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Physics Registration FAQ for Fall 2014

Read these answers and only contact the department office at or 609 771-2569 or in person (SCP 123) if the answer to your question is not here.  Please don’t do so if the answer is here and you are unhappy with it.   Only if Ms. Calu cannot answer your further question may you email Dr. Wiita at with the subject line: Registration Question not answered by FAQ.

As of 12:00 PM today (April 10, 2014), the caps for PHY 120 have been lifted.

Why can’t I get into PHY 120? 

Because of a shortage of instructors in Fall 2014 we can only offer four lab sections (96 seats) of Introductory Geology and 40 of these are reserved for sophomore Civil Engineers so you might not be able to get into a particular section even if seats appear to be available.  If you need a non-calculus based introductory science class with lab this fall it is more likely that there will be seats open in PHY 121 (Principles of Physics) or PHY 171 (Introductory Astronomy).   Or you can wait until Spring 2015 for PHY 120 when we expect to be able to offer six sections (144 seats).


Why can’t I get into PHY 201?

In Fall 2014 we can offer 11 lab sections (264 seats) of PHY 201. Although there are plenty of available seats, most seats (176) in most sections are reserved for incoming freshmen students in Physics, Chemistry and Engineering, who must take this class then.  If you cannot get into any open section (not just the one that is most convenient for you) you may come to the Physics Department Office (SCP 123) and fill out a wait-list form. If you already have a full load of 4 course units be certain to know your schedule so as to be able to write down which class you want us to swap out for a seat in PHY 201 if one becomes available for you.

There will be four opportunities to be added to a section of PHY 201.

1) At the end of registration in mid-April we will prioritize all wait-list forms and place students in any empty seats.

2) After freshmen have accepted our offers in May we may be able to place more students from the wait-list into seats and after doing so we will discard the wait-list.

3) After the actual registration of freshmen in mid-July we will open up all seats and anyone who still needs one should check PAWS frequently to see if one becomes available.

4) A few more seats usually open up during the drop/add period in the first week of the semester and these seats will be available on a first-come basis on PAWS.


Why can’t I get into PHY 202?

In Fall 2014 we are only offering 2 lab sections (48 seats) of PHY 202A.  Once all of those seats are filled you may come to the department office and add your name to a wait-list for another section (PHY 202B01) we might open with lectures on TF at 8:00-9:20am and a lab on Tuesday from 9:30-11:20am if there is sufficient demand (over 13 students) who can take it then.  If you already have a full load of 4 course units be certain to know your schedule so as to write down which class you want us to swap out for a seat in PHY 202B if it becomes available.


Why can’t I get into the section of PHY 321 I prefer?

1) All seats in PHY 321A01 are reserved for rising sophomore Physics majors.  If you are a Physics major you must take this section and if you can’t get in notify the department immediately as we may then open PHY202A02 with the same lectures at MR 11:00am-12:20pm and a lab M at 8:00-10:50am.   Assuming this section is needed, once all Physics majors have been accommodated we will open this lab section to Physics minors and other students.

2) All seats in PHY321B01 and B02 are reserved for sophomore Electrical and Computer Engineering majors.  If you are an engineering major required to take this class you must take the lecture at TF 9:30-10:50am with a lab on either T or F from 11:00am-1:50pm.


Why can’t I get into SED 224 along with PHY 321 A and PHY 306?

If you are a rising sophomore Physics/Secondary Ed major you have a special problem.  Unfortunately, EASE scheduled the SED 224 classes at exactly the same time as the PHY 321 and 306 classes you need to take (and all seats in PHY 321B are reserved for engineers).  Fortunately, you can take EFN 399 instead of SED 224 and take the latter in the spring semester.  EASE doesn’t care which order you take those courses, but prefers you don’t have both in the same semester.


Why did the time of PHY 413 change?

Several students wanted to take both General Relativity and Cosmology and PHY 311, Analog and Digital Electronics.  However, there was a conflict between the electronics lab on Monday afternoons and the originally scheduled time for PHY 413.  We had to move the time for the latter to MR from 5:30 to 6:50pm to remove that conflict.


Why can’t I register for PHY 393 or PHY 493?

Independent Research classes are only officially established during the first week of the following semester.  You should, however, discuss your interest in doing research next fall this semester with any faculty member whose research interests overlap with yours.  Such conversations will let you learn whether or not she or he will be able to work with you in the fall and let you get started shadowing in the lab or reading material before then.  We prefer that you fill out the special departmental and school forms before the end of the spring semester but you can do so during the first few days of the fall term.