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Princeton University Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :01 Jan 
International :01 Jan 

BA Physics

 Course Level
Bachelors / UG
Full Time

4 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

45320 USD
45320 USD

Application fee

International 65 USD
National 65 USD
Scores accepted

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About this course

Physics addresses the material universe at its most fundamental levels. The laws revealed by careful study and experiment should apply from subatomic to cosmological scales. With currently-understood physical law and mathematics as a foundation, the goals of physics are to push to still deeper levels of understanding and to push upward, extending our understanding to more complicated systems: molecules, fluids, solids, galaxies, living things.

Concentrating in physics at Princeton will not only teach you about the structure of physical law, but it will allow you to take part in its discovery. Along the way you will learn to "think like a physicist" -- a hard-to-describe skill combining practiced intuition, the scientific method, and a knack for approximation -- and you will develop powerful, broadly-applicable problem-solving skills.

Physics majors are prepared not only for a career in physics, but many other fields as well. Physics alumni may be found in academic and industrial physics research positions as well as consulting, medicine, law, teaching, biotechnology, and engineering careers. In fact, the Physics Department has made a concerted effort to make its core requirements more flexible, allowing a greater variety of programs of study that satisfy the major requirements. There are certificate programs in engineering physics, biophysics, finance, quantitative and computational biology, as well as in other fields, and students are encouraged to explore multidisciplinary programs. Ideas for a course of study should be discussed with the Undergraduate Representative.

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Eligibility Criteria


Educational Testing Service(link is external) administers the internet-based TOEFL. The Graduate School prefers scores from the iBT TOEFL. Due to the nature of the graduate admission process, the Graduate School has not set a recommended minimum score for the iBT TOEFL. Applicants who take the test in a country which does not offer the iBT TOEFL should take the PBT TOEFL.

Admitted students who score below a 28 on the speaking subsection of the TOEFL iBT will be required to take an English placement test at Princeton.  Students who do not pass the test will be required to enroll in English Language Program classes.

IELTS is a testing arm of Cambridge University, United Kingdom ESOL examinations and the British Council. Students who wish to demonstrate English proficiency through the IELTS test should visit their website(link is external), for information about the administration of this test and how to have test results reported to Princeton in a timely fashion.

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Course Modules

A typical physics major takes introductory mechanics (Physics 103 or 105) and introductory electromagnetism (104 or 106) in the first year, and advanced mechanics (205 or 207) and introductory quantum mechanics (208) the second year. In addition, math courses through linear algebra and multivariable calculus are also completed in the first two years. An alternative path into the department is through the Integrated Science curriculum. ISC/CHM/COS/MOL/PHY 231–234 can be taken in the freshman year, instead of PHY 103–104 or PHY 105–106.

In subsequent years, the core curriculum includes thermal and statistical physics (301), electromagnetism (304), quantum physics (305), and experimental physics (312), at least two 300-level mathematics courses including complex analysis, and at least one additional course that can either be a 400-level physics course, or a cognate appropriate to the student's course of study. Students can choose between many electives and cognates. Here is an example of how this works in an overall undergraduate schedule. In the case shown, the student is ready for Math 203 in the spring of freshman year. This is typical but can easily vary by a semester either way. Here are the actual rules for the so-called departmental courses that meet the requirements for graduation.

Students are encouraged to tailor the curriculum to their interests. In addition to the physics courses at the 400 level, graduate-level physics courses and courses in astrophysics, biology and biophysics, chemistry, computer science, engineering, economics, geophysics, materials science, and mathematics are appropriate. In the biophysics and engineering physics certificate programs, multi-disciplinary courses of study are focused on providing excellent preparation in these interdisciplinary areas of concentration. Here is a typicalbiophysics schedule. Some majors choose a less technical path by taking elective courses in philosophy, history, music, and other humanities departments. Students interested in Princeton's Teacher Preparation Program are encouraged to major in physics as a strong basis for a career in teaching science.


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How to Apply

Required Application Components

  • A completed application form. You must submit your application through either the Common Application or the Universal College Application. The Common Application may be submitted online (preferred) or by PDF. The Universal College Application may be submitted online (preferred) or by PDF.
  • Princeton's Writing Supplement to the Common Application. If applying through the Common Application, all applicants must submit the writing supplement online (preferred) or by PDF
  • Princeton’s Supplement to the Universal College Application. If applying through the Universal College Application, all applicants must submit the supplement either online or by PDF.
  • A School Report (SR), Counselor Recommendation and transcript. The SR form is available from the Common Application and Universal College Application website. Please ask your high school counselor or other school official to complete and submit the SR form, along with a letter of evaluation and an official transcript. If you are using the Common Application online please note that the SR and the Counselor Recommendation are separate items. Be sure to 'invite' your counselor to complete both items.
  • Two teacher recommendations. Please ask two of your teachers from different academic areas of study to complete and send the teacher recommendation forms available on the Common Application and Universal College Application site. Choose teachers from two different areas of study.
  • A Mid-year School Report. Please ask your high school counselor or other school official to complete and submit this form, which is available on the Common Application and Universal Application site.
  • SAT Reasoning Test or ACT. Early action applicants are strongly encouraged to complete their SAT and ACT tests before the Nov. 1 deadline. Regular decision applicants should take the SAT Reasoning Test by the January test date or take the ACT with Writing by the December date.

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