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Major Requirements

As a physics major, you’ll explore everything from the building blocks of space-time to the structure of the universe.

With a diverse curriculum composed of both physics and math courses, the program prepares you to enter the private sector or pursue a graduate degree. Bonus? You can take a closer look at the physics of stars by visiting Merrimack’s Mendel Observatory.

Meet Your Major 

In the physics program, you will:

  • Explore the rules governing natural phenomena at all scales — from the building blocks of space-time to the large-scale structure of the universe.
  • Gain a firm mathematics foundation by studying calculus, differential equations and linear algebra.
  • Discover how physics breakthroughs have contributed to technological advances in a wide range of fields.
  • Delve into advanced physics theories and principles by taking courses in Quantum Mechanics and Electromagnetic Theory.
  • Have the option of selecting the embedded controller concentration to learn how to design, build and test low-power microprocessors found in an array of devices ranging from mobile phones to automobiles.

Hands-on Learning

You’ll have the opportunity to participate in the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program the summer after your junior year. In addition to hands-on research experience, most REUs also offer housing allowances and stipends.

Career Options

Upon successful completion of the physics program, you’ll be well-equipped to pursue advanced studies or a career in education, industry or government. Positions may include:

  • Data scientist
  • Doctor
  • Meteorologist
  • Physicist
  • Professor
  • Research associate
  • Teacher 

What You’ll Take

You may elect either the bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree in physics. The B.A. consists of nine physics courses and five mathematics courses, for a total of 54 credits. The B.S. requires an additional 12 credits of physics electives, for a total of 66 credits.

Bachelor of Arts in Physics Requirements 



MTH 1217

Calculus I

MTH 1218

Calculus II

MTH 2219

Calculus III

MTH 2220

Differential Equations

MTH 3335

Linear Algebra*


PHY 2211

Physics I

PHY 2212

Physics II

PHY 2241

Modern Physics

PHY 3304

Thermal Physics

PHY 3311

Analytical Mechanics I

PHY 3345

Electromagnetic Theory I

PHY 4412 

Quantum Mechanics I

PHY 4451 

Advanced Laboratory

PHY 4500

Mathematical Physics

Bachelor of Science in Physics Requirements
  • All of the B.A. requirements described above.
  • 12 additional credits of physics-related electives chosen from among the following:

    — Additional upper-division physics courses.
    — AST1101 Introduction to Astronomy
    — Upper-division courses from other departments approved by the physics department.

Embedded Controller Concentration

Embedded controllers are the relatively small, inexpensive, low-power microprocessors found in a vast array of devices ranging from mobile phones to washing machines to automobiles. Students who complete this concentration will have learned how to design, build and test simple embedded controller systems. The necessary programming and circuitry principles and techniques learned along the way are valuable in their own right.

If you elect to enroll in the embedded controller concentration, you will take the required physics B.A. courses as well as the following courses:

EEN 1200

Digital Fundamentals

CSC 1610

Computer Science I

EEN 2250

Assemble for Electrical Engineering*

EEN 2270

Embedded Microprocessors**

 *With advisor approval, CSC 3720 Computer Architecture. 

* *EEN 2270 requires knowledge of both analog and digital circuits. The analog circuit requirement is met by PHY 2212. The digital circuit requirement is satisfied by either EEN 1200 (normally required as a prerequisite, but which can be taken as co-requisite with instructor approval) or by permission of the instructor, pending completion of assigned background reading on digital circuits.

More Information

Craig Looney
Associate Professor and Chair