Willamette STEM majors?

Would love to hear any and all input from any current or past STEM (esp. math or physics) majors from Willamette University. Specifically…

How well did the program prepare you for a career or grad school?
What did you think about the STEM facilities?
Strength of teaching?
Pros/cons in Willamette versus a large university such as a UC?


I went from Willamette to a UC graduate program in chemistry and felt better prepared than many of the students in my classes who went to larger schools. I felt i had a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

I’m currently a student not majoring in anything STEM related however my roommate is majoring in Physics and has taken many Math classes. He really seems to enjoy the Physics program and the professors are great. In addition I would say all the students in the Math and Physics departments are very collaborative (as opposed to competitive). My roommate is almost always studying / working on problems with other classmates.

Hi, I am a current junior majoring in Environmental Science. Personally, I have enjoyed and grown a lot in every STEM course I have taken (CHEM 115, BIOL 125, plenty of ENVS courses, etc). One of my littles is a math major, and she talks highly of the professors she has taken classes with, and is often studying with students who share her classes. The only STEM department I have heard some negative remarks about has been biology, but even then I feel those may be mostly rumors after talking to actual biology majors around campus. The lab facilities are more than adequate in my opinion, and you will have the opportunity to apply to do research with professors over the summer or during the school year.

As a major positive, Willamette has extremely dedicated professors who make themselves easily accessible, especially within departments that have a hearth (chemistry, physics, CCM, environmental science, etc). Most professors leave their doors open for students to walk in beyond just their designated weekly office hours; each professor must have 2 hours consistently designated as office hours every week. In addition, I have had over half my professors offer a professor-led study session outside of class before every exam. Even professors I thought were tough or harsh would schedule one-on-one or small group meetings with students who wanted extra help but couldn’t make their office hours.

From what I have heard from my friends at OSU and PSU, they don’t have nearly as many opportunities to get help from professors outside of class at a small school like WU. There seems to be more interaction between students and with the professor in WU classes than at a large school. WU classes are smaller (generally 10-25 students, though some classes are as small as 5 while others can get as big as 35), and as such there is generally more opportunity for discussion about advanced topics.

On the opposite side, word gets around a lot at WU and you’ll see people you know often around campus (including people you may not want to see for one reason for another). I personally don’t mind that kind of social scene, but I know some of my friends went to a large college because they wanted a bigger pond, so to speak. There is a party scene, but it is way more laid back/small-scale than you would find at a large school (which was another big plus for me).

If you have the opportunity to visit campus, I would highly recommend sitting in on at least one STEM class to get first-hand experience of what a WU class looks like!