General Information (last updated December 7, 2021)

The Undergraduate degree programs described here are the most recent versions. Current CWRU students may follow the degree program in place when they first matriculated, assuming this is still possible, or they may switch to any more recent version of a degree program. Note that course substitutions can be made with a DPR correction form and the signature of one’s academic advisor.

Advice for Majors and Potential Majors in Physics – A collection of ‘Words of Wisdom’, advice to our majors from the department’s academic advisers.


Degree Programs

The BS degree in physics is traditionally taken by students interested in a career in physics research in government or industry, or in college- and university-level teaching and research.

Students who are interested in theoretical physics and who have a strong background in mathematics may consider applying for admission to a variation on the B.S. in Physics, officially a “B.S. in Physics with a Mathematical Physics Concentration.”

This concentration offers ideal preparation for biological research in physics graduate schools and industry, and is appropriate for other graduate departments such as biology, biophysics, and biomedical engineering, and as a medical school track.

In contrast to an applied mathematics degree or the B.S. in Physics with a Mathematical Physics Concentration, this is a synergistic, coherent, and parallel education in mathematics and physics.

This major allows students with strong interests in physics and in engineering to concentrate their studies in areas common to both of these disciplines. The B.S.E in Engineering Physics provides the basic tools for solving practical problems. The Engineering Physics major is appropriate for preparing students to pursue careers in industry, either directly after undergraduate studies or following graduate school in engineering or physics.

The B.A. degree with a Major in Physics is our most flexible degree program and is particularly attractive to students who wish to combine a study of physics with the pursuit of other interests. Often such students complete a second major in the arts, humanities or the social sciences.  A Secondary Major in Physics has the same course requirements as the BA; the only difference is that students from other CWRU schools do not need to worry about general College of Arts & Sciences requirements such as restrictions on breadth courses.

The Ohio Department of Education has certified two different programs for students who wish to teach physics at the high school level. One of these programs leads to certification to teach physics alone while the other leads to certification to teach both physics and chemistry.

A minor in physics appeals to students who have an interest in physics but intend to pursue a degree in some other field. If this other field is a technical discipline, it is likely that it already requires two or three of the courses needed for a physics minor.