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Professor at the whiteboard drawing a formula


"We all cared about each other and helped each other succeed, and the professors went out of their way to make sure we were learning and learning well. There isn't a lot more you can ask of a professor than staying with you until 11 p.m. to help you work out a problem. Our professors would do that, and I think I'm speaking for all of my class when I say we loved them for it."  Ryan Barley, '12  

The Physics major provides knowledge of the physical laws of nature and experience applying these laws in the lab. You can also pursue advanced study in areas including electronics, solid state physics, astrophysics, and elementary particle physics.

Student photographing an eclipse   Photos of the eclipse

Ryan Barley and his solar eclipse photo


Why MCLA is Different

You work closely with faculty in both experimental and theoretical aspects of physics. Faculty specialties include astrophysics, relativity, low temperature, and elementary particle physics. In the laboratory, you gain hands-on experience sought by the technical community. In the classroom, you gain valuable problem-solving skills that aid you in any profession you choose. You also learn the place and importance of physics in our society.

MCLA offers these degrees:

Bachelor of Science (BS): The BS degree is designed for students who want to continue in physics or engineering after MCLA. If you want to pursue an advanced degree, such as a Masters or PhD, or if you want to pursue a career in research, this degree is for you.

Bachelor of Arts (BA): For a career in engineering, primary or secondary teaching, or a profession outside of physics such as law, pursue this degree. 

If you're interested in civil or mechanical engineering, consider our 3+2 program. Complete your first three years at MCLA with a 3.0 GPA or better, then complete your fourth and fifth years at UMass Amherst College of Engineering. Graduate with a BA from MCLA and a BSE from UMass Amherst. 

Students and professor performing an experimentThe physics department is a close-knit community. Our classes are small. Faculty and students gather weekly for pizza and conversation. You can often find our students working together or hanging out in the physics common room. 

You should definitely consider joining our vibrant chapter of the Society of Physics Students. Our chapter was recognized in 2012 as an Outstanding Chapter by the national SPS office. Also in 2012, MCLA inducted its first members into Sigma Pi Sigma, the national physics honors society. Be sure to check out the MCLA SPS Facebook page