Chapman University vs. Lawrence University

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In summary, the person is trying to choose between universities for their physics major and is considering attending Chapman University because of the one-on-one attention from professors and potential research opportunities. However, they are also considering Lawrence University, which has a strong arts program and a smaller physics department. They are unsure if attending Chapman would be a risk and are seeking advice from others who may have knowledge about these universities' physics departments. They have also been doing research at UCI and are interested in theoretical physics and particle cosmology. They are seeking guidance and have been recommended to read ZapperZ's "So you want to be a Physicist?" before making a decision.
  • #1
4everphysics
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Okay... probably no one knows both of the university.
They are both extremely small school.
But please read this post, and I think anyone can help me out here.
Before I describe my situation, I thank you for your help.

Like many of you here, I am a physics enthusiast.
When I first took my physics course at my community college, I fell in love and almost
immediately changed my major.

I am now trying to transfer, and I actually got admitted to many universities:
UCB, UCLA, UCSC, UCI, USC, Chapman, Lawrence, CSU Pomona.

My first choice would definitely be UCB, but being an international student, I would have to pay $50,000 tuition. For similar financial reasons, I am left with Chapman and Lawrence University as my choice (they offered me enough scholarships.)

So if I do attend Chapman University,
the pro would be, I would get lots of attention from the professor. They literally have 'one' physics graduate thus far, because their physics department was created only three years ago. However, there are four teaching faculty (all theoretical) and something like 10 research faculty. Because there are only very few physics majoring students here, I will definitely get lot of intention. In fact, one of the professor wishes to do one on one study with me during the summer. Also, if I do attend Chapman, I can continue my research at UCI. I have been doing research at UCI since about half a year ago (this is legitimate research), and the UCI professor wishes me to work with him until I go to graduate school. I will soon be published as well.

However, there is one thing that I feel some what risky about attending Chapman.
Because Chapman's physics department is really new, I feel like I am taking a risk to attend a university with a physics department that is still trying to define itself.

Lawrence, although it is not the best physics department, seems to have established its program fairly well. They ranked top 10 in the nation in terms of the ratio of physics graduate pursuing phD after they graduate.

However, Lawrence has 1 theoretical and 3 experimental physicist.
My interest is more toward theoretical aspect of physics.
I am also very interested in particle cosmology, and although it is too early to say in my career, I would definitely want to study more about "quantum gravity".
All of the teaching faculties at Chapman have specialized in something related to "quantum gravity / string cosmology" in some ways.

What do you think? Do you think I will be taking a risk if I attend Chapman?
Is Lawrence University a better fit for me?

Does anybody actually know these universities' physics department?

Thank you so much for your help and thank you for reading this long post.


4everphysics
 
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  • #2
I don't know either of their departments very well, but I grew up near Lawrence University - actually just North of it. Lawrence has a reputation for a strong arts program. As you already know, it is a very small school with a very small physics department. It is not necessarily well known in physics, but that is not always important. Also it is very expensive - almost $50k USD per year for undergrad but you said you got some scholarships.

As for your theoretical versus experimental notions of physics - throw it away. All physicists take the same core classes regardless of their research focus. So, don't use that as a metric. In addition, you are not stuck doing the same work in graduate school that you were doing as an undergrad. The important point about undergrad research is to find out what research really is and to actually do some - get your hands dirty.

Have you read ZapperZ's 'So you want to be a Physicist?' If not, I suggest reading it very closely: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=240792

Have you asked your research professor what his thoughts are? Have you gone and met with these departments yet? I would suggest doing those two things first and then base your decision off your own experiences.
 

What is the main difference between Chapman University and Lawrence University?

The main difference between Chapman University and Lawrence University is their location. Chapman University is located in Orange, California, while Lawrence University is located in Appleton, Wisconsin. Additionally, Chapman University is a private university while Lawrence University is a liberal arts college.

Which university has a better reputation in terms of academics?

Both Chapman University and Lawrence University have strong academic reputations. However, Chapman University is ranked higher in national university rankings, while Lawrence University is ranked higher in liberal arts college rankings. Ultimately, the better reputation may depend on the specific field of study.

What is the student-to-faculty ratio at each university?

At Chapman University, the student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. At Lawrence University, the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1. This means that students at Lawrence University may have more opportunities for individualized attention and smaller class sizes.

Do both universities offer a wide range of extracurricular activities?

Yes, both Chapman University and Lawrence University offer a variety of extracurricular activities for students to get involved in. Chapman University has over 150 clubs and organizations, while Lawrence University has over 100 clubs and organizations.

What is the cost difference between attending Chapman University and Lawrence University?

The cost of attending Chapman University and Lawrence University may vary depending on individual financial aid and scholarships. However, in general, Chapman University has a higher tuition and overall cost of attendance compared to Lawrence University. It is important for students to research and compare the cost of attending each university before making a decision.

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