[Student advising and permit requests are best addressed by emailing the appropriate party. Physics majors/minors should contact their department advisor. All others should contact the department chairperson. ]
It is strongly recommended that all Physics majors meet with their designated faculty advisors once a semester before priority registration opens. You can find your advisor in Navigate or DegreeWorks. New students or those interested in switching majors should contact the department chairperson for more information. Meeting with your physics faculty advisor regularly will help ensure 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.
- Spring 2023 (to be confirmed): PHYS 194, PHYS 192, PHYS 196 (new recitation course), PHYS 320, PHYS 340, PHYS 480
- Winter 2023 (to be confirmed): PHYS 180/280, PHYS 193
- Fall 2022: PHYS 193, PHYS 191, PHYS 195 (new recitation course), PHYS 180, PHYS 280, PHYS 300, PHYS 210, PHYS 230, PHYS 464
- Summer 2022: PHYS 193, 194, 191, 192, 180, 280
- Spring 2022: PHYS 360 (Modern Physics), PHYS 198 (Introductory Physics Seminar), PHYS 180/280 (Astronomy for Everyone/Physicists), PHYS 330 (Advanced Physics Lab), PHYS 191, 192, 194.
- Fall 2021: PHYS 220 (Oscillations, Waves, & Optics), PHYS 300, PHYS 461 (Special and General Relativity), PHYS 191, 193.
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. Non-majors taking PHYS 191/192 should have completed pre-calculus and be co-enrolled in calculus. Physics majors only can enter PHYS 191 while co-enrolled in pre-calculus. Completion of PHYS 191 is required before taking PHYS 192. Likewise for PHYS 193 and 194.
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), and two semesters of Calculus. You can take either Calculus 1 (MATH 122) or Applied Calculus A (AMAT 120) for your first semester of calculus, and either Calculus 2 (MATH 221) or AMAT 220 (Applied Calculus B) for your second semester of calculus. If you are not on track to complete PHYS 191/192 and two semesters of calculus by the end of your first year, you should complete this sequence during the summer session at MSU or your local community college.
New students in the physics major may need a placement test to determine their appropriate initial math and chemistry course. Fill out the Math & Chemistry Placement Form and someone will get back to you.
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
- CSAM Career Services Office
- CSAM Academic Advising Office
- University Academic Advising page
- MSU Cares website
- Let’s Talk
- Counseling and Psychological Services