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For Students

Physics and astronomy students at Vassar benefit from a learning environment that is rich, immersive, experiential, and rigorous. The curriculum is taught by faculty dedicated to the art of teaching and fully invested in the intellectual development of our students. In addition to the full range of courses offered in the department, as early as your first year there will be numerous opportunities to roll up your sleeves and get practical hands-on experience working with faculty members on exciting and cutting-edge research. These experiences can often lead to co-authorship on publications or opportunities to present at conferences. After all, we understand that knowledge gained in the classroom is only part of what makes a college experience special.

The following are some of the research and teaching opportunities you will have in the Physics and Astronomy Department at Vassar:

  • Diving Into Research (DIR) - begin your undergraduate research experience before even taking a class at Vassar!
  • Undergraduate Summer Research Institute (URSI) - collaborate on original research projects in exciting areas such as acoustics, optics, biophysics, nanoscale condensed matter physics, physics education, and astronomical studies of galaxies, stars, and exoplanets.
  • Research Assistant – collaborate with professors throughout the academic year as paid research assistants.
  • Teaching Assistant – explore teaching opportunities through these paid appointments.

In addition to these opportunities, many Vassar students obtain other prestigious summer research internships at major research universities and laboratories. Recently students have participated in such programs at Argonne National Laboratory, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Space Telescope Science Institute, SETI Institute, and Kitt Peak National Observatory. 

Finally, the Vassar experience continues long after graduation; physics and astronomy graduates form a tight-knit family and keep us abreast of all their amazing career paths and adventures, both in and out of the physical sciences.