Applied Physics Major

Apply physics principles and engineering skills to solve real-world design problems.

Real-world engineering experiences start your sophomore year and continue right though to your final semester, giving you the engineering tools and practical skills that have made generations of students successful in graduate engineering programs and engineering-related careers.  As an applied physics major at Houghton University, you’ll develop a deep understanding of foundational principles as well as the skills needed to solve challenging engineering problems.

Student Research and Engineering Design

Gain critical experience designing and using state of the art instruments and software by working on engineering research 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

Get experience in the real world with a 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 major in Applied Physics, you will:

  • Conduct research, tackle a real-world complex issue, and travel in your first year with acceptance into Houghton’s Science Honors Program.
  • Develop practical new skills that are useful in for engineers, like operating machine tools, welding, soldering, electronics, or using new computer languages and operating systems.
  • Explore engineering design, programming, mechanics, electronics, statics, electrodynamics, optics, thermodynamics, etc.
  • Spend your summer getting paid to do real, cutting-edge research in the Shannon Summer Research Institute in collaboration with Christian faculty members who care about your growth academically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Publish and present your research at regional and national conferences.

124 Credits

70

Required Courses

54

Elective Courses and General Education

Degree Requirements

Physics vs Applied 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.

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.

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 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, and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Learn more about Summer Research Opportunities

Meet a Faculty Member

Employment Expected to Grow 8%

for Physicists
U.S. Bureau of Labor StatisticsSource

What Graduates Say:

Application Requirements

1

Start Your Application

Complete the application here
Apply Now
2

Documents and Supporting Materials

You’ll be asked to provide your official high school transcript and your test scores (can be waived)
Testing Policy
3

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 Applied Physics from Houghton University is right for you.