Physics

Offered as a major (B.A. or B.S.) and a minor

Physics addresses the question of how and why things work.

Its inquiries span from the forces which govern subatomic particles to the large-scale phenomena which shape our universe as a whole.

The Curriculum

Learn from all angles

Through a combination of interactive lectures, instructive demonstrations, and laboratory experiments, you will hone your knowledge and skills from multiple angles.

Build on a foundation of concepts and laws

A strong foundation in classical and modern physics and in applied mathematics is crucial to the scientific inquiries of physics. You will develop an understanding of the fundamental concepts and laws of physics and acquire familiarity with data acquisition and analysis instrumentation.

Model the world through mathematics

You will translate physical problems into mathematical models by analyzing the physical situation for dominant effects and describing those effects in terms of mathematical variables. You will then solve and interpret these problems using the tools of mathematics.

Experimentation is a key experience

You will employ the scientific method in the execution of experiments and the analysis of experimental results. Your experience will give you the opportunity and ability to work independently as well as engage in successful collaborations.

Get practical experience

Physics majors often participate in summer undergraduate research programs as well as internships with local industries. The practical experience these opportunities provide is invaluable, and we will heavily encourage you to participate in them.

Do original research — then present it

As a senior, you will apply both theoretical and experimental approaches in your capstone course, which culminates in an original research paper. This research is then often presented at a national meeting. Past topics of student research have included fluid dynamics, biomedical engineering, laser medicine, nuclear radiation, and digital communication.

Choose between a B.S. or B.A. degree

A bachelor of science degree serves as an excellent foundation if you are interested in graduate studies in physics or engineering, 

A bachelor of arts degree allows you to explore the relationship of physics with another field of interest. Students choosing this option frequently pursue careers in medicine, law, or business.

The Experience
Photo of student or faculty

During my research, I created quantum simulations to observe the behavior and characteristics of the superconductive material strontium ruthenate. Something exciting I learned in the process was how this material behaves unconventionally compared to other known superconductors by exhibiting half-flux states.

Pierce Hening '16

Read Pierce's Story

Photo of student or faculty

My research was in the area of neutrino physics, in association with the MicroBooNE collaboration at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. I was interested in coming up with a function to describe the optical response of a photomultiplier tube while submerged in liquid argon. This function would aid in reducing simulation time for MicroBooNE. From this project, I learned how to design and construct a small scale experiment, collect and analyze data, and produce a talk and scientific paper on my findings.

Eric Henderson '14

Read Eric's Story

Your Future

Employers value the wide-ranging technical skills and problem-solving capabilities of physics majors. Technology firms, research laboratories, educational institutions, and the military regularly hire Cal Lutheran physics graduates.

Before pursuing their careers, many of our students attend graduate programs for physics, engineering, computer science, mathematics, or optical science.

Pursuing business, medicine, or law degrees are also viable options. Physics majors score well on the MCAT and LSAT, the entrance exams for medical school and law school.

Our alumni study at:

  • University of Michigan
  • Wake Forest University
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Washington State University
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • Colorado State University
  • Vanderbilt University
  • University of Nebraska, Lincoln

They work for:

  • Intel
  • Northrop Grumman
  • General Dynamics
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Shell
  • FzioMed
  • Teledyne Scientific Company
  • SmithGeiger

Career paths:

  • Optical Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Computer Hardware Engineer
  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Petrophysicist
  • Software Engineer
  • Entrepreneur
  • Lawyer
  • Radiation Health Officer
  • High School Physics Teacher
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