The physics department offers five different programs within the general physics major. While all of them have a strong physics core, some of them offer the possibility to cross disciplinary boundaries and specialize in another field in addition to physics.
Bachelor of Science: Physics
This program is designed to prepare students for work as a professional physicist. It is required as a first step for graduate work in physics fields such as astrophysics, biophysics, etc. The analytical and demanding nature of the program is also excellent preparation for graduate programs in engineering, medicine or law, as well as technical jobs in industry. This degree provides the most thorough and rigorous course of study that we offer.
Bachelor of Science: Applied Physics
This program is well suited to those students who want to pursue engineering or a similar area after graduating with a physics degree from Wheaton. Required courses include core experimental and theoretical studies in physics but also include required coursework in engineering. Students completing this degree will be well-prepared to pursue a masters degree in engineering or go directly into a variety of careers in business or industry.
Bachelor of Arts: Physics
The program has fewer required credit hours of study than the Bachelor of Science option, and can offer increased time to pursue other academic interests. The rigorous nature of the program compared with other alternatives can also be excellent preparation for graduate studies in engineering, and in Medicine and Law, as well as those wishing to pursue a technical career in industry.
Bachelor of Science in Physics with Secondary Education (B.S.)
Do you want to teach high school physics? This popular program is designed to train students for licensure in this rewarding career option. Currently, only 47% of physics classes are taught by a teacher with a degree in the subject, compared with 73% of biology classes and 80% of humanities classes. There is a rising number of students taking physics each year (doubling between 1987 and 2009), and thus an ever-increasing need for well-trained physics teachers. Features of the program include
- Reduced physics hours compared to the B. S. and B. A. programs
- State teaching certification at the Secondary level
Bachelor of Science in Physics: Geophysics
This program is recommended for students who are interested in applying the robust mathematical and analytical tools of physics as a means of understanding geological processes. Students choosing this major take a substantial number of both Physics and Geology courses to prepare them for careers or graduate education in related fields. The Geophysics program is attractive for students wishing to work in land and water resource management and engineering, both in the U. S. and abroad.