“ People think of the inventor as a screwball, but no one ever asks the inventor what he thinks of other people. ”
- Charles Kettering

Undergraduate Programs

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).


The Pre-Engineering Program

(Pre-engineering information packet can be found here)

Queens College does not offer a degree in engineering, but, like many liberal arts colleges in the United States, it has a collection of courses that are the equivalent of the majority of those taken in the first two years of engineering curricula. In addition to these traditional offerings, Queens College offers a number of more specialized courses designed primarily for engineering students. Thus, by choosing a proper selection of courses, Queens College students can usually transfer into third or fourth semester of most engineering programs in the United States.

Transfer programs have been worked out with several engineering schools in New York City so that Queens students, after completing two or three years of course work at the College, can transfer to one of these institutions with a minimum of difficulty.

Students who might wish to transfer to an engineering school with which Queens College does not have a transfer plan should consult the catalog of that school when planning their academic programs at Queens. In any case, it is important for you to begin considering different engineering schools and start collecting their catalogs early in your career at Queens College. You should also plan to visit any institution you think you might want to transfer to.

Currently Queens College has a well streamlined articulated transfer plan with Columbia University. 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. At the completion of the program, the student receives two degrees: a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Columbia, and the B.A. degree in Physics from Queens College. Most students opt for majoring in Physics at QC due to the considerable overlap between the BA Applied Physics option and the Pre-Engineering requirements.


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.