Lab Handouts


The Department has defined a set of learning goals for our curriculum.

  1. To provide science and non-science students with an introduction to both the methodology of the physical sciences and the major models of reality developed in the physical sciences.
    1. To provide all students with opportunities to understand and practice the methodology of the physical sciences.
    2. To provide students with a grasp of the historical development of models of the physical world, the experimental basis of these models, and how these models have impacted how humanity views reality.
  2. To provide Biology, Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Biochemistry/Molecular Biology and Mathematics students with the background in theoretical and applied physics necessary for their chosen field of academic specialization.
    1. Biologists and Chemists need to understand the physical laws of mechanics, electrodynamics, thermodynamics, and atomic physics that are crucial to their disciplines.
    2. Mathematicians need to see how mathematics is applied to the description of natural phenomena.
  3. To provide physics majors with an in-depth study in the field of physics.
    1. A clear understanding of the experimental basis of all fundamental physical theories. They should understand the major theories and be able to explain how they follow from experimental results.
    2. A panoramic view of the field of physics with enough detail to enable them to easily make connections with new information in physics, and thereby more readily assimilate new information.
    3. Undergraduate research. We feel that students don’t really understand the nature of the field of physics until they have practiced it, reported their results at a meeting involving students from other institutions, and compared the quality of their work with that of students at other institutions. Since we consider ourselves a national liberal arts college, this comparison should be at the national level.


The Department offers a number of courses for those students who would like to know more about the physical world but do not wish to pursue a physics major. These are introductory courses and do not have any pre-requisites.

  • PHYS 100: Introductory Topics in Physics (NS)
  • PHYS 135: Robotics Explorations Studio (NS-L)
  • PHYS 160: Astronomy (NS)
  • PHYS 170: Introductory Earth Science (NS)
  • PHYS 171: Introductory Earth Science (w/lab) (NS-L)

The Department offers both a minor and a major in physics. In addition, we support a special track for those interested in a Dual Degree Program in Engineering. We have designed the BA degree program in physics so that it is possible to complete the physics major in three years. But that is a challenging task.
The department places a strong emphasis on undergraduate research and provides the support and time for students to become actively involved in projects either on campus or off campus.
In addition to coursework, physics majors are required to complete a senior comprehensive exam. The student may either take the GRE Advanced Physics Exam or an oral exam administered by the physics faculty.
The major consists of the following course requirements. 

  • PHYS 210 General Physics I or PHYS 230 General Physics I (Calculus-based)
  • PHYS 220 General Physics II or PHYS 240 General Physics II (Calculus-based)
  • PHYS 305 Vibrations and Waves
  • PHYS 315 Modern Physics
  • PHYS 320 Electrodynamics
  • PHYS 330 Quantum Mechanics
  • PHYS 340 Electronics
  • PHYS 370 Thermal Physics
  • PHYS 380 Classical Mechanics
  • MATH 130 Calculus I
  • MATH 140 Calculus II
  • MATH 260 Differential Equations
  • CHEM 110 General Chemistry I or CHEM 150 Accelerated General Chemistry
  • One elective chosen from the following list:
    • PHYS 450 Directed Research
    • PHYS 490 Topics in Physics
    • MATH 230 Multivariable Calculus
    • MATH 270 Linear Algebra
    • CSCI 150 Foundations of Computer Science
    • CSCI 151 Data Structures and Object-Oriented Development
    • CSCI 385 Scientific Computing
    • CHEM 120 General Chemistry II
    • EDUC 290 Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

The minor degree plan normally consists of the following courses. 

  • PHYS 210 General Physics I or PHYS 230 General Physics I (Calculus-based)
  • PHYS 220 General Physics II or PHYS 240 General Physics II (Calculus-based)
  • PHYS 305 Vibrations and Waves
  • PHYS 315 Modern Physics
  • MATH 130 Calculus I
  • MATH 140 Calculus II
  • MATH 260 Differential Equations

Hendrix College participates in Dual Degree programs in engineering with Columbia University, Vanderbilt University, and Washington University in St. Louis.
Students will normally spend three years at Hendrix and then transfer to an engineering school to complete their studies. Under optimum conditions it is possible for students to complete both courses of study in five years and they would then receive two bachelor degrees, a BA from Hendrix College and a BS in engineering from the affiliated school.
Students should contact the engineering advisor, Dr. Ann Wright, immediately if they are interested in engineering. Only by careful planning and hard work can the program be accomplished in the planned five years of study.
Students interested in chemical engineering should normally major in chemistry. All other engineering fields would normally major in physics. Both options require accelerated sophomore and junior years, so that the the students will complete the requirements of the major in three years. Those interested in computer engineering should consult with Dr. Wright.