General Information about Physics Degrees
Bachelor of Arts: The physics major who is preparing for secondary teaching will normally choose the Bachelor of Arts degree, including the certification requirements as outlined in the Education and Psychology section of the Walla Walla College Bulletin. The BA degree requires fewer credits in the major than the BS and requires a minor in some other area of study. It provides the opportunity for a student to obtain a strong foundation in physics as well as pursue an interest outside the areas of science and mathematics.
Bachelor of Science: The Bachelor of Science degree is designed to prepare the student for graduate study, careers in applied or basic research, or college teaching. It provides a strong background for graduate study in physics or related areas of electrical engineering, computer science, materials science, and environmental science. A minor in mathematics is automatically completed by fulfilling the mathematics requirements for this major. The BS degree should be chosen by students pursuing advanced study in experimental or theoretical physics.
Bio-Physics: The interdisciplinary major in biophysics should best fulfill the needs of the student who plans a career in medicine or who plans on research and the advanced study into the physics of living systems. It provides a stronger foundation for a career in molecular biology than does a degree in biology alone. Biophysics includes a strong mathematical preparation coupled with the development of problem solving skills and the understanding of fundamental physical processes through the physics course requirements. A number of students have used the biophysics degree as preparation for careers in medicine. It also provides a strong foundation for graduate study in biophysics and related areas such as environmental science, molecular biology, and physiology.
Minor in Physics: A minor is physics is most often taken by mechanical engineering majors or by someone preparing to teach at the secondary level.
What to take in high school: Students wanting to major in physics or biophysics should take as much mathematics and science at the secondary level as their schedules allow. Entering college with a strong foundation will facilitate fulfilling the college degree requirements. Physicists like to ask the "why" and "how do we know that" questions. They are committed to understanding physical phenomena from a very fundamental point of view. Asking questions about how and why things work the ways they do is thus an important tool for discovery of new principles and processes. A curiosity for understanding how things work is essential. Students majoring in physics generally have ACT and SAT scores in mathematics, science reasoning, and quantitative reasoning which are well above the 50 percentile level. Writing skills are also useful for laboratory and seminar reports. In science it is important for one to be able to communicate ideas clearly and concisely.
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Last update on September 20, 2010