Physics explores the scientific principles governing the behavior of the physical world. These principles provide insight into the nature of the universe around us and are the basis for new technology. The department’s program utilizes a combination of lectures, laboratories, discussions and independent work to help students acquire an understanding of these principles and their implications. Introductory Physics, General Physics and Applied College Physics cover the topics needed for a student beginning a program in physics, pre-engineering, chemistry, premedicine and pre-physical therapy. The department also offers all the standard advanced courses needed for a physics major intending to do graduate work in physics or astronomy.
All 100-level PHY courses may be applied towards the Natural Science component of the Core general education requirements. PHY 131/PHY 132 and PHY 145/PHY 146 are intended for students whose programs require introductory physics, and are not recommended unless the student has a strong science and math background.
A physics degree can be an excellent preparation for many different careers, because of the emphasis on both practical and theoretical problem solving which physicists can apply in a variety of situations. The physics major leading to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) is recommended for students for whom this will be the only degree, or who plan to go to graduate school in physics, other science or engineering, or other field.
The physics major leading to the Bachelor of Arts is not a professional degree but is intended to be combined with another field of study, such as business or pre-law. For those interested in teaching high school science, it may be combined with a major in chemistry, biology, or math.
Students interested in becoming licensed engineers need a B.S. from an ABET-accredited engineering school. The dual degree pre-engineering program combines the best of a science major and the liberal arts core at BW with the preparation for an engineering career at an engineering school.
Students planning teaching careers in the elementary, middle or secondary schools should consult the School of Education.