Division I Chair: M. Saderholm


Program Chair: M Veillette (Fall 2016), T. Hodge (Spring 2017)


Faculty: T. Hodge, T. Messina, and M. Veillette




Courses: PHY Courses


Major/Minor Requirements: Physics B.A.Physics Minor


The Physics program offers a rigorous, comprehensive curriculum that is designed to (a) prepare students to enter graduate schools or private industry en route to careers as professional physicists; (b) provide a liberal arts degree to students who are interested in careers for which a background in physics is advantageous, such as engineering, medicine, computer science, and secondary science teaching; and (c) provide service courses for majors in other sciences, including chemistry, pre-medicine, technology, and agriculture.  Our courses introduce students to the nature of scientific inquiry, grounded in problem solving that calls on both practical and quantitative reasoning skills. We are committed to the idea that students should conduct research as part of their undergraduate curriculum, both on campus and at other research institutions.

It is our mission to:

  1. Encourage students to become broadly educated in the liberal arts, including the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, mathematics and technology.
  2. Promote an understanding of and appreciation for the concepts, principles and methods of physics.
  3. Create a supportive academic environment in which students can develop both a fundamental knowledge of physics and the quantitative skills necessary to apply that knowledge.
  4. Provide an opportunity for students to explore the natural world through experimentation and to develop skills in the observation, analysis, and interpretation of experimental data.
  5. Encourage students to participate in significant research and internship experiences both on- and off-campus.
  6. Help students understand the connections between physics and other disciplines and provide opportunities for students to participate in interdisciplinary study.
  7. Help students develop skills in communicating the concepts and principles of physics to a wider audience. 

A strong background in Physics is essential in any Engineering field, so the Program also offers a dual-degree 3-2 Engineering Program through which students can become certified engineers. The interdisciplinary Applied Science and Mathematics major (see separate program in this section of the Catalog & Student Handbook) is recommended for students planning to pursue the dual-degree program. In this program, a student attends Berea College for three to four years, and then completes the Engineering degree at the University of Kentucky (Lexington).

In addition to supporting students' achievement of the Aims of General Education, the Physics Program seeks to assist students in meeting the following learning goals and associated learning outcomes:

Physics Student Learning Goals & Outcomes

Learning Goal 1: Develop an Intermediate Knowledge of Physics

Learning Outcome 1.1: Learn the Basics of Physics

Demonstrate knowledge of the concepts, principles and methods of physics.

Learning Outcome 1.2: Enhance Further Knowledge in Physics

Read, analyze, and summarize primary sources in physics, astronomy, and related disciplines.

Learning Outcome 1.3: Enhance Knowledge in Different Branches of Physics

Demonstrate a working knowledge of the fundamental concepts, theories and problems in classical mechanics, thermal physics, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics.

Learning Goal 2: Quantitative Problem Solving Skills

Learning Outcome 2.1: Correlate Mathematics and Physics Problems

Demonstrate appropriate skills in mathematical and computational techniques and their applications to physics problems.

Learning Outcome 2.2: Conceptualize Real World Problems

Demonstrate the ability to analyze and solve contextually-rich, real world problems in physics using appropriate mathematical and computational techniques.

Learning Goal 3: Scientific method and Experimentation

Learning Outcome 3.1: Experimentation

Conduct experimentation as a way to explore the natural world.

Learning Outcome 3.2: Enhance Skills in Physics

Demonstrate skills in the observation, analysis, and interpretation of experimental data.

Learning Outcome 3.3: Conduct Scientific Experiment

Design, construct, and carry out a scientific experiment and report on the results through both written and oral communication.

Learning Goal 4: Physics in a Liberal Arts Context

Learning Outcome 4.1: Articulate Connections between Physics and other Disciplines

Identify and articulate the range of connections between physics and other disciplines and to participate in opportunities for interdisciplinary study.

Learning Outcome 4.2: Interpretation of Historical Developments in Physics

Interpret historical developments in physics within the wider context of the liberal arts.

Learning Goal 5: Relationship of Physics to Real World Experience

Learning Outcome 5.1: Participate in Research Experiences

Participate in significant research experiences both on- and off-campus.

Learning Outcome 5.2: Demonstration of Physics to Others

Demonstrate skills in communicating the concepts and principles of physics to a wider audiences.

Physics Course Sequencing Table:

Please be aware that the table below represents current planning and is subject to change based on faculty availability and student interest.  It is not meant to represent any guarantee to the student that the courses will be offered in the term in which they are currently planned.

Course Fall 16 Spring 17 Fall 17 Spring 18 Fall 18 Spring 19 Fall 19 Spring 20
PHY 111 X   X   X   X  
PHY 127 X X X X X X X X
PHY 128 X X X X X X X X
PHY 130 X   X   X   X  
PHY 217                
PHY 218                
PHY 221   X   X   X   X
PHY 222        
PHY 225                
PHY 315                
PHY 316                
PHY 320   X   X   X   X
PHY 321 X     X   X  
PHY 330        
PHY 335      X      X
PHY 341  X   X   X   X  
PHY 365     X   X   X  
PHY 386   X            
PHY 460   X     X  
PHY 481     X       X  
PHY 482       X       X
PHY 485           X    
PHY 492   X   X   X   X