If you like to think about why the world works the way it does, physics might be the right subject for you. If you want to understand how technology works and design the next innovations, physics has some of the answers. If you want to make contributions to the biggest open scientific questions of our generation, physics can help! We can't explain the entire universe, but we can provide you with the tools you need to find some of the answers on your own. All courses are designed to contribute in various ways to the College’s Learning Goals and the Physics Department Learning Goals.

Physics Major

Students who major in physics at Mount Holyoke design their own major curriculum. Some take courses necessary to prepare for graduate study in physics or closely related fields (including engineering). Some plan a program that, together with courses from other disciplines, prepares them for advanced work in medicine, environmental engineering, or other physical sciences or branches of engineering. Others design their program to prepare for secondary school teaching, technical writing, or technical positions in industry.

Students interested in geophysics, astrophysics, physical chemistry, and other similar programs can work out special majors in consultation with faculty in the appropriate department. See the Bulletin & Course Catalog for details on requirements for the major, as well as sample programs of study.

Physics Minor

The physics minor consists of a minimum of 16 credits (four courses). After completing Physics 110, Force, Motion, and Energy, and 201, Waves and Electromagnetism, minors normally take three or more advanced (200 and 300-level) physics courses.

See the Bulletin & Course Catalog for more information on the minor.

AB in Physics/BS in Mechanical Engineering

Year 1 at MHC


  • Math 101, Calculus I = Distribution 1
  • Physics 110 = Distribution 2
  • Chemistry 101
  • Distribution 3


  • Math 202, Calculus II
  • Physics 201
  • Distribution 4
  • Distribution 5

Year 2 at MHC


  • Physics 205
  • Physics 210
  • Computer Science 101
  • Distribution 6


  • Physics 324
  • Physics 315
  • Statistics 140 or 240
  • Distribution 7
  • Physics 231 (1 credit)

Year 3 at UMass


  • Engineering 113, Intro (communication)
  • MIE 230, Thermodynamics I (chemistry)  
  • MIE 201, Intro to Materials (applied science)
  • MIE 210, Statics (physics)  
  • MIE 397b, Dynamic Systems (physics/applied math)


  • MIE 213, Intro to Mechanical Design (project)
  • MIE 211, Strength of Materials (applied science)
  • MIE 302, Mechanical Eng. Lab I (project + report)
  • MIE 375, Manufacturing Process (technical)
  • MIE 340, Fluid Mechanics (physics/applied math)
  • MIE 395, Professional Seminar (1 credit)

Year 4 at MHC


  • Physics 308  
  • Physics 325  
  • Language Requirement 1a


  • Physics 250
  • Physics 395
  • Language Requirement 1b
  • Elective  Elective

Year 5 at UMass


  • MIE 313
  • MIE 354
  • MIE 402
  • MIE 444
  • MIE ESD elective (1/2)


  • MIE 413
  • MIE 497d
  • MIE SD restr. elective
  • MIE ESD elective (2/2) 

Physics Major Course Catalog

Engineering Dual-Degree Program

Mount Holyoke students can earn a degree in engineering in different ways, either by earning a master's or PhD degree in engineering after graduation from Mount Holyoke or by earning a second bachelor's degree, through what is called a Dual-Degree Engineering program.