Physics Major (BA, BS)
Your physics degree is a stepping stone to an advanced degree and career in physics or engineering. With tracks in energy and environmental science, materials science, computation, innovation, and engineering, Hamline's physics department provides a skills-based education that prepares you for almost any technical field.
You'll have countless research opportunities—led by students and professors alike—at your fingertips, in fields from astrophysics, renewable energy and materials science to environmental science, optics, and computational physics. Hamline physics students frequently participate in national research competitions such as the EPA student design competition and the NASA-funded MnSGC quadcopter challenge. We host distinguished scholars every year at the annual Malmstrom Lecture in physics, which has drawn around a dozen Nobel laureates to our campus.
We partner with Washington University to offer a dual degree program for students to earn both a liberal arts degree and an undergraduate or master's engineering degree, and our students participate in internships with local Fortune 500 employers such as 3M, Honeywell, Medtronic, and more.
Physics majors, minor, pre-engineering track, and dual degree program
Physics major (BA)
This option is intended for students who wish to double major in other disciplines. It is also a major that can be completed in three years.
Physics major (BS)
This option is intended for students planning to proceed to graduate work in either physics or engineering. It focuses on both high-level physics courses and provides a breadth of science education.
Physics major (BS) - Energy and environmental science concentration
Focus your coursework with the energy and environmental science concentration.
Physics (BS) - Innovation and engineering concentration
Choose a concentration in innovation and engineering to focus your studies and career fields.
Pre-engineering professional track
Interested in an engineering career that requires you to continue your education with a graduate degree? We have the preparation you need.
Student research opportunities
At Hamline, students participate in research with faculty as early as their first year, something usually reserved for graduate students at other institutions. You'll design and conduct your own research project based on your individual interests and goals.
The list of possible research projects is as varied as our students. For example, picture yourself:
- Developing energy conversion and storage devices like solar cells, lithium ion batteries, and supercapacitors
- Testing how household materials could improve telemedicine through inexpensive and accessible material for determining a patient's health
- Applying new computer image processing techniques to help telescopes in light-polluted areas detect “exoplanets”—planets around other stars
- Using nanoscale materials and developing methods to monitor drinking water quality for rural and urban communities
- Analyzing microstructures and compositions of materials used in forensic science, materials science, pharmaceuticals, and anthropology with our newly acquired environmental scanning electron microscope
During your research process, you’ll collaborate with scientists at major research institutions, publish your research in scientific journals, and present your work at local, regional, and national conferences. Physics students also frequently participate in national research competitions such as the EPA Student Design Competition and the NASA-funded MnSGC quadcopter challenge.
Paid internships for physics students
We make sure you leave Hamline with work experience in the field of physics on your resume, and the opportunities are boundless. Whether you want to explore a career in aeronautics, medical equipment development, civil engineering, or more, we have paid internship opportunities for you.
Examples of past physics student internships include:
- 3M, technical aide
- Image Sensing Systems, algorithm engineering Intern
- Honeywell, data science intern
- Seagate, firmware engineer Intern
- Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, forensic lab intern
- Donaldson Co., Inc., engineering intern
- Pace Analytical, support coordinator
- Thomson Reuters, software engineer intern
Explore career paths
Our innovative courses and one-on-one mentoring by faculty will give you the tools to succeed in a variety of jobs, such as:
- Naval nuclear reactors engineer
- Lead product manufacturing engineer, aerospace division
- Electromagnetic interference and compliance test engineer
- Patent attorney
- Associate software engineer
- Healthcare analyst
- Science museum design team instructor
- Analytics data scientist
You can put your degree to work in any number of fields, including:
- Materials science
- Nuclear physics
- Medical physics
- Data science
- Science education
- Computer systems engineering
Take your studies further with graduate school
Our graduates have gone on to graduate schools across the country in the pursuit of master’s and doctoral degrees. Examples of programs and schools include:
- PhD in physics, Purdue University
- Master of aeronautics and astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- PhD in bioengineering and biomedical engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
- PhD in engineering mechanics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
- PhD in applied ocean sciences, University of California, San Diego
- PhD in materials science, University of Minnesota
Additional opportunities to get involved
High school summer camps
Sign up for camps focusing on innovation or renewable energy that give high school students the opportunity to dive into a topic, gain hands-on experience, and meet experts from Minnesota companies.
Learn more about physics at Hamline
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