Physics & Astronomy

Major & Minor

Undergraduate Program

Highlights for Undergraduates

For an overview of our undergraduate programs, with links to most of the pages below, go here.

Undergraduate Manual

A compilation of the most relevant pages below may be found in our Undergraduate Manual.


Students typically declare a field of concentration (major or minor) at the end of their sophomore year. General information and requirements for admission to a concentration in physics or in physics and astronomy, and typical freshman and sophomore year programs, are given in the pages listed below.

Requirements and Sample Programs

General information, requirements, and sample programs for completing a BS or BA degree, or a minor, in physics or in physics and astronomy, are given in the pages listed below.

Sample Programs for Double Degrees/Multi-Disciplinary Programs

Our degree programs, especially the BA, have substantial room for electives. This flexibility can be exploited to produce a broad range of customized study plans. For some sample programs combining a major in physics with other areas of interest, go to the pages listed below.

Course Information

For general information about introductory sequences and courses for non-majors, go here.

Cluster Information

In the Rochester Curriculum, students choose to take two clusters of three related courses in an area (either the humanities, social sciences, or natural sciences) different from that of their major. For information about the clusters in which the Department of Physics and Astronomy participates, go here.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

The Department strongly encourages and facilitates undergraduate involvement in its research programs. Each year, a sizeable fraction of the Upperclass Department majors participate in research projects under the guidance of faculty members. Opportunities for summer research are provided by the Department's REU Program (funded by the National Science Foundation) which offers stipends for undergraduate research during a 10 week period each summer. Both University of Rochester and external students may apply. For details on the REU program, go here. The Department also hosts the annual Rochester Symposium for Undergraduate Physics Students (RSPS), a Northeast regional conference on undergraduate research. For information about the RSPS, go here. Other opportunities for undergraduate research may be found at the College's Office of Undergraduate Research. Reports on undergraduate research projects may be found in the University's Journal of Undergraduate Research.

Senior Theses in the Department

For a listing of senior theses written by BS students in the Department, go here.

Teaching Internship Program

The Department offers an internship program for undergraduate science majors designed to provide training in classroom teaching and in the use of computer-related technology for instruction. For further details, go here.

Society of Physics Students (SPS) and Sigma Pi Sigma

The SPS (the undergraduate student physics club) is a national organization affiliated with the American Institute of Physics and the American Physical Society. The Rochester chapter sponsors lectures by the faculty on topics of current interest, co-sponsors an annual colloquium by a distinguished visiting scientist, and offers tutoring for introductory physics courses. Sigma Pi Sigma is the national Physics Honor Society associated with the SPS. For more information, go here.

Awards and Prizes

The Department presents a number of different awards and prizes in recognition of outstanding achievement at various stages of a student's career. For details of available awards and prizes, go here.

Early Admission to the Graduate Program

The Department encourages especially qualified UR undergraduates to consider applying for early admission to the Department's graduate program in the spring of their junior year. For further information, go here.

Undergraduate Statistics

For statistics on majors in physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester, and where they go following graduation, go here.

Official University Undergraduate Bulletin

For the Official University of Rochester Undergraduate Studies Bulletin, go here.

Important Dates and Deadlines

For the official Undergraduate Calendar of the University's Office of the Registrar, go here.


The University of Rochester and the Department of Physics & Astronomy are dedicated to addressing the problem of under-representation of women and minorities by providing a climate in which all students have the resources they need to succeed. Activities in support of female students are coordinated by the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program. Activities in support of students from under-represented groups are coordinated by Beth Olivares, Director of the University's McNair Program and Director of the Kearns Center for Diversity and Leadership in Science and Engineering (, (585) 275-7531). The University's statement on diversity may be found here.

Further Information

For help or further information pertaining to any aspect of the Undergraduate Program, please contact the Secretary for Undergraduate Affairs:

Janet L. Fogg-Twichell
Department of Physics & Astronomy
Bausch & Lomb 211
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY 14627-0171
(585) 275-6679

Or contact the appropriate Faculty Undergraduate Advisor:

Physics Astronomy
Prof. Frank L. H. Wolfs
Department of Physics & Astronomy
Bausch & Lomb 203A
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY 14627-0171
(585) 275-4937
Prof. Eric E. Mamajek
Department of Physics & Astronomy
Bausch & Lomb 420
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY 14627-0171
(585) 275-5389