Physics

What Is It?:

Physics is the scientific study of how and why the natural world works. From the tiniest quark to the entire universe, physics uses a few fundamental principles to explain matter, energy, and their remarkable interactions.  Two programs of study are offered:

  • Specialized Curriculum: prepares students for graduate study in physics or a closely allied field, as well as those who desire to work in industry.
  • Science and Letters Curriculum: is the most flexible of the degrees offered, specifically designed to accommodate technical courses outside of physics. It is an ideal program for those interested in interdisciplinary study such as atmospheric sciences, biophysics, geophysics, pre-med, pre-law, or any other discipline requiring a strong physics background.

For more information, visit the Department of Physics.

Concentrations:

Within the Science and Letters Curriculum, two concentrations are offered:

  • Physics: offers a flexible program for students who plan to pursue technical or professional careers in areas requiring a sound grounding in physical science and mathematics. Students can use the concentration to prepare for employment immediately upon graduation or for continuing on to graduate study in a wide variety of fields.
  • Physics Teaching: prepares students for teaching physics at the high school level. Students in this program must apply and be admitted to the Secondary Education minor during the junior year. The program can take up to five year to finish. Upon successful completion, a student will have a Science and Letters Physics degree as well as teaching certification for physics and general science.

Courses That Introduce the Major:

  • PHYS 211—Univ Physics (Mechanics)
  • PHYS 212—Univ Physics (Elec & Mag)
  • PHYS 213—Univ Physics (Thermal Physics)

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period.

Possible Career Opportunities:

  • Acoustics Physicist
  • Aerospace Nondestructive Testing 
  • Agriculture Scientist
  • Air Traffic Controller
  • Astronomer
  • Astrophysicist
  • Atomic Physicist
  • Biophysicist
  • Cardiac Imaging Researcher
  • Chemical Physicist
  • Computer Specialist
  • Engineer
  • Environmental Analyst
  • Environmental Health Specialist
  • Fluids Physicist
  • Geophysicist
  • Health Physicist
  • High-Tech Designer, Oil Industry
  • Hydrologist
  • Industrial Hygienist
  • Industrial Hygienist
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Lawyer, Technology Specialty
  • Mathematician
  • Mathematics and Physics Teacher
  • Medical Physicist
  • Medical Products Designer
  • Meteorologist
  • Molecular Physicist
  • National Laboratory Research Admin.
  • Nuclear Magnetic Lab Tech
  • Nuclear Power Plant Project Manager
  • Occupational Safety Specialist
  • Optical Medical Devices Designer
  • Optometrist
  • Physics Researcher
  • Quality Control Manager
  • Research & Development Scientist
  • Research Assistant
  • Satellite Data Analyst
  • Satellite Missions Analyst
  • Science Teacher
  • Science Writer
  • Scientific Photographer
  • Solid State Physicist
  • Systems Analyst
  • Technical Consultant
  • Technical Illustrator
  • Technical Salesperson
  • Television Chief Engineer
  • Test Engineer

Common Career Titles Related to this Major:

(Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree)

  • Aerodynamist
  • Automotive Engineer
  • Computer System Engineer
  • Environmental Analyst
  • Forensic Scientist
  • Geodesist
  • Nuclear Physicist
  • Oceanographer
  • Particle Accelerator Operations Analyst
  • Physicist
  • Physiognomist
  • Plasma Physicist
  • Process Engineer
  • Radiological Laboratory Director
  • Satellite Data Analyst
  • Seismologist
  • Solid Earth Physicist
  • Stratigrapher

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:

Related Skills:

  • Define research problems
  • Design equipment
  • Develop & write research proposals
  • Develop research models
  • Draw meaningful conclusions
  • Establish experimental designs
  • Establish hypotheses
  • Evaluate ideas
  • Gather/analyze data
  • Identify/classify materials
  • Inform, explain, instruct
  • Maintain records
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Measure distances/relationships
  • Observe data
  • Perform calculations
  • Prepare technical reports
  • Review scientific literature
  • See relationships among factors
  • Summarize research findings
  • Use instruments
  • Utilize math formulas

Further Information:

For more information on what you can do with a major in Physics, visit The Career Center’s webpage: What Can I Do With This Major

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Physics.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Physics.  These organizations include American Assocation of Physics Teachers, American Institute of Physics, and American Physical Society.

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in Physics, visit Undergraduate Programs.