SUNY Oneonta

Physics and Astronomy

Associate Professors: Faux, French, Gallagher (Chair), Labroo, Mahanta; Assistant Professor: Smolinski

Web address:


The Physics and Astronomy Department strives to develop students’ understanding of the principles, applications, analysis, and experimental/observational/computational techniques of physics and astronomy. Students in the programs acquire a strong foundation for further study, as well as learn to appreciate physics and astronomy as significant components of our culture.


Bachelor of Arts

Bachelor of Science


Physics, Option A

Physics, Option B






In Astronomy as part of Physics, Option A Major

Requirements for the Majors

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.

Physics, Option A: for students anticipating graduate study or careers in physics or astronomy. Requires 38 s.h. of physics courses, including general physics, mechanics, electricity and magnetism, quantum physics, electronics or optics and lasers, and 9 s.h. of selected courses in physics or astronomy. Related course requirements include 18 s.h. in mathematics and 8 s.h. in chemistry. An astronomy track, which prepares students for graduate work in Astronomy or Astrophysics, is available under this option.

Physics, Option B: intended for students who desire a strong background in physics coordinated with course work from other academic areas, leading to a career or graduate work in a field other than physics. Physics and engineering is the most common combination. The 29 s.h. of required physics courses include general physics, mechanics, electricity and magnetism, choice of electronics or optics and lasers, and 3 s.h. of selected physics courses. The unique feature of Physics, Option B, is the selection of 18 s.h. of upper-level courses in any other academic area, subject to approval of a faculty committee. There are also 15 s.h. in mathematics required.

Requirements for Minors

Prerequisites: sufficient high school mathematics to enter the College’s calculus sequence is strongly recommended.

Physics Minor: 18 s.h., including PHYS 203, 204, 205, and 287 plus 6 s.h. of selected physics courses.

Astronomy Minor: 12 s.h. of astronomy courses and 6-8 s.h. of general physics. One semester of calculus is recommended.

Energy Minor: 18-20 s.h., including GEOL 230 and PHYS 308 (required), plus four courses chosen from the following list: PHYS 320, PHYS 205/287, PHYS 318, CHEM 214, CHEM 221 or 226, CHEM 351, ESCI 290, GEOL 382, and GEOL 380. The four courses must be from departments other than your own major department. Two different departments must be represented. Special Topics courses offered in the sciences may be substituted for one of the electives, if the content is appropriate, and with the permission of the Physics and Astronomy Department Chair

Facilities and Special Offerings

Astronomy: an astronomy track is available under the Option A Physics Major for students with a strong interest in Astronomy. This track prepares students for graduate work in Astronomy or Astrophysics. Facilities include two major telescopes housed in observatory domes, seven separately-housed telescopes, computer-imaging equipment, complete darkroom facilities, and a planetarium.

3-2 Engineering Program: see the chapter, "Academic Programs and Degrees" for information.

Facilities: The department has well-equipped physics laboratories and excellent astronomy observational facilities. Our facilities include three laboratories for introductory physics and astronomy courses, one computer-based laboratory for introductory and upper-level courses, four laboratories for upper-level courses which include specialized capabilities in optics, atomic and nuclear physics, electronics, and photonics/holography. In addition, our research facilities include a magnetic observatory, infrared laser lab, magnetism and magnetic materials lab, advanced mechanics lab, and a thin films/high vacuum lab. These facilities are supported by a darkroom, a machine shop, and a planetarium. There is a strong research and related-program emphasis and support structure within the department. Physics and Astronomy majors are encouraged to seek out research areas of interest early in their careers while at Oneonta.

Undergraduate Catalog

SUNY Oneonta

Correspondence Directory

The College Calendar

The College and the Community

Admission to the College

Undergraduate Expenses

Financial Aid

Student Life

Academic Programs and Degrees

Academic Policies and Standards

Academic Advisement Center

Continuing Academic Planning

Declaration of Curriculum Majors

Curriculum Minors

Undergraduate Degree Requirements

General Education 3

General College Degree Requirements Chart

Degree Credit

Grading System

Grade Change Policy

Interim Progress Reports

Academic Progress

Superior Performance



Schedule Changes

Grade Reports

Applying for a Degree

Leave of Absence

Withdrawal from the College


Course Auditing

Seniors Taking Graduate Level Courses for Graduate Credit

Student Records

Special Academic Programs

Off-Campus Internship Programs

Study Abroad Programs

SUNY Oneonta Programs

International Student Services

International Health Insurance and Medical Evacuation/Repatriation Insurance

Independent Study

Teaching Assistantships

SUNY Cross-Registration Policy - Oneonta Campus

Hartwick Exchange Program

Office of Special Programs (EOP/ACE)

College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP)

Governmental and Public Affairs Internship Programs

Credit for Prior Learning Assessment Program

Center for Academic Development and Enrichment (CADE)

Continuing Education

Academic Departments, Programs, and Courses

Key to Course Descriptions

Course Numbering System

Courses Not Regularly Offered

Course Index

Africana and Latino Studies




Center for Academic Development and Enrichment Program

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Communication & Media

Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

School of Economics and Business


Secondary Education and Educational Technology

Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education


Foreign Languages & Literatures

Geography and Environmental Sustainability

Health and Fitness


Human Ecology

Interdisciplinary Studies Program

Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics



Physics and Astronomy

Political Science

Professional Studies Program




Women’s and Gender Studies

Chancellor's Awards and Board Members

State University of New York

General Statement – State University of New York

Mission and Vision

Education Law

Policy on Student Records

Directory of Faculty and Professional Staff

College at Oneonta Campus Map