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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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.

Advising at Ripon


Requirements for a Major in Physical Science
Core Courses PHY 131 General Physics I: Mechanics, PHY 172 General Physics II: Electricity, Magnetism and Waves, PHY 251 General Physics III: Modern Physics, Optics and Thermodynamics, CHM 111 Organic Chemistry I, 112 Structure and Reactivity, 211 Analytical Chemistry: Equilibrium and Quantitative Analysis, 214 Organic Chemistry II, 334 Physical Chemistry: Chemical Thermodynamics and Kinetics, MTH 202 Calculus II or higher, two credits of seminar (PHY 500 and CHM 505)
Elective Courses four additional credits in physics chosen from PHY 330 Advanced Mechanics, 340 Electricity and Magnetism, or 412 Quantum Mechanics
Additional Criteria A senior thesis is required. Students majoring in physical science may not major or minor in chemistry or physics.
Criteria For Students interested in teaching physical science Students interested in teaching physical science need to complete the secondary education major and the science education licensure requirements which include: a major or minor in biology, chemistry, physics, or environmental studies and the following courses: BIO 122 Ecology, Evolution, and Diversity, 123 Molecules, Cells, and Genes, 211 Human Anatomy and Physiology I, CHM 111 Organic Chemistry I , 112 Structure and Reactivity, ENV 120, PHY 131 General Physics I Mechanics,152 Introductory Physics II: Electricity, Magnetism and Waves, and EDU 337.

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.