Overview

Why major in physics at a liberal arts college like The College of Wooster?

Curious and deeply involved in the study of science and math, physics majors can take their careers in a lot of directions after graduation. Majoring in physics at a liberal arts college like Wooster gives students the opportunity to learn in small classes and conduct original research under the guidance of faculty mentors. The multidisciplinary atmosphere at Wooster allows physics majors to double major or participate in a pre-professional program in preparation for graduate or professional schools. Many physicists work as engineers, and many engineers have physics degrees, but physics majors can be found in a number of field. The problem-solving abilities and analytical skills provided by a physics education equip physics majors to work in schools and on college campuses, in corporate settings and government labs, in the astronaut corps, or even on Wall Street.

Physics at The College of Wooster

With one-on-one guidance from a faculty mentor, each physics major has the opportunity to experience the excitement and rewards of a year-long research project, culminating in a senior independent study thesis. The labs and facilities at Wooster range from a state-of-the art computer-based lab for introductory physics courses to a scanning probe microscope used in student and faculty research. In the past 15 years, three Wooster physics majors have been selected as finalists for the American Physical Society’s national Apker Award for outstanding undergraduate research in physics, as a result of their senior independent study work.

Learn about Wooster’s STEM community through the STEM Success Initiative


Faculty

gray silhouette outline of a person

Robin Bjorkquist

Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics

Sarah Bolton

Sarah Bolton

President of The College of Wooster and Professor of Physics

[email protected]

gray silhouette outline of a person

Laura DeGroot

Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics

gray silhouette outline of a person

Shila Garg

Professor Emeritus, Physics

Manon Grugel-Watson

Manon Grigel-Watson

Visiting Instructor and Laboratory Coordinator of Physics

[email protected]

Donald T. Jacobs

Professor Emeritus, Physics

Cody Leary

Cody Leary

Associate Professor and Department Chair of Physics

[email protected]

Susan Y. Lehman

Susan Lehman

Victor J. Andrew Professor of Physics

[email protected]

John Lindner

John Lindner

Moore Professor of Astronomy - Physics

[email protected]

Niklas Manz

Niklas Manz

Associate Professor of Physics

[email protected]

Jhony Mera

Electronics & Instrument Technician - Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics

[email protected]

Dawn Parker

Dawn Parker

Administrative Coordinator of Mathematical & Computational Sciences, Physics

[email protected]

Timothy Siegenthaler

Timothy Siegenthaler

Instrument and Lab Tech/Machinist - Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Physics

[email protected]


Latest News

The Effect of Varying Paneling Characteristics on Soccer Ball Flight

Name: Daniel Halbing Major: Physics, Philosophy Advisors: Dr. Susan Lehman, Dr. Niklas Manz The predictability of flight of the Adidas Conext15, Adidas Jabulani, Adidas […]

Ariel Xie

Exoplanet Sunsets

Name: Ariel Xie Majors: Physics, Mathematics Minor: Computer Science Advisors: Dr. Lindner, Dr. Kelvey How does sunset look like on exoplanets? For some eccentric […]

Free-Fall Spinning-Planet Tunnel Transportation Network

Name: Yuchen Gan Major: Physics Advisors: Dr. John Lindner, Dr. Niklas Manz Transportation is a very general and important thing. We have airplanes and […]

Avalanches on a Conical Bead Pile

Name: Henry Whyte Major: Physics Minor: Mathematics Advisors: Dr. Susan Lehman, Dr. Niklas Manz Avalanches are one of the most destructive forces in nature, […]

Major

A Physics major provides a rigorous grounding in the scientific process and a firm scientific understanding of the world. It fosters critical thinking and provides broad practical training in science and technology. It can lead to graduate study and basic research (in a variety of disciplines), to stimulating jobs in industry, or to challenging and rewarding careers in teaching. Our faculty is engaged in original research, and our students are drawn early into collaborative research projects with faculty.

Fifteen courses in math and physics are needed to complete the requirements for a physics major.

View Courses

Minor

Six courses in math and physics are needed to complete the requirements for a physics major.

