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Undergraduate Programs

Physics Major


Program Overview

Physics is the science of matter and energy and interactions between the two, grouped in traditional fields such as acoustics, optics, mechanics, thermodynamics, and electro-magnetism, as well as extensions into modern physics and quantum mechanics.

Physicists are those who seek out "how things work" through the examination of the basic principles and phenomena of the universe.

Physics also relates to many other fields of study such as engineering, chemistry, biology, earth science, and mathematics.

Physics at Longwood

We offer two degree options:

  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

These options give students the freedom to choose a degree that best fits their interests.

The B.S. degree is for students wishing to pursue graduate study or careers in research, industry, teaching, or engineering.

The B.A. degree is essentially the same as the B.S. degree with the exception of additional courses in Humanities and Foreign Languages.

In addition to the two major options, the department offers a minor in physics for students with an interest in the field of physics. Students majoring in chemistry, biology, or mathematics should consider a minor in physics because it so closely relates to each of these sciences.



Dual-Degree Engineering Program

By taking part in this program, a student may earn two degrees in a total of five years. One of these degrees will be a B.S. in Physics from Longwood and the other will be an engineering degree (either a B.S. or an M.S. depending on the university) from one of our affiliated universities. We currently have agreements with Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, Old Dominion University, the University of Tennessee, and Christopher Newport University.

Advantages of the Program

  • Students will obtain two degrees in the same amount of time required for most students to obtain one degree; one of these may possibly be a Master's degree
  • Students will gain a solid foundation in physics in small classes and labs, all taught by accomplished physics professors
  • The combination of a liberal arts degree and an engineering degree will help in providing great flexibility in career choices throughout life
  • Students are not "locked in" to the major as would be the case in entering an engineering school directly; students may elect to change majors during their first or second year without a substantial loss of credit hours

Differences from the Physics Program

For the most part, it is only a matter of speed. Students in the dual degree program finish all required courses for the major in three years with the exception of 7 credit hours of engineering credit taken at the transfer institution which will transfer back to Longwood as part of the physics degree requirement. On the other hand, a normal physics major will take four years to complete the physics requirements and will take 7 credit hours of physics credit during their senior year to complete their major. The dual degree program requires careful planning since many of the required courses are available every other semester.

Students in the dual degree program transfer to their chosen university at the beginning of their fourth year of study. After consultation with an academic advisor at that institution, they will take appropriate engineering courses pertaining to their engineering major. This course work will transfer back to Longwood, fulfilling the remaining 32 hours for the Longwood degree. After their graduation from Longwood, students then return to their transfer university for an additional year of study to fulfill requirements for their engineering degree.

Several of the transfer institutions require additional courses not included in the physics major curriculum. For this reason, prospective students should decide on their transfer university destination as soon as possible (preferably no later than the second year of study).