Dec 05, 2021  
2020-2021 Academic Catalog 
2020-2021 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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Charles E. Moreau, associate professor.
B.S., Alma College; M.S.,  Ph.D., Michigan State University. Appointed 2002.

David G. Seely, professor.
B.A., Gustavus Adolphus College; M.S., Ph.D., University of Missouri, Rolla. Appointed 1991.

Philip J. Voss, assistant professor.
B.S., Central Michigan University, Ph.D., Michigan State University, Appointed 2016.

Nicolle E. B. Zellner, chair and professor.
B.S., University of Wisconsin; M.S., Ph.D., 2001, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Appointed 2005.


Physics involves the determination of the basic laws which allow one to predict natural behavior; indeed, physics originates from the Greek word for nature. These basic laws form the foundation for all the natural sciences. The department offers a program for physics majors, physics majors who seek an emphasis in astronomy, physics minors, pre-engineering students, students who require a physics cognate, and non-science students. The faculty have backgrounds in atomic, solid state, low-temperature, and quantum physics, electronics, and in astronomy and planetary science. Students have the opportunity to participate in faculty research projects in mesoscopic patterned magnetic thin films, quantum computing, low-temperature physics, photonics, origins of the solar system, extraterrestrial sample analysis, and low-energy ion-atom scattering. Facilities include a cryogenic photon counting lab, a thin film deposition chamber, a 5 kV ion-atom accelerator, a low-level nuclear gamma ray counting system, a 14-inch Celestron telescope with a CCD camera, and a historically significant Alvan Clark telescope.

The department sponsors the dual-degree program in engineering.

Physics Department Website

Career Opportunities

Majors in physics are prepared to do graduate work in physics and related areas, which can lead to careers in teaching and research or research in industrial or government laboratories. Physics majors are also well equipped to pursue additional studies in engineering and typically are strong candidates for medical school, dental school, and law school. Employment opportunities are also available in industry, government and secondary school teaching.

Special Features

Opportunities are available for off-campus study during the school year, particularly participation in the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s Oak Ridge Science Semester conducted at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. The curriculum in physics can be adjusted to accommodate participation in other off-campus study programs as well. An active Society of Physics Students chapter sponsors seminars, field trips, tutoring and social events from a clubroom, and the Astronomy Club members have regular access to the campus telescopes. A prize established by Nobel Laureate E.T.S. Walton is given annually to the outstanding senior physics major, and the Physics Faculty and Alumni Scholarship has been given to an entering student.

Student Learning Outcomes

For all majors and minors, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • Content Knowledge:
    • Students will be able to demonstrate fluency in basic physics and astronomy content knowledge.
  • Experimental Competency:
    • Students will be able to demonstrate an ability to conduct experiments and to analyze experimental results.
  • Communicatin Skills:
    • Students will be able to demonstrate effective scientific communication skills in both oral and written form.

Departmental Policy on Advanced Placement Credit

Students desiring course credit for AP Physics should contact the department or the Registrar’s Office for information.

Majors and Minors

The physics major and the physics major with astronomy emphasis are designed for students who plan to pursue graduate studies in physics, astrophysics, astronomy, or a related area; students who enter the workforce; or students who wish to have physics as a second major.


Engineering, Dual Degree Program


Charles E. Moreau, associate professor.
B.S., 1994, Alma College; M.S., 1996, Ph.D., 2001, Michigan State University. Appointed 2002.


The dual-degree program in engineering (DDPE) gives the student the best of two worlds—liberal arts and engineering. Today’s engineers must be well-grounded in basic science and mathematics, have a broad range of knowledge as well as the skills to acquire new information, and think critically and communicate effectively. Engineering is a dynamic profession that is constantly striving to stay on the frontier of technological development. To adapt to this need for change, engineers must be able to educate themselves and learn new techniques to stay abreast of their field. They must also demonstrate exemplary professionalism and the ability to work in interdisciplinary and collaborative environments, be alert to the implications of their work, and be concerned about the effects of science and technology upon the larger world. Mindful of these goals, the dual-degree program in engineering at Albion College prepares students well for success in this dynamic and challenging profession.

Under the dual-degree program, a student spends three or more years at Albion and receives a strong background in the basic sciences and mathematics that underlie all engineering while gaining this knowledge in the context of the liberal arts tradition. Upon admission and transfer to an approved engineering school (listed below), the student then completes his/her engineering education. This engineering course work typically takes an additional two to two and one-half years, depending upon the number of advanced courses the student has taken at Albion and on the engineering discipline. After successful completion of eight units at the engineering school that have been approved for transfer back to Albion by the Engineering Advisory Committee (EAC), the student is then eligible to receive a B.A. degree from Albion. The student also receives a B.S. degree in engineering from the transfer institution upon successful completion of the relevant program’s graduation requirements.

Students must be admitted to the dual-degree program in engineering. Go to the dual-degree program in engineering website for application information. Additional program information is available from the director .

Requirements for Dual-Degree Program in Engineering

Students in the dual-degree program in engineering have a strong background in mathematics and science, very good academic performance, and a desire to pursue the engineering profession. To be eligible for program admission, students must declare the dual-degree engineering major in either mathematics or physics, write a personal essay, complete a personal interview with the program director, and have at least a 2.5 overall GPA, as well as at least a 2.5 GPA in completed courses in the science division. Although these program admission requirements should normally be completed by the end of a student’s first year at Albion, late admission requests are considered by the Engineering Advisory Committee as needed.

Please, see the section of the catalog for the dual-degree program in engineering for detailed requirements.

Career Opportunities

The dual-degree program in engineering provides students foundational skills in science, mathematics and computer science, as well as substantial experience in applying these skills to solving contemporary problems. Application examples include the design and realization of water purification systems, automotive/aerospace/marine vehicles, computer circuits/hardware, supply chain networks, and power grids, to name only a few. As such, DDPE graduates have substantial professional opportunities in both the public and private sectors, ranging from design engineer to project manager to entrepreneur. Graduates are also well equipped to pursue graduate degrees in engineering, dentistry, medicine or law.

Degree Programs

After successfully completing three years of approved study at Albion College, DDPE students are required to gain admission to an engineering degree program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). As the admission requirements of these programs vary substantially, students are required to have their school of transfer approved by the EAC. Students who transfer to engineering schools that have not been approved by the EAC will not receive an Albion degree.

The two engineering programs currently affiliated with Albion College are:

  1. University of Michigan (MI) College of Engineering
  2. Columbia University (NY) Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science

Albion has a formal transfer agreement with Columbia University that guarantees admission to Albion College students who successfully complete all required courses in the first attempt with a grade of 3.0, maintain a 3.3 GPA in all required courses and in overall course work, and satisfy other academic requirements as specified by Columbia. The University of Michigan requires all students to earn a minimum GPA of 3.0 both overall and in science prior to transfer, with higher GPA requirements for more competitive engineering majors such as mechanical, chemical or electrical engineering. Although meeting these minimum GPA requirements is generally sufficient for admission to the University of Michigan, it is not a guarantee. Students are strongly recommended to earn GPAs above these minimum admission requirements.

Students unable to meet the GPA requirements of the above two schools, or who would prefer to transfer to an engineering school not listed above, may still participate in the DDPE through transfer to an alternate engineering institution. They will still need to meet all or parts of the dual-degree program requirements, as listed below. See the DDPE director for additional information about this option.



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