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College of Arts & Sciences

Physics

Why pursue a degree in physics at North Central College?

Physicists study the universe and everything in it, from the very small (quantum) to the very large (cosmology). A physics major explores the basic principles that govern matter, energy and their interactions. Physics majors are prepared for a variety of roles in all areas of physics, materials science, data science, computation, and even broader fields such as engineering or finance. At North Central College, faculty are committed to helping students develop a broad range of applicable skills. With close proximity to both Fermi and Argonne National Laboratories, students have opportunities to work with world-class scientists at world-class facilities, as well as valuable networking opportunities. North Central’s physics program prepares students for graduate school as well as careers at laboratories, educational institutions and a variety of private sector environments.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN

  • Developing theories based on observation and experimentation
  • Conducting research around physical phenomena
  • Devising methods to apply physical laws and theories

then a degree in PHYSICS might be for you.

Why study physics at North Central College?

In the Classroom

Coursework topics:

  • Advanced Laboratory
  • Advanced Topics, including
    • Astrophysics
    • Cosmology
    • Elementary Particles
    • Quantum Computing
    • Solid State Physics
  • Calculus
  • Classical Mechanics
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Electronics
  • LabVIEW Interfacing
  • Mathematical and Computational Methods
  • Oscillation and Waves
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Special Relativity
  • Statistical Physics
  • Thermodynamics

Beyond the Classroom

As a physics major, you can:

  • Apply for internships and jobs through robust faculty and alumni networks or the Center for Career and Professional Development.
  • Obtain laboratory training in electrical and optical measurements, analog and digital electronics, and advanced experimental physics.
  • Gain valuable work experience through an internship at a nearby corporate or government research laboratory, such as Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill. or Argonne National Laboratory near Lemont, Ill.
  • Present your research findings at North Central’s own Rall Symposium and summer colloquium as well as local, regional, and national conferences.

More Department information

Physics, Professional Track, B.S.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Chemistry and Physics.

Electives

One of the following:

300- or 400-level Physics

Four additional credit hours of Physics at the 300- or 400-level, not including PHYS 395 or internships.

Required Support Courses

One of the following:

Physics, Interdisciplinary Track, B.S.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Chemistry and Physics.

Electives

Six additional credit hours in Physics at the 300- or 400-level, not including PHYS 395 or internships.

Second Major or Minor

Completion of a second major or minor in a discpline, pre-approved by the department.

Required Support Courses

One of the following:

Physics Minor

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Chemistry and Physics.

A minimum of 36 credit hours, including:

Introductory Classical Physics

One of the following Physics sequences:

Introductory Quantum Physics

One of the following:

Experimental and Advanced Physics

Eight credit hours to include:

One of the following:

At least one of the following:

Required Support Courses

Physics Internships and Jobs

A North Central education integrates career preparation with rich academic study. Our faculty encourages you to refine and apply your knowledge in an interconnected world. Here you'll learn to think independently and work globally to solve problems and lead.

Internship

Recent graduates in physics have interned at:

  • Argonne National Laboratory, near Lemont, IL
  • Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, IL

Graduate Schools

Recent graduates in physics have been accepted to graduate study programs at:

  • University of Minnesota
  • University of New Mexico
  • Vanderbilt University
  • University of Tennessee
  • University of Illinois-Chicago

Careers

Recent graduates in our physics program are employed as:

  • Scientist, Computer Sciences Corporation
  • Physicist, Argonne National Laboratory
  • Physicist, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)
  • Physics teacher, Hinsdale Central High School
  • Physics teacher, Cretin-Derham High School, St. Paul, MN
     

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