Physics and astronomy

The Physics and Astronomy learning community connects students who are interested in the physics, astronomy or engineering physics. Join this group to meet other students, get to know the faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, find people to study with, and go on field trips to local spots of scientific interest.

Common courses

Seats in certain high-demand, major based classes will be reserved for Physics and Astronomy learning community freshmen. Your adviser will help you enroll in these courses, which you will attend with other members of your learning community. Visit priority enrollment to find out more about enrollment and advising. Seats will be reserved in:

PHY 103 – First Year Seminar

Introduces first-year majors to the academic content, degree programs, faculty, resources, facilities, and opportunities available in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

PHY 161/L – University Physics I

First course and lab in the three-semester introductory physics sequence.

PHY 161R - University Physics I Recitation

Recitation section provides students with an opportunity to work on problem-solving and get additional questions answered. Complements the PHY 161 class lecture.

MAT 125 – Precalculus

This course covers the concepts of function, graphs, absolute value, linear, polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions, and systems of equations, in addition to analytic geometry.  Students in the learning community will be enrolled in the same section of this course.


MAT 136 - Calculus I

Building on the foundations of pre-calculus, this course covers the calculus of one variable including basic concepts, interpretations, techniques, and applications of differentiation and integration. Students in the learning community will be enrolled in the same section of this course.

Past events and activities

Each year learning community residents work with residence hall staff and the faculty liaison to plan exciting and meaningful activities. Past events that were held in the physics and astronomy include:

Welcome gathering

Meet other physics and astronomy learning community residents and discuss activities that you would like to see happen.

Faculty dinner

Meet the physics and astronomy faculty in an informal setting by sitting down to dinner with them. This will give you a chance to ask questions about classes, about physics, about jobs—whatever you need to know.

Field trips

Past field trips have included trips to:

  • the Lowell Observatory for star-gazing
  • the Naval Prototype Optical Interferometer for its awesome technology
  • the Grand Canyon to study astrobiology
  • Meteor Crater to tour the crater

Informal tutoring

The community (peer) mentor offers informal tutoring in math and physics.