The concepts of physics are basic to matter, energy and all phenomena. They help us understand how the world around us works, from cell phones to tsunamis, anatomy to cathedrals and DNA to black holes. Physics is the basis for modern technology, and for the tools and instruments used in medicine, engineering, manufacturing and other sciences.
Students in Appalachian State University’s Bachelor of Arts in Physics degree receive the guidance and instruction to harness these concepts. Whether you choose to continue on to graduate school or pursue a career in industries such as computing, engineering, biotechnology, nanotechnology or statistics, you will be equipped with the necessary knowledge, technical training and problem-solving skills to handle many challenges. The BA’s language requirement also opens doors for high-demand positions in the global marketplace.
In addition to receiving a well-rounded course of study in pure physics, BA majors will have the opportunity to work with Department of Physics and Astronomy mentors on research and other creative projects beyond the classroom. Combine that with access to top-notch resources including Dark Sky Observatory, millions of dollars worth of electron microscopes and an atmospheric physics research station funded by NASA, Appalachian’s Department of Physics and Astronomy is an extraordinary place to learn and grow.
Employment: Students who graduate from this program have gone on to work for American Physical Society, Clarkston Consulting, EcoGreen Energy Solutions, National Instruments, Halliburton, Campbell Scientific, BMW Manufacturing and Qorvo.
Graduate School: Students who choose to continue their education have gone on to graduate programs at the following schools:
- Appalachian State University – Engineering Physics
- North Carolina State University – Materials Engineering, Electrical Engineering
- Wake Forest University – Physics
- Stanford University – Aerospace Engineering
- Duke University – Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Physics
- University of California-Los Angeles – Civil Engineering
- Clemson University – Astrophysics
- Indiana University-Bloomington – Astrophysics
- UNC-Charlotte – Physics, Optical Sciences
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – Nuclear Engineering
- University of Maryland – Chemical Physics
- Rochester Institute of Technology – Microelectronics Engineering
Core courses include:
- General Physics I & II or Analytical Physics I & II
- Intermediate Physics I & II
- Physics Laboratory Techniques and Data Analysis
- Classical Mechanics
- Electromagnetic Fields and Waves
- Methods of Experimental Physics
- plus 15 semester hours of mathematics and 8 hours of chemistry
A minor is required. The most popular choice is Mathematics.
Engagement Outside the Classroom
The Physics and Astronomy Club – Members of the club are dedicated to educating the public on various topics of physics and astronomy. Throughout the year they plan and take part in social activities, service-oriented projects and community outreach efforts.
Membership in the club links students to the following international organizations:
- The Optical Society (OSA) – An international scientific society dedicated to advancing the study of light.
- International Society of Optics and Photonics (SPIE) – A not-for-profit international professional society dedicated to advancing scientific research and engineering applications of optics and photonics through international conferences, trade exhibitions and continuing education programs.
Appalachian is committed to introducing students to different cultures and teaching them how to live and interact in a global society.
There are no admission requirements beyond admission to Appalachian State University.
- Graduates of this program receive excellent academic and technical preparation to enter the job market or graduate school.
- The American Physical Society lists Appalachian’s Department of Physics and Astronomy as 3rd in the U.S. for the production of BA/BS degrees (among Masters Comprehensive Institutions), and in the top 20 of Masters granting institutions for the fraction of women earning MS degrees.
- Students have opportunities to work with faculty mentors whose research specialties include materials and surface physics, optics, microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, organic semiconductors, physics education, robotics, asteroids and the physics of stars.
- Students can stay to earn a Master of Science degree in Engineering Physics through Appalachian’s Accelerated Admission from Baccalaureate to Master’s Program, sometimes referred to as 4+1. Students with at least a 3.4 GPA can take graduate coursework during the senior year and earn a master’s in just one additional year.
Number of Students
Method of Delivery
On campus only
Some of these jobs also require education beyond the bachelors’ degree.
- Atomic Physicist
- Chemical Physicist
- Computer System Engineer
- Physics Teacher
- Medical Physicist
- Physics Researcher
- Research & Development Scientist
- Research Assistant
- Science Teacher
Dr. Michael Briley
Chair, Department of Physics and Astronomy