Why Physical Sciences?

Students majoring in Physical Sciences will explore some of the fundamental processes in matter, energy, space, and time. How did the universe emerge? What is the structure of matter? What physical laws determine the properties of the matter that comprises our planet and its life forms? The major emphasises the ability to understand physical concepts deeply and to solve real world scientific problems, which necessitates clear critical thinking, mathematical reasoning, and empirical observation. The skills acquired while pursuing the major, including scientific research, technical problem solving, numerical simulation, and theoretical modelling, are attractive to employers in both scientific and non-scientific sectors. For those students who want to pursue further education, the major also offers excellent preparation for doctoral study in physics, astronomy, and chemistry, as well as for advanced degrees in engineering, biophysics, biochemistry, law, and medicine.

Learning Goals

  • Through introductory bridge courses we aim to instill foundational knowledge in chemistry and physics by building on the scientific inquiry skills taught in the Common Curriculum.
  • We aim to train our students in cross-disciplinary mathematical, computational, and experimental techniques that are valuable for both graduate school and future scientific employment. These skills and students’ content knowledge are deepened through early involvement in research projects and more advanced coursework in the major.
  • Through their coursework and research experiences, students will learn to apply critical reasoning to important questions in the discipline as well as real-world problems.
  • Students will gain scientific literacy, allowing them to search, read, and critique the scientific literature. They will also be trained in scientific communication through both oral and written assignments, and are particularly encouraged to present their research at conferences.
  • Students’ independence and scientific creativity culminate with their senior capstone project, where they will demonstrate mastery of the skills relevant to a particular research question, as well as their written and oral communication skills.