At the intersection of physics and chemistry is this dynamic field of material science where new materials are continuously being prepared or discovered. The properties of these materials may present a new frontier in science and technology.

This interdisciplinary program is designed for students interested in material science, engineering, science teaching and any other field in which a good background in both physics and chemistry is required. Physical science majors also must take basic courses in mathematics.

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Colleen Byron

Byron, Colleen

Professor of Chemistry, L. Leone Oyster 1919 Chair in Chemistry


Ripon College faculty and professional staff are dedicated to helping you reach your goals, whatever they may be and however often they may change along the way. It’s part of our value statement to you.

As a student at Ripon, you will be assigned a faculty adviser based on your area(s) of interest. You will meet with your faculty adviser throughout your time as a student to discuss your current aspirations, plan your course schedule and plot a future trajectory. We also work collaboratively with Ripon College Career and Professional Development to help match your interests and skills to concrete goals and construct a plan for professional success offering personalized career counseling, off-campus learning opportunities and an online job board with potential to connect with local, national and international employers. Our collaboration with Student Support Services provides tutoring and additional academic and skill development, as well as tools to help with note-taking, exam preparation, goal-setting and time management. Likewise, Mentors in the Franzen Center provide in-depth, one-on-one or group mentoring for students about class projects and college-level writing, and can share problem-solving strategies to overcome academic obstacles.

Advising at Ripon


Requirements for a major in Physical Science: PHY 171, PHY 172, PHY 251, and four additional credits in physics chosen from 330, 340, 360, or 412; CHM 111 and 112, 211, 214 and 334; MTH 202 or higher; two credits of seminar (PHY 500 and CHM 501). A senior thesis is required.

Requirements for a teaching major in Physical Science: all courses for the physical science major listed above including PHY 360, the senior thesis, plus Teaching of Physical Science (PHY 401 and CHM 401) and BIO 121.

Requirements for Broad Field Sciences Teacher Licensure (Grades 6-12/EA-A Licensure): students are required to complete distribution requirements, a minor in educational studies and either the 1) chemistry-biology major plus the following courses; PHY 251, PHY 360, either BIO 219 or BIO 247 (depending on the emphasis in the major), or 2) the physical science major including PHY 360 plus the following courses: BIO 121, BIO 219, BIO 247, either BIO 211 or BIO 216, and both BIO 400 and PHY/CHM 401. Teaching methods coursework (PHY/CHM 401 and BIO 400) is required for licensure but will not count toward the major.

Career Tracks

Students who major in physical science pursue careers in science education and STEM education. Others pursue graduate programs in material science, physics, and chemistry.

Many students go on to serve as scientists in material science, physics, and chemistry application.

Unique Opportunities

  • Through the Department of Educational Studies, certification in chemistry and physics are available in early adolescence/adolescence (grades 6-12). The major introduces the scope of these areas making it useful in preparing to teach the physical sciences.