The Physics Department in its curriculum, its student-centered research projects, and its co-curricular activities endeavors to fulfill the immediate and future needs and interests of a variety of students. All aspects of the Gustavus physics program are set in a liberal arts context such that, in addition to the ideas, experiments, and theories, the philosophical and cultural implications of physics are considered. The faculty members in the physics department share a philosophy that guides them and can be summarized in the following statements:
An education in the Liberal Arts, in which we include the sciences not append them, is the best preparation for a life of intellectual growth and service. We believe in the importance of our discipline, and that communicating and extending it are worthwhile and compatible life goals. We design our program of courses for the different constituencies of students we serve, and we gauge the effectiveness of our efforts by internal and external measures that are appropriate for these audiences.
For those students who enroll in the program to become physical scientists and engineers, we provide a comprehensive, unified, rigorous curriculum of courses, collaborative research, and mentoring that will prepare them to succeed in graduate studies at institutions of high standing and in flexible careers thereafter.
For those students who study physics as a cognate discipline or in preparation for careers in teaching or interdisciplinary fields, we provide distinct courses to engage and enhance their skills for seeing the connectedness among physical phenomena and theories, and their primary fields.
For those students whose experience with physics and astronomy is through its role in their general education, we again provide distinct courses whose purpose is to convey the substance and excitement of our never-ending quest to understand the physical universe.