The Physics major incorporates a wide variety of subject areas, which while broad, constitutes a core physics curriculum. Every faculty member teaches many topics at many levels (from introductory physics for undergraduates and for post-baccalaureates, to majors introductory level to advanced to graduate level courses).
Each tenured and tenure-track faculty member also runs a robust and engaging research program which gives our majors the opportunity to gain valuable laboratory and social skills for navigating potential future careers in science, particular one in which is heavily under-represented by women. The research areas include astrophysics, atomic and molecular physics, condensed matter physics and nanomaterials, plasma physics, and string theory. The major also has connections to a number of combined degree programs in engineering allowing those interested in such fields to complete multiple degrees in an accelerated fashion and get a jump-start on careers in engineering.
In recent years Bryn Mawr College has averaged nine physics majors per year, approximately three percent of the graduating class. This is nearly 50 times the national average for women graduating with undergraduate physics degrees in the United States. Historically, Bryn Mawr has been among the top schools including both liberal arts and research-level universities, for producing physics graduates and generating a pipeline into graduate physics work or physics/science-related fields outside of academia. Our alumni have gone on to a wide variety of careers including physics professors, medical professionals, and researchers.
The inclusion of a graduate program at Bryn Mawr adds an extra educational dimension for both our physics majors and graduate students. The undergraduates have an opportunity to work with and learn from students at a graduate level, but one closer to them than the faculty. Moreover, advanced majors have the opportunity to challenge themselves by taking graduate-level courses as part of their undergraduate education. Graduate students can also build their skills as mentors and teachers, when they provide welcome support to faculty teaching, in addition to research experience.
A sense of community and camaraderie is sought and cultivated through many events and activities including frequent colloquiums, Halloween and Holiday parties, field trips and social outings. At Bryn Mawr, physics is more than just a field—it is family.
In September 1998 the Department of Physics was awarded The Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring in "recognition of the department's excellence in mentoring underrepresented students and encouraging their achievement in science, mathematics, and engineering." In 2003 the National Task Force on Undergraduate Physics choose Bryn Mawr as one of 21 schools that exemplify best practices in creating thriving physics departments.
Our physics graduate program (AIP profile) offers graduate students academic excellence, exciting research opportunities, and competitive financial support in a distinctive environment where shared intellectual work thrives in a liberal arts college setting.