We believe that some training in physics is an important component of liberal education in a technological world. The department, therefore, offers a number of general education courses open to all students.
The major is designed as an experimentally intensive and theoretically rigorous foundation in classical and modern physics. The department has three broad learning goals for its majors. Students are expected to:
1. Master a range of theoretical concepts that includes Newtonian Mechanics, Electricity & Magnetism, and Quantum Mechanics.
2. Gain proficiency with some of the central aspects of experimental methods.
3. Develop the ability to effectively communicate scientific information.
It is the recommended major for pre-engineering students interested in automotive, civil, electrical, electronics, mechanical, and nuclear engineering.
The department also offers service courses for other science majors.
Physics majors and minors who desire secondary teaching certificates and/or middle school and subject area teaching endorsements must apply to the Teacher Educational Program in their sophomore year. Refer to the Teacher Education Information Handbook for further information.
The department specializes in condensed matter physics, astronomy, astrophysics and optics and encourages all students to work on research projects in collaboration with faculty members.
A 3-2 engineering program is available with a major in physics and consideration of this option is encouraged, but careful planning is required because the advanced physics courses are offered in alternate years only.