Physics

Physics

Want to better understand how matter and energy interact? Where you study matters - and you won't find a physics department with more energy than here at The University of Scranton!

About

Physics is the application of mathematical theory and experimental tools to investigate how matter and energy interact. It spans the spectrum from astrophysics, which tells us about the structure of stars, to clumps of atoms, which informs us how silicon chips work. 

Why Physics is in Demand:

  • Employment of physicists and astronomers is projected to grow 7% from 2014 to 2024. It is expected that the need for physicists and astronomers in colleges, universities and national labs will increase due to expected growth in federal government research spending. (Source: United States Department of Labor Statistics)
  • Physicists are in demand for their analytical skills in many financial, fund management and research roles, in law, as weather forecasters, computer programmers, and as physics and science teachers.
  • The median annual wage for physicists was $110,980 in May 2015.  (Source: United States Department of Labor Statistics)

Is it for me?

  • Do you like figuring things out?
  • Do you enjoy being challenged?
  • Could you spend all day conducting scientific research?
  • Are you constantly asking “why”?

Five Reasons to Choose Scranton for Physics

1.
Active learning.   Hands-on, project-based learning and research experiences through early exposure to research.
2.
Faculty accessibility and engagement.   Faculty members take a personal interest in your well-being so that you thrive both in the classroom and outside. They remain mentors long after graduation.
3.
Range of expertise.   Our faculty brings a diverse range of expertise in acoustics, quantum optics, solid-state experiment and theory, nuclear theory, and much more to help you discover your passion.
4.
Numerous research opportunities.   Physics students are involved in numerous research projects with faculty mentors. Students doing formal and informal research report on progress and trouble shoot problems during weekly seminars.
5.
Jesuit approach to education.   We take pride in developing knowledgeable and competent physicists with a commitment to social justice, service to others, life-long learning, ethical and moral responsibility, and concern for the environment.
  • Preparing You For Personal & Professional Successplus or minus

    You Will:

    • Learn to think critically, analyze and solve complex problems
    • Develop technical writing and oral presentation skills
    • Grow in confidence
    • Learn time management
    • Gain an awareness of professional ethical issues concerning the impact of physics on society and a concern for the environment

    Student Research

    Students collaborate with faculty and conduct research while they are still in school. For example, recent students have researched everything from photovoltaics to quantum chaos. Read more in "What You'll Learn," below.

  • What You'll Learnplus or minus

    Curriculum

    In your first three years, you’ll take a core of courses including general physics, modern physics, statistical physics and thermodynamics, quantum physics, and electromagnetics.

    In your senior year, you’ll dive into advanced specialized courses. A highlight of the senior year is the opportunity to carry out original research of your choice with a faculty member. 

    Click here to see the curriculum.

    Physics classes are held in the Loyola Science Center offering dedicated spaces for informal gatherings, student group work, student research, mediated classrooms, and labs with state-of-the-art equipment.

    Research Projects

    • A physics student devised an instrument to detect underground voids used both on-campus and throughout the local community. His work received an award at a regional conference dedicated to student research.
    • Another physics student devised a novel electrical circuit to mimic unexpected properties of the inner ear and was able to reproduce the efforts and gain insight into the cause.
    • Additional student research included building a radio telescope to study the sun and using an optical telescope to search for extra­solar planets.

    President’s Fellowships for Summer Research include:

    • Rachel Salmon, Class of 2015, obtained a paid summer research experience in astronomy at Cornell University and at Michigan State University. She presented her research results at national meetings of the American Astronomical Society.
    • Dustin Frisbee, Class of 2015, who worked with Dr. Declan Mulhall, Associate Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering, studied quantum chaos to look for patterns that may help physicists better understand nuclear phenomena. Read more here.
  • Pursue Your Passion and Make a Differenceplus or minus

    Who doesn’t want to understand the world around us – and improve it? The study of physics stimulates our problem-solving skills to make all things possible. Many of the things we couldn’t live without today – cell phones, computers, cars – are the result of physics. Looking forward to watching your favorite show tonight on a flat screen TV? That’s physics at work.

    Physics also has a deeper humanitarian application from pursuing cancer research to developing new medical techniques to addressing the world’s energy problems.

    At Scranton, we offer significant service-learning opportunities in our local community to put your physics knowledge to good use and better the lives of others. As a Jesuit institution, we encourage students to develop a sense of responsibility for themselves and their community.

Careers

Where will physics take me?

Our physics majors typically go on to graduate school while others go straight into the industry. You'll find Scranton graduates working at a wide range of companies and organizations.

There is a diverse range of careers for those with physics degrees, including:

  • Astronomer
  • College Professor
  • High School Teacher
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Network Applications Systems Analyst
  • Physicist
  • Software Developer

To read more about the diversity of careers of people with physics degrees, browse through the American Physical Society’s series of articles called Profiles in Versatility.

Top Graduate Schools

Some of the prestigious graduate schools that have admitted recent graduates include:

  • Boston University
  • Michigan State University
  • Syracuse University
  • The Catholic University of America
  • The George Washington University 
  • The University of Scranton
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Kentucky

Leading Employers:

You’ll find Scranton graduates working in a wide range of companies and organizations including:

  • Deptartment of Environmental Protection 
  • ExxonMobil 
  • FBI
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Naval Research Lab
  • NASA
  • NSA
  • Physicians Health Alliance
  • Picatinny Aresenal
  • Tobyhanna Army Depot
  • U.S. Navy 

How Scranton Gives You a Competitive Edge

Competitive Edge

One of the many things students tell us they love about Scranton is that our faculty is very active in helping them achieve their career goals. As you walk across campus, you’ll often see students chatting with faculty over coffee to bounce ideas.

Whether it’s advising or providing letters of references for a competitive graduate school or that dream job, faculty make it their priority to get to know each student on an individual level.  That deep level of understanding means that our faculty members are not only dedicated teachers and strong researchers but advocates for you professionally. 

Take the Next Step

For More Information

Office of Admissions
The Estate
Scranton, PA 18510
Tel: 1-888-SCRANTON or (570) 941-7540
Fax: 570-941-7572
admissions@scranton.edu

Department of Physics/Electrical Engineering
Andrew Berger, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Physics/Electrical Engineering
(570) 941-4056
wandrew.berger@scranton.edu