Department of Physics and Astronomy

Physics is the scientific study of natural phenomena such as gravitation, electricity, magnetism and the nature of matter. The heart of physics is the effort to understand and predict what happens in nature, using reasoning inspired and tested by experiment. As an Agnes Scott physics student, you’ll acquire a general, flexible physics foundation in a collaborative, engaging and active learning environment.

If you’re interested in both physics and mathematics, you can pursue a mathematics-physics major offered in collaboration with the Department of Mathematics.

What will I study?
In this program, you’ll develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills in the classroom and laboratory. Courses cover introductory physics, the theory of motion, waves, electromagnetism, thermal phenomena, quantum physics, relativity, electronics and computers in physics and methods of experimentation.

Why should I study physics at Agnes Scott?

  • Internship and Research Opportunities
    Our students have contributed to research projects at these organizations among many others:

    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    • Emory University
    • Georgia Institute of Technology
    • Jet Propulsion Laboratory
    • University of Alaska Center for Atmospheric Research
    • University of Central Florida Laser Center 

  • Outstanding Facilities
    The 110,000-square-foot Mary Brown Bullock Science Center, with 65,000 square feet of teaching and lab space, is home to the physics, biology, chemistry and psychology departments. The building features extensive, modern instrumentation, faculty-student research laboratories, independent student-project laboratories and long-term observation areas. Full-time and part-time professors teach all physics labs, and all students have the opportunity for hands-on research and experimentation.

  • Generous Telescope Access for Astrophysics Majors
    You’ll have access to Agnes Scott’s uniquely-designed Bradley Observatory and Delafield Planetarium, home to the astronomy department. You’ll also regularly make remote observations with telescopes in Arizona and Chile through Agnes Scott’s membership in the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA) consortium.

  • Extracurricular Involvement
    At Agnes Scott, learning happens outside the classroom too. You can join the Society of Physics Students, which holds events and activities promoting physics to the campus and general public. Many students are involved in the Astronomy Club which hosts viewing parties and other activities throughout the year.

What can I do with this degree?
With a degree in physics, you will be prepared for professional work or graduate study in physics, astronomy or engineering. As a graduate, you can:

  • Work in an industrial, government or university laboratory
  • Work in the imaging sciences
  • Work at medical or pharmaceutical corporations
  • Work as an engineer
  • Work at the Department of Defense
  • Work with the general public at a science center or museum
  • Pursue certification as an elementary or high school teacher
  • Attend graduate school to become a college professor or researcher
  • Attend graduate school to become a researcher in industrial, government university laboratories

For more possibilities, visit the Society of Physics Students site.