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 facilities including Dark Sky Observatory, millions of dollars’ worth of electron and optical microscopes, curated and regularly updated electronics laboratories, and an atmospheric physics research station funded by NASA, and Appalachian’s Department of Physics and Astronomy is an extraordinary place to learn and grow.
Employment: Students who graduate with a B.S. or a B.A. in physics from Appalachian State University have gone on to work for the American Physical Society, Clarkston Consulting, EcoGreen Energy Solutions, National Instruments, Halliburton, Campbell Scientific, BMW Manufacturing and Qorvo.
Graduate School: Students who graduate with a B.S. or a B.A. in physics from Appalachian State University 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 – Physics, Chemical Physics
- Rochester Institute of Technology – Microelectronics Engineering
- University of Colorado - Boulder - Physics
- Colorado State University – Physics
A minor is required. The most popular choice is Mathematics.
Engagement Outside the Classroom
Research in Physics and Astronomy – The Department of Physics and Astronomy is committed to supporting its majors with undergraduate research opportunities. Professors value the research experience as one of the most instrumental for success beyond the undergraduate level. Contact Dr. Brooke Hester for more information.
The Physics and Astronomy Club – Members of the club are dedicated to educating the public on various topics of physics and astronomy and supporting their peers with access to resources and community. Throughout the academic year, they plan and take part in social activities, service-oriented projects and community outreach efforts.
Students for Inclusive Excellence in STEM – The primary focus of the club is to educate and promote inclusive excellence and diversity in all STEM departments through outreach and departmental involvement.
Appalachian State University Robotics Club – The group is designing and creating a prototype rover called “Marty” that serves as a tester for autonomous driving systems. The club plans to compete in the University Rover Challenge, an annual event featuring a "Mars-esque" environment in southern Utah.
Team Sunergy - The Appalachian State Solar Vehicle Team includes students from a diverse range of disciplines including physics, sustainable technology, business, music and computer science. Through this diverse compilation of skills, members represent Appalachian’s commitment to sustainable energy initiatives at international solar vehicle competitions.
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.
- Based on Fall 2018 American Institute of Physics data, Appalachian’s Department of Physics and Astronomy is listed as 2nd in the U.S. for the production of BA/BS degrees (among Masters Comprehensive Institutions) and is listed as having the 2nd largest number of graduating master’s students than any program in the nation.
- 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 after earning a bachelor’s degree or through Appalachian’s Accelerated Master’s Program. Through the Accelerated Master's program, undergraduate students with at least a 3.2 GPA can take graduate coursework during the senior year and earn a master’s degree in just one additional year.
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
Interim Department Chair