Students who major in physics are usually interested in the fundamental laws that describe how nature works. These laws are inherently mathematical in nature, so physics majors also are typically interested in and skilled at mathematics. Studying physics will educate students in the core areas of physics, from Newtonian mechanics to electromagnetism, optics, and quantum mechanics. In addition, students will have advanced courses available from optics, electronics, computational physics, and astrophysics. In the junior year, all physics majors take Intermediate Physics laboratory, where they work together in groups to perform more advanced laboratory experiments, learn more serious data and error analysis techniques, learn to present data in a 10-minute talk, and learn to prepare reports in a format suitable for professional journal publication. Physics majors will graduate with an excellent skill set for further scientific research or graduate school.
All majors are strongly encouraged to get involved in research with a member of the faculty, as there is no better way to learn physics. Students who do well in their courses and are engaged in research within the department typically have a very good acceptance rate to Ph.D. programs in physics. Past graduates have attended graduate programs at State University of New York at Stony Brook, University of Rhode Island, Brandeis University, UCLA, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Texas at Austin, all with full paid scholarships.
The physics program is small, but it has a dedicated faculty that teach all lectures and discussion sections, which students will not find at larger institutions. The department features a renovated machine shop, an updated introductory laboratory, and a “physics lounge” where students socialize and learn physics.