Physics, Minor

Program Code: PHYS_UMNR

Program Description

The Department of Physics offers a minor for students who wish to expand upon their study in this fundamental discipline, beyond the introductory courses (PHYS 211, PHYS 212, PHYS 213, PHYS 214). In addition to an additional course in modern physics (PHYS 237, which includes introductions to relativity and quantum theory, as well as applications), students take two 400-level PHYS courses for a total of 6-8 credits.The Physics minor is useful for students in many STEM disciplines who wish to extend their studies in this fundamental field, as a background for graduate study or work in a variety of technical fields.

What is Physics?

Physicists study natural phenomena in the universe, from the smallest length scales to the largest in the cosmos, to discover the basic principles or laws which govern the physical world. Knowledge of physics is crucial to truly understanding the world around us, the world inside us, and the world beyond us. The Physics minor will extend your studies at the fundamental level, as a background for graduate study or for future work in a variety of technical fields.

You Might Like This Program If...

You are interested in supplementing your education with a strong foundation in the physical principles behind applications.

Program Requirements

Requirement Credits
Requirements for the Minor 29-31

Requirements for the Minor

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the minor, as specified by Senate Policy 59-10. In addition, at least six credits of the minor must be unique from the prescribed courses required by a student's major(s).

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
MATH 140Calculus With Analytic Geometry I Keystone/General Education Course4
MATH 141Calculus with Analytic Geometry II Keystone/General Education Course4
PHYS 211General Physics: Mechanics Keystone/General Education Course4
PHYS 212General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism Keystone/General Education Course4
PHYS 213General Physics: Fluids and Thermal Physics Keystone/General Education Course2
PHYS 214General Physics: Wave Motion and Quantum Physics Keystone/General Education Course2
PHYS 237Introduction to Modern Physics3
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select two 400-level PHYS courses 16-8

Select two 400-level PHYS courses, except:

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university's academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

Michael T. Smitka
Associate Teaching Professor of Physics, Director of Undergraduate Physics Advising
Department of Physics
104 Davey Lab
University Park, PA 16802


Leonard Gamberg
Professor of Physics
Luerssen, 223
Reading, PA 19610


Blair Tuttle, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics
116 Witkowski
Erie, PA 16563


University Park

104 Davey Lab
University Park, PA 16802


Luerssen Building
Reading, PA 19610


1 Prischak
4205 College Drive
Erie, PA 16563