Department of Physics & Astronomy

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An integrative field whose influence has led to many of the world's greatest scientific and technological discoveries, physics is a rewarding major offering diverse career opportunities.

At Baldwin Wallace, it is a comprehensive and versatile program with dedicated faculty vested in your personal and professional success.

The major offers flexibility. You can earn a bachelor's degree or follow a pre-engineering 3/2 format that enables you to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from BW and a Bachelor of Science degree from an engineering school

It features small class sizes and individual attention. Coupled with rigorous studies and extensive laboratory experiences, the program offers excellent preparation for postgraduate studies and employment.

Mathematics and science courses provide a strong foundation for learning to address topics and questions in a systematic way. You'll employ logic, theory and creativity to solve complex problems.

Lectures, laboratories, internships and independent studies enable you to explore physics principles and their applications. You'll be both challenged and intrigued as you probe real-world topics.

In the lab, you'll have access to equipment that enables you to gain a comprehensive study of computational physics, electronics, modern physics, energy conversion, optics and more.

Pre-Engineering 3/2 Program

Combining the rigor of engineering coursework with the benefits of a liberal arts-focused education is at the core of BW's Pre-Engineering Program. Upon satisfactory completion of the three-year pre-engineering program at BW and additional two years at an engineering school, you can receive a Bachelor of Arts degree from BW and Bachelor of Science degree from the engineering school. BW has affiliations with Case Western Reserve University and Columbia University. Another option is to complete a BS science major at BW and then transfer to an engineering school for additional studies.

Interested in Becoming a Teacher?

If you would like to become a science teacher, BW has an outstanding teacher education program.

Gain an Edge for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, GRE

Because it builds strong analytical, problem-solving and communication skills, physics offers excellent preparation for the entrance exams required for law, medicine, business, computer science and engineering schools as well as other disciplines. Students interested in these career areas can benefit from majoring or minoring in physics.

Career Opportunities

  • Engineering
  • Research and development
  • Technology
  • Acoustics
  • Medicine
  • Law
  • Teaching
  • Finance and business fields


Physics is a comprehensive and rigorous program offered as a major and minor.

Through its study, you'll learn to think critically, to become rigorously grounded in fundamental scientific principles, and to apply both disciplined and creative habits of inquiry to your work. You'll gain skills in analytical thinking, problem-solving, quantitative reasoning and communication.

Baldwin Wallace offers two types of degrees for physics majors:

  • Bachelor of Arts degree
  • Bachelor of Science degree

The BA physics program is for students who want to double-major in physics and another area, and probably won't pursue a career in physics. It allows maximum flexibility for students to pursue their interest in physics or astronomy and combine it with other academic interests – history, philosophy, music or other discipline.

The BS physics program is for students who plan a career in physics or a related field, such as mathematics or engineering. BW graduates of this program can enter the workforce directly in the areas of physics, technology, engineering or other science-related jobs. Many individuals attend graduate school in physics, chemistry, engineering, medicine, urban planning or other areas.

A pre-engineering program also is available that enables students to combine three years of study at BW with two additional years at an engineering school. Upon completion, the student earns both BA and BS degrees.

Course descriptions, requirements for the major and additional information can be found in the University Catalog.


Small class sizes, individual attention and faculty mentoring are at the core of BW's physics program.

Experiential learning bridges classroom study with real-world opportunities. You can enhance your studies through internships, co-curricular activities and other learning opportunities that include:

Internships/Field Experiences

BW's 20-minute proximity to Cleveland puts you within easy access to technology firms, corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. NASA's Glenn Research Center is only 10 minutes away.

Independent Study

Independent study offers students enrichment opportunities beyond the classroom for individualized and advanced study. Students work one-on-one with a faculty member.


BW's physics department offers impressive facilities that provide easy and open access to equipment, projects and consultation with faculty.

Student Clubs & Organizations

Personally and professionally rewarding, student organizations and activities foster skills in leadership and teamwork. One physics department organization is the Problem Solving Club. This group hosts competitions and promotes the advancement of problem-solving skills at BW and in the community.

Burrell Memorial Observatory

One of the finest college observatories in the area, the BW facility offers outstanding learning opportunities for students and the community. It was built in 1940 as a memorial for Dr. Edward P. Burrell, a widely known engineer who built some of the world's largest telescopes. It contains a 13-3/8-inch Warner and Swasey refracting telescope, display room and astronomy classrooms. Students taking classes there study astronomy as well as nature and properties of light, optics, heat, mechanics and more. Community open houses employing the telescope are held throughout the academic year. 

Physics major Gil Montague '15 made an impact at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral, Fla. After a summer internship, he was asked to return for another semester to do additional research. His work focused on a swarming robotics research project funded by the NASA/KSC Innovation Fund.

Joe Luchsinger '13, a physics and neuroscience major, set himself apart as a student by not only taking classes while at BW, but also by creating one. He worked with BW professor Dr. Edwin Meyer to create a college-level applied calculus course. This opportunity along with extensive research experiences and other accolades resulted in his acceptance as a MD-PhD student at Vanderbilt University (Nashville).

Senior Kaylee Yuhas studies starspots (sunspots on distant stars), has her own YouTube channel of instructional science videos and is the 2015 winner of the Dr. Jennie Hwang scholarship award.


At Baldwin Wallace, you'll experience personal and professional growth in a supportive community that challenges and inspires you to succeed.

BW graduates have gone on to impressive careers teaching at high schools and universities; working at major corporations, nonprofit and government agencies; and pursuing graduate and professional school studies at well-known schools.

Recent BW Physics majors are finding their success at:

Tom Iverson '15 has done optics research projects at BW in laser speckle interferometry and calibration of BW's telescope camera. He is attending the electro-optics graduate program at the University of Dayton.

Sean Anderson '15 did research on psychophysics of sound perception. He will be doing graduate study in the same field at the University of Wisconsin.

Anna Frashure '15 did an internship at Bendix studying possible use of a piezoelectric energy harvester to power vehicle sensors. She will be doing graduate study in engineering physics at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom.

Lauren Mims '15 is entering graduate study in automotive engineering at Clemson University.

Kelly Gabor '12 did acoustics research on the physics of musical instruments and is now studying computational fluid dynamics as a graduate student in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Akron.