The Physics Minor

Non-physics majors in all Cornell colleges are eligible to earn a Physics minor.  To apply to the Physics Minor, visit the Director of Undergraduate studies during office hours or contact physicsdus@cornell.edu to schedule an appointment.

Admission to the minor requires:

i) B- or better in two of the introductory physics courses [see introductory sequence below]
ii) B- or better in two of the mathematics courses which are listed as prerequisites for those courses.

To earn a minor in physics, a student must complete the following course sequences, with a minimum grade of C-:

Introductory sequence with special relativity.  This requires one course out of each of the following four categories:

i) a calculus-based introductory mechanics course (Phys 2207, Phys 1112, or Phys 1116*)
ii) a special relativity course (Phys 2216* or Phys 1116*)
iii) a calculus-based introductory electromagnetism course (Phys 2208, Phys 2213, or Phys 2217)
iv) a course on waves (Phys 2214 or Phys 2218)

*Phys 1116 may be used to satisfy both requirements (i) and (ii).

Students are encouraged to talk with a physics advisor to discuss which sequence is most appropriate for them.

At least 3 physics courses, totaling 9 or more credit hours at the 3000 level or above. 

i) Quantum Mechanics (Phys 3316*) is required
ii) A lab course such as Phys 3310, 3330, 3360, 4410, Astro 4410 or experimental physics research conducted as Physics 4490 (3 credits) is required

*Students with credit for another quantum mechanics class (such as AEP 3610, CHEM 2870-2880 or ECE 4060) may substitute a different upper-level physics course for Phys 3316.

Additional Stipulations:

ii) With the exception of Astro 4410, all courses must be taken in the physics department.
iii) Students in majors that require physics courses at the 3000 level or higher, such as Applied and Engineering Physics, Astronomy, or Mathematics, may not use courses to satisfy both their major and minor requirement (2).
iv) No more than 3 credits of Phys 4490 may count toward the minor.

  • Undergraduate Awards


    Congratulations Ben Nosarzewski, winner of the 2013 Yennie Prize in Physics.

    This year’s prize is awarded to an outstanding Cornell senior majoring in physics who showed unusual promise for future contributions in research. He was selected on the basis of his excellent work in courses, and outstanding accomplishments in his various research projects. ||

    Undergraduate Awards

    Congratulations Jong Min Yoon, winner of the 2013 Kieval Prize in Physics.

    This prize is awarded to an outstanding senior student majoring in physics who shows unusual promise for future contributions to physics research. ||

    Undergraduate Awards


    Congratulations Jason Wang, winner of the 2013 Kieval Prize in Physics.

    This prize is awarded to an outstanding senior student majoring in physics who shows unusual promise for future contributions to physics research.