Physics Major

Professor with a large telescope
The study of the universe, from the largest to the smallest possible scales, is the province of physics.

In studying physics, you explore the fundamental principles and mysteries that govern existence itself. The physics department at R-MC promotes active, engaged learning through research, study, and close collaboration between students and faculty.

Physics Curriculum

From the practical to the theoretical, the comprehensive physics curriculum explores everything from basic offerings in classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, relativity, and quantum physics, to courses in digital and analog electronics, solid state physics, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Special topics courses examine areas of particular interest, and advanced laboratories consider phenomena as diverse as physical optics, x-ray diffraction, spectroscopy, and radioactivity. The department also offers courses in astronomy and astrophysics and students may pursue a pre-engineering focus or an astrophysics minor.

Personalized Education

While offering the same broad scope of study you'd find at a larger research university, R-MC's physics program is student-focused, with a teaching faculty dedicated to working closely with each student. Unique opportunities to pursue in-depth research and hands-on experience include independent study, internships, and the option for physics majors to propose a year-long research project in their senior year (See the Physics Major Advising Supplement (PDF)). Recent investigations have included an automated detector to study diffuse solar insolation, an analysis of the frequency components of human voices as a prelude to computerized voice recognition, effects of radiation damage of high Tc superconductors, and a combined experimental and theoretical study of the Rubens' flame tube.

Beyond R-MC

Recent graduates have enrolled in physics, astrophysics, and engineering Ph.D. and master's programs at universities including Notre Dame, the University of California-Merced, VCU, George Mason, and Virginia Tech. Also among the department's alumni are a high school teacher, civil engineer, Naval staff scientist, and a police department crash investigator.