Two student working together in front of a computer.

Students who wish to receive departmental Honors should enroll in PHYS 498 and 499D in addition to completing the other requirements for the major. To enter the Honors program, a student must attain an average grade of at least B– in all Physics courses taken through the end of the junior year or receive department approval. At the end of the first semester of the senior year the student’s progress on the Honors problem will determine the advisability of continuation in the Honors program. 

The aim of Departmental Honors work in Physics is to provide the student an opportunity to pursue, under faculty direction, in-depth research into a project in experimental and/or theoretical physics. Current experimental areas of research in the department include atomic and molecular physics, precision measurements and fundamental symmetries, Bose-Einstein condensation, ultracold collisions, the quantum-classical frontier, nonlinear dynamics, optical trapping, ion trapping, cellular and molecular mechanics, and phase transitions. Theoretical work is primarily in the area of High Energy and Elementary Particle physics, but faculty members pursue studies in quantum computers, foundations of quantum mechanics, and classical gravitation theory. In addition to apparatus for projects closely related to the continuing experimental research activity of faculty members, facilities are available for experimental projects in many other areas. Subject to availability of equipment and faculty interest, Honors projects arising out of students’ particular interests are encouraged. Students must submit a written thesis on the Honors work a few weeks before the end of their final semester (in late April for spring graduation). Students give a preliminary presentation of their work during the first semester, and a final presentation at the end of the second semester. In addition, they have a conversation with department faculty about the thesis work. 

Junior Information Session:  

Each spring, we hold an information session for juniors. We discuss the comprehensive graduation requirements, how to go about applying to graduate school, other career paths, and options and procedures for honors thesis projects. For additional information, view a recording of our spring 2023 information session.