Degree Options

Physics Degree:
  • B.S. Degree (67 units)
  • B.A. Degree (55 units)
  • Minor (23 units)

View the College Catalog for a complete list of courses offered and degree requirements, as well as a sample schedule for a typical 4-year plan.

Description of the Major:

Physicists seek a fundamental understanding of the physical universe. The skills and knowledge gained in studying physics can be applied not just in research but in several applied disciplines as well. The major includes courses in mathematics ( the language of science) chemistry (for scientific breadth) and physics. In addition to theory courses, both labratory classes and hands-on research provide the practical training that is relevant to both graduate school or professional work in science and engineering and related fields. For students desiring greater breadth (or a double major) there is also the B.A. degree track that allows greater flexibility. Recent acquisitions of state-of- the-art instrumentation enrich students' experience in the laboratory. Opportunities exist for involvement in research.

Distinctive Features:

Beyond coursework the opportunity to participate in research is available to students in the department. Current research include opportunities in astronomy, experimental nuclear physics, and thin film superconductivity. Internships and summer research programs (both on campus and NSF sponsored programs at other institutions) are both available and encouraged.

Career Choices:

A physics degree provides a solid foundation for a great many careers besides that of research physicist including: science writing, patent law, software development, materials research, nuclear medical science, forensic science, museum education, engineering (mechanical, electrical, process, civil, aeronautical, etc.), medicine, technician, teaching (high school or college).

Engineering/Physics Degree
  • B.S. Degree (64 units)
  • B.A. Degree (55-56 units)
  • 3-2 Program (44 units)
  • Minor (23-24 units)

View the College Catalog for a complete list of courses offered and degree requirements as well as a sample schedule for a typical 4-year plan.

Description of the Major:

The rapid growth of scientific knowledge and its applications has generated a large demand for men and women well-trained in physics and engineering. Physicists seek a fundamental understanding of the physical universe. Engineers apply scientific knowledge to design and develop structures, machines, and products. Students may pursue the engineering physics major with an emphasis in either area. The physics emphasis stresses fundamental science and mathematics essential for graduate study or professional work in physics. The engineering emphasis, while not a formal engineering program, provides a strong conceptual base for an engineering career. In addition the "3-2" dual-degree program allows for a full engineering program.

Distinctive Features / 3-2 program:

In addition to pursuing the regular B.S. or B.A. degree offered in the engineering physics major, students have the option of combining the Westmont liberal arts and sciences curriculum with study at an engineering school. This program usually requires three years at Westmont and two years at an engineering school. Students receive both a formal engineering degree from the engineering school (such as Cal Poly SLO, Boston University, UCSB, USC, or Washington University) and a B.A. from Westmont. View a sample schedule for a typical 3-year plan here.

Career Choices:

Completion of the engineering physics degree enables students with good academic records to enter graduate study in physics or engineering. The engineering physics major also prepares students for a variety of careers such as medicine, law, secondary or college-level teaching, and church ministry. It develops their ability to think logically and analytically regarding the objective behavior of physical systems. Competencies developed in the engineering physics major also help students acquire specific technical skills needed in a variety of careers such as technical writing, patent work, geophysical or marine exploration, and medical technology.

Careers In Physics

Ever wonder what you could do with a physics, engineering/physics, or 3/2 engineering degree? Check out what former Westmont graduates from the Physics department have done, as well as other opportunities below. It may surprise you to find the variety of career options available.