Answer the question of why.
Why don’t riders fall off the roller coaster? When you look in a window, why do you see what’s inside as well as your own reflection? As a University of Mary Washington physics major, you’ll satisfy your curiosity about the physical universe, then analyze and describe your discoveries. Explore what interests you most – astronomy, thermodynamics, nuclear physics, electronics, optics, mathematical physics, quantum mechanics and more – preparing yourself for higher study or entry into an in-demand career.
Students majoring in physics who complete all requirements earn the degree of Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in physics.
Areas of Study
The principles of physics underlie other natural sciences and are essential to many applied sciences and technical programs. UMW’s course offerings include general physics, astronomy, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, nuclear physics, modern physics, electronics, optics, mathematical physics, mechanics, quantum mechanics, electricity and magnetism, solid state physics, and more.
Graduates in physics establish careers as researchers, educators, and engineers in such fields as acoustics, astronomy, astrophysics, atomic physics, biophysics, chemical physics, fluid dynamics, geophysics, low-temperature physics, medical physics, materials science, nuclear physics, optics, particle physics, plasma physics, solid state physics, spectroscopy, and vacuum physics.
For-credit and paid internships provide opportunities for students to gain field experiences and learn about potential employers. Internship sponsors such as NASA and the Naval Surface Warfare Center work with the department to establish individual objectives. Individual study is another avenue to learn intensively and enhance career skills.
Besides earning general academic honors, physics majors may earn departmental honors. Your academic advisor can explain requirements and guide you through this process.
The physics major requires 41 credits including core courses, electives, and classes at the 300 level or above.
The physics minor requires 24 to 26 credits including core courses, electives, and classes at the 300 level and above.