Want To Know How the World Works?

At its most basic level, physics is the study of the fundamental laws that govern matter and energy in the universe. By its nature, physics is a broad field encompassing diverse disciplines such as astrophysics, biophysics, condensed matter physics, geophysics, medical physics, atomic & nuclear physics, and particle physics. Students who major in physics can go into a wide variety of careers including nuclear engineering, chemical and material engineering, atmospheric science, astronomy, and software development and testing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics careers in physics-related industries are expected to grow faster than the national average with median annual salaries usually $80,000-$100,000. Many of these fields only require a bachelor’s degree for entry level positions, but postgraduate degrees are highly recommended for career advancement.

The field of physics has a long and rich history. Beginning at the end of the 19th century, “classical physics” underwent a dramatic reformulation with the advent of relativity theory, quantum mechanics, and advances in nuclear science. Around the same time, our view of the universe was shattered by the discovery of galaxies outside the Milky Way, as well as evidence for the big bang and the expansion of the universe. Our universe was suddenly a much larger and stranger place. Today, new discoveries and computational advances continue to change our view of the physical universe and major problems remain to be solved.

Established in the early 1960s, the physics major at Adrian College is designed to give the student a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of physics. Our focus is on providing a solid background in the core areas of physics rather than specialization, though some specialized elective courses are available. Our curriculum emphasizes both theory and practice through a combination of lecture courses, laboratory courses, and a senior capstone course.

Students considering a physics degree or minor are urged to consult with a physics faculty member in their first semester to discuss the degree options and to develop a 4-year plan.

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