View Courses

Independent Study

The yearlong senior thesis project, or senior Independent Study (I.S.), allows you to experience the beauty and cohesiveness of physics by working on an extended project closely with a faculty advisor. There are few projects, even though narrow in scope, that do not require a breadth of understanding and a dependence on the lecture and laboratory material covered in the major courses. Thus, the senior thesis is an integral part of your education. It can provide a stimulating climax to your college career while, at the same time, it can be a defining introduction to your profession.

This guide is written to clarify past questions and is not intended to dampen any of your enthusiasm for your senior thesis project. It does assume that you will enrolled in Physics 451-452 during successive Fall and Spring Semesters. The Physics Department reserves the right to update the guide at any time.

We do not expect you to embark on a project unaided by an advisor, but you should not expect your advisor to do the work for you (conduct the library search, construct the apparatus, develop the simulation, perform the calculation, take the data, and (re)write the thesis). Advisors advise and guide while you do the work.

Understanding the science in your project is extremely important and time should be taken to reflect on its meaning. This might mean, for example, not taking a last data run so you can understand the meaning of the previous data runs.

 

 

Student Year I.S. Title Major 1 Major 2 Advisor
Please search to view results

Related Articles

The Effect of Varying Paneling Characteristics on Soccer Ball Flight

Name: Daniel Halbing Major: Physics, Philosophy Advisors: Dr. Susan Lehman, Dr. Niklas Manz The predictability of flight of the Adidas Conext15, Adidas Jabulani, Adidas […]

Ariel Xie

Exoplanet Sunsets

Name: Ariel Xie Majors: Physics, Mathematics Minor: Computer Science Advisors: Dr. Lindner, Dr. Kelvey How does sunset look like on exoplanets? For some eccentric […]

Free-Fall Spinning-Planet Tunnel Transportation Network

Name: Yuchen Gan Major: Physics Advisors: Dr. John Lindner, Dr. Niklas Manz Transportation is a very general and important thing. We have airplanes and […]

Avalanches on a Conical Bead Pile

Name: Henry Whyte Major: Physics Minor: Mathematics Advisors: Dr. Susan Lehman, Dr. Niklas Manz Avalanches are one of the most destructive forces in nature, […]

Alumni

The multidisciplinary atmosphere at Wooster allows physics majors to double major or participate in a pre-professional program in preparation for graduate or professional schools. Many physicists work as engineers, and many engineers have physics degrees, but physics majors can be found in a number of fields. The problem-solving abilities and analytical skills provided by a physics education equip physics majors to work in schools and on college campuses, in corporate settings and government labs, in the astronaut corps, or even on Wall Street.


Related Articles

Collin Hendershot '18 analyzed data from Graham Rahal's car before the race.

Wooster graduates play significant role in Indy 500

Physics majors reflect on their time at the College and how their I.S. and liberal arts education prepared them for their motorsport careers.

Danielle Shepherd

It takes a lot of math (and physics) to win an IndyCar championship

Danielle Shepherd was just seven years old when she attended her first IndyCar race with her family.

Prizes & Scholarships

  • In 2003, 2007 & 2009, the Wooster Physics Club’s Outreach Program won the Marsh White Award from the Society of Physics Students of the American Institute of Physics. Also in 2007, our Outreach Program won a national Blake Lilly Prize and was awarded this prize again in  2009 and 2013, and yet again in 2014. In both 2008, 2009 and 2019, we were named an Outstanding SPS Chapter.
  • In 1996, 1998, 2002, & 2006, four of our physics majors received Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, the premier undergraduate awards of their type in the fields of mathematics, science and engineering.
  • From the classes of 2001, 2003, 2007, & 2008, five other of our physics majors received National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships.
  • In 2001, 2003, 2004, & 2008 (four of eight consecutive years), a physics major was awarded Wooster’s Notestein Prize for highest scholarship and was selected as commencement speaker for the graduating class.
  • In 2003, 2007, and 2016, three of our seniors were finalists for the national Apker Award for outstanding undergraduate achievement in physics.
  • In 2000, one of our faculty was the recipient of the American Physical Society’s prize for Research in an Undergraduate Institution.