Physics, B.S.

Physics, B.S.

What is a Physics Degree?

Physics BSPhysics involves the study of natural phenomena observed in our world from the subatomic scale to the vastness of the entire universe.  Understanding these phenomena and formulating their physical laws generally lead to scientific and technological advances that drive continued progress of our societies. With a physics degree, students learn to tackle problems in a systematic and methodological way, formulate theories, and perform tests to validate or refute them.

The physics program at Florida Tech has set the standard since 1958, successfully preparing students for high-tech careers at top space agencies and research firms. According to the American Institute of Physics, Florida Tech's program is one of the largest in the U.S. in terms of the number of B.S. degrees awarded annually. In addition, Florida Tech ranks in the top 5% of all U.S. institutions awarding undergraduate physics degrees to women.

Whether you want to explore the mysteries of anti-matter, aid in the development of laser technologies, or discover new energy sources, a physics degree from Florida Tech gives you the knowledge and hands-on experience you need for a physics career.

Gain Practical Experience Through Research and Experimentation

Physics degree students learn scientific skills in small classes with intensive faculty-student interaction. The learning environment is conducive to preparing students for real world scientific work whether in academia or industry. Students learn to conduct and communicate research experiments, working with direct supervision by a faculty member in charge of the research. Opportunities in research include participation in experiment design and construction, data collection and analysis.

The physics department is located in the F.W. Olin Physical Sciences building, a 72,000 sq. ft. facility equipped with state-of-the-art labs, clean rooms, a 3,000 sq. ft. high bay area, rooftop observatory, teaching classrooms with full multimedia, smart whiteboards and other facilities.

Build Professional Relationships

Beyond the classroom, physics degree students build leadership and professional experience through exciting internships and participation in academic organizations like the Sigma Pi Sigma (national physics honor society), the Society of Physics Students, Student Government and over 100 other campus-wide student organizations.

Get Recruited Upon Graduation

Employers that have recruited Florida Tech students with a physics degree for internships and careers include Brookhaven National Laboratory, NASA, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Museum of National History and Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Earn an Advanced Degree

After receiving their physics degree, many students go on to graduate programs at Florida Tech and other prestigious universities, such as Emory, Columbia, Penn State, MIT and Princeton.

Why Pursue a Physics Degree at Florida Tech?

Choosing Florida Tech as your physics college gives you all the tools and resources that you expect to find at a larger university but in a smaller, more intimate setting. Students in our physics program benefit from being part of the very first space sciences program in the world. Florida Tech's program is also recognized by the American Institute of Physics as one of the largest physics programs in terms of number of degrees awarded annually. In addition, Florida Tech ranks in the top 5% of all U.S. institutions awarding undergraduate physics degrees to women.

Small Classes & Internationally Recognized Professors

Florida Tech has a low student-to-faculty ratio of 11 to 1, a benefit not every physics college can offer. In these small classes students are able to work closely with their professor and receive focused attention, particularly when involved in research opportunities. The internationally recognized scientists in our physics program hold doctoral degrees from distinguished universities, making Florida Tech a good option for your physics college.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Florida Tech professors are active in research that involves world-class experiments studying some of the most relevant topics in physics including lightning, astronomy and astrophysics, experimental high-energy particle physics and space physics. Students are encouraged to participate in research right away in their first year at Florida Tech. The academic environment in this physics college is centered on preparing students for real-world scientific work whether in academia or industry. This research-based focus gives students an opportunity to be published in scientific journals and build leadership and professional experience through internships and professional organizations.

High-Tech Laboratories and Facilities

Florida Tech's facilities are exactly what you would expect from a top-level physics college. The Department of Physics and Space Sciences is located in the F.W. Olin Physical Sciences Building, a 70,000-square-foot facility that is equipped with state-of-the-art labs; clean and dark rooms; 3,000-square-foot high bay area; rooftop observatory; teaching classrooms with full multimedia; and smart whiteboards. In addition to students having access to the largest research-grade telescope in Florida, the 0.8-meter Ortega Telescope, students also have access to telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.

