Physics Majors

 

Physics students in the laboratory

The Department of Physics at Western Michigan University offers the following areas of undergraduate study:

Physics major

This program prepares students for graduate study in physics and other related fields (astronomy, biophysics, etc.) as well as for professional employment in physics, technology or related applied physics areas.

This program is also recommended for students who wish to major in physics as an undergraduate and then enter a graduate professional school (medical, law, etc.).

The WMU undergraduate physics major:

  • Provides a good working knowledge of fundamental physics concepts.
  • Develops familiarity with the major subfields in physics and the relationships among them.
  • Encourages the growth of interest in physics and its relationship with other fields of study.

Students choosing this program of study are also required to take mathematics courses, which correspond to a minor in mathematics. Students should contact the department to plan their progression of study with our undergraduate advisor.

Physics is a Liberal Education Curriculum within the WMU College of Arts and Sciences.

Required courses

Recommended course sequence

Secondary education physics major

The secondary education physics major is for students who wish to teach physics at the junior or senior high school level. It is designed for students in the College of Education and Human Development.

This major provides:

  • A thorough background in the methods and applications of general physics.
  • An understanding of how the present view of the natural universe has evolved.
  • Training required for the effective teaching of physics.

A major or a minor in secondary education physics can lead to state certification to teach high school physics.

Secondary Education students receive their degrees from the College of Education and Human Development but must choose a major and a minor from the College of Arts and Sciences. These students should see an advisor in the College of Education and Human Development for their general education, pre-professional and professional education requirements.

Required courses

Geophysics major

The Western Michigan University geophysics major is sponsored jointly by the departments of Geosciences and Physics to prepare students for a career in this important area of applied physics. This curriculum prepares graduates for positions in industry, and also provides an excellent foundation for students who elect to pursue a graduate degree in geophysics.

Students choosing this program of study are also required to take mathematics courses, which correspond to a minor in mathematics.

Students contemplating a geophysics major should contact the departments of Geosciences and Physics as early as possible for advising. Students must meet with advisors in both departments.

Geophysics is a Liberal Education Curriculum within the WMU College of Arts and Sciences.

Required courses