Bachelor in Physics

Greenville University

Program Description

Bachelor in Physics

Greenville University

Physics attempts to develop a basic understanding of all forms of matter and energy. Today’s society needs persons trained in physics in order to maintain a high level of technology in our society. Physics uses mathematical techniques to describe processes and develops new ideas that are given to engineers for implementation. The Physics Department strives to give the student an understanding of the basic physical principles and show how these principles are adapted to many types of employment opportunities in our society.

Greenville College

For those majoring in physics, the department is prepared to meet the needs of three groups: students who plan to teach high school physics, students who plan to go on to graduate school in physics, and students who expect to go to work in a government or industrial laboratory following graduation. Students may choose to complete either a B.A degree or a B.S. degree. Students qualifying for the B.A degree must fulfill the Foreign Language requirements as outlined in the General Education guidelines. Students qualifying for the B.S degree must complete 4 - 8 credit hours of a practicum centered on a research experience.

The prospective high school teacher should plan to complete a major of ten courses before the semester of teaching experience. The additional coursework includes one semester of PHY 402 Senior Physics Lab and PHY 350 Science Curriculum Projects.

Students planning to enter graduate school in physics should take the same curriculum as the prospective high school teacher through the junior year. During their senior year, students engage in independent study with the guidance of their professors. Part of this independent study should include laboratory investigation of a research nature. Currently, the department offers research experience in atomic and nuclear physics. Students may engage in on-campus work with faculty using the department’s ion accelerator and other major equipment. Students may also become involved with the research Greenville College is doing in collaboration with the Gammasphere group at Argonne National Lab. Another option is to participate in the NSF-sponsored REU program which provides summer research experiences for undergraduates at various sites off-campus. Students who choose an REU for their practica credit should participate in this program the summer prior to their senior year.

Students interested in working in government or industrial laboratories should complete the core curriculum. During the senior year, the program will be independent in nature. It will differ from the graduate school-bound student preparation in that their independent work will be less theoretical and shall include shop and laboratory techniques as well as special laboratory projects.

Greenville College offers an Engineering 3/2 program through a cooperative agreement with two top-notch engineering schools; the University of Illinois and Washington University in St. Louis. This five-year program results in a bachelor of arts from Greenville and a bachelor of science in Engineering from the cooperating school. Successful completion of Greenville’s engineering program, with an appropriate GPA, guarantees admission to top-quality engineering schools for the remaining two years. Check the index under Engineering 3/2 for curriculum information.

Graduates of the physics program have gone into one of the three careers as outlined above. About one-third have gone into high school and college teaching, and one-third have taken positions in government or industrial laboratories. Over half of the graduates have taken graduate work in physics and one-sixth have completed Ph.D. programs. A study of physics majors during the years 1974-2004 indicates 81 graduates, all of whom entered graduate school or obtained employment in their chosen field.

All three introductory courses are calculus based. Students may enroll in PHY 120 and MTH 115 Calculus I concurrently. Concepts involving calculus are developed early in the PHY 120 textbook and in the course so students can handle the topics that are discussed. Those students with high school physics as a background start the physics sequence with PHY 120. Physics majors, pre-engineers, and prospective secondary school teachers should complete the entire three-course physics sequence.

Physics Major

The physics major requirements include 33-37 credits in physics and 26 credits in chemistry, computer science, and mathematics. The physics major can lead to either a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree.

Physics Major Overview

Physics as a discipline is central to all the natural sciences. Its applications are evident in all the technological advances in our present-day society. Students will find our physics major excellent preparation for graduate school or for certification in teaching at the mid-school and secondary levels.

Physics is a natural science that strives to accurately explain matter and energy at a very fundamental level. Mathematics is the primary language used in the field to communicate concepts that qualitatively and quantitatively describe natural phenomena, which is not only responsible for physical, but also chemical and biological processes.

Physics is strictly an experimental science, which means that ideas come solely from experimentation and observation. Physics Majors at GC will honor the boundaries of physics, but also be encouraged to step outside and appreciate and acknowledge God's handiwork.

Entrance Requirements

Greenville College admits students who desire to achieve a liberal arts education in an evangelical Christian context. Members of this community are either committed to Christ or are sympathetic to the Christian perspective.

Applicants are evaluated by consideration of their academic record, test scores, references, interviews, and participation in extracurricular activities. To be considered for admission, students must submit the following:

  • A completed Application for Admission, including full responses to the application essays
  • High School Transcripts
  • College Transcripts (if the student has attended any colleges previously)
  • ACT or SAT scores (required only of entering freshmen and transfer students with fewer than 30 college credits)
  • References (only if requested by the Admissions Committee)

The Admissions Office reviews each file individually, so all students who desire to study at Greenville College should complete the application process. However, the Greenville College Faculty have established guidelines by which admission decisions are generally made, which are:


  • Completed a college preparatory curriculum in high school
  • Ranked in the top 50% of the high school class
  • ACT composite of 18, or SAT (Math + Critical Reading) of 860
  • High School GPA of at least 2.25/4.0


  • Completed at least 12 transferable college credits
  • College GPA of at least 2.25/4.0

Note: If a student has completed fewer than 30 college credits, then the high school record and test scores are also used to determine admission.

Note: If a student is not a native English speaker, then the college will consider the TOEFL in lieu of the ACT or SAT for a freshman and may require the TOEFL for a transfer student.

An exact course distribution is not required, but the College recommends at least eleven of the minimum sixteen units earned be in college preparatory subjects. It is highly recommended that entering students have:

  • four years of English in high school
  • one year each in algebra and geometry
  • two years of foreign language
  • at least one year of laboratory science
  • one year of American history.

However, each candidate will be evaluated on the basis of the individual credentials presented to the College in support of the application.

*Special Note: A student pursuing an education degree with Greenville College who submits a composite score of 22 on the ACT (the composite score must include the writing portion of the test) will be able to use their composite ACT in lieu of the TAP/Illinois Basic Skills test. Note that the ACT composite score must be submitted during the admission process to Greenville College.

Greenville College admits students on a rolling basis, so there is no specific application deadline. Students receive notification of admission within two weeks after their admission file is complete. The Admissions Committee reserves the right to request a personal, on-campus interview with an applicant before making the final admissions decision.

Greenville College has the right to refuse admission or readmission for any student at its discretion. The college does not discriminate in its educational programs or activities on the basis of handicap, race, creed, color, sex or national origin which is in full compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the laws of the State of Illinois.

Career Opportunities

  • Graduate/ Ph.D. Work
  • Research
  • Architect
  • Clinical Scientist
  • Engineering
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated February 4, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2019
Full time
34,300 USD
Undergraduate Costs for 2016-17.
USA - Greenville, Illinois
Start date : Sept. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2019
USA - Greenville, Illinois
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info