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Physics Major?

Bob.Dylan.Bob.Dylan. Registered User Posts: 170 Junior Member
edited March 2010 in Carleton College
Short topic, but, how's the physics program here at Carleton? It's surprisingly difficult to find any sort of undergraduate physics rankings...
Post edited by Bob.Dylan. on

Replies to: Physics Major?

  • binglebingle Registered User Posts: 427 Member
    Short answer - the hard sciences, inc physics, are very strong at Carleton and especially good for women.
    From a post by Vossron in another forum last February -
    Here is the PhD production list over the most recent 10 year period for Physics/Astronomy. This data is particularly meaningful in a field like Physics where most serious career paths include doctoral study:

    PhDs and Doctoral Degrees: ten years (1994 to 2003) from NSF database
    Number of Undergraduates: ten years (1989 to 1998) from IPEDS database
    Formula: Total PhDs divided by Total Grads, multiplied by 1000

    Note: Does not include colleges with less than 1000 graduates over the ten year period

    1 California Institute of Technology 96
    2 Harvey Mudd College 64
    3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 29
    4 New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology 20
    5 Reed College 13
    6 Carleton College 13
    7 Princeton University 13
    8 University of Chicago 13
    9 Rice University 13
    10 Case Western Reserve University 9
    11 Harvard University 9
    12 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 9
    13 Swarthmore College 9
    14 Haverford College 8
    15 Stevens Institute of Technology 8
    16 Whitman College 8
    17 Grinnell College 7
    18 Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology 7
    19 Colorado School of Mines 7
    20 Yale University 6
  • dietcokewithlimedietcokewithlime Registered User Posts: 221 Junior Member
    Physics is among the best departments at Carleton. As far as PhD placement goes, Carleton physics majors do very very well (MIT, Cornell, Princeton, Rice, U of Washington, many others). There are usually a couple of research projects going on during the summer--sometimes involving flying out to observatories for astrophysics, from what I've heard--and some students do research with professors during the academic year as independent study. I think about two dozen students from each class major in physics, so it's a decently big department.
  • 11901190 Registered User Posts: 628 Member
    As dietcokewithlime mentions, there are an unusually large number of physics majors at Carleton - 26 in last years graduating class - a ridiculously large number by standards of the school's enrollment. By comparison, uni's like Hopkins and Columbia have similar total numbers of majors despite undergrad populations 2-3 times the size. Physics is a very strong department that places very well into top grad schools (where up to 2/3 of graduates end up).
  • fhqwgads2005fhqwgads2005 Registered User Posts: 944 Member
    I'm a current student considering the physics major. the physics profs I've had so far are all amazing people, great teachers, and great mentors. they have a very unconventional sequence for teaching physics, which makes things more interesting and forces students to truly think like a physicist by the time they reach higher level courses. it's impossible to get through the intro classes and not have a solid understanding of physics (beyond just solving quantitative problems). it's known on campus as one of the more difficult majors (sophomore year usually consists of a physics and a math class each term--with only 3 classes per term). if you go on their department website, you can see what majors have historically done after graduation:

    scroll down to the bottom of this page: http://apps.carleton.edu/curricular/physics/handbook05_06/advising_career/
  • 11901190 Registered User Posts: 628 Member

    As promised, revived thread. Hope it's helpful.
  • spratleyjspratleyj Registered User Posts: 582 Member
    Thanks... :)
  • notawastenotawaste Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Revived by a Carleton Physics major.
  • griffengriffen Registered User Posts: 1,033 Senior Member
    I am a HS junior and visited Carleton last week. The physics dept was having an informal lunch meeting because they had a new high speed video camera and a student had spent a few weeks playing with it. The student put together a presentation showing some capabilities of the camera. I was able to sit in and observe and I came away really loving the idea of studying physics at Carleton. The informal give and take between the students and professors makes for a really comfortable atmosphere to learn in.
  • jack63jack63 Registered User Posts: 613 Member
    A few comments. Reading over what Carleton Physics puts out, its accurate and their results are very good. They send many physics majors to top programs and they produce many PhDs. I think the Cambridge and Oxford in their list of graduate schools where there students go are Rhodes and Churchill scholars.

    A few points of warning. Their results vary. Compare 1997 to 2001, for example. It would be very interesting to see how Carleton Physics majors do after they receive the PhDs. Where do they finally end up? Physics, like most hard sciences, is extremely competitive. I've heard of some Carleton Physics majors stuck in an endless series of post-docs, visiting professor positions, and adjunct positions, but I've also heard of some Carleton Physics majors who do really well....get tenure track positions at top 20 research universities. I just don't know.

    I will also say that Carleton is good at hiring its own grads(with Phds) for both tenure track and visiting professor positions.
  • tangentialtangential Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Glad I found; just got my acceptance letter and am thinking of pursuing a major in physics. Thanks!
This discussion has been closed.