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.
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.
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.
Combining a science or mathematics major with some additional coursework and summer internships in engineering is excellent preparation for future graduate work in engineering or employment in engineering-related fields. While the Engineering Nexus explicitly is not an engineering degree or accreditation, it is intended as a route into the field of engineering. The experiential portion of the Nexus involves completing a summer internship in the field of engineering. This may be participating in a formal Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program in an academic laboratory, a summer internship with an engineering firm, working abroad for the summer in an engineering laboratory, or other options. Given the diversity of engineering, a wide range of courses can count towards the Nexus, but students must consult with a Nexus advisor to determine a program that will match her interests and goals.
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.