SUNY Oneonta

Physics & Astronomy Department
Dr. Michael Faux, Chair

Voice: (607) 436-3145
Fax: (607) 436-2654


Programs and Requirements


The analytical, conceptual and experimental skills perfected by physics majors apply to many careers. Physics and its subfields are an integral part of such diverse disciplines as astronomy, engineering, chemistry, geology, medicine, and meteorology. The Physics Program at the SUNY Oneonta provides a foundation for both employment and graduate study in these and related fields. Graduates of the program are currently working and studying in professional physics, astronomy, engineering, chemical physics, computer applications, education, medicine, and business management. For a current list of courses being offered by the department, click here.

Physics Major:

Option A prepares students for graduate work or employment in physics or an associated field by concentrating mainly on physics and related courses. Prerequisites: a strong background in high school physics and chemistry, and sufficient high school mathematics to enter the College’s calculus sequence are normally assumed in order to complete the requirements for graduation within four years.

Option B is suited for students desiring a strong physics background for study or work in another field. It builds a foundation of physics courses combined with an individually designed program, including courses from other departments. Students often select from courses in astronomy, biology, business, chemistry, earth science, engineering, geology, mathematics, meteorology, and water resources. The Option B major is generally recommended for students in the 3-2 Engineering Program.

The college offers a 3-2 Engineering Program in cooperation with eight engineering schools. This allows students to major in physics or another liberal arts discipline at the College at Oneonta and then attend a cooperating engineering school. Students who successfully complete the five-year program receive a liberal arts degree from the State University College at Oneonta and an engineering degree from the cooperating engineering school. Commonly-selected engineering majors are aerospace, ceramic, chemical, civil, electrical, environmental, industrial, mechanical, and nuclear.

The college offers a Secondary Education in Physics program that leads to certification to teach physics and mathematics courses. The program requires courses in other sciences and in education.

Minor Programs:

Astronomy offerings at the college include a Astronomy minor (which with graduate study elsewhere could lead to a career in Astronomy/Astrophysics) and courses ranging from introductory-level for non-science majors to upper level for students with serious interest in the field. Current research emphasis includes variable stars, cataclysmic variables, and globular clusters, with many other topics in development. Students also have freedom to propose their own research project ideas. Campus astronomy activities are supported by an observatory and a planetarium.