A Note To All Perspective Physics Students:
It is very important that you take both PC241 and PC242 during your freshman year in order to prevent scheduling conflicts during your sophomore year. When you arrive on campus, you should come speak with a faculty member to learn how to set up your first-year schedule in order to be on track for a physics major.
Faculty: Take some time to say hi to faculty when you see them around. Majors will eventually take classes with most faculty members. Take a look at the Faculty/Majors board to learn more about each faculty member and their research interests.
Kate: You will often see Kate in the Department office making the physics department run from behind the scenes (Barnes 230). Go to her to be added to the mailing list.
Jeff: Jeff helps with everything technical in the department. He will save you in Electronics.
Steve: Steve works in the basement and you will work with him if you take the machining adjunct.
Paraprof: They were a physics student here last year. They help out with intro labs. Go to their office (Olin 262B) For life advice and questions about the major.
Seminar room (Barnes 213): The academic and cultural hub of student life in the physics department. A meeting place for physics students to work on homework and debate the right way to do a problem. Expect discussion, whiteboard explanations, and comradery. Once you declare your major and send the paraprofessional your major board info, you will get the code for entry, a cubby, and a physics major mug in the seminar room.
Department office (Barnes 230): The snack spot! Find Kate here most of the time. You can talk to her about declaring your major and getting onto the mailing list.
As a physics major, these are the classes you will take as you progress through the major.
3 Block Intro Sequence:
- Mechanics and Electricity and Magnetism (PC241/242): These classes are usually fairly large and lecture based. They introduce you to most of the concepts you will continue to learn throughout physics at CC.
- Modern Physics (PC251): Offered third block of every year it introduces you to the discoveries in physics over the last century or so that spawned new fields in the really small and really fast parts of our world.
- Electronics (PC261): You spend your days in the electronics lab making friends with resistors, transistors, and your lab partner. This class introduces you to laboratory technique and builds an understanding of analog circuits.
- Techniques OR Observational (PC361 OR PC362): You deepen lab skills with these classes. Techniques is based in the lab here where you will work with experimental design, data collection, analysis and presentation. Observational is based both at the observatory here and at another offsite observatory where you learn about astronomical data collection and learn how to reduce images and collect scientific data from them.
Upper-Division Classes: Most of your classes as a major fall into this category. These classes tend to be smaller than intro classes. Class usually consists of a mix of lecture and going over problems with your classmates.
Other Non-Required Electives:
- Computational Physics Adjunct (PC253): Learn how to use python to work with data
- Machining Adjunct (PC108): Use the machine shop in the basement of Olin to create cool projects with metal, wood and plastic.
- Observational for Amateurs Adjunct (PC132): Learn how to use the Phipps observatory at CC.
- Engineering Half Block (PC210): Learn about what different kinds of engineering consist of. Most who teach this block went to CC themselves and now work as career engineers.
Seminars: Physics majors each take a class in block one of their senior year in which they learn how to give a good presentation about physics content. The culmination of this class is a 45-minute seminar they give to the department. All are welcome, yes, including you! Keep an eye out for emails from Kate about timing for these. RSVP to Kate at least 24 hours before the talk to get lunch.
Grading: Several Junior and Senior majors grade homework for introductory classes each block. This is a great way to brush up on intro physics skills and work on one’s own schedule.
Research: Ask any physicist and they will tell you a research experience is a great idea for undergraduates. Some faculty will host research students during the semester in a research block or during the summer. If you are intrigued by the research interests of a faculty member talk to them early in the year about opportunities to work with them. Keep an eye out for REU workshops to learn about getting summer research positions at other schools.
Engineering: The physics department offers an engineering-oriented half block course most years. We also have a 3-2 and 4-2 engineering combined plan. See Stephanie DiCenzo for more information about the combined plan.
Engineering students can pursue a major in another department while still fulfilling the engineering requirements. Colorado College has a cooperative program with three engineering schools that allow students to earn a B.A. from the college and a B.S. or Masters from one of the engineering schools in only 5 years. For more information check out the Engineering Website.