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Physics, B.A., B.S.

As a Whitworth physics major, you will study the fundamental physical laws of the universe. You will develop a deeper understanding of how the world around you works, as well as a sense of excitement about how much remains to be discovered.

The study of physics opens the doors for you to contribute to society in many ways. Whitworth prepares physics students for lives of meaningful work in which they will explore the laws of the natural world that God has made and will design solutions to meet the needs of humanity.

Why major in physics at Whitworth?

  • Gain hands-on experience through project-based labs that parallel real-world research and development. Several courses offer these experiences, such as Near Space Research Project, an alternative lab for freshmen. Teams work on a single research question all semester, designing an experiment that they send to the stratosphere using a high-altitude balloon. 
  • Receive holistic mentoring. Whitworth engineering & physics professors are committed to helping you grow both academically and personally.
  • Study the effects of extreme conditons at more than 100,000 ft. above in the Earth's atmosphere using helium-filled balloons.
  • Integrate your faith or worldview with your studies through courses like Modern Physics, which examines whether developments in physics are compatible with the claims of Christianity and Judaism. A goal of the major is for you to be able to articulate how your beliefs are connected to your vocation.
  • Sharpen your leadership skills by working in the Whitworth Engineering & Physics Department. Students may apply for positions as tutors, teaching assistants and research assistants.
  • Study and build community in the department's new student lounge.
  • Engage in service-learning in the Spokane community. The Physics Outreach course gives you the chance to promote physics and engineering education among local middle school students.
  • Become who you're meant to be.

Our physics grads make a difference (and get jobs)

Graduates have gone on to become engineers, science teachers and researchers (conducting both fundamental and applied research). They have also found careers in other fields that value their quantitative problem-solving skills. No matter the career path you choose, you will benefit from the skills and confidence you gain in our rigorous program.

Our graduates are working in a variety of positions and fields, including:

  • Ben Hamming, software development engineer, Amazon
  • Katie Olleman, bridge designer, Washington State Department of Transportation
  • Robert Aldridge, simulator software engineer, NuScale Power
  • Cass Busch, math and science teacher, Klahowya Secondary School, Central Kitsap School District
  • Peter Landgren, software developer manager, Seattle

Our recent physics grads further their studies in top programs at institutions including:

  • University of Colorado Boulder (Ph.D. in physics)
  • University of Arizona (Ph.D. in optical sciences)
  • Whitworth University (master’s in teaching)
  • University of Washington (Ph.D. in materials science and engineering)
  • University of Notre Dame (Ph.D. in physics)
  • Princeton University (Ph.D. in mechanical & aerospace engineering)
  • University of Texas at Austin (Ph.D. in astrophysics)

Opportunities outside the classroom

  • Gain on-the-job experience through an internship, required of all students earning the bachelor of science degree in physics. Students have recently interned at the University of Rochester, Florida State University, the University of Oklahoma, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
  • Use our shop facilities to work on your own projects. We have 3D printers, a laser cutter and more to help transform your designs into reality.

What related majors can I explore?