Degree Type Bachelor of Science
Academic Division The College
The Physics Program at Washington and Lee University prepares students to discover new knowledge and refine current ideas for the advancement of society. Building upon a foundation in theory and concepts, students apply critical thinking to analytical, computational, and experimental methods, which fosters in them a universal approach that promotes success in any field.

Why Study Physics?

Physics is crucial to understanding the world around us, the world inside us, and the world beyond us. It is the oldest, most basic and fundamental science. Through completion of the program, our physics majors will:

  • Apply fundamental physics theory and concepts.
  • Integrate fundamental physics concepts to comprehend advanced topics.
  • Simulate and model physics problems using mathematical and computational methods.
  • Gain proficiency with instrumentation, equipment, and hardware employed in physics experimentation.
  • Process data, identify trends and interpret results from physics measurements or simulations.
  • Design and conduct physics experiments.
  • Demonstrate awareness of current lines of inquiry in physics or related interdisciplinary areas.
  • Identify valid technical resources and extract relevant information.
  • Communicate scientific information through written and oral presentations for either technical or general audiences.
  • Articulate the role of physics in society.

Opportunities for Students

Research with faculty on campus: Students work with faculty on research projects during the year for credit, or over the summer for credit and paid stipend.

Research opportunities and internships: Students are encouraged and supported by faculty to participate in research and internship summer programs outside of W&L. Our students routinely participate in National Science Foundation-funded programs at various research universities, as well as at NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and
CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research). The department website maintains a listing of off-campus research opportunities.

Intro Physics TAs: Physics, Engineering, and Integrated Engineering majors
(or sophomores by invitation who intend to major) who meet the minimum requirements can apply to become a teaching assistant for the Introductory Physics labs.

Conferences: Our research students often present their work at the American Physical Society National Conference and other national and international conferences. For example, our students participated at conferences in Seoul, South Korea, Madrid, Spain and Lyon and Paris, France.

Publications: We are very proud to have our students as co-authors. Our research students publish in prestigious journals such as Physical Review A, Physical Review E, Physica A, and the Journal of Statistical Mechanics.

Joel Kuehner

Department Head

Tanya Bennett

Administrative Assistant

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