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Applied Physics—BS

Accelerate your Physics Knowledge

Are you fascinated by physics, but don’t foresee yourself strictly pursuing a laboratory position? Do you gravitate toward a career in industry or engineering that will allow you to apply physical principles to the development of innovative solutions? A Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics from Michigan Technological University will provide you with the educational momentum you need to succeed in this highly competitive field.

In addition to completing a series of courses to deepen your understanding of the fundamentals of physics, you will also choose a customized application area, like biophysics, alternative energy, or entrepreneurship.

Hands-On Learning: Our Hallmark

Our students learn best by doing, which is why we emphasize challenging lab work and rewarding research. Starting with your first semester at Michigan Tech, you will work in the lab to deepen your understanding of physical properties. Through honors-level first-year courses, you will quickly familiarize yourself with our cutting-edge labs and our faculty’s research.

About the Program

  • Undergraduate students have the opportunity to work with faculty on research projects. Students are paired with a faculty member for a minimum of two semesters of research, but students frequently exceed this degree requirement by taking advantage of the department’s many opportunities for continued research.
  • The physics department prides itself on a sense of collegiality. This comes not only from faculty-student mentoring, but also peer-to-peer support. With such a small undergraduate community (typically 25 students per incoming class), students quickly become an integral part of the department’s culture.
  • Students are exposed to many disciplines within physics throughout their undergraduate career, which greatly increases postgraduation success. Our faculty has research expertise in
    • astrophysics;
    • atmospheric physics;
    • computational physics;
    • experimental physics; and
    • computational biophysics.
  • The department also offers or significantly supports minors in
    • astrophysics;
    • nanoscale science and engineering (nanotechnology);
    • physics; and
    • remote sensing.
  • First-year physics students automatically become members of the Michigan Tech chapter of the Society of Physics Students—a national professional organization designed to help students transform themselves into successful members of the professional physics community.

Program Learning Goals

The Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics is intended for students pursuing a career in physics or closely related fields. While this career path typically includes graduate studies, it can also lead to a variety of careers in technical areas in industry and government.

We expect that all physics majors will finish their program of study equipped as well-rounded critical thinkers and life-long learners. They will be prepared to successfully compete for and perform in graduate study or professional work in physics, engineering, education, or related fields. Specific learning goals for graduates with a B.S. degree in Applied Physics include:

Goal 1 Students will demonstrate a mastery of the fundamental concepts and principles of the major areas of physics (e.g. classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, electricity and magnetism, optics, and thermal physics)
Goal 2 Students will be able to carry out basic and advanced laboratory work in physics.
Goal 3 Students will be able to design and carry out an effective research program.
Goal 4 Students will effectively communicate scientific work both orally and in writing.
Goal 5 Students will demonstrate the application of fundamental knowledge and skills in a cognate field of study.

Undergraduate Employment

There are many undergraduate employment opportunities within the department.

  • Work in the Physics Learning Center, where you act as an academic coach to fellow Michigan Tech students.
  • Join the demonstration crew—helping to dream up (and set up) real-world demos of textbook concepts for classrooms.
  • Assist in undergraduate physics labs as a teaching assistant.
  • Work side-by-side with faculty members on their research projects.

What do our applied physics students do after graduation?

Our graduates have found jobs with the following companies and agencies:

  • Argonne National Lab
  • Chicago
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Lab
  • Dow Corning

Our graduates have been accepted at the following graduate schools:

  • Michigan State University
  • University of Colorado—Boulder
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Minnesota—Duluth
  • Naval Surface Warfare Center
  • Oregon Health and Science University