Great Florida Location

In terms of location, the average physics college cannot compete with Florida Tech. The 130-acre campus is situated on the Space Coast, an area within Florida's High Tech Corridor, close to over 5,000 technological companies and NASA Kennedy Space Center. The region also boasts year-round subtropical weather and 72 miles of Atlantic Coast beaches. The campus is minutes from the Atlantic Ocean and Indian River Lagoon, and just a short drive from Central Florida tourist attractions.

All of this combines to make Florida Tech the physics college of choice.

How Will a Physics Degree Prepare Me for the Future?

Companies and organizations around the world provide Florida Tech students with physics internships to prepare them for future careers. Some of these companies include:

  • CERN in Switzerland
  • Harris Corp.
  • NASA Kennedy Space Center
  • Lockheed-Martin

These challenging and dynamic physics internships provide our students with valuable experience in their field. Students are trained in conducting measurements and data analysis, as well as building equipment and detectors. Physics Internships are a valuable learning experience.

Research Opportunities

In addition to physics internships, students also participate in research at Florida Tech or around the world. Conducting research at locations such as Fermilab in Chicago and CERN in Switzerland, our students participate in design and construction of detector systems for experiments, data collection and analysis. Florida Tech students also conduct research in on-campus laboratories, guided by one of our internationally recognized faculty members.

Join Clubs and Professional Organizations

The Society of Physics Students is a professional organization designed and run by students to help them achieve their goals of obtaining physics internships and careers. Members participate in experiments and presentations, weekly discussions and department picnics.

For stargazing students, the Student Astronomical Society provides opportunities for members to utilize telescopes to observe and record unique cosmic phenomena outside the classroom. They also attend field trips, hold "star parties" and attend department functions.

What Can You Do With a Physics Degree?

The physics program at Florida Tech has set the standard since 1958, successfully preparing students for high-tech careers at top space agencies and research firms. Located on Florida's Space Coast, just 60 miles from America's spaceport, the Kennedy Space Center, there is no better place to prepare for physics careers than Florida Tech. Ours is one of the largest and most diverse undergraduate programs in the country.

If working at space agencies, doing critical research and development or meeting some of the world's biggest challenges interests you, then a Bachelor's of Science in Physics from Florida Tech is what you need to succeed. Physics careers are waiting for graduates who are able to demonstrate an understanding of the physical world on a fundamental level.

Career Outlook

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), provides information about specific jobs including median annual pay, working conditions and job outlook, among other things.

Scientific research and development services firms and the Federal Government employ a large percentage of all physicists and astronomers, with most jobs in research, usually requiring a doctoral degree. Bachelor's degree holders often find physics careers as research assistants and technicians. The outlook for physics careers is expected to grow by 14% through 2020. Check the handbook for a list of career options or similar occupations.

Career Options

With the acquisition and development of proficiency in mathematics, experimental laboratory and problem-solving skills, Florida Tech graduates are prepared to engage in physics careers such as:

  • Physicist
  • Astronomer
  • Biophysicist (Doctoral or professional degree required)
  • Chemical and Material Scientist
  • Civil Engineer
  • Computer and Information Research Scientist
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineer
  • Environmental Scientists and Specialist
  • Geoscientist
  • Mathematician
  • Nuclear Engineer
  • Postsecondary Teacher (Doctoral or professional degree required)

Entry-Level Salary Expectations

Entry-level physics salaries are reported by PayScale.com (an online salary information company providing real-time information on job market compensation) to be $51,200 with earning potential to $99,100.

Other physics careers provide salary potential such as:

Civil Engineer: $53,800 - $88,800
Materials Scientist: $60,100 - $91,900
Nuclear Engineer: $66,800 - $107,000

Check PayScale.com for the most recent information on these and other careers.

Potential Employers for Florida Tech Graduates

Physics careers are available with employers such as:

  • Harris Corp.
  • Lockheed-Martin
  • Boeing
  • DRS Optronics
  • Kennedy Space Center
  • NASA Goddard
  • Space Telescopic Science Institute

Graduate & Doctoral Programs

Physics careers can be pursued immediately after graduation or after additional study to attain a master's, doctoral or law degree. In fact, more than half of the physics degree students pursue graduate degrees after graduating from Florida Tech, going to such schools as:

  • Auburn University
  • CalTech
  • Johns Hopkins
  • Georgia Tech
  • Ohio State University
  • Rice
  • University of Florida
  • University of Texas
  • Yale
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