Major in Physics
The major in physics consists of a minimum of 11 semester physics courses, as outlined below, chosen in consultation with members of the department so as to form a coherent program in support of the student’s interests and goals.
At least three of the following four core courses. Students planning to attend graduate school in physics or astronomy should take all four of the courses below:
Two or more of the following courses:
MATH 236 Multivariable Calculus
CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE: All majors in their junior and senior year are required to participate in a research project for one semester or for a summer. Each student is required to write a report and give an oral presentation about the project.
Recommended courses outside the department
MATH 221 Linear Algebra and MATH 212 Differential Equations are highly recommended for students planning on pursuing graduate school in astronomy, engineering, physics or related fields. Computer Programming (COMP 115 is also highly recommended.
Major in Astronomy and Physics
This interdisciplinary major, requiring at least 10 courses, provides an opportunity for students to pursue their interest in astronomy at a deeper level than is possible through the minor in astronomy by taking courses in physics that provide additional perspective on the fundamental principles underlying astronomical research. This major is not recommended for students planning to do graduate work in astronomy; such students should major in physics.
AST 130 The Universe
AST 140 The Solar System
AST 202 Frontiers of Astronomy
AST 250 Ancient Astronomies
AST 302 Astrophysics
AST 305 Observational Astronomy
PHYS 170 Introductory Physics I
and/or PHYS 171 Introductory Physics II
PHYS 225 Modern Physics
PHYS 350 Experimental Physics
and an additional 300-level course or PHYS 399 Selected Topics
Physics and Engineering: Dual Degree
Students who are interested in using physics as a base to pursue an engineering career should consider participating in a Wheaton dual-degree program in engineering. This program allows students completing three years at Wheaton and two or more additional years at another institution to earn a bachelor of arts degree from Wheaton and a bachelor’s degree in Engineering.
Departmental honors will be awarded to students who successfully complete the Senior Honors Thesis and have an average of B+ or better in the major and an average of B or better overall.