Houghton University student working with instruments in physics lab.

Physics Major

Explore how the universe behaves and matter interacts through practical, real-world research experiences.

By tackling an intense research project that starts your sophomore year and continues through your final semester, you will gain the practical skills and experience needed to pursue a career in physics or a related technical field.  As a physics major at Houghton University, you’ll develop a deep understanding of foundational principles as well as the practical skills needed to solve challenging scientific problems in the laboratory and in the workplace.

ClassesCareersMeet the Faculty

Student Research

Gain critical experience designing and using state of the art instruments and software by working on projects such as:

  • Small particle accelerator design (Cyclotron)
  • Crystal structure and formation in thin films
  • Electrostatic confinement fusion (Fusor)
  • Scanning electron microscopy
  • X-ray diffractometry
  • Scanning tunneling microscope design
  • Nuclear detector simulation (Geant4, MCNP)
  • Parity Violation in the weak nuclear force
  • Inertial confinement fusion
Learn more about Student Research Projects

Real World Multi Year Project

You will complete 6 semesters of Project Lab, where you work with a professor on a real research problem and present your findings.

What will I learn?

Through Houghton’s physics program, you will use state of the art equipment as you:

  • Tackle real-world complex issues, or travel in your first year with acceptance into Houghton’s Science Honors Program
  • Develop practical new skills that are useful in physics research, like operating machine tools, welding, soldering, electronics, or using new computer languages and operating systems
  • Spend your summer getting paid to do real, cutting-edge research
  • Work alongside Christian professors who care about your growth academically, emotionally, and spiritually. Spend your afternoons at the office chalkboards as you discuss research problems and encourage one another
  • Publish and present your research at national conferences
  • Gain a solid foundation for graduate work in physics or related fields, like nuclear and particle physics, materials science, astrophysics, biophysics
  • Build a foundation in mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, and quantum mechanics

124 Credits

Degree Requirements by Major
Physics (BS)Physics (BA)Applied Physics (BS)

Physics vs. Applied Physics


  • Experience God’s glory revealed through creation by exploring the traditional theoretical, experimental, and mathematical basis of physics.
  • Gain a solid foundation for graduate work in physics or related fields, like nuclear and particle physics, materials science, astrophysics, atomic physics and biophysics.
  • Prepare for graduate programs and careers in physics.

Applied Physics

  • Focus on the most basic principles at work in the physical universe and how to serve God by applying these principles to meet people’s needs.
  • Acquire a broad background in general engineering principles and skills; engineering design, programming, mechanics, electrodynamics, electronics, optics, thermodynamics and more.
  • Prepare for a broad spectrum of technical careers.
  • About 40% of our Applied Physics graduates have gone on to engineering graduate programs in mechanical, electrical, aerospace and other engineering disciplines.

Develop Skills that Employers Want

Impress future employers with your deep understanding of the projects you’ve worked on, experience with specialized research equipment and software, and ability to tackle new and difficult challenges.

Learn more about student research projects

Classes Include Labs & Projects

Houghton’s small class size allows demonstrations, laboratory activities, discussions and lectures to be woven together into the same seamless class session. There's no need to wait a week for a separate lab section. Projects in upper-level theory classes allow you to see how the content can be applied to real situations.

Experiential Learning

Each summer have the opportunity to conduct research at Houghton University’s Shannon Summer Research Institute. Work closely with faculty mentors on research projects for five to ten paid weeks before you present your findings at local or national conferences. Past research projects have involved the following collaborations: Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR), SUNY Geneseo, Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE),  Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Ohio University Edwards Accelerator Lab, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Employment Expected to Grow 9%

for Physicists
SourceU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Where Our Physics Students Have Worked

A Houghton degree in Physics opens doors to a variety of careers, and our alumni can be found working in a wide range of positions in a variety of organizations.

  • Carrier Corporation
  • Clemson University
  • Corning Incorporated
  • D3 Engineering
  • General Dynamics
  • Global Foundries
  • Harvard University Medical Center
  • Laboratory for Laser Energetics
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Newgrange Design
  • Rochester Precision Optics
  • Xylem Inc.

Application Requirements


Start Your Application

Complete the application here
Apply Now

Documents and Supporting Materials

You’ll be asked to provide your official high school transcript and your test scores (can be waived)
Testing Policy

Personal Statement

The personal statement portion of our application for admission is perhaps the best place to truly tell your story, to tell who you are and what is important to you.
Personal Statement

Have Questions?

Discover if earning your degree in Physics from Houghton University is right for you.