Physics is the study of the natural world, focusing on the fundamental nature of matter and energy, and interactions between the two. Physicists are engaged in understanding as much as they can about the workings of the universe, and the physics major at Manhattanville equips students to join this remarkable effort. However, training in physics develops skills in problem-solving, analysis, and applying knowledge that are essential to many disciplines and careers: not just scientific or industrial research but engineering, medicine, business and finance, economics, and the law. A Manhattanville physics major is equipped for all of these careers and more, while sharing the full benefits of a liberal arts education.
The Physics Department offers a unique major program that a student can realistically complete within three years. Students fulfill the major requirements by taking a series of courses in theoretical physics and completing an advanced laboratory course, finishing with a senior research symposium that gives students the chance to apply the knowledge gained through coursework to understanding current research and unsolved problems. An optional summer research internship provides opportunities for actual research at research facilities around the country to supplement the academic-year theoretical courses. The physics minor allows students with multiple interests to benefit from some training in physics as well. The minor can typically be completed in two years.
By combining the physics major with a second major in Physics Education, offered through the School of Education, graduates can qualify for certification as high-school physics teachers in New York State.
The Department also offers a variety of general-interest courses designed for non-science majors, in which particular topics (e.g. astronomy, sound and music, history and philosophy of scientific discovery) are explored as a way of understanding fundamental physics principles. At least one such course is offered every semester.
The Department encourages students with an interest in science to take College Physics I & II or University Physics I & II. College Physics is the non-calculus course designed to satisfy the requirements of pre-professional programs in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine. University Physics, for which calculus is either a pre- or co-requisite, covers similar material at a more advanced level and prepares the student for more advanced courses in physics and other natural sciences. For students in natural sciences, University Physics I & II are the recommended (although not always required) introductory physics courses.