Undergraduate Studies

What you'll study as a Physics major

At UMass Dartmouth, physics majors receive an outstanding education in physical science and in areas such as critical analysis, computers and technology, mathematics, and effective writing and communication. These are critical for career success. Today's employers want graduates who have a broad, diverse education, and know how to solve problems creatively. You'll get that at UMass Dartmouth.

So, you'll take a variety of courses in physics, mathematics, and science, as well as in liberal arts and the social sciences. You can also take courses in fields like astrophysics and environmental physics where knowledge is rapidly expanding. Your education will be comprehensive and contemporary.

The following is a sample curriculum for physics majors:

  • In your first year, courses include physics for scientists and engineers, calculus, computer programming with C, and critical writing and reading.
  • Among your second year classes are classical and experimental physics as well as several math courses and technical communications.
  • In the following year, you'll study modern physics and quantum mechanics, experiment with electronic circuits, participate in a physics seminar, and have the opportunity to take electives.
  • As a senior, you'll study solid state physics, and, by taking a number of elective courses, can focus on an area that interests you.

Astronomy/Astrophysics Option to the B.S. Degree in Physics


In recognition of the wide interest in the exciting discoveries about the universe, the Physics Department offers an option in the allied fields of astronomy and astrophysics. This program teaches students the observational and analytical methods astronomers use to study the cosmos, as well as the physics underlying celestial phenomena, from the creation of the universe to the generation of stellar energy to the formation of black holes. To pursue the Astronomy/Astrophysics option, physics majors must first gain sufficient foundation in basic physics and mathematics; they will subsequently take a full array of advanced courses in physics, listed below, plus several courses specifically designed for the option. Students who successfully complete the option may wish to follow graduate-school or career paths in astronomy, astrophysics, or physics. Entry to the Astronomy/Astrophysics option program requires approval of the Physics Department chairperson.


The Physics Department currently has five faculty members involved in teaching and/or scholarly work in astronomy/astrophysics: Profs. Robert Fisher (supernovae, star formation, molecular clouds), Alan Hirshfeld (stellar astronomy, history of astronomy, astronomy education), Jong-Ping Hsu (gravitational field theory), Gaurav Khanna (black holes, gravity waves), and Grant O’Rielly (nuclear physics and astrophysics). The department also operates a fully equipped observatory with a 16-inch computer-controlled reflector telescope, the largest such instrument in the SouthCoast region. The Observatory is equipped with a modern CCD imaging camera and has recently received a grant to purchase a high-precision, computer-controlled telescope mount. The department also has several computer clusters that are used for numerical computations and simulations related to ongoing faculty research projects in astronomy and astrophysics.

Physics Brochure 2010