Off-Campus Studies Mission Statement

Off-Campus Studies at Whitman College aims to develop in our students intercultural skills and global understanding for a lifetime of leadership.  We endeavor to achieve this goal by:

  • Providing off-campus study opportunities worldwide that offer high-quality academic content, instruction and evaluation.
  • Expanding learning opportunities for students and integrating the learning off-campus into their academic program to the fullest extent possible.
  • Promoting programs that increase a student’s foreign language and intercultural fluency.
  • Offering programs that foster an ability to question assumptions and think critically in the context of other worldviews.
  • Ensuring that programs are well integrated into the host community and encourage immersion of the student into the host culture. 
  • Developing the means by which returning students can actively contribute to international awareness and programming on campus, as well as in the Walla Walla community.

Off-Campus Studies can help Physics students…

  • Prepare for an increasingly diverse and international workplace
  • Take advantage of a broader array of courses within the major

What are the types of OCS programs recommended by the Physics department?

  • Students who want to take physics abroad should participate in a program that offers direct enrollment in a foreign university with local students
  • Students who are “on track” may be able to take a semester off from physics and enroll in a program which meets other academic goals.  (Students should speak with their major adviser about this possibility.)

How does a semester or year of OCS help students in Physics prepare for graduate school or various career opportunities? 

  • OCS students make gains in terms of global awareness, maturity and self-confidence that are natural outcomes of studying abroad.

Which requirements can Physics majors fulfill while off campus?

  • Specific courses in major such as the following with the approval of the major adviser:
    • PHYS 246  Waves, Electronics, and Quantum Mechanics
    • PHYS 325  Electricity & Magnetism
    • PHYS 357  Thermal Physics
    • PHYS 347  Classical Mechanics
    • PHYS 385  Quantum Mechanics
  • Elective major credit
  • General Studies distribution credit
  • General degree credit

Planning Tips

As a general rule of thumb, the Physics Department recommends the following for students who wish to study off campus.

  • First-year students should enroll in PHYS 155 General Physics and PHYS 156 General Physics II
  • Second-year physics majors should enroll in the following:
    • PHYS 245 Twentieth Century Physics I
    • PHYS 246 Waves, Electronics, and Quantum Mechanics
    • PHYS 255L Twentieth Century Physics Lab
    • PHYS 256L Electronics and Waves Lab
  • Because more required courses for the physics major (such as PHYS 325 Electricity and Magnetism and PHYS 339 Advanced Laboratory) are taught during the fall semester, it is usually preferable for physics majors to study off campus in the spring semester.

Credit Limitations

A maximum number of 10 credits may be transferred to the physics major from off campus studies (including credits from other U.S. institutions).  Credit transfer must be approved by the student’s major adviser.

Which Partner Programs are recommended by the Physics department?

  • University of St Andrews (St Andrews, Scotland)
  • University of Otago (Dunedin, New Zealand)

Advising Support

Students interested in Off-Campus Studies should attend an OCS First Step meeting in the fall of their second year, discuss their interests with their major adviser, and schedule an appointment with an OCS adviser.