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Kansas Wesleyan University

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Learn the fundamental laws of physics, develop your passion for knowledge and innovation, and discover how to apply what you are learning. Physics is the study of how the world works. It is the science that seeks to understand the laws of nature, and the relationship between energy and matter. Physics encompasses the study of the universe from the largest galaxies and black holes to the smallest subatomic particles. It is the basis of many other sciences, including chemistry, oceanography, seismology and astronomy, and can be applied to biology or medical science.

Why Study Physics at KWU?

Physics majors at KWU have the opportunity to study in small classes, allowing them to be known by the faculty members and receive individualized instruction and mentoring for their educational path and career choices. Students also have the opportunity to get involved in the Math and Physics Club, where they can acquire leadership skills and develop their networking abilities.

Why can you do with a Physics Degree?

Experience in physics teaches students how to analyze situations logically and with a problem-solving approach. Basic physics can be applied to most other fields of science.

Students with a physics degree have gone on to pursue graduate studies in:

  • Physics
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Medicine
  • Law
  • Education

This program is offered:

  • On Campus

About the Physics Program

Major Requirements

Core Requirements

The student must take all of the following course:

  • CHEM 123 General Chemistry I
  • CHEM 124 General Chemistry II
  • MATH 145 Calculus I
  • MATH 245 Calculus II
  • MATH 246 Calculus III
  • MATH 310 Elementary Differential Equations
  • PHYS 165 Data Science
  • PHYS 221 General Physics I
  • PHYS 222 General Physics II
  • PHYS 227 Modern Physics
  • PHYS 250 Physics Seminar
  • PHYS 265 Scientific Programming
  • PHYS 321 Classical Mechanics
  • PHYS 340 Advanced Physics Laboratory I
  • PHYS 440 Advanced Physics Laboratory II
  • PHYS 486 Physics Capstone I
  • PHYS 496 Physics Capstone Project

Traditional Physics Concentration Requirements:

The Traditional Physics Concentration is a comprehensive study of physics. It is ideal for students who want an in-depth understanding of the field of physics and students who are planning to attend physics graduate programs. In addition to the core courses, student must take all of the following course:

  • PHYS 260 Circuit Analysis & Electronics
  • PHYS 325 Thermodynamics
  • PHYS 335 Electromagnetic Theory
  • PHYS 425 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
  • Select two of the following recommended courses or other upper division physics courses (courses must be at a 300 or 400 level).
  • PHYS 323 Optics
  • PHYS 485 Special Topics

Applied Physics Concentration

The Applied Physics concentration is intended for students to develop mastery in physics while gaining practical expertise in a complementary field such as biology, chemistry, environmental studies, or computer studies. The concentration is designed to be flexible and allows for diverse career paths in areas such as biophysics, medical physics, material physics, surface physics, environmental physics, and computational physics. Electives for this concentration should be selected in consultation with a physics advisor.

In addition to the core courses, students must take the following course:

PHYS 260 Circuit Analysis & Electronics

Select six credit hours of the following recommended courses or other upper division physics courses (courses must be at a 300 or 400 level).

  • PHYS 323 Optics
  • PHYS 325 Thermodynamics
  • PHYS 335 Electromagnetic Theory
  • PHYS 425 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
  • PHYS 485 Special Topics

Select fifteen hours of STEM courses from a single department (See Physics Advisor for a list of suggested courses). At least nine hours must be at the 300/400 level.

  • BIOL/ESRS *** Electives
  • CHEM *** Electives
  • COMP *** Electives

Engineering Physics Concentration

Engineering Physics is the use of physics concepts and skills to solve engineering problems. Graduates in this field pursue careers in a variety of industrial or business settings including artificial intelligence, chemical engineering, computer vision, electronics, financial engineering, aerospace technology, nanotechnology, neural engineering, and quantum information. This concertation is designed to have the physics courses completed at KWU and the engineering courses completed at a Dual Degree Engineering partner institution.
In addition to the core courses, students must take all of the following course:

  • COMP 160 3D Design, Digitizing, and Printing
  • PHYS 323 Optics
  • Select two of the following recommended courses or other upper division physics courses (courses must be at a 300 or 400 level):
  • PHYS 260 Circuit Analysis and Electronic Laboratory
  • PHYS 325 Thermodynamics
  • PHYS 335 Electromagnetic Theory
  • PHYS 425 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
  • PHYS 485 Special Topics

Complete an additional fifteen hours of engineering courses from a dual degree engineering partner school or from a program holding ABET Certified by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC). At least nine of the fifteen hours must be at the 300/400 level. Additional allowances must be approved by a faculty member of the physics department.

Engineering Dual Degree 3+2

The 3+2 Engineering Dual Degree Program is an attractive alternative to traditional engineering curricula, offering students the opportunity to earn a liberal arts degree from Kansas Wesleyan University and an engineering degree from the School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL).

This program prepares students to become liberally educated engineers who can think critically, solve complex problems and demonstrate strong communication skills, while having the opportunity to become a licensed engineer.

After their junior or senior year at KWU, students have the option to participate in a 3/2 or 4/2 program in which they enter WUSTL to earn a bachelor’s degree in Engineering, or to participate in a 3/3 or 4/3 program in which they earn a master’s degree in Engineering.
Students are required to maintain a 3.25 GPA, both in the sciences and overall, and to complete the required courses.

Programs of study include:

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • System Science & Engineering

The KWU liaison for this Washington University dual degree program is Dr. Kristin L. Kraemer, Associate Professor of Physics. Students interested in knowing more about this program may contact Dr. Kraemer directly at [email protected] or by calling (785) 833-4466.

Science and Technology Minor

Science and Technology minor – 18-19 credit hours

Students will take one course from each of the three subject areas in science:

Life Sciences:

  • BIOL 110 General Biology OR BIOL 102 Environmental Awareness

Physical Sciences:

  • CHEM120 Introductory Chemistry or CHEM 123 General Chemistry I or PHYS118 Introduction to Physical Science or PHYS 221 General Physics and Lab

Earth and Space Science:

  • PHYS 145 General Geology or PHYS118 Earth-Space Science or NSCM133 Descriptive Astronomy

Students will choose (6) six hours from statistics, the Computer Studies Department or from a related technology-rich application. Only four hours of application courses will count towards the minor. The requirements may be met from any of the following:

  • A Statistics Course
  • Any courses from the Computer Studies Dept.
  • Technology-related courses (with approval from the Computer Studies Dept.)

Physics Minor Requirements

Note: MATH246 and 310 are required prerequisites for many of the Physics Courses.

The student must take all of the following course:

PHYS 221                      General Physics I

PHYS 222                      General Physics II

PHYS 227                     Modern Physics

PHYS 340                      Advanced Physics Laboratory I

Two Upper-Level Physics Electives