Frequently Asked Questions
If I'm transferring from another college with PHYS 101 or equivalent, will this satisfy part of the the GUR requirement at Western?
Yes, if your equivalent course for PHYS 101 is at least a four-credit, one-quarter course with laboratory that covers some of the basic concepts of physics. Our PHYS 101/102/104 courses are for students with no previous physics background. Be sure to check with WWU Transfer Advising.
What other Physics/Astronomy courses will transfer to Western?
To find out what other Physics/Astronomy courses will transfer to Western, contact the Physics/Astronomy Advisor. We'll take a look at each of your courses on an individual basis.
Can I take an introductory Physics course sequence at Western?
Yes, there are two sequences: (i) PHYS 114, 115, 116 is an algebra-based, one-year sequence covering classical and modern physics; (ii) PHYS 161, 162, 163, 226, 224, 225 is a calculus-based, two-year sequence covering classical and modern physics.
How do I choose which introductory Physics course sequence to take?
Physics majors and Physics minors take the two-year, calculus-based sequence. Other majors that require the calculus-based physics typically require only PHYS 161, 162, 163, but you should check with your major department for which courses to take.
What can I do after graduation with a major in Physics/Astronomy?
A bachelors' degree in Physics/Astronomy can open a variety of doors for jobs in high-tech industries, government labs, and and preparation for graduate school. Recent Physics/Astronomy graduates have found rewarding, interesting positions in a variety of fields including software development, optoelectronics, engineering, failure analysis, and education, among many others. Many graduates have found that the skills acquired in our program have prepared them for further academic studies in Physics, Astronomy, Engineering, Patent Law, Medical Physics, Medicine, and Education to name a few.
When should I declare the major in Physics/Astronomy?
It is to your best advantage to declare the major as soon as you can, ideally no later than the end of your freshman year or as soon as you transfer to Western, in order to establish a plan of study, receive important information from the department, and get priority enrollment into required courses.
How do I go about declaring the major in Physics/Astronomy?
Contact the Physics/Astronomy Advisor at any time throughout the year to declare in person or by mail. Be sure to provide unofficial copies of your transcript(s). We will determine which courses you have already taken will be applied toward the major, and develop a plan of study for coursework remaining. If you're not sure which program option is for you, we can help.
When should I apply for graduation?
The general rule is: apply for graduation at least two quarters prior to your final quarter. For example, if you're graduating at the end of Spring Quarter, you'll need to apply for graduation during Fall Quarter. Plan to do your major evaluation as early as possible during the quarter, well in advance of registration for the following quarter to be sure that you have not missed any requirements. See information below about how to apply for graduation.
What if I'm not sure about the quarter I'll be graduating?
Make an appointment with the Physics/Astronomy Advisor for a major evaluation, following the procedures as outlined below ("How do I apply for graduation with a major in Physics/Astronomy?"). We will evaluate your WWU degree evaluation generated in Web4U and transcript(s) from other schools if applicable. We'll then be able to determine your quarter of graduation.
How do I apply for graduation with a major in Physics/Astronomy?
Complete and submit your Major Evaluation form from the Registrar's office to the Physics/Astronomy Advisor (paper form is also available in the department office). She will review the evaluation with you and submit it to the department Chair for approval/signature. To complete the Major Evaluation Form you will need to generate a Degree Evaluation in Web4U which will show you your standing in the major as well as degree status. Attach the Degree Evaluation to your Major Evaluation along with official transcripts from other schools if applicable.
How do I get a minor in Physics/Astronomy?
Contact the department at any time throughout the year to declare in person or by mail. To complete a minor in Physics/Astronomy, follow the Plan of Study listed in the catalog and ask for advisement whenever needed. At least two quarters prior to graduation, plan to submit your completed Minor Evaluation form from the Registrar's office with transcript(s) to the department for approval/signature. When you submit your Degree Application to the Registrar's Office you will need to attach your minor and major evaluations.