Physics Major

By its fundamental nature, physics is a vital part of every science student's education. The purpose of the major is to provide students with the concepts of classical and contemporary physics, and to develop both theoretical and experimental skills.

Studying physics at Wheaton College is an exciting journey into the intricacies of our created world. If you are interested in developing a deeper and fuller awareness of the structure and principles that govern our world, the physics major at Wheaton College is for you.

The physics major will provide you with a solid training in experimental and theoretical physics, covering both classical and modern physics. The core curriculum that you will take includes classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, quantum mechanics, optics, and electronics.

Once you complete the physics major, you are well prepared for graduate study in physics or a related area. Many of our students do go on to advanced degree programs. The major also prepares you well for a wide variety of careers in which analytical thinking and problem-solving are used every day.

Physics Program Features

  • A dynamic freshman sequence that includes a broad survey of core physics concepts and hands-on training in the practice of science.
  • A dedicated Physics for the Future seminar with discussions of career options, the interactions between physics and Christian faith, and current frontier research in physics.
  • A rigorous and diverse combination of theoretical, computational, and experimental courses in the second year and beyond.
  • Four different major tracks serving students going on to graduate work, going into secondary education, or going into a wide variety of other career pursuits.
  • An Honors Thesis option that will challenge the highest performing students to grow as they do research with a faculty mentor.

To maximize student convenience and flexibility, the curriculum for all of our physics and engineering programs shares much in common for the first two years. This helps students who may be unsure of their desired major to more easily switch during the first few semesters.

Elective Opportunities

An important feature of our program is the large number of electives, which allow you to further pursue topics of special interest. Some of our most popular electives include Astrophysics, Solid State Physics and Nanotechnology, Plasma Physics, Medical Physics, Computer Data Acquisition, and Particle Physics and Cosmology. These courses are oriented towards the latest cutting-edge research in physics so that you have opportunities to delve for yourself into the recent physics literature on these topics. These courses attract great interest and demand from our student majors.