Physics

Are you interested in physics and seeking a dynamic and rewarding career in scientific innovation? The Physics major at the University of Central Arkansas will provide you with a comprehensive study of the fundamentals of physics and the opportunity to shape your degree around your interests and career ambitions. We offer a balanced curriculum, with a variety of electives and core courses in mathematical physics, quantum mechanics, thermal physics, electricity and magnetism, and classical mechanics in Newtonian, Lagrangian, and Hamiltonian formulations. Our alumni have been accepted into some of the most elite graduate, medical, law, and professional programs in the country, including Penn State, UT Austin, Vanderbilt, and the universities of Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, North Carolina, and North Texas.

As a Physics major at UCA, you’ll have access to all of the distinct advantages that make the UCA experience special. Just a few of the benefits of our program include:

  • Expert Faculty with diverse academic and research credentials, who are deeply committed to the success of their students, both in the classroom and in the future, and provide individual attention and mentoring. Our instructors have cultivated an intensive learning environment, designed to develop research, computational, communication, and modeling skills through real-world simulations and experiments, often conducted in our own computer and research laboratory facilities, the UCA Planetarium, and UCA Observatory (which holds a Meade 14-inch aperture LX200R GPS telescope).
  • Degree Specialization designed to meet the evolving demands of the 21st century. Flexible degree concentrations allow our students to customize their majors, engage their interests, and facilitate their career ambitions. Tracks available in our department include:
    • Standard Physics- offering excellent preparation both for those planning a career in physics or astronomy, and other related fields, like engineering. Applied Physics- for students interested in applications of the knowledge and methods of physics in industrial and practical situations. It offers excellent preparation both for immediate entry into the industrial work force and for engineering school.
    • Biological Physics- offers a physics-based curriculum for students planning to enter medical school. It also serves as an excellent entry into medical physics and health-related fields or graduate school. Chemical Physics- excellent preparation for the chemistry-oriented industrial work force or for continued study in engineering or graduate school.
    • Mathematical Physics- for students interested and strongly motivated in both physics and mathematics. It offers an excellent preparation for graduate study in theoretical physics, mathematical physics, computational physics, applied mathematics and engineering.
    • Physical Science- for students interested in physical science, who do not intend to specialize in either physics or chemistry, and prefer a more flexible curriculum than that of the chemical physics track.
    • The Physics Department also houses the Pre-Engineering Professional Program, for students interested in pursuing biological, chemical, civic, computer, industrial, or mechanical engineering careers.
  • Undergraduate Research including projects on a variety of topics, such as: acoustics, biological physics, cosmology, general relativity, quantum mechanics, signal processing, thermoacoustics, variable star photometry, medical physics, astronomy, astrophysics, nuclear physics, and wave propagation. As a result of this extensive research, many students participate in professional conferences across the country and even co-author faculty research findings in leading scientific journals. We also encourage our students to engage in summer research programs, some of which are sponsored by the National Science Foundation, including sites like Cambridge University, Northwestern University, the University of North Texas, the University of Mississippi, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Students can also apply for a number of summer internship positions with scientific institutions (like NASA), to gain valuable field experience, a proven work record, and professional contacts.
  • Society of Physics Students is a professional association for anyone interested in physics, designed to help students transform themselves into contributing members of the professional community through: effective communication and personal interactions, leadership experience, the establishment of a personal network of contacts, the presentation of scholarly work in professional meetings and journals, and outreach services to the campus and local communities, such as physics demonstrations to high school or elementary school students and tutoring for students in the department. We also host a variety of social and professional functions, like guest speakers from various disciplines, research presentations by professors in the physics department, movie nights, viewing lectures by the great minds of science, opportunities to attend scientific conferences, bowling nights, and the SPS picnic.
  • Employment Opportunities are as diverse as our graduates, who are fully prepared to enter medical, law, or scientific graduate programs, or engineering professional programs, and typically outshine many of their peers in national placement tests, like the MCAT and LSAT. Our alumni pursue promising careers in a variety of fields, including: consulting for industry organizations, government agencies, or the military; environmental conservation or radiation protection research; publishing technical books, software, or scientific journals; image analysis or laser technology; medicine, MRI, nuclear medicinal research, or diagnostic instrumentation development; the aerospace, engineering, and law industries; higher education; and laboratory research for industrial or private firms, just to name a few.

To learn more about the exciting opportunities for personal and professional development available to you through the Physics major at the University of Central Arkansas, visit http://uca.edu/physics/bsphysics/.