Physics, BA

Degree: Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Major: Physics


Program Overview

The mission of the Bachelor of Arts degree with a Major in Physics is to provide an education in fundamental areas of physics, including classical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, thermal physics/statistical mechanics, and laboratory, data analysis and computational skills, while offering maximum flexibility to pursue other interests. Compared to our B.S. degree, there are 27 fewer required credits of physics courses, including 3 fewer advanced laboratory courses. This makes the B.A. degree particularly attractive to students who wish to combine a study of physics with the pursuit of other interests or customize their physics degree with courses of their own choosing. Such students often complete a second major in the arts, humanities or social sciences and they may apply to a professional program in medicine, law or business after completing their B.A. Understanding the scientific enterprise can be crucial in business, finance, medicine, law, the media, literature, the arts, general education, government, and any number of other pursuits.

The required physics courses provide exposure to a broad range of physical phenomena as well as training in the scientific method, techniques of problem solving, data analysis, quantitative approaches to physical problems, and experimental procedures.  Although less intense than the B.S. program, the B.A. program can, with a judicious choice of electives, provide an excellent preparation for graduate study in physics. At the same time, a reduced requirement for technical courses in the physics B.A. program provides an opportunity to explore other disciplines in depth. 

The freshman year is very similar for B.A. and B.S. students, the only differences being that the B.A. student has a wider choice of non-physics science electives and may choose to take the introductory physics and math courses designed for life science students. B.A. majors who choose to do their capstone through the Department of Physics have worked on a wide variety of topics with mentors from departments across campus and even off-campus.

Teacher Licensure

This program offers a special option for undergraduate students who wish to pursue this major and a career in teaching. The Teacher Education Program prepares CWRU students to receive an Ohio Teaching License for grades K-12 (Multi-Age) or grades 7-12 (Adolescent to Young Adult (AYA)) depending on major area of study. Students declare a second major in education—which involves 36 hours in education and practicum requirements—and complete a planned sequence of major content coursework within the context of this major. The program is designed to offer several unique features not found in other programs and to place students in mentored teaching situations throughout their teacher preparation career. This small, rigorous program is designed to capitalize on the strengths of CWRU’s departments, its Teacher Education Program, and the relationships the university has built with area schools.
For the subject area requirements for teacher licensure, please visit the program page for the Teacher Education, BA.

Undergraduate Policies

For undergraduate policies and procedures, please review the Office of Undergraduate Studies section of the General Bulletin.

Accelerated Master's Programs

Undergraduate students may participate in accelerated programs toward graduate or professional degrees. For more information and details of the policies and procedures related to accelerated studies, please visit the Office of Undergraduate Studies section of the General Bulletin.