Department of Physics


Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus
 Bruce B. Marsh Ph.D.
  University of Rochester

Professors Emeriti

 Raymond E. Benenson, Ph.D.
  University of Wisconsin
 Akira Inomata, Ph.D. 

  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

 John C. Kimball, Ph.D.

  University of Chicago 
 Robert P. Lanni, M.A.
  University at Albany
 Wilfried W. Scholz, Ph.D.
  University of Freiburg (Germany)
 Laura M. Roth, Ph.D.
  Radcliffe College


 Mohammad Sajjad Alam, Ph.D. 

  Indiana University 

 Ariel Caticha, Ph.D. (Department Chair)

  California Institute of Technology 

 Tara P. Das, Ph.D.  

  University of Calcutta 

 Tung-Sheng Kuan, Ph.D. 

  Cornell University 

 William A. Lanford, Ph.D. 

  University of Rochester 

 Carolyn MacDonald, Ph.D.

  Harvard University


Associate Professors 

 Keith Earle, Ph.D. 

  Cornell University 

 Jesse A. Ernst, Ph.D. 

  University of Rochester 

 Kevin Knuth, Ph.D. 

  University of Minnesota


Assistant Professors 

 Philip Goyal, Ph.D. 

  Trinity College, Cambridge 

 Vivek Jain, Ph.D.  

  University of Hawaii
 Alexander Khmaladze, Ph.D.
  University of South Florida 

 Oleg Lunin, Ph.D. 

  Ohio State University
 Jonathan Petruccelli, Ph.D.
  University of Rochester
 Matthew Szydagis, Ph.D.
  University of Chicago 


Visiting Assistant Professors 

 Robert Schmitz, Ph.D. 

  University at Albany

 Anna V. Sharikova
  University of South Florida

 Eric Woods, Ph.D. 

  Harvard University  



 Shamshad Ahmad Ph.D. 

  Australia National University


Adjuncts (estimated): 12
Teaching Assistants (estimated): 22


The Physics Department provides students a solid foundation in classical and modern physics. Physics majors obtain a theoretical background in classical mechanics, electromagnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and thermal physics. Laboratory classes develop skills in experimental techniques. Elective courses in physics allow students to broaden their knowledge in areas such as biophysics, computational, nuclear, particle, x-ray, medical and solid state physics, and materials science. Independent study with faculty members is encouraged.

Courses in environmental science, archaemetry, space physics and astronomy bring broader physical concepts to the non-major.

Physics graduates work as scientists in research labs, development labs, and medical centers. They become teachers and technical writers. They continue their education in physics, other sciences or mathematics, and education or medicine. Opportunities abound, and the variety of typical career choices is surprisingly varied. More information is available at

Special Programs or Opportunities
Students can simultaneously obtain a B.S. in Physics from the University at Albany and a B.S. in Engineering from another institution in five years. In this “3-2 Program”, students study physics at Albany for the first three years. In the following two years, they complete their requirements at the second engineering school. The schools participating in the 3-2 Program are Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Clarkson University, SUNY at New Paltz, and SUNY at Binghamton. More information is available on the physics department website. Students should enroll in the program at the start of their first year.

Physics majors, minors, or intended majors are encouraged to visit the Physics office to be assigned a Physics faculty advisor.

Degree Requirements for the Major in Physics

General Program B.S.: The following 69 credits are required:

  • Introductory physics sequence: A PHY 140, 150, and 240 (or the honors sequence 141, 151, and 241).
  • Lab sequence for introductory courses: A PHY 145 or 106, 155 or 109, and 245.
  • Higher level physics courses: A PHY 235, 250, 320, 335Z, 340, 350, 440, 450, and 460.
  • Chemistry: A CHM 120 and 121 (or the more advanced 130 and 131) and labs A CHM 124, 125.
  • Calculus sequence: A MAT 112 and 113 (or the honors courses 118 and 119, or A MAT 101 and 111 and 113) and A MAT 214.
  • Mathematics elective: A MAT 220, 314, 367, or 412.
  • An additional physics course numbered 300 or higher.
  • I CSI 201.

Honors Program

The honors program in physics is designed for outstanding students.
Students should apply for admission to the honors program before November 15 of the junior year.

The minimum requirements for admission are:

  • Completion of A PHY 140 or 141, 150 or 151, 240 or 241, 250 or their equivalents;
  • An overall grade point average of 3.30;
  • A grade point average of 3.60 in physics courses required for the major;
  • Written recommendations from at least three faculty members, one of whom, preferably, should be from outside the Department of Physics.

Students in the program must maintain both a minimum grade point average of 3.30 overall and of 3.60 in physics courses taken to satisfy major requirements during the junior and senior years.

Students in the honors program are required to complete a minimum of 72 credits as follows: the 66 credits specified for the general program in physics; 3 credits of Honors Seminar in Physics (A PHY 498); and 3 credits of Research and/or Independent Study in Physics (A PHY 497). The independent study must include an honors research project culminating in a written report by the end of the student’s last semester.

A Department Honors Committee will recommend an honors degree to the department faculty for its approval.

Combined B.S./M.S. Program

The combined B.S./M.S. program in physics provides an opportunity for students of recognized academic ability and educational maturity to fulfill integrated requirements of undergraduate and master’s degree programs at the beginning of the junior year. A carefully designed program can permit a student to earn the B.S. and M.S. degrees within nine semesters.

The combined program requires a minimum of 138 credits, of which at least 30 must be graduate credits. In qualifying for the B.S., students must meet all University and college requirements including the requirements of the undergraduate major described previously, the minimum 60-credit liberal arts and sciences requirement, general education requirements, and residency requirements. In qualifying for the M.S., students must meet all University and college requirements as outlined in the Graduate Bulletin, including completion of a minimum of 30 graduate credits and any other conditions such as a research seminar, thesis, comprehensive examination, professional experience, and residency requirements. Up to 12 graduate credits may be applied simultaneously to both the B.S. and M.S. programs.

Some substitution of graduate courses for undergraduate courses is possible upon approval by the advisor.

Students may apply to the Graduate Committee for admission to the combined degree program in physics at the beginning of their junior year or after the successful completion of 56 credits. A cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher and three supportive letters of recommendation from faculty are required.