A professional physicist might be engaged in anything from exploring the origins of the universe to manipulating atoms for tomorrow’s computer chips. Physics majors are problem-solvers who can create and utilize quantitative models of real-world systems. When these skills are combined with other fruits of a high-quality liberal arts education, the physics graduate is well equipped to become a “competent giver” in our world.
At Eckerd College, an institution with less than two thousand students, the atmosphere and environment allow individuals to flourish in a small-group cohesive environment. We typically graduate three to five physics majors a year and usually one or two of them are transfers who were “lost in the shuffle” at larger institutions. The coursework is rigorous, yet flexible; upper-level classes have typically five to eight students and even the introductory physics classes has only about twenty. The faculty-student interaction is thus elevated: more office hours, smaller seminars, discipline get-togethers, they all provide the student opportunity to assert themselves and strengthen the Eckerd physics community at the same time. Students are assigned a faculty mentor who help them design their course plan and answer questions. This process has fluidity as many students chat on an informal basis with their faculty mentor on a weekly basis. We also believe in the importance of research experience. Through both internal and external grants we are able to provide research opportunities to many of our students over the summer. This research often continues for coursework credit during the academic year.
The physics program produces fewer graduates than some other majors. But our physics graduates tend to stand out in their professional lives. We are extremely proud of their record, and equip our current and future students with the same level of preparation, so that we can be equally proud of their future accomplishments. If you have any questions about the Physics discipline please feel free to contact us — the more you tell us about your situation the better. We would be happy to talk on the phone, arrange a campus visit, facilitate communication with present students and alumni. We hope to hear from you soon!