B.S. in Physics


Program Description

Siena's physics degree focuses on active student participation in cutting-edge research. This hands-on experience, in addition to a demanding curriculum, teaches you how to think critically and prepares you for exciting careers in a broad range of fields.

Program Highlights

  • Undergraduate research
  • Small class sizes
  • Dynamic, growing department
  • Commitment to exploring new and effective pedagogical techniques
  • Accessible faculty
  • Student travel (Puerto Rico, China, Greenland and more)
  • Access to computational cluster
  • Interdisciplinary work in biophysics, electrical engineering, and astrochemistry

Requirements for the Major

  • PHYS130 - General Physics I 4 credits
  • PHYS140 - General Physics II 4 credits
  • PHYS220 - Modern Physics 4 credits
  • PHYS250 - Intro to Computational Physics 3 credits
  • PHYS260 - Thermal Physics 3 credits
  • PHYS470 - Advanced Laboratory I 1 TO 3 credits
  • PHYS472 - Advanced Laboratory II 1 TO 2 credits


  • PHYS370 - Experimental Techniques 2 credits


  • PHYS380 - Observational Astronomy 3 credits


And students must complete 4 additional advanced courses (numbered 300 and above). Courses must total at least 13 credits. At least two of the courses must come from the following:

  • PHYS310 - Mechanics I 4 credits
  • PHYS410 - Electromagnetic Theory I 4 credits
  • PHYS440 - Quantum Physics 3 credits

Auxiliary courses (32 credits)

  • CHEM110 - General Chemistry 1 4 credits
  • MATH110 - Calculus I 4 credits
  • MATH120 - Calculus II 4 credits
  • MATH210 - Calculus III 4 credits
  • MATH325 - Differential Equations 3 credits
  • MATH330 - Intro to Applied Mathematics I 3 credits
  • SCDV230 - Electronic Instrumentation 4 credits


  • MATH230 - Linear Algebra 3 credits


  • MATH430 - Intro to Applied Math II 3 credits


One Computer Science Course, CSIS 110 or higher (3 credits)

Transfer students from two-year colleges may receive credit for General Physics I, II, Modern Physics, Thermal Physics, Calculus I, II, III, Differential Equations, General Chemistry I and General Chemistry II.

Pre-engineering students are advised to take General Physics I and II in the freshman year.

Success Stats

  • 100% of recent graduates are employed or in graduate school
  • 100% of students participate in an independent study or research project and 80% of students have received paid summer research internships
  • $4 million in active research grants was secured by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Department of Defense and Department of Energy
  • The freshman retention rate is 94%

Skills Developed

  • Understanding of the fundamental concepts and theories of physics.
  • Strong analytical skills and facility with mathematical modeling.
  • Demonstrated ability with laboratory equipment and techniques including computers as analytical and experimental tools.
  • Ability to analyze and interpret experimental data, and assess the statistical significance of results.
  • Aptitude for researching and clearly expressing scientific ideas using oral, visual and written communication.
  • Ability to evaluate the quality of scientific information.
  • Competence in designing, planning and conducting an independent research project.
  • Familiarity with the historical development of physics.

Recent Employers of our Graduates

  • General Dynamics
  • GE
  • GlobalFoundries
  • IBM
  • Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory
  • NASA
  • Plug Power
  • Sematech
  • Southwest Research Institute
  • SuperPower Inc.
  • Unique Technical Services
  • U.S. Air Force
  • U.S. Army
  • X-Ray Optical Systems
  • Zoetis Pharmaceutical

Internships Sites

  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • University of Vermont
  • University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Sematech
  • X-Ray Optical Systems

Where our Alumni Go to Graduate School

  • Boston University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Duke University
  • East Caroline University
  • Hofstra University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • San Francisco State University
  • Stanford University
  • SUNY Polytechnic Institute Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering
  • Temple University
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Washington

Job Titles of Recent Graduates

  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Engineer
  • Medical Physicist
  • Physician (MD)
  • Physics Teacher
  • Project Manager
  • Quality Control Technician
  • Research Assistant
  • Science Writer
Last updated Feb 2018

About the School

Siena College is more than a liberal arts college, it is a learning community that prepares students for a successful life filled with compassion and drive, service and responsibility. Here, we believ ... Read More

Siena College is more than a liberal arts college, it is a learning community that prepares students for a successful life filled with compassion and drive, service and responsibility. Here, we believe that making a good living and living a good life go hand in hand. And we prove, over and over again, that an education like the one you receive at Siena comes along once in a lifetime. Welcome! Read less