Physics is the root science that underlies all other natural science, and it is the foundation of a liberal arts education for innovations in science and engineering. Wesleyan’s highly flexible physics program is designed to develop competency in focus areas such as quantum computing, high energy plasmas, low temperature superfluids, photonics, materials science, biomolecular interactions, and fluid mechanics. Undergraduate and graduate students work side-by-side with faculty on research that is supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Standards & Technology, the American Chemical Society, the Air Force, and other national funding organizations.

Students who major in physics often pursue careers in engineering, research, education, medicine, and law.

What You'll Study

  • Participation in research and proficiency in the main subject areas of physics are the twin goals of the physics program at Wesleyan. As a physics major, you'll be encouraged to take laboratory courses for a firsthand opportunity to observe—both qualitatively and quantitatively—some of the physical phenomena discussed in the lectures.
  • Current physics research interests at Wesleyan include molecular collisions, Rydberg states in strong fields, photo-ionization, laser-produced plasmas, quantum fluids, granular and turbulent fluid flows, lipid membranes and hydration dynamics, single-molecule biophysics, optoelectronics of renewable energy materials, nonlinear dynamics, quantum chaos, properties of nanostructures, soft condensed matter, and wave transport in complex media.
  • Preparation in mathematical and computational methods is an integral part of the program. Many students take advantage of Wesleyan's computing facilities in their research or coursework. The department has three state-of-the art computer clusters available for students working in the theory groups, and the university has a large computer cluster available to all who are doing research.

  • Students with a good knowledge of French, Spanish, German, or Italian have opportunities to take physics courses through the medium of those languages as part of a semester abroad.

Minor Requirements

  • Minors must complete a minimum of five lecture courses, one 0.5-credit introductory lab course, and one 0.5-credit advanced lab course. Minors may also need to fulfill three mathematics prerequisite credits, if they are not placed out of the requirement by the Mathematics Department.