[Note: due to the coronavirus pandemic, all student advising and permit requests are being handled via email or video conferencing. Contact your academic advisor or Kinga Picerno. See the department homepage for more information on department activities during this crisis.]
It is strongly recommended that all Physics majors meet with their designated faculty advisors once a semester before priority registration opens. You can look up your advisor in NEST (contact Kinga Picerno if you don’t have an assigned advisor). New students or those interested in switching majors should contact any physics faculty member or the department chairperson for more information. Meeting with us regularly will make sure you are taking appropriate courses and are on schedule to graduate. Your advisor can also provide valuable career advice. We are here to help you! Additional advising information can be found on the CSAM Advising page.
Who to talk to:
Introductory Physics Courses (University Physics: PHYS191/192 & College Physics: PHYS193/194)
Many CSAM majors require the College Physics or University Physics sequence. These courses fill up quickly, so register early. PHYS 191 and 193 are offered every fall semester. PHYS 192 and 194 are offered every spring semester. All four courses are offered during the summer session. Sections have a maximum occupancy of 23 or 24. For permits to enter a section see our department policy.
PHYS 191/192 are the entry courses for the physics major. It is important that physics majors take these courses as early as possible. If you have already taken PHYS 193/194 and are thinking to switch majors to Physics, contact your advisor about substituting those courses for PHYS 191/192.
Students taking introductory physics should familiarize themselves with the laboratory safety manual.
Upcoming Physics Courses
Below are our planned course offerings for upcoming semesters. Note that all major requirements and electives are not offered every year, so careful planning is needed to ensure that you complete your degree on time.
- Fall 2019: PHYS 191 (University Physics 1, 6 sections), PHYS 193 (College Physics 1, 11 sections), PHYS 220 (Oscillations, Waves, & Optics), PHYS 230 (Intermediate Physics Laboratory), PHYS 461 (Special & General Relativity)
- Spring 2020: PHYS 191 (2 sections), PHYS 192 (University Physics 2, 6 sections), PHYS 194 (College Physics 2), PHYS 280 (Astronomy for Physicists), PHYS 330 (Advanced Physics Lab), PHYS 360 (Modern Physics), PHYS 198 (Introductory Physics Seminar)
- Summer 2020: PHYS 191/192 (University Physics 1 & 2), PHYS 193/194 (College Physics 1 & 2)
- Fall 2020: PHYS 210 (Intermediate Mechanics), PHYS 230 (Intermediate Physics Laboratory), PHYS 464 (Quantum Mechanics), PHYS 480 (Astrophysics), PHYS 300 (Junior/Senior Seminar)
- Spring 2021: PHYS 320 (Statistical and Thermal Physics), PHYS 340 (Electricity and Magnetism), PHYS 198 (Introductory Physics Seminar)
- [Note: we seldom offer Winter Session courses.]
Freshmen and Transfer Students interested in Physics
Welcome to Montclair State! Be sure to attend one of the freshmen or transfer student orientation programs. If you don’t see us there or can’t make it, please contact the Department Chair, Marc Favata, to set up a meeting to discuss your degree path.
Mathematics and other preparation for physics courses
Non-majors are expected to have a solid understanding of algebra and trigonometry before taking PHYS 193/194. Students taking PHYS 191/192 should have completed pre-calculus and be co-enrolled in calculus. Completion of PHYS 191 and Calculus 1 are strongly recommended before attempting PHYS 192.
Physics courses are math intensive. If you are getting C’s and D’s in beginning math courses (precalculus, calculus), physics might not be the right major for you.
If you are interested in being a physics major, it is very important that you get through your initial math courses as quickly as possible, especially Precalculus (MATH 111 or 112), Calculus 1 (MATH 122), and Calculus 2 (MATH 221). If you are not on track to complete Calculus 1 & 2 and University Physics 1 & 2 by the end of your first year, it is recommended that you take some of those courses during the winter or summer sessions, either at Montclair State or another university/community college.
You are your most effective teacher. Don’t expect to only learn physics from your professors. Here are other things you should be doing to prepare yourself for the physics major:
- Learn about what physics is, the subject’s history, and the different sub-disciplines (astrophysics, condensed matter physics, particle physics, biophysics, etc).
- Come to our department seminars and events.
- Read books/articles/websites about physics that you find enjoyable. Some examples might include Physics Today, Physics World, or Prof. Favata’s list of popular books.
- Join the Physics Club! Be part of a community and explore your love of physics with others who are passionate about the subject.
- Learn about physics careers and what you do with a physics degree. See the Physics Careers Toolbox for more information.
- Do problems on your own. Start with any University Physics textbook (often titled Physics for Scientists and Engineers) and work as many of the end-of-chapter problems as you can. Check your progress against the solutions to the odd-numbered problems in the back of most texts.
- Don’t just study physics—do physics! Learn about research or internship opportunities at Montclair State or elsewhere. Working on real research problems will be one of the most memorable parts of your college experience. It also provides essential preparation for graduate school and good resume experience when applying for jobs. Your faculty advisor and Physics Club members can help you learn about these opportunities.
- If you need help, ask! Your advisor and the entire physics faculty are here to help you succeed!
Tutoring and other help
- Physics tutoring information
- Supplemental Instruction Schedule for Math Courses
- Academic Success Center
- CSAM Career Services Office
- CSAM Academic Advising Office
- University Academic Advising page
- Placement and Readiness Testing
- MSU Cares website
- Let’s Talk
- Counseling and Psychological Services