single major that provides a thorough grounding
in the core areas of physics. It is suitable either as a preparation for
careers in science and engineering, or as a spring-board for applying
technical knowledge in such fields as business, medicine, law, public policy
and education. All physics majors are required to complete a set of core
physics courses, nine hours of optional physics and/or astronomy courses, and
the general education requirements for the College of Arts & Science (AXLE).
Suggested courses and schedules for different 'tracks' within the Physics major are listed
below in detail.Though not formally required for the major, students majoring in physics will also need to take calculus (Math 155a and 155b), multivariable calculus (Math 175), differential equations (Math 194 or 204) and linear algebra (Math 198 or 208) as co- or pre-requisites for selected physics courses. Physics majors are also strongly advised to take an introductory course in computer science (CS 101) and to strongly consider additional, computationally oriented courses (e.g., Phys 223C, Phys 257, Astr 253, Astr 254), and other courses that count toward the Scientific Computing minor.
Students planning to major in physics will be assigned an advisor from the faculty. Students are encouraged to seek advice and be
mentored by any faculty member. The official advisors listed here are
particularly knowledgeable on curricular matters and support systems at
Vanderbilt University. They are also the ones who have the authority to sign
Courses - Required courses for all Physics and Astronomy majors as
well as a list of recommended math courses.
Physics Track - This track prepares students to undertake graduate
work in physics and other technical fields. The complete program must
begin in the freshman year; however, under exceptional circumstances a
student who decides in the sophomore year to undertake graduate work in
physics can complete sufficient work to succeed.
and Astrophysics Track - This track prepares students to undertake
graduate work in astronomy, astrophysics or related earth and planetary
Physics Track - This track prepares students for medical school and
for graduate study and careers in the health sciences. Because of the
additional requirements for pre-medical students in the biological and
chemical sciences, this major is best started in the sophomore year.
Physics Track - This track prepares students for applying technical
knowledge in such fields as business, law, public policy and education. It
is designed to be completed in three years, thus meeting the needs of a
student who discovers in the freshman year that physics is an attractive
Program - Students majoring in physics may apply for admission to an
Honors Program which involves a senior thesis of high merit. Directed and
Independent Study - All majors are encouraged to participate in research
projects under the direction of faculty and research staff. Students can
undertake Directed Study, which allows a student to work together with
faculty on their research projects, or Independent Study, which involves
research projects conceived and undertaken by individual students.
Scientific Computing minor.
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