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“ If I were again beginning my studies, I would follow the advice of Plato and start with mathematics. ”
- Galileo Galilei

Physics is one of the most demanding majors offered at the College

The strength of the Physics program is viewed externally as a benchmark of College excellence. The Physics major exists as an avenue for exceptional Queens College students, as a source of talented technically trained students for local industry and educational institutions.

The Physics Major

The Physics Department offers the B.Sc. and B.A. degrees in Physics. These degrees enable graduates to pursue graduate studies in Physics, to qualify for positions in industrial and government laboratories, or pursue careers in related fields such as Science Education, Engineering. In addition physics graduates have successfully entered the fields of Astronomy, Biophysics, Astrophysics, Computer Science and Medicine. There are two tracks for B.A. in Physics: “Physics” and “Applied Physics”. Please click on a link below to see requirements for either track.


The recommended sequence of Physics courses for all majors are typically completed within three years (Fall semester registrants) or four years (Spring semester registrants).


Accelerated B.S. in Physics M.S. in Photonics program

Combined Physics B.S. – Photonics M.S. program (149 credits, Major Code: PHYPH-BSMS),  offers best students an opportunity to obtain both B.S. and M.S degrees in 5 years instead of usual 6 and with only 149 credits instead of 163. Sixteen graduate credits will be taken while students are still undergraduates and are charged at the undergraduate rates giving students a substantial saving. Photonics M.S. program has been certified by the Council of Graduate Studies as Professional Master’s Program. See more details on the Photonics M.S. home page.

The Pre-Engineering Program

Queens College does not have an engineering program of its own, but it does have one of the finest pre-engineering programs in the country. The program is administered by the Physics Department. The basis of the pre-engineering program is the formal articulation agreements it has with the Columbia University engineering school. 

Queens College has a well streamlined articulated transfer plan with Columbia. The Columbia Plan is a 3-2 plan. In this program, the student takes additional liberal arts courses and spends three years at Queens and two at the Columbia engineering school. You are automatically transferred to the engineering school at Columbia University, provided that you have satisfied the articulated course requirements and have maintained at least a 3.30 GPA while at Queens. You then spend two years at Columbia to complete the engineering program of your choice. At the end of this five-year program you will earn an engineering B.S. degree from Columbia and a B.A. degree in any one of the disciplines from Queens College. Most students opt for majoring in Physics at Queens College due to the considerable overlap between the B.A. Applied Physics option and the Pre-Engineering requirements. The plan can also be completed as a 4-2 plan. In this case, you spend the first four years at Queens College and the last two years at Columbia. This may be a better option for you if, for any reason, you need more time to complete degree requirements here at Queens College.

Specific requirements to be satisfied to guarantee admission to Columbia are discussed in the links below. Please note that you may still get accepted to Columbia even if you do not meet the GPA requirements, but acceptance is not guaranteed. We have had several students who have not been accepted in their first year, and reapplied successfully. Others have been accepted and later chosen to defer to a Master’s or PhD program elsewhere. The curriculum requirements for pre-engineering satisfy a range of future careers and provide a smart student cohort at Queens College.

Students with questions regarding the Pre-engineering program and the Combined Columbia Plan should contact the liaison for the program at Queens College (Prof. So Takei). 

Here are some useful links for specific information on this program:

  • Click here for the requirements to obtain the Physics B.A. Applied.
  • Click here for more information on the Columbia Combined plan.
  • Click here for course requirements for the pre-engineering program (for students who started at Queens College prior to Fall 2016)
  • Click here for course requirements for the pre-engineering program (for students who started at Queens College from Fall 2016 and later)

The Physics Education Major

In conjunction with the Department of Secondary Education and Youth Services (SEYS), the Department of Physics offers an education major for future secondary education teachers. The requirements for this program are similar to the BA Applied Physics program, with the omission of a few higher level courses in favor of a Physics writing intensive course, a General Astronomy course, and required SEYS courses.


Special Programs

The Physics Department participates, with other Science Division Departments at Queens College, in the Science Honors Program. This is a two year program which, through seminars, readings and participation in research programs, introduces selected undergraduate science students to the practice and practitioners of science. It exposes them to the diverse ways scientists think, and to the spirit of discovery.

The Physics Department is also home to the Science Teacher Career Ladder (STCL) Program, and the Enhanced Science for Elementary Teachers (ENSET) Program. The STCL Program recruits and trains students to become New York State Science Teachers. The ENSET Program is a collaboration with the School of Education designed to improve the science knowledge and teaching skills of science teachers.

The Minor

The Minor Program in Physics is designed to introduce students to the concepts of classical and modern physics. We hope by this program, which is comparatively light, to attract two types of students. First, the student who enjoys science but does not intend to major in the sciences. Secondly, the student majoring in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, for example, who can strengthen his/her background and improve future prospects by taking a minor in physics.