Physicists strive to investigate and model nature in the most precise and fundamental ways possible. This has made physics a driving force in the continual scientific and technological revolutions that define the modern world. Our program offers rigorous training in the fundamentals of physics, from classical mechanics to quantum mechanics.
In addition to course work, students have the opportunity to perform research with faculty. This program prepares students for work or graduate studies in physics, astronomy, engineering, and other technical fields. Many students combine a degree in physics with studies in math, chemistry, or computer science to prepare for interdisciplinary technical fields.
It is extremely important to take the right courses in your first year so that you can graduate in a timely manner.
Through our engineering combined-degree program, you can major in physics at the University of Redlands and in engineering at Columbia University or Washington University St. Louis.
The Physics department offers both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Both degrees offer training in the fundamentals of physics, from classical mechanics to quantum mechanics. We strongly recommend students begin either major with General Physics I as early as possible (ideally, during their first semester). Four years from the beginning of the General Physics sequence is required to complete the requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree. The Bachelor of Arts degree can be completed in three years, but allowing four years is preferable. Students are required to have a 2.5 cumulative GPA in the General Physics (PHYS 231-233) and Calculus (MATH 121,122, and 221) sequences in order to declare a physics major.
For students who are interested in physics, but majoring in something else, we offer a physics minor.
Single Subject Teaching Credential
Students interested in teaching physics in high school or middle school can combine a physics degree with a single subject teaching credential. They will also have to pass the California Subject Exam for Teachers (CSET).
Advice to Incoming Students Interested in Physics
The Physics department offers both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Both majors offer training in the fundamentals of physics, from classical mechanics to quantum mechanics. The B.S. is specifically designed for students interested in staying in the field after graduation while the B.A. is more flexible for preparing for pursuing affiliated fields such as engineering.
We strongly recommend students begin either major with General Physics I (PHYS 231) and Calculus I (MATH 121) as early as possible. Ideally, you should take these two classes in the Fall of your first year, because it takes four years from the beginning of the General Physics sequence to complete the requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree.
Please note that General Physics I is offered during only the Fall semester, so a student would have to wait an entire year for it to be offered again. Also, only one section is offered (MWF 11-12:20 plus a choice of lab times). If this conflicts with your current First-Year Seminar, your advisor and the physics department chair, Eric Hill, can work with you to determine whether changing seminars would be recommended. If the course is full when you register, email the instructor, Eric Hill. We will do our best to accommodate all qualified students who are interested in the major.
Calculus I is a co-requisite for General Physics I, but if you've placed out of it, we strongly encourage you to enroll in the highest calculus course for which you are qualified (Calculus II and III are required for General Physics II and III.) If you place into Integrated Calculus I (MATH 118) or lower, the soonest you could take General Physics I and II would be next year which would still allow you to complete the Physics BA (or you may take comparable summer courses.) Since the math placement exam evaluates your preparation to take Calculus by testing your algebraic skills, particularly those associated with Algebra II, we strongly encourage you to practice the skills over the summer. There are many good sites that can help you review; for example Kahn Academy and ALEKS.
Suggested first-year courses for students interested in physics:
General Physics I (PHYS 231) AND lab (PHYS 231L)
Highest possible Calculus class (at least MATH 121)
General Physics II (PHYS 232) AND lab (PHYS 232L)
Highest possible Calculus class (at least MATH 122)
An additional course of interest
Students are required to have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 in the General Physics (PHYS 231-233) and Calculus (MATH 121,122, and 221) sequences in order to declare a physics major.
In cooperation with Columbia University and Washington at St. Louis, the Physics department also supports engineering combined degrees. The advice to incoming students interested in engineering is similar.
Program Learning Outcomes
Undergraduate physicists develop an appropriate knowledge of the foundations of the field, and ability to theoretically model and experimentally explore physical systems, and the ability to communicate scientific work and findings. By graduation, B.A. students are intended to develop to an advanced level in Communication and either Theoretical or Experimental.
Knowledge - Students will demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental principles and concepts of physics which include mechanics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, and quantum mechanics.
Theoretical-Analytical - Students will competently apply this knowledge and analyze physical systems by constructing mathematical models in which they identify the essential aspects of a problem, formulate a strategy for a solution, make appropriate approximations, evaluate the correctness of their solution, and communicate their work clearly.
Computational - Students will use basic computational techniques for modeling physical systems including those that don't have analytical answers.
Experimental - Students will systematically explore physical phenomena by setting up experiments, collecting and analyzing data, and interpreting their results.
Communication - Students will communicate physics concepts, processes, and results effectively, both verbally and in writing.
General Education Requirements
General Education is a broad description of the curriculum that embodies our commitment to a liberal arts education at the University of Redlands. Our general education conveys the range of fields of study, ways of thinking, and practices of scholarship and creativity that enable students to graduate as critical thinkers capable of innovatively and collaboratively adapting to challenges that come their way in the future.
Our general education is comprised of a Liberal Arts Inquiry (LAI) or Liberal Arts Foundation (LAF) curriculum.
Entering first-year students and transfer students arriving with fewer than 32 credits in Fall 2018 will follow the LAI curriculum.
All transfer and returning students with 32 credits or more (i.e., sophomores, juniors, and seniors) in Fall 2018 will follow the LAF curriculum.
Application Checklist - First-Year Student
The Common Application, including the personal essay and University of Redlands member questions
$50 application fee
Official transcripts from all secondary schools attended
One letter of recommendation from guidance/college counselor and/or the Common Application Secondary school report
One letter of recommendation from a teacher who can speak to your academic ability
Students whose native language is not English, cannot apply test-optional and may meet English proficiency by providing one of the following scores:
550 SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
21 ACT English and Reading Sections
TOEFL minimum 80iBT/550 paper based
IELTS minimum 6.5
iTEP minimum 3.9
Duolingo English Test (DET) minimum 105
Graduation from a secondary school in which the primary language of instruction is English
Certificate of Finances and proof of financial support