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Student Advising

Need a course permit?Need tutoring help for your physics classes?

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:

Marc Favata profile photo

Marc Favata

Chairperson, Physics and Astronomy


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 directed by their major advisor or the department chairperson. Most students complete the PHYS 191/192 sequence in year 2 after they have completed precalculus and at least one semester of calculus. 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.

Note that the 193/194 and 191/192 sequences are not interchangeable. Student beginning in one course are expected to complete the second course in the sequence. This is especially relevant for Biology majors, who should further note that enrollment in PHYS 192 requires Calculus 2 as a pre- or co-requisite.

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. Future semester course offerings are subject to change.

  • Spring 2025 (to be confirmed): PHYS 180, PHYS 190, PHYS 191, PHYS 192, PHYS 194, PHYS 196, PHYS 320, PHYS 340, PHYS 480
  • Winter 2025 (to be confirmed): PHYS 180, PHYS 193
  • Fall 2024 (to be confirmed): PHYS 180, PHYS 191, PHYS 193, PHYS 195, PHYS 210, PHYS 300, PHYS 230, PHYS 464
  • Summer 2024: PHYS 180, PHYS 191, PHYS 192, PHYS 193, PHYS 194
  • Spring 2024: PHYS 180, PHYS 190 (new course, Math & Computing for Physical Science & Engineering), PHYS 191, PHYS 192, PHYS 194, PHYS 196, PHYS 330, PHYS 360, PHYS 368
  • Winter 2024: PHYS 180, PHYS 193
  • Fall 2023: PHYS 180, PHYS 191, PHYS 193, PHYS 195, PHYS 220, PHYS 461
  • Spring 2023: PHYS 194, PHYS 192, PHYS 196 (new recitation course), PHYS 320, PHYS 340, PHYS 480
  • Winter 2023: 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! Please begin by reviewing this website, especially the Why Study Physics and Degree Programs pages. Then reach out to 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 are placed into PHYS 191 based on their degree plan and prior coursework in math or physics. Most new physics majors take precalculus and are placed into the PHYS 191/192 sequence in their second year of study. Those entering the program in the fall semester with a calculus placement can begin PHYS 191. Completion of PHYS 191 with a C- or higher is required before taking PHYS 192 (this applies to all students). All new students are encouraged to take PHYS 180 and either PHYS 198 or PHYS 190 in their first year.

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 pursuing 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.

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 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. Do the same with math textbooks.
  • 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!


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