Division of Science and Mathematics

Physics is the study of the structure, properties, and interactions of matter and energy. Research breakthroughs in physics are behind nearly all of the technological devices, appliances, and communication networks we enjoy today. Whether you are interested in high-tech engineering applications of physics, you enjoy the beauty and unity of fundamental physical laws, or you have simply enjoyed a previous physics course, consider meeting your interests and career goals with a major or minor in physics.

A student majoring in physics at Centre encounters all of the central subfields in physics: mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermal physics, optics, modern and quantum physics, and electronics. Recent innovative changes to the major curriculum place a special emphasis on developing experimental, computational, and communication skills. Many majors deepen these skills by participating in collaborative research with a faculty member.

A physics major or minor is often combined with a major in mathematics or another science, and a physics major can also form part of a dual-degree engineering path. The broad skill set of a physicist and the flexibility of the major make a physics degree a strong foundation for careers in academic science, engineering, industry, medicine, and other professional fields.


Bruce Rodenborn (chair), Emily Crabb, James Kelly, Reuben Russak-Pribble, Mae Scott

Student Representative

Kate Brown, Kaden Huiet, Brianna Tilley

Recommended First-Year/Sophomore Preparation

Students with an interest in physics are strongly encouraged to discuss their first term schedule with a physics faculty member before registering for classes. This initial consult will help determine proper placement into PHY 110 or PHY 210. CHE 131, PHY 210, PHY 230, and MAT 360 should typically be completed by the end of the sophomore year if a student expects to complete the major in the typical four-year period. Note that PHY 210 is offered only in the spring and PHY 230 is offered only in the fall. It is strongly recommended that a student considering graduate study in physics take PHY 370, PHY 380, and PHY 399.

Physics Courses

Course Descriptions