What can you do with a physics degree?

Physics is one of the most fundamental and all-inclusive of the sciences. It is an attempt to understand the foundations of our universe through the study of the phenomena of motion, force, energy, sound, electricity, magnetism, thermodynamics, heat, light, and quantum mechanics. Physics students use advanced mathematics to solve challenging experimental or theoretical problems, so they often major in mathematics as well. The ability to analyze a problem and find the best possible solution is vital to success in many fields. As a result, physics graduates often work in such seemingly non-related areas as medicine, law, biology, business, or military science, as well as in engineering, mathematics, computer science, or industry.

Department Amenities
Physics is housed in the Physical and Environmental Sciences building with access to modern computers and equipment including an advanced physics ultrasound laboratory. A 14-inch telescope and several other telescopes are located at the ECU observatory on campus. Small classes and ready access to caring professors help students succeed. 

Scholarships for Physics Majors
The Physics department makes scholarships and other financial aid available to qualified students through the following programs:

  • Brown Mackin Scholarship
  • Edward M. & Joann Smith Memorial Gift Scholarship
  • Shelby Jane Bays Memorial Scholarship
  • Carlock Scholarship
  • OKAMP Program
  • Stringfield Scholarship
  • Physics Department Scholarship

So what kind of job can I get with a Physics degree?

  • Astronomer
  • Computer Programmer
  • Doctor
  • Engineer
  • Entrepreneur
  • Geophysicist
  • Golf Coach
  • Craphic Artist
  • Lawyer
  • Mathematican
  • Medical Physicist
  • Miilitary Fighter Pilot
  • NASA Subcontractor
  • Physicist
  • Power Plant Operator
  • Professor
  • Science Teacher
  • Scientist
Show Me the Money!
The Chicago Tribune reports that college graduates earn on average 75% more money than those who only have a high school degree. In particular, graduates with a physics degree typically can earn between $40,000 and $74,000 for entry level jobs. (NACE 2016 Salary Report) In additon, students with a master's degree in medical physics can make over $100,000 per year. (AAPM.org)
Physics Program at a Glance
Dean: Dr. Carl Gilbert, College of Health & Sciences
Chair: Dr. Carl Rutledge
Degree: Bachelor of Science
Concentrations/Programs: 4
Minor: 1
Faculty: 2 full-time & 3 part-time
Organizations: 3
Scholarships: 8
Location: 214 P&ES Building

Degree Options

The Bachelor of Science in Physics prepares students for employment in a wide range of fields or for graduate school in physics or related areas including engineering, medicine, mathematics and astronomy.

Medical Physics
There are a few jobs in dosimetry that can be obtained with only a BS in medical physics. However, the purpose of this degree is to best prepare students for entry into a masters program in medical physics. There are CAMPEP accredited institutions in the U.S. and Canada. Both the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center and Oklahoma State University grant masters of science in medical physics. The BS degree option in medical physics was designed to allow the student to have the courses necessary to attend any of the accredited schools.

Physics Teacher Certification
The Bachelor of Science in Physics with a concentration in Teacher Certification provides the physics content and pedagogy through education courses for licensure and a career in secondary science education. Graduates may also be ready to pass certification exams in mathematics, biology, physical science and chemistry.

Pre-Engineering Program
The Pre-Engineering program is managed by the physics department. This is a 2 or 3 year program which gives students the fundamentals of physics, chemistry, math, etc. that are needed to prepare a student to transfer to a university that offers an engineering degree. Some students also transfer to an engineering technology program. Many students complete a physics degree at ECU and then transfer to an engineering school to obtain a master’s degree.