Minor: Physics
Related Majors: 
Chemistry, Applied Mathematical Science
Related Minor: 
Program Director:
 Charles Benesh, Associate Professor of Physics

Physics courses are offered in support of majors in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and educational studies and also to fulfill the College's General Education requirements. Students interested in further studies in physics should consider the physics minor. For information about specific courses offered, please see our Academic Catalogue.

Related Programs
Wesleyan has a pre-engineering dual degree program in conjunction with the Georgia Institute of Technology, Auburn University, and Mercer University. Under the dual degree program, a student attends Wesleyan for three years (90 semester hours) and then attends one of the cooperating institutions for two to three years. After completing the academic requirements of the two institutions, the student is awarded a bachelor's degree from both Wesleyan and the cooperating engineering school.

Our pre-engineering program is administered through the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. The pre-engineering curriculum is designed to give an engineering student a strong background in the liberal arts as well as the basic mathematics and science she will need for her engineering coursework. We have had graduates in electrical, mechanical, civil, chemical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering.

Laboratory experience plays a central role in study of physics at Wesleyan. Each of our introductory laboratory stations features a wide variety of sensors and interfaces for computer data acquisition and analysis. Apparatus are available for the study of more advanced topics in optics, nuclear and atomic physics, and chaos. Several small telescopes are available astronomical studies. The department has also put together a Linux-based Beowulf cluster for use by students interested in projects in computational physics.

The Munroe Science Center, a dynamic new campus centerpiece, opened in August 2007. The new state-of-the-art science facility will serve an increasing number of Wesleyan students enrolled and majoring in one or more fields of science while also addressing the great need throughout our state and nation for women who are skilled in medicine, scientific research, computer technology, and mathematics. Through its eleven teaching laboratories and nine research laboratories, the new facility encourages faculty/student collaboration on research projects, contains interactive laboratories for specific experimentation, and offers individualized instruction in an environmentally efficient and safe setting. State-of-the-art laboratories include cell biology, ecology, physiology, immunology, and instrumental analysis labs as well as general biology, and chemistry labs. While teaching laboratories serve as classrooms, a small seminar room and two technologically advanced classrooms also are used for instruction. Among its many specialty science spaces, the 42,000-square-foot facility includes an astronomy observation deck, a greenhouse, a vivarium, and a community learning center.

The Randolph and Margaret Munroe Thrower Astronomy platform, a rooftop observing space, provides space for 8-10 telescopes for use by astronomy and physics students. Plans are also underway to renovate and expand the physics facilities in Taylor Hall to include a dedicated space for an advanced laboratory for upper level courses and additional research space for students and faculty. 

Field Study
Physics students are strongly encouraged to participate in undergraduate research both on and off campus. Recent students have collaborated with faculty on a projects in hadronic physics and completed an honors thesis on chaos. Physics majors have also participated in undergraduate research programs at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Cornell High Energy Synchotron, and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Scholarships and Awards 
Munroe Scholars Program. Provides substantial financial support for outstanding students majoring in science and math. 
Lise Meitner Award. For the outstanding physics student.

Graduates from Wesleyan with a major in physics are currently studying at the graduate level in physics, medical physics, mathematics and related areas; working in government and industry, and teaching high school or college mathematics and physics. Equipped with a strong liberal arts background, our graduates combine a physics foundation with other unexpected academic disciplines and succeed in a wide array of professional pursuits. Some recent graduates who doubled majored in mathematics and physics are now succeeding in law school. Of the Wesleyan physics majors who graduated in the past five years, forty-three percent immediately secured work in a field related to their undergraduate degree while fifty-six percent pursued graduate or professional school.

You'll find recent Wesleyan graduates pursuing post baccalaureate degrees related to the field of physics at countless prestigious institutions across the world including Washington University, Clemson University, The University of Texas (Houston) Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M, Northwestern University, Emory University, Vanderbilt University, Duke University School of Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine, Florida State University Dental School, University of California Veterinary School, University of the West Indies Veterinary School, Vanderbilt University Law School, and Mercer University Law School.


Charles BeneshAssociate Professor of Physics. B.S. (Physics) Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1982; Ph.D. (Physics) University of Washington 1988. My primary research involves the description of sub-atomic particles and interactions in terms of their quark and gluon constituents. Taylor