Physics

Bachelor of Science in Physics

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Program Intro

The Physics major at PNW offers an engaging learning environment and a rigorous program of study, augmented by a diverse research agenda.

With this degree, you’re prepared for graduate studies in not only physics, but astronomy, engineering, education, data science and medicine as well.

Department of Chemistry and Physics

As a discipline, physics explores some of the most fundamental questions in our world and about our universe. The fundamentals of physics have applications across many fields.

Studying physics develops robust quantitative and critical thinking skills that are highly desired by employers and offer tremendous career flexibility. With a small student-to-faculty ratio, our physics program offers you support and mentoring that suits your specific talents and goals.

Curriculum Overview

After the introductory physics sequence, you’ll study modern physics, intermediate mechanics and electromagnetism, statistical physics and quantum physics. We offer a range of elective courses, such as nuclear and computational physics. You’ll also develop your experimental skills through several laboratory courses and a senior research project.

Build a foundation through introductory mechanics and freshman seminar, along with calculus, introductory chemistry and general education courses.

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Sample Courses

  • PHYS 15200 – Mechanics
  • MA 16400 – Integrated Calculus Analysis Geometry II

Complete an introductory course in electromagnetism as well as classes modern physics, advanced calculus and differential equations. You’ll also take general education and elective courses.

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Sample Courses

  • PHYS 25100 – Heat, Electricity And Optics
  • PHYS 34300 – Modern Physics Laboratory

Begin a two-year rotation of upper-level physics core courses, plus linear algebra, programming and physics electives.

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Sample Courses

  • PHYS 31100 – Quantum Physics I
  • CS 12400 – Programming II: C++

Finish your two-year rotation and conduct a year-long research project, which you’ll present in the spring.

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Sample Courses

  • PHYS 31000 – Intermediate Mechanics
  • PHYS 38000 – Advanced Physics Laboratory

Highlights

Physics at PNW offers unique opportunities to participate in cutting-edge research alongside our faculty in particle physics, nuclear physics and astrophysics.

Our students have worked with their faculty mentors at the Large Hadron Collider and the Energy Center. They’ve also studied asteroids with the NIRO observatory and helped run supercomputer simulations of neutron star mergers.

A lion sculpture on PNW's campus PNW graduates at commencement

Outcomes

You’ll graduate with a strong understanding of physical principles and theories, experimental analysis techniques and theoretical/computational modeling skills.

This experience prepares you for graduate study in physics and affiliated fields (astrophysics, biophysics, etc.) or employment in fields ranging from data science to finance to engineering and beyond.

Beyond the Classroom

The Chemistry and Physics Club is a student-led group engaged in community outreach and activities of interest to anyone interested in chemistry and physics.

Career Paths

Physics majors go on to careers in academia, finance, patent law, engineering, manufacturing, IT, health sciences and consulting, among others.

Employers

Recent graduates of our program are employed at:

  • Old Dominion University
  • Ball State University
  • EXL
  • Dwyer Instruments Inc.
  • AM Stabilizers Corporation

 

I am very happy to have been a graduate of PNW. I have many experiences, formed lasting friendships, and took the combined advice from of my professors and mentors and used it as a guide for my career, and will continue to do so in the future.

What stands out to me the most when I think back on my time in the physics department at PNW is the infectious enthusiasm my professors displayed for the material.

Richard Gorby

Physics, 2018, Lowell

From black holes and the growth of our universe to quantum mechanics, the physics program will encourage you to look at the world in awe.

Kyle Herron

Physics, 2021 (expected), Highland

The Physics program has allowed me to learn about everything from quantum physics to astronomy. I was even able to do research at Fermilab over the summer with one of my professors. Overall, this program has been an amazing experience.

Annabelle Makowski

Physics, BS, 2021 (expected), Highland

Meet the Faculty

Robert Kramer

Robert A. Kramer, Ph.D., CEM, CDSM, CEA

NiSource Charitable Foundation Professor of Energy; Director, Energy Efficiency and Reliability Center

Prof. Kramer teaches Physics and Engineering courses and conducts research in energy utilization, sources, optimization, reliability, and electric transmission. He is Director of the Energy Center.

Neeti Parashar, Ph.D.

Neeti Parashar, Ph.D.

Professor of Physics

Founded and leading the High Energy Physics program at PNW. Principal Investigator on National Science Foundation funding. Faculty Mentor for the PNW QuarkNet Center on Education and Outreach.

Adam Rengstorf

Adam W. Rengstorf, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Physics

I teach all levels of physics lecture and lab, gen.-ed. astronomy, and upper-level astrophysics courses. I also oversee all observing campaigns and undergraduate research projects at NIRo Observatory.

A PNW Student in the Classroom

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See how a PNW degree opens doors, from corporate boardrooms to non-profit leadership.

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