Wellesley College has a long tradition of providing high-quality scientific training in the context of a liberal arts education.
The Physics Department is an integral part of that tradition. The contemporary study of the physical universe encompasses systems ranging from the microscopic - atoms, nuclei, and elementary particles, to the very large - planets, stars, and galaxies. A central theme of all branches of physics is the search for unifying principles underlying the diverse phenomena of nature. Wellesley offers a full range of academically demanding courses that constitute a strong physics major and small classes that allow for individualized attention. Our major is designed to provide an effective preparation for students interested in a variety of careers.
In addition to the "standard" Physics degree, in collaboration with the Department of Astronomy we offer an interdepartmental major in Astrophysics which combines the Physics major with a foundation of course work in Astronomy. This major should be considered by students interested in graduate study in astronomy or astrophysics and by those who would like a coordinated astronomy extension to the Physics major.
Through the MIT Exchange Program, Wellesley physics students have the opportunity to take more specialized courses and graduate courses not normally available at liberal arts colleges, such as courses in particle physics, nuclear physics, and condensed matter physics. Additionally, students can enroll in MIT courses in more applied fields such as mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, and materials science. Students interested in engineering can also take a wide range of courses at the nearby Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, which offers Certificate in Engineering Studies to Wellesley students who have completed a specific number of courses in engineering design, materials engineering, bioengineering, electrical computer engineering, mechanical engineering, or engineering systems.
Students considering the possibility of majoring in Physics or Astrophysics should, if possible, elect physics in their first year. Students wishing to discuss their current or future programs in physics should consult the Department Chair.