Now that you are interested in a B.S. in Physics and Astronomy, use this page to guide you through your enrollment process!

Prospective Students

Howard University's application process differs for first time in college (FTIC) students, transfer students, and international students. Please visit the university admissions website to complete your application process here

I've been accepted into Howard University. Now, how do I declare Physics as my major?

If you would like to become a physics major, your first step is to contact the physics department. Either stop by our office or simply call (202) 806-6245.

Complete Your Undergraduate Admissions Application TODAY!

Major Requirements and General Information

The total major requirement consists of 39 credits and should begin no later than the second year: 27 credits from section A (below) and 12 credits from section B (below). While not required, the one credit course, PHYS 196: Senior Thesis, is strongly recommended for all students.

In addition to the physics requirements, there are other courses in our program that are strongly suggested such as: 

  • CHEM003
  • CHEM004


Prerequisites for all of the upper-level physics courses are:

  • Math 156: Calculus I
  • Math 157: Calculus II
  • Math 158: Calculus III 
  • Math 159: Differential Equations


If students are not ready to take calculus when entering the University, they should take MATH 007. Advanced Calculus I & II or two semesters of upper level mathematics courses are strongly recommended.

The college language requirement may be satisfied with French, German, or Russian. Substitution of any other language will require department approval.

Courses listed with two or more numbers must be taken in the sequence indicated. The student should consult the "Undergraduate Bulletin" for additional University and College of Arts and Sciences requirements.

Required Courses

3-semester introductory sequence and five upper-division courses.

a. PHYS 013/023 General Physics for Science and Engineering Students I (Lecture/Lab) (3 credits/ 1 credit)
b. PHYS 014/24 General Physics for Science and Engineering Students II(Lecture/Lab) (3 credits/ 1 credit)
c. PHYS 015/025 Introduction to Modern Physics (Lecture/Lab) (3credits/ 1 credit)
d. PHYS 175 Thermodynamics (3 credits)
e. PHYS 178 Electricity and Magnetism I (3 credits)
f. PHYS 182 Physical Mechanics I (3 credits)
g. PHYS 190 Quantum Physics I (3 credits)
h. PHYS 194 Experimental Physics I* (3 credits)

*WRTG 702 is the same as PHYS 194, but satisfies the College's third writing requirement.

Elective courses

Four more courses are required to complete the physics major. These courses must be coherent and satisfy one of the following areas of concentration:

  • (1) Professional Physics, or
  • (2) Applied Physics.


Minor in Physics & Astronomy

To minor in Physics & Astronomy, the following courses are suggested to build a strong program of study: 

  • PHYS-013/014
  • PHYS-023/024, or
  • PHYS-001/002
  • Paired with: PHYS-182 and PHYS-183, or
  • PHYS-178 and PHYS-179

Senior Comprehensive Exam

The physics senior comprehensive exam is a departmental graduation requirement for undergraduate physics majors at Howard University. The exam covers topics from the introductory physics courses 013, 014, 105 and the upper division courses 175, 178, 182, 190, and 194. Students who earn an A grade in a senior thesis approved by the Department and in the senior comprehensive exam and who maintain the grade point average designated by the College of Arts and Sciences, are eligible for departmental honors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is TKH?

This is the abbreviation for the name of the building which houses the physics department, Thirkield Hall. View our address and map here.

Do I have to buy the textbook?

In most classes, you are required to buythe required texts.

Why should I take physics if I'm an engineering or biology major?

A great deal of work in all of the science disciplines is interdisciplinary. This is a trend that is expected to grow and not diminsh.

What is a recitation?

A recitation is an integral component of many lower division physics courses at Howard University. They are typically 2 hour periods where students have an opportunity for more in depth work with topics introduced in lecture.