College of Arts & Sciences

Department of Physics

Why Physics?
  1. It's interesting and exciting! Physics truly is one of the most exciting and interesting subjects one can study. Discoveries from physics have revolutionized the world and will certainly continue to do so. Between the innermost workings of the nucleus and the outer edges of the visible universe lies the playground of physics. Combining imagination with systematic reasoning, the physicist seeks to understand the laws of nature, the structure of matter and the behavior of physical processes — the keys to many of the universe's secrets. The area of physics cover such intriguing topics as lasers, superconductors, black holes, quantum mechanics, big bang theory, relativity, and the list goes on and on. It also covers more basic but still fascinating topics such as why the sky is blue, why sunsets are red, and why ice floats. In short, physicists are explorers trying to understand the world around them.
  2. It's a versatile major. Physics is sometimes referred to as the "liberal arts" degree of technology because physics majors can go on to careers in computer science, engineering, research and development, and biology.  For a list of current job opportunities, see the AIP's (American Institute of Physics) career services Web page. To see the types of employers, by state, that employ physicists, see the AIP's employment trends.
    In short, a major in physics is a way to keep your options open. An undergraduate degree in physics tells prospective employers this person has what it takes to succeed. The physics major learns to start with an ill-posed problem, formulate it quantitatively, solve it, and communicate the results clearly. The skill transfers readily to many fields. Physicists go on to become lawyers, doctors, and engineers. 
  3. Achieve deeper understanding. The physicist's approach to problem solving is to first understand the problem and the concepts. This allows a more efficient solution than the "quick-fix".
  4. Smaller class size. The physics department graduates about 3 - 5 majors each year which means that there are only 3 - 10 students in each physics majors course. This means more attention for you.
  5. The Physics reputation. Physics majors have a reputation for solid mathematical skills, strong problem solving ability, and good work ethic. It is these fundamental skills that allow them to work successfully in so many different areas.
  6. Good Salaries! See the AIP's statistics on starting salaries.