Program Overview: Physics | Oberlin College and Conservatory

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship winner Jocienne Nelson National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship winner Jocienne Nelson examines a research sample in one of Oberlin’s physics laboratories. Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones ’97

Program Type: Major, Minor

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department: Physics and Astronomy

Physics at Oberlin is a diverse academic program. We offer a rich selection of physics, astrophysics, and astronomy courses and ample opportunities for active student research involvement.

Why Study Physics at Oberlin?


tracks through the major


majors conducting research


whole universe to study, from atoms to galaxies

Upcoming Physics Events

exterior image of dome of the Oberlin observatory The dome atop Peters Hall. Photo credit: Yvonne Gay

Observatory and Planetarium

Oberlin College Observatory is atop Peters Hall at the center of campus. Peters was built in the 1880s and the dome was installed in 1929, along with a Gaertner 6-inch f:15 refractor telescope. The current telescope is a 14″ Meade LX200. The observatory is actively used for introductory astronomy classes, for individual student projects, by the Oberlin Astronomy Club, and for public viewing.

Browse the observatory

  • PHYS 111 – Electricity, Magnetism and Thermodynamics 4 credits
  • ASTR 100 – Introductory Astronomy 4 credits
  • PHYS 316 – Waves and Optics 4 credits
  • PHYS 411 – Electrodynamics 2 credits

Physics Faculty

Physics and astronomy faculty are both scholars and teachers who devote their careers to making important contributions to their disciplines through writing and research. Their academic and research areas include radio astronomy, optics, materials physics, gravitational physics, pulsars, and theoretical physics.

Explore Faculty within Physics

Physics Faculty

Physics News

A an stands in front of a movie screen with the words of the screen on his face and body.

This Week in Photos: January 22

January 22, 2020

In this photo series, we explore the art of cinema storytelling; go to an entrepreneurial boot camp; get intense with strings and Greek; go back to high school in Berkeley; stop by the freezer section in Kim’s Grocery & Carryout; get involved with dark matter; learn R for SPSS; join a dance class; design an archeological exhibit; get cozy with a wild beast; and much more.

Device with knobs and wires. Illustration.

“Searching for Dark Matter (From Oberlin)”

July 3, 2019

This episode of An Oberlin Minute highlights the work of two student researchers in Associate Professor of Physics Jason Stalnaker’s lab over winter term.


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