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Undergraduate Physics and Astronomy Program

Why study Physics or Astronomy? Physics considers the most fundamental forces of nature, and applies the knowledge gained to obtain detailed understanding of complex systems. Astronomy seeks to understand the structure and evolution of the Universe on all scales. In both cases, asking good questions of our understanding of nature often leads to unexpected discoveries. The study of radioactivity eventually led to an understanding of supernovae (when stars explode), and the study of atomic spectroscopy led to the development of the laser and the discovery of the Universe's expansion.

At the introductory level, the study of these disciplines serves to demystify our technological world both by explaining the basic ideas behind many technologies, and by introducing the scientific process (quantified critical thinking). Futher study leading to a Minor, Bachelor of Science Degree, or Bachelor of Arts degree, teaches one classical and quantum physics and how to test theories against reality in the laboratory; this training in independent thinking is valuable for further studies in science, and also in other walks of life.

  • Here's a listing of undergraduate courses.
  • Having trouble registering for PHY 121/123, 122/124, 131/133, 132/134, or 251/252? Click here for instructions for doing this in SOLAR.
  • Students who are wondering what introductory physics course to take should look here.
  • Students with questions on transfer credits should look here.
  • Consult the guide to Undergraduate Physics & Astronomy (mainly for present students): web, printable (an Adobe Acrobat file). There's also a separate guide to the Undergraduate Astronomy program.
  • Filling out a graduation clearance form is a quick and easy way of tracking progress toward your major. Below are some of the current clearance forms, sorted by the year. These are summaries of the requirements in place for those years. They are missing a lot of the fine print and you should always check the relevant bulletin, some of which are also linked below. Also remember that if the major requirements changed while you were working toward your degree, you can choose between the bulletin in force when you earned your 45th credit here (or when you transferred in, if you came in with more than 45 credit hours), or the current bulletin. But you can use only one bulletin, no picking one requirement here, another there.
  • Graduation Clearance Forms
  • Interested in undergraduate research opportunities?

  • Go to the web page that lists past research projects, ideas for new projects, and so on. Find out about the research groups within the department.
  • Consider a Research Experiences for Undergraduates opportunity at Stony Brook, or elsewhere in the nation (thanks to the National Science Foundation for support!).
  • Look at the resources of the university's office for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URECA).
  • Find out about the the department's Laser Teaching Center.
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Department of Physics and Astronomy
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-3800
Phone: (631) 632 8100
Fax: (631) 632 8176
WEB page maintained by
Robert McCarthy
Unless otherwise noted, all content © Department of Physics and Astronomy, Stony Brook University.