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What is Physics?

Students who have a passion for understanding how things work and enjoy scientific experiments and mathematics are often drawn to the study of physics. The concepts of physics, from relativity to quantum mechanics, challenge the imagination, and technologies developed by physicists play a major role in chemistry, biology, medicine, electronics, geology, and other fields. The Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy in the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences teaches students to excel in a variety of problem-solving scenarios, which allows them to seek employment in a wide range of academic, government, and industrial settings, well beyond the traditional boundaries of physics. The department offers students exciting, hands-on courses, such as the senior capstone physics course, which combines both group sessions with peers to improve public speaking and scientific reasoning skills and a one-on-one experience with a faculty advisor. There are two undergraduate degree options for physics students. The professional physics program is designed for students who plan on going to pursue advanced degrees in physics or another related scientific discipline, such as engineering. The standard physics degree is appropriate for students who wish to teach physics at the secondary level or who wish to use a background in physics to pursue other areas: writing, law, medicine, finance, and other technology-related or math-based fields.

Physics teaches how to use sophisticated mathematics to solve complex, real-world problems, which is why physicists are in high demand in nearly every field.

So, what's my degree?

A physics student can graduate with a standard degree of Bachelor of Science or a professional degree of Bachelor of Science in physics. Master of Science, Master of Science in engineering physics, Master of Natural Science, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees are also available.

Do my interests fit?

Physics students typically have interests in:

  • Understanding how nature, the universe, and/or technology works
  • Making critical observations, organizing, analyzing, and interpreting scientific data
  • Science and its application to every day issues
  • Using mathematics to solve problems and puzzles

How can OU Physics help me?

With a 4:1 faculty to student ratio, opportunities are abundant to get to know faculty and work with them. Our graduates are in academic and industry positions throughout the country and around the world. Our capstone experience guarantees every student gets real, cutting-edge research experience.

What courses will I take?

Physics courses include:

  • Introductory Physics
  • Electronics
  • Physical Mechanics
  • Electricity & Magnetism
  • Advanced Laboratory 
  • Introduction to Quantum Mechanics

How can I get involved?

There are numerous organizations physics students can be a part of:

How can I study abroad?

OU has numerous study abroad opportunities for students of all majors. Whether you want to take electives, lower-division courses, or major requirements, be sure to check out what education abroad opportunities are available to you through the College of International Studies. However, studying abroad and completing all the required courses takes careful management. Make sure you discuss it with a physics advisor.    

What kind of career could I pursue?

Physicist in industry or public sphere
Data analyst (big data current focus of much of
    physics research)
NASA, JPL, NIST, NOAA, and other governmental
Nuclear research and development
Health industry

How much will they make?

Visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website to explore the median pay for jobs you can pursue with this degree. 

Contact Us

Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy
Phone: (405) 325-3961