Physics Major

physics lab
physics class

The analytical, conceptual and experimental skills perfected by physics majors apply to many careers. Physics and its subfields are an integral part of such diverse disciplines as astronomy, engineering, chemistry, geology, medicine and meteorology.

Our Physics program offers two options, both providing a foundation for employment or graduate study. Option A is for students anticipating graduate study or careers in physics or astronomy. Option B is intended for students who want a strong background in physics coordinated with coursework from other academic areas, leading to a career or graduate work in a field other than physics. Physics and engineering is the most common combination.

Our facilities include specialized labs for student and faculty research in the field of lasers, thin films/high vacuum, magnetism, advanced mechanics and materials testing. Many physics majors also minor in astronomy, and the college has a digital planetarium and an observatory with permanently mounted and mobile telescopes, data acquisition equipment and a 1-meter mobile reflecting telescope.

The campus has an active Physics and Astronomy Club that sponsors speakers, organizes field trips to industrial and academic laboratories, and helps conduct science outreach events at the observatory, planetarium or our Science Discovery Center. Opportunities for students to assist in campus laboratories or faculty research activities are available. Students are also encouraged to pursue summer internships at other universities and/or national laboratories. Recent internship placements have included William & Mary, the University of Texas at Austin, Cornell University, MIT Haystack Observatory and Princeton Plasma Lab.

Recent grad spotlight

Physics & Astronomy Department
Phone: 607-436-3145
Fax: 607-436-2654

Andreas Stolzer

Andreas Stolzer

"It was interesting going into physics with the idea of going into engineering. It was a means to an end for me. Then I started it and found that I like physics on its own. It’s just an interesting puzzle, for me at least, and it’s a lot of fun."