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Students working with a professor

Undergraduate Students

Physics is the study of matter and energy, from the smallest scale, as in the study of elementary particles, to the largest, as in the study of the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies.

In this sense, physics is the science that underlies all other sciences. Developments in basic physics drive technology, and technology helps physicists discover nature's secrets.

See physics degrees

What is the Physics department like?

Undergraduates will find that they have the unique opportunity to work closely with faculty as they complete their degree. Students majoring in physics consolidate their undergraduate studies by putting what they have learned to use in a capstone experience in one of the department's research laboratories. Each student joins a member of the faculty in a project that provides experience in a professional setting.

Qualities and skills a physics major needs

Physicists tend to view themselves as problem solvers, especially those problems that can be couched in mathematical terms. Physics students are trained to solve complex problems by learning to analyze complex relationships in mathematical terms.

Qualities and skills of a physicist

  • Analytic, Logical
  • Communication and Quantitative Skills (PUL*)
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving (PUL*)
  • Inquisitive
  • Professional Values and Ethics (PUL*)
  • Understanding of Relationships and Interactions

*PUL = Principles of Undergraduate Learning define a set of abilities and skills that undergraduate students are expected to master. They reflect the expertise that graduate and professional schools and the workforce are seeking.

What can you do with a degree in Physics?


  • Basic and Applied Research and Development
  • Consulting
  • Design
  • Engineering
  • Quality Control and Testing
  • Teaching
  • Technical Writing
  • Education - Where will your degree take you?

    Bachelor Degree (B.S. in Physics)

    Masters Degree (M.S. in Physics)

    Doctoral Degree (PhD in Physics)

    Entry level research technicians and assistants or related jobs in computer science, engineering, math or environmental science, secondary school science teachers

    Positions in industry, government, and non-profits related to applied research and development and teachers at high school and community colleges

    Positions in basic and independent research in universities and government, university faculty,  and advancement to managerial positions

    A degree in Physics can provide an educational foundation for admissions to professional schools or to advanced degrees in fields such as law, business, engineering, etc.

    Here's what our 2014 graduates are doing with their degrees:

  • Research Scientist for Naval Air Systems (PhD)
  • U.S Naval Research Laboratory Postdoc (PhD)
  • 75% of our 2014 graduates went on to graduate school and are currently enrolled in the following programs:

  • Climate Dynamics at George Mason University (PhD)
  • Ecology at Indiana University (PhD)
  • Physics at IUPUI (PhD)
  • Physics at Old Dominion University (PhD)
  • Materials Science and Engineering at University of Virginia (MS)
  • Any position requiring strong analytical skills

What careers are available in Physics?

Many physics graduates pursue careers that make direct use of their physics training. Because of a broad-based and flexible problem-solving background, physics graduates also find employment in a wide variety of fields, some of which are not directly associated with physics.

  • Aerospace
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Automotive
  • Biotechnology
  • Colleges and universities
  • Communications
  • Computer Programming
  • Demolition
  • Electronics
  • Energy (traditional & renewable),
  • Engineering, including robotics
  • Environmental
  • Film and Sound Production
  • Finance
  • Financial Services
  • Geoscience
  • Government agencies
  • High Schools
  • Holography
  • Hospitals
  • Industrial Laboratories
  • Information Technologies
  • Inventions
  • Law firms
  • Management (high-tech sectors)
  • Manufacturing
  • Medicine
  • Military
  • Museums and planetariums
  • Non-profit research centers
  • Nuclear power
  • Petroleum and Mining
  • Professional Health Careers
  • Solar power
  • Wind power
  • Any field requiring numerical & analytic skills

IUPUI physics grads have been employed by:

  • Eli Lilly & Co.
  • Indiana University
  • International School of Indiana
  • Jackson State University
  • Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS)
  • Portland State University
  • Purdue University
  • Rolls Royce
  • Stanford University
  • Technicolor
  • The Heart Center of Indiana
  • University of Texas, Austin
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Raytheon Co.

IUPUI physics grads have been accepted for post-graduate study at:

  • Indiana University, Bloomington
  • IU School of Medicine
  • Purdue University, W. Lafayette
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Yale University,  New Haven, CT

Occupational outlook and average salary

Employment for physicists and astronomers is expected to grow faster than the average compared to all other occupations for the 2008-2018 decade. Review the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureu of Labor Statistics, a guide to career information about hundreds of occupations. 

According to the 2010-2011 salary survey by payscale.com, physicists command the 8th highest mid-career median salary of any college major, $99,600. The same survey found the median starting salary for physics majors to be $50,700. 

Opportunities provide inspiration for physics major

Milad Pourrahmani Physics, Undergraduate
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