At Johns Hopkins, physicists are people with the ability to think quantitatively about real-world problems. That definition covers a lot of territory, so we offer undergraduate degrees designed for a wide range of future career goals. Students can opt for a BA degree that leaves plenty of room for electives outside the realm of the sciences, or they can choose a more concentrated BS program, in which upper-level electives are focused in physics or a related field. Both tracks prepare students for graduate work in physics or many other paths.
From the day students walk through the door, they are in small classes designed specifically for physics majors. Our special first-year class for prospective majors sets the tone for the rest of the four years. Its intellectual style is geared to the way physicists think. Its size (typically a few dozen students) is small enough for individual attention; it also ensures that each year’s cohort of majors forms a strong social bond early on. Unlike at some universities, none of our faculty teach only graduate classes; most rotate back and forth between different kinds of courses.
An enormous amount of exciting research is conducted in our department: counting research faculty and staff in addition to regular faculty, there are about 100 PhD scientists. That means students have numerous opportunities to join research teams. Nearly all undergraduate physics majors participate in research projects at one time or another, whether in astronomy, condensed matter physics, or high-energy particle physics, and many graduate having co-authored a journal article or two.
Our undergraduate majors form a supportive and cohesive community. They even have their own room in our building to hang out in. In addition, the Johns Hopkins chapter of the Society of Physics Students hosts weekly meetings alternating between research talks by faculty and physics-related films, but always including free food. Once a year the department sponsors a physics trip; recent groups have gone to CERN, the site of the Large Hadron Collider; the Brookhaven National Laboratory; and the Kennedy Space Center.