- Degrees Available:
- Major: Yes
- Minor: Yes
- Graduate Degree: Yes
- Campus: Macomb
- Study Opportunities:
- Teacher Certification
Undergraduate Majors, Minors & Programs of Study
Physics explores the basic properties of matter and energy, analyzing the forces which are in action inside materials, during energy transformations, at both large and small scales. In WIU’s Bachelor of Science in Physics program, students gain experience in dealing with a broad range of such physical phenomena, using both laboratory and mathematical problem-solving techniques. Students learn the basic laws of physics that govern nature, and develop the necessary skills to apply these laws to physical processes that are used across our technologically advanced modern society.
Physics majors can pair their degree with a minor in a complementary field, such as mathematics or chemistry, as well as pursue the comprehensive physics/science teacher certification program to be qualified to teach at the junior or senior high school level. Physics majors are prepared to do design and development work in industry or in government laboratories, as well as carry out fundamental research on physical processes used throughout our technical society. They can also choose to pursue graduate work in the field of physics to further their knowledge, through both our accelerated five-year integrated B.S./M.S. program, or through our traditional graduate program, or through a number of Ph.D. institutions nationwide. This will prepare them for careers involving research and teaching in both academia (college and university level) and in industry.
At WIU, a majority of our physics courses have a laboratory component, allowing students hands-on interaction in small group settings under the mentorship of Ph.D. faculty. All courses and laboratory sections are taught by faculty members with a Ph.D. from prestigious institutions around the world. Class sizes are small, with most upper level undergraduate classes averaging around 10 students, and all laboratory sections capped at 18 students. This allows all students to ask questions, participate in individualized experiments, and handle the equipment used directly.
Students planning to major in Physics should take four years of high school mathematics and one year each of physics, chemistry, and biology in high school.
Why Physics at WIU?
Almost all of our physics students are known on a first-name basis by our Physics faculty, and the majority of our students participate in individual undergraduate research projects under the direct mentorship of a faculty member beginning from their sophomore year. Almost all of our students involve themselves in experimental, computational, or theoretical research projects by the time they reach their senior year. This research is an essential component of a quality undergraduate physics education, and provides our students with unique opportunities to present their research in both on-campus venues as well as at prestigious regional, state, national, and even international conferences.