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Majors Detail

Cornell University Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences Cornell University

College of Arts and Sciences, Liberal Arts at Cornell University

physics photo by Seamus Davis


The Physics major at Cornell is a flexible and intellectually stimulating program designed to accommodate the needs of students with a wide spectrum of backgrounds, interests and career goals. The analytical and problem solving skills developed in the course of earning a physics degree have enabled past graduates from Cornell's Physics Department to excel in careers such as academic/industrial research, engineering, medicine, teaching, business, science policy, and law. The major consists of core courses spanning the field of physics, plus an area of concentration. A student interested in medicine might consider a Physics degree with a concentration in biology, or a student interested in energy policy might explore a Physics degree with a concentration in government. Students intending to attend physics graduate school would typically concentrate in physics. Physics majors interested in K-12 education can obtain teaching certification by concentrating in education and then completing a one-year masters of arts in teaching (M.A.T.) degree. Roughly half of our graduates immediately enter the workforce, while the other half seek higher degrees -- completing 1 year Masters of Engineering programs, multi- year science/engineering PhD programs, or attending medical, law, or business schools. All Physics majors have the opportunity to participate in the department's extensive research, teaching and outreach programs.

Interesting Classes

  • Physics of Musical Sound
  • Introduction to Special Relativity
  • Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics
  • Geometric Concepts in Physics
  • Quantum Information Processing

Students went on to...

  • Study physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Become a financial analyst at Ernst & Young
  • Become an associate engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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