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Chemical Physics

The interdisciplinary major in Chemical Physics provides students with broad training in physical science, mathematics, and laboratory techniques.

Why Major in Chemical Physics at Randolph?

The major in Chemical Physics provides students with broad training in physical science, mathematics, and laboratory techniques.

The core courses provide the conceptual foundation of the many interactions between matter and energy, which are fundamental to an understanding of the natural world.

Students develop specialized interests in their choice of elective courses and might focus on coursework that prepares them for careers in academia, research and development, quality assurance, scientific writing, public outreach, and more.

Qualified majors have the opportunity of serving as laboratory assistants and tutors.

All students will have hands-on experience with original research as part of the senior program in either the Department of Chemistry or the Department of Physics & Engineering.

Degrees offered

Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Physics

Participating Programs

Curriculum and Requirements

Students must complete 50-53 credit hours to qualify for the bachelor of science degree in Chemiccal Physics.  

Required Courses - Chemistry: (16 credit hours)

  • CHEM 1105, 1105L General Chemistry I and Lab 4
  • CHEM 1106, 1106L General Chemistry II and Lab 4
  • CHEM 3307, 3307L Molecular Quantum Mechanics and Lab 4
  • CHEM 3378, 3378L Statistical Thermodynamics and Lab 4

One of the following Chemistry courses: (4 credit hours)

  • CHEM 2235, 2235L Environmental Analytical Chemistry and Lab
  • CHEM 4425, 4435L Inorganic Chemistry and Lab

Required Courses - Physics: (12 credit hours)

  • PHYS 1115, 115L General Physics I and Lab
  • PHYS 1116, 1116L General Physics II and Lab
  • PHYS 2251 Modern Physics

Two of the following Physics courses: (8 credit hours)

  • PHYS 3331 Electronics Lab
  • PHYS 3332 Advanced Physics Lab
  • PHYS 3341 Classical Mechanics

Required Courses - Mathematics: (4 credit hours)

  • MATH 2250 Calculus III

One of the following Mathematics courses: (4 credit hours)

  • MATH 3331 Differential Equations
  • PHYS 3301 Differential Equations for Scientists and Engineers

Senior Program - one of the following series of courses:

  • CHEM 3391 Graduate and Professional Development 1
  • CHEM 3392 Information Literacy and Digital Competence 1
  • CHEM 4496 Laboratory Research 1-2
  • CHEM 4499 Senior Capstone 1

OR

  • PHYS 4494 Senior Research 1 or 3
  • PHYS 4495, 4496 (.5 hrs each) Senior Seminar I, II 1

Opportunities for Experience

Summer Research Program

Spend the summer working closely with a professor and focused on a specific aspect of chemical physics.

Randolph’s intensive eight-week Summer Research Program enables students to work with professors on a research of their own design; live in a residence hall on campus, participate in on-campus summer events, attend special seminars with guest speakers; and share the progress and results of their research.

Learn more about the Summer Research Program.

Symposium of Artists and Scholars

Modeled after a traditional academic conference, the SAS brings together students of all disciplines to share the results and highlights of the best work being produced at the College –  oral presentations, readings of creative works, performances, exhibitions of student artwork, and poster presentations.

Learn more about the Symposium of Artists and Scholars.

Senior Capstone

Seniors cap their major by researching and presenting topics to faculty and students. Recent topics have included:

  • Measuring the Variable Star VZ Cancri
  • Design and Construction of a Nitrogen Laser
  • Scripting Interactive Physlets for Use as Teaching Tools
  • Cellular Automata as a Means of Modeling Physical Phenomena
  • Monte Carlo Modeling of JLab Spectrometers
  • Adsorption Isotherm of Nitrogen on a Nuclepore Surface at 77K

Internships

Many students participate in internships and study-abroad and summer research programs. Physics, chemistry, and engineering majors have participated in summer programs at:

  • NASA
  • University of Virginia
  • College of William and Mary
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Lehigh University
  • Bucknell University
  • Kansas State University, and
  • Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory

Learn more about internship opportunities.

