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Physics Major

Graduates per year
Total Credit Hours

Why study Physics at APSU?

The APSU Physics program is one of the largest in the southeast, though we maintain an emphasis on small class sizes and personal interaction with the physics faculty.  APSU Physics also has an excellent track record in getting students involved in research both at Austin Peay and at other institutions through summer Research Experience for Undergraduate programs.  Our students  have over a 90% acceptance rate to graduate school for those who apply. Historically, 95% of graduates have a graduate school acceptance or gainful employment within 3 months of graduation.

What will I learn?

Physics is the study of the underlying properties of nature from the absolutely mind-bogglingly huge, like galactic superclusters, to the unimaginably small, like the fundamental constituents of matter.  It is the foundation of every other science and is responsible for some of the greatest discoveries and inventions of our time, such as lasers, solar cells, and hybrid cars.  

The physics program is built around a core of courses that teach you to different "methods" for solving complex problems (experimental, theoretical, and computational) along with a set of physics content courses (mechanics, electricity & magnetism, and quantum mechanics).  The program also includes 18 credit hours of electives that can be chosen from an expansive list that includes many courses from other science and engineering disciplines.  This gives you options.  Graduate school in physics? Take more physics classes.  Computational science? Take computer science classes. Biomaterials researcher?  Take biology and chemistry classes.  They all count toward your degree.

Co-curricular Activities

We strive to ensure that all students who wish to participate in research have an opportunity to do so.  We do not have a graduate program, so all departmental research takes place with undergraduate students.  Research opportunities can be paid or unpaid, for college credit or non-credit.  We have active research involving undergraduate students in materials science, computational physics, astronomy, and engineering applications.
Besides research opportunities at APSU, approximately 70% of our students are successful in securing summer REU positions at other institutions.  REU positions typically pay $3000-$5000 for 10 weeks of work in the summer (more during an academic term).  APSU physics majors have been accepted to prestigious REU programs at CERN, ORNL, Cornell, and Princeton.
The department is home to an active chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) called Del Square Psi and an active chapter of the physics honor society, Sigma Pi Sigma.  Our students are also active participants in the campus Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) organization.

What Do Physics Majors Do After Graduation?

The APSU Physics Major is versatile enough to provide superior preparation for graduate study or a career in a wide variety of physics-related disciplines, from Astrophysics to Engineering to Medicine.  Its large selection of major electives allow the student to tailor the major to exactly the career path in which they are interested. The lists below are a sampling of the areas that APSU physics graduates have pursued in the last several years.


  • Graduate Study:
  • Physics
  • Astronomy
  • Astrophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Biophysics
  • Chemical Physics
  • Computational Science & Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Materials Science
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Physics
  • Careers:
  • Computational science and engineering
  • Software development
  • Data analytics
  • Consulting
  • Engineering-related careers