Programs of Study

Concordia's physics department offers three different majors, all with a significant degree of flexibility in the choice of advanced courses, intended to serve students with a wide range of interests.

Major in Physics

The traditional physics major is recommended for those students that intend to go to graduate school in physics, or a closely related discipline, after college. There is a fair amount of flexibility since one can choose the four advanced physics courses.

Major in Applied Physics

The applied physics major is recommended for those students aiming to go into the workforce after graduation, as well as those who intend to go to grad school in engineering. Again, there is a high degree of flexibility in the choice of advanced courses and the emphasis is on a practical approach.

Major in Physics with an Astrophysics Emphasis

The physics major with an astrophysics emphasis is for students who have an interest in the large-scale mysteries of the universe. It can serve both those that intend to go to graduate school and those who want to go into the workforce, depending on the choice of advanced courses and electives.

Major in Physics Education

Students seeking to teach physics must also fulfill requirements for a major in education.

Science (K-6) | Optional add-on endorsement for elementary education majors

General Science (5-8) | Recommended add-on endorsement for physics education majors

Minor in Physics

The physics department also offers a physics minor, with the first four semesters the same as for the physics major. After those first four semesters, to obtain the minor it is necessary to take one 4-credit advanced physics course (300 level or above), to choose from the department's offerings.

Advanced Courses

The advanced physics courses regularly offered by the department include:

  • Classical Mechanics
  • Electrodynamics
  • Statistical Physics
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Techniques for Experimental Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Introduction to General Relativity
  • Senior Seminar (2 credits)

In addition, depending on staff availability and student demand, other elective advanced courses are occasionally offered (examples include Particle Physics, Quantum Computing, Introduction to Nanosciences, Optics, etc.).

Customize Your Experience

If you choose to study physics at Concordia, you’ll learn to investigate how things work, have contact with the newest technologies and discoveries, conduct interesting experiments, and learn exciting things while interacting with the faculty and other students in a close-knit environment.

Concordia has a dynamic physics department with approachable faculty and diverse research opportunities.

Not only does Concordia allow the flexibility to study vastly different topics, but it encourages students to reach across departments and engage in learning that is interdisciplinary. – Matthew Lillehaugen '17

Our faculty will work closely with you to find the path that works best to achieve your short- and long-range plans. We know that life isn’t just about physics and, while the program is rigorous and challenging, we take pride in the fact that the vast majority of our students are involved in other activities, such as music ensembles, choir and/or orchestra, sports, and organizations – including our chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS).

Career and Academic Opportunities

The demand for physics graduates in the job market is high and it is expected to continue to grow. A wide range of career options exist – from engineering to technology, banking, and more. It is not uncommon for graduates to immediately enter the workforce in fields as diverse as software companies, engineering companies, national labs, banking, and the healthcare sector. They work as data analysts, software engineers, software developers, and clinical research team leaders at places like 3M, Microsoft, and Sanford Health.

Physics graduates often go on to do research either in the private sector or in national labs, and there are also many opportunities in the government and educational sectors.

Many of our students choose to pursue advanced degrees in fields such as physics, medical physics, geophysics, computer science, MBA, and a whole range of engineering (civil, mechanical, electrical, aeronautical, etc.) disciplines.

Among the universities our recent graduates have attended or were accepted for graduate studies are Stanford University, University of Chicago, University of Wisconsin – Madison, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, University of Notre Dame, University of Iowa – Ames, and Cornell University.

Degree Requirements and Courses

Required Courses

Additional Requirements

  • 4 additional courses at 300-level or above, 16 credits

Courses recommended but not required:

Concentrations

Astrophysics

The requirements for a major in physics with an astrophysics emphasis are 58 credits.

  • 2 additional courses at 300-level or above, 8 credits

Recommended courses but not required:

Required Courses

Additional Requirements

Students seeking licensure to teach physics must also fulfill the requirements for a major in education. See the education section for requirements. For additional information about teaching physics, see the physics department chair or the education department chair.

Your Dreams, Our Support

One physics major might dream of using their love of music and science to become an acoustical engineer and design concert halls. Our approach to teaching means students can combine academic preparation with practically any co-curricular interest.

Studio Approach

Faculty members briefly lecture at the start of the class period and then students work in groups of three or four, either to solve problems or do experiments that are integrated with the lecture. This approach has been shown to improve learning and retention of concepts.

My interest in mechanics and motion brought me to the program, which teaches critical thinking and problem solving at a high level. The professors are sociable, approachable, and passionate about what they teach and anyone with an interest in physics will find themselves in a comfortable environment here.

Travis Deegan '19

Physics Stories

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Fascinated by Physics

Alex Brueske ’20 fosters his love for physics through undergrad research opportunities.

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Contact

Dr. Luiz A. Manzoni

Chair/Professor Physics