Research

Students have many opportunities, on and off campus, for research.

Recent research topics have included, among others, “Host Galaxies of Active Galactic Nuclei,” “Monte Carlo Simulations of Electron Cascades in Solids,” and “Surface Adsorption of Polymers.” 

Learn more at the Center for Student Research.

Community Service: Randolph College SciFest

Every year Randolph students organize and host SciFest, a 3-day science and learning festival for local schoolchildren.

Randolph student and faculty volunteers lead activities, exhibits, labs, and talks designed to get young girls and boys interested in and excited about science, technology, engineering, and  math (STEM).  

In addition to science activites for both elementary and preschool students, guests enjoy national guest speakers, a Pi Day fun run, women in science panel,  poetry jam, LEGO league, drones and robots, petting zoo, and more.

The free event draws thousands of children and families to campus every year. 

Unique Experiences

Opportunities

Top Ranked Professors

Randolph College’s faculty are consistently recognized as among the best in the nation. The Princeton Review ranked the College in the Top 20 for most accessible professors in the 2022 edition of its flagship college guide, The Best 387 Colleges.

Randolph has been ranked in the top 20 for most accessible professors for four consecutive years.

Faculty Coordinator

Jesse Kern

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Read More... Jesse Kern

Only at Randolph

Randolph students can take advantage of unique programs which give them a more enriching education than can be found anywhere else.

Money for Your Research

The Randolph Innovative Student Experience (RISE) program provides every student a $2,000 grant to fund research, creative work, experiential learning or other scholarly pursuits.

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The Randolph Plan

Randolph students work with faculty mentors to explore a broad range of disciplines as they chart their academic path.

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TAKE 2

Two courses per half-mester means you get to focus in and dig deep into your coursework while still having time for the rest of the college experience. Two classes. Seven weeks. Repeat.

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The Liberal Arts Advantage

Randolph graduates learn to think critically, solve problems and work well with others. They are prepared to succeed in all aspects of life.

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News

U.S. News & World Report names Randolph one of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges

The College was ranked #141 in the 2022 edition of its "Best Colleges" guidebook.

Read More

Randolph included in prestigious ‘Fiske Guide to Colleges’ 2022

Randolph College has once again been recognized by the Fiske Guide to Colleges as one of the nation’s “best and […]

Read More

Randolph named a top school by ‘Virginia Living’ magazine

“Randolph College exemplifies the high standards, innovative curriculum, exemplary staff, and wide-ranging opportunities afforded by Virginia’s academic institutions,” said editor Mindy Kinsey.

Read More

U.S. News & World Report names Randolph one of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges

The College was ranked #141 in the 2022 edition of its "Best Colleges" guidebook.

Read More

Randolph included in prestigious ‘Fiske Guide to Colleges’ 2022

Randolph College has once again been recognized by the Fiske Guide to Colleges as one of the nation’s “best and […]

Read More

Randolph named a top school by ‘Virginia Living’ magazine

“Randolph College exemplifies the high standards, innovative curriculum, exemplary staff, and wide-ranging opportunities afforded by Virginia’s academic institutions,” said editor Mindy Kinsey.

Read More
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Jesse Kern

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Credentials:Ph.D., University of Kansas
B.S., Baker University
Associated Departments:Chemistry, Chemical Physics
Email:jkern@randolphcollege.edu

Physical chemistry has been a passion of mine ever since my first undergraduate thermodynamics course. Physical chemistry gracefully connects the fundamental physical descriptions of matter with the everyday properties of matter that we know and love. I teach courses in quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, materials science, as well as introductory general chemistry. I also advise chemistry majors interested in pursuing graduate school.

My current research interests are related to phenomena that occur at surfaces. We primarily use simulation techniques such as molecular dynamics and Density Functional Theory to understand surface structure and properties on the atomic scale.

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