Physics Major & Minor
At a glance
From its central role in international astronomy projects to the extraordinary research opportunities afforded to its students, Carthage offers a rigorous and exciting environment in which to study the mysteries of the universe.
- Bachelor of Arts in Physics
- Bachelor of Science in Physics
- Optional concentration: Astrophysics
Earn your physics degree at Carthage
The physics program at Carthage ranks among the nation’s best in preparing students for STEM careers, according to the American Institute of Physics.
Introducing students to fundamental physical principles underlying the natural world, the Carthage physics major provides a strong foundation for careers in engineering, medical physics, teaching, finance, data analytics, and other fields. Given the department’s deep involvement in space science research, the physics major often appeals to those interested in aerospace careers.
“The advice I would give to other physics majors is to challenge yourself and to use every opportunity to your advantage.”
“I was really attracted to Carthage for its amazing STEM program and the close relationship with NASA. I am a physics major with a concentration in astrophysics, so their relationship with NASA and other companies who are STEM and physics centered assured me that I would have many awesome opportunities all four years that would prepare me for when I graduate.”
“The science classes I have taken at Carthage have helped me see how interesting and complex science can be.”
“The physics program here is amazing, with connections across the country that I’d hope would make for a great education and possibly help me find a job post-graduation.”
“I appreciate Carthage’s commitment to fostering a supportive and intellectually stimulating environment. With the opportunities available at Carthage, I am excited to pursue my passion for space science and contribute to the field.”
“I chose Carthage because I had the opportunity to get large-school experiences at a small school where the professors can get to know me personally.”
special academic options for physics Majors
Astrophysics: This optional concentration for physics majors emphasizes courses that prepare them for graduate study in astrophysics or the space sciences. See the requirements for the astrophysics concentration
Engineering: Carthage offers an engineering major, as well as dual degree partnerships with engineering programs at two major universities. Learn more about engineering at Carthage
Opportunities for Physics Majors
Conduct research with NASA
The space sciences program at Carthage is a nationally recognized undergraduate program that provides students with hands-on opportunities in technology development and atmospheric sciences through partnerships with NASA and academic researchers worldwide. Carthage students and faculty regularly conduct research aboard NASA’s zero-gravity aircraft as part of ongoing experiments and technology development for space hardware. Students also participate in NASA’s RockSat and CubeSat programs, with students designing and building experiments to be flown on NASA spacecraft. This work makes Carthage an excellent choice for students interested in aeronautical and space sciences. Many Physics Department alumni are now pursuing advanced degrees in aeronautical engineering or working in the industry.
Home to the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium
Carthage is the home institution for the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium (WSGC). With more than 40 affiliate members across academic institutions, government agencies, the aerospace industry, and nonprofit organizations, the WSGC provides Carthage physics majors with unique opportunities to work on NASA and commercial projects. The WSGC’s mission is to support STEM research at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, aerospace workforce development, and K-12 STEM education and outreach at our affiliate institutions.
Access to Top Facilities
Students are involved in forefront research activities with faculty, including atmospheric physics research, gravitational wave research, and work on propulsion systems at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The department’s dynamic faculty is actively involved in many different research areas. For example, physics students working with Professor Jean Quashnock are studying gravitational waves emitted by merging black holes, using data collected by the LIGO/Virgo/KAGRA scientific collaboration. They are modeling the merger events and measuring key properties of these black holes — including their mass and spin — seeking to test our current scientific understanding of these fascinating objects.
Active Physics Community
The Carthage Society of Physics Students (SPS) chapter is active and award-winning. The chapter has earned distinction as a national Outstanding Chapter for several consecutive years. SPS is a student-led organization that runs education outreach to local schools. Strong scholars may be elected to the physics honor society Sigma Pi Sigma.
RECOGNIZED FOR EXCELLENCE IN STEM CAREERS
Carthage is among the best in the country, according to the American Institute of Physics (AIP), when preparing undergraduate physics students for careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The AIP selected the Carthage Physics Department for its new study on effective undergraduate physics programs. According to the AIP, Carthage was selected because of its strong record in preparing students with bachelor’s degrees in physics and immediately placing them into STEM careers.
Scholarships for Physics majors
Prospective physics majors can enter the annual Math/Science Scholarship competition. Two full-tuition scholarships are awarded each year. Additionally, many physics majors are awarded scholarships from the NASA Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium.