Stephen’s College, as part of the four-year undergraduate programme
(FYUP) introduced in Delhi University in July 2013, physics is
offered as a primary discipline (DC1), a secondary discipline (DC
II), and as applied courses (ACs).
track – which replaces the three-year BSc (Hons) – provides a strong
foundation in physics. Mathematical physics, traditionally the
strength of Physics Honours, remains strong in the new programme. Classical
mechanics, electromagnetic theory, thermodynamics, optics, quantum
mechanics, statistical mechanics, solid-state physics, and
electronics are taught at a level comparable to that in good
undergraduate programmes throughout the world. There continues to be
a lot of lab time. In addition, there are opportunities in semesters
7 and 8 for students to engage in research. In other words, those
who choose physics as DC1 are trained for careers in physics
teaching and research.
physics courses offered in the DC II track – open from the second
year and only to those who have chosen something other than physics
as DC I – provides enough of an introduction to the subject for
those who take them to get a good idea of the physicist’s view of
the world. Though less wide-ranging and intensive than DC I physics,
the DC II courses are rigorous enough for a student who does all six
of them to qualify for admission to a master’s degree in the
subject. To be able to cope with DC II physics courses, a student
should have done calculus-based physics and mathematics at the high
school (plus 2) level.
Applied Courses in physics are open to students from all disciplines
from the second year and are technically less demanding.
who choose the DC I physics track get the full
Stephanian physics experience. What makes this experience special,
over and above the syllabus and course structure (the same in all of
Delhi University), is – the dedication of its teachers, the quality
of its students, and the unique atmosphere of the college. At their
best our teachers require their students to learn honestly, think
independently, recognize quality, and develop the confidence to
create rather than merely reproduce. And our students, at their
best, keep their teachers and one another on their toes. The
quality of the students and the atmosphere of the college give
teachers the freedom to go beyond the confines of the syllabus.
Though the pressure of tests and projects cannot be denied, it is
not relentless – there is time enough for discussion and dreaming,
for participation in extra-curricular activities, and for fun and
Outside the classroom we have the Physics Society. It organizes the
annual Popli Memorial Lecture Series by a distinguished scientist.
It has a problem-solving club, and once a year we have the Popli
Memorial Aptitude test. There is the annual Meera Memorial
Paper-presentation Competition for students. The Society runs a
forum called the Feynman Club at which students, old students, and
visitors present ideas and discoveries in physics. It has an
Astronomy Club, which uses a couple of small telescopes to gaze at
stars. It organizes trips to national labs and observatories (and
at St Stephen’s reaches beyond the College into the research
institutes – IISc, IMSc, HRI, SINP, JNCASR, NCRA, TIFR and others –
where many of our students do summer projects requiring exploration
and discovery beyond the curriculum.
The research component in the fourth year of the FYUP is intended to
make such open-ended discovery a part of every student’s college
believe that the best physics graduates from St Stephen’s have a
roundedness, a solidity, and an openness to possibilities that most
fresh graduates elsewhere may lack. A significant fraction of our
students do PhDs at places like IISc, TIFR, Harvard, Yale, Stony
Brook, Cornell, and Cambridge, and go on to become scientists. The
analytical skills learnt by our students prove useful also to those
who move into fields like Computer Science, Engineering, Geophysics,
Economics, and Finance.
student wishing to do DC I physics needs to have done physics,
chemistry, and mathematics at the higher secondary (plus 2) level.
Familiarity with differentiation and integration is required, as all
first-year courses are calculus-based.