Physics is an extraordinarily cogent and exciting branch of science. It offers the liberal arts student the opportunity to study the physical world from the fundamental nature of matter itself to the far reaches of the known universe. It helps students understand what science is, how it works, what its limitations are, and enables them to evaluate new and varied information. Physics programs prepare the student for graduate school, for work in industrial and government laboratories or to teach physics in secondary schools. They also provide the training in physics and related areas for entrance to engineering, physical therapy, medical, dental and other professional schools. For nonscience majors, the processes used in learning physics help the student solve problems in many other areas. Using analytical techniques helps students to synthesize problems.
All department courses are taught in an interactive computerized learning environment where lecture and laboratory sessions are integrated with all the analytical software, microcomputer data-acquisition probes and digital video capture tools that make the study of physics a state-of-the-art activity.
Both written and oral communication skills are important to scientists. Mathematics is generally the language of physics. It is a symbolic form of communication that is manipulable within its own structure leading to new ideas. Written and oral communication are different, but equally important. Without them, applications and development of ideas will not take place. Thus, it is important that scientists, both students and professionals, develop communication skills to share their discipline with others. All physics courses, while not considered writing intensive in nature, promote the use of both oral and written communication skills in both formal and informal class work. This will be accomplished through laboratory reports, term papers, problem solutions and oral presentations.
The physics major is available at the College of St. Catherine through cooperation with ACTC consortium colleges. Courses not available on campus can be completed at ACTC colleges. A major in physics is a likely companion to the engineering degrees offered through the dual degree bachelor’s and master’s programs (see Pre-Engineering). A minor in physics is available through the Department of Physics at St. Catherine’s.
(Not all of the following courses are available at the College of St. Catherine.)
PHYS 111 Introductory Physics I (Calculus Based)
PHYS 112 Introductory Physics II (Calculus Based)
PHYS 225 Modern Physics
PHYS 321 Mechanics
PHYS 341 Electricity and Magnetism