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Northwestern University Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :01 Jan 
International :01 Jan 

BS Physics and Astronomy

 Course Level
Bachelors / UG
 Type
Full Time

 Duration
4 Years
 Start month
September

 Tuition fee

International
50424 USD
National
50424 USD

Application fee

International 75 USD
National 75 USD
Department
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)90
SAT (avg)1430
ACT (avg)31
25

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About this course

The sheer scale of what physicists study is dazzling: astrophysicists study galaxies so far from Earth that their distance (in miles) needs 22 zeros after the last digit, whereas particle physicists study subatomic particles so light that their weight (in ounces) needs 35 zeros before the first digit! Optical physicists use ultrafast laser spectroscopy to directly observe atoms taking part in chemical reactions that last only a million billionth of a second, while just down the hall their colleagues may be studying data on other solar systems in our galaxy, to better understand how the Earth itself was formed 4.2 billion years ago. There is no other science which spans such a vast range of time, space, and matter as physics.

The other distinguishing hallmark of physics is its emphasis on basic knowledge. It has been said that the periodic table of the elements is chemistry, but understanding why the elements form a periodic table in the first place is physics. Physicists look for the hidden symmetries that underlie the natural world, and try to express them in the most universal terms possible. For example, research in the area of nonlinear dynamics has revealed that the chaotic pattern of the heartbeats in a heart-attack patient undergoing severe arrhythmia has exactly the same mathematical properties as a leaky faucet, caught halfway between on and off, which is spluttering erratically. This emphasis on looking past the surface is terrific training for any student, regardless of whether they make physics or astronomy their profession.

Modern Physics
The frontiers of physics today lie in the areas of (very) complex systems, "soft" matter, nanoscale systems, particle physics, and the physics of quantum optics and quantum entanglement. Our department has faculty working in all of these areas. In complex systems, we are studying the use of neural nets to model how the brain stores information and processes visual information. In nanoscale physics, we are studying such things as how soft organic materials stretch at the atomic level when adhering to hard materials, and how the magnetization dynamics of single-domain magnetic nanoparticles (i.e., particles about a nanometer wide) might contribute to improved magnetic recording technology.

Modern Astronomy
Today is perhaps the most exciting time in history to be an astrophysicist. Technological breakthroughs such as adaptive optics for giant telescopes (which allow them to see clearly through the shimmer of Earth's atmosphere), orbiting space-based detectors and instrumentation, and ultra-precision measurement techniques, have revolutionized our ability to examine the Universe. In only the last decade, we have detected scores of new planets orbiting near-by stars, and discovered that "normal" matter (as we are made of) constitutes only about 15% of the mass of the Universe. (The other 85% is the mysterious, so-called "Dark Matter".)

 

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Eligibility Criteria

Use Northwestern school code 1565 (SAT) or 1106 (ACT) to have your SAT Reasoning Test or ACT sent directly to us. Two SAT Subject Tests are recommended.

International applicants whose primary language is not English or whose secondary school curriculum has not been in English must submit exam results from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Use Northwestern school code 1565 to direct your TOEFL scores to us; if you are taking the IELTS, request that the scores be sent electronically to us. 

Northwestern does not accept scores from other English proficiency exams, including the TOEFL Institutional Testing Program (ITP).

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Course Modules

Course Sec. Course Title Type Time Instructor Room

  • ASTRON 101-0 26 Modern Cosmology Lecture MTWThF 9am-11am Michael Smutko Tech M128
  • ASTRON 120-0 26 Highlights of Astronomy Lecture MW 1pm-3:30pm Andrew Rivers Tech F281
  • PHYSICS 130-1 23 College Physics Lecture MTWThF 9am-12pm Art Schmidt Tech L211
  • PHYSICS 130-2 23 College Physics Lecture MTWThF 9am-12pm Art Schmidt Tech L211
  • PHYSICS 130-3 23 College Physics Lecture MTWThF 9am-12pm Art Schmidt Tech L211
  • PHYSICS 135-1 23 General Physics Lecture MTWThF 9am-12pm Deborah Brown Tech L221
  • PHYSICS 135-2 23 General Physics Lecture MTWThF 9am-12pm Deborah Brown Tech L221
  • PHYSICS 135-3 23 General Physics Lecture MTWThF 9am-12pm Andrew Rivers Tech L221
  • PHYSICS 136-1 General Physics Laboratory** 38 General Physics Lab Lab MTWThF 7am-9am TBD Tech MG35
  • PHYSICS 136-1 39 Lab MTWThF 7am-9am TBD Tech MG35
  • PHYSICS 136-1 48 Lab MTWThF 1pm-3pm TBD Tech MG35
  • PHYSICS 136-1 49 Lab MTWThF 1pm-3pm TBD Tech MG35
  • PHYSICS 136-1 58 Lab MTWThF 3pm-5pm TBD Tech MG35
  • PHYSICS 136-1 59 Lab MTWThF 3pm-5pm TBD Tech MG35
  • PHYSICS 136-2 38 Lab MTWThF 7am-9am TBD Tech MG35
  • PHYSICS 136-2 39 Lab MTWThF 7am-9am TBD Gen. Purpose Class
  • PHYSICS 136-2 48 Lab MTWThF 1pm-3pm TBD Tech MG35
  • PHYSICS 136-2 49 Lab MTWThF 1pm-3pm TBD Gen. Purpose Class
  • PHYSICS 136-2 58 Lab MTWThF 3pm-5pm TBD Tech MG35
  • PHYSICS 136-2 59 Lab MTWThF 3pm-5pm TBD Gen. Purpose Class
  • PHYSICS 136-3 38 Lab MTWThF 7am-9am TBD Tech MG35
  • PHYSICS 136-3 39 Lab MTWThF 7am-9am TBD Gen. Purpose Class
  • PHYSICS 136-3 48 Lab MTWThF 1pm-3pm TBD Tech MG35
  • PHYSICS 136-3 49 Lab MTWThF 1pm-3pm TBD Gen. Purpose Class
  • PHYSICS 136-3 58 Lab MTWThF 3pm-5pm TBD Tech MG35
  • PHYSICS 136-3 59 Lab MTWThF 3pm-5pm TBD Gen. Purpose Class

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How to Apply

The following must be submitted: Common Application (additional "Why Northwestern" written response encouraged) or Coalition Application, secondary school report (includes high school transcript and counselor recommendation letter), teacher recommendation, required standardized test scores and a nonrefundable application fee of $75.

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