Interdisciplinarity in Physics
Choose your path
You will have a wide range of options for combining your interests with your study of physics and that of other disciplines. The concentrations in Astrophysics, Physics for Education, and Physics and Engineering are interdisciplinary by their very nature.
Double majors and chosen minors
Many of our physics students choose to minor in mathematics or do a double major in physics and math. Recently we have seen a number of students choosing to double major in physics and in computer science.
Student-Designed Interdisciplinary Majors and Minors
Beyond double majors and major and minor choices, you will have the opportunity to pursue interests and inquiries that span even broader fields of learning by designing your own major (SDIM). In this program a student maps out a course of study that is not represented by any of the established majors or minors at the College. The interdisciplinary course selection, timetable, and final project are designed in consultation with a faculty member in a related field to that of the proposed SDIM.
Here are some students who have done SDIMs with physics, astronomy and geophysics faculty advisers:
- A. Bell '09 completed an Student Designed Interdisciplinary Major in Environmental Studies and Geophysics. Her capstone senior project was titled "Environmental Fluid Mechanics and Hydrology.
- A. Cook '05 crafted an interdisciplinary minor in Planetary Studies/Astrobiology in which she studied the geology of planetary bodies, terrestrial biology and astronomy to create a minor tailored to her interests in planetary geology and the search for extraterrestrial life.
- L. Adom '03 created an SDIM in Atmospheric Studies and Meteorology by meshing courses from physics, math, chemistry, oceanology and meteorology from various departments at Connecticut College and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (located across the street from the College) to prepare her for graduate school in meteorology. Levenia's capstone senior presentation and paper were titled "A Guide to Short-Term Weather Forecasting."
Interdisciplinary academic centers
Another option for students is to couple a major in a particular field with study in one of five centers for interdisciplinary scholarships. Four centers award student certificates of achievement. The centers work with faculty across many disciplines to create a learning environment and programs of exploration that reach across departments and traditional courses of study.
Certificates are available from:
- Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology
- Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment
- Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy
- Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts
A fifth center, the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity, is the College's locus for research and teaching in the comparative study of race and ethnicity across the disciplines.
Doug Thompson, Department Chair
Box 5553, Dept. of Physics, Astronomy and Geophysics
270 Mohegan Ave.
New London, CT 06320