Physics & Astronomy


In cooperation with the faculty of Columbia University, Barnard offers a thorough pre-professional curriculum in both physics and astronomy. The faculty represents a wide range of expertise, with special strength and distinction in theoretical gravitational and condensed matter physics, and observational astrophysics.

Separate majors in physics and astronomy are offered. A major in astrophysics is also possible. Furthermore, there are many special interdisciplinary majors, such as biophysics, chemical physics,engineering physics, mathematical physics, and astrochemistry. There is a physics minor as well. Students should consult members of the department early on in their undergraduate careers in order to plan the most effective course of study.

Qualified seniors are invited to participate in the seniors honors program, in which they carry out a yearlong research project leading to the thesis.

What does it mean?

lights spiral like a spiral staircase against a dark background


A transliteration of the ancient Greek for “nature,” physics implies natural science in its very broadest sense.

a telescope is silhouetted against a starry sky


Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences and one of the original seven liberal arts. It is the study of celestial objects as well as the origin and formation of the universe.