Physics Major

Delve into how the universe behaves and matter interacts through hands-on experience.

Develop practical skills and experience from your first-year Introduction to Engineering course through to your final research project in the physics major at Houghton College.

Gain critical experience with high-tech equipment

Learn and use the tools of practicing physicists, including (a):

  • Cyclotron [particle accelerator]
  • Farnsworth Fusor [nuclear fusion chamber]
  • Scanning electron microscope [6 nanometer resolution]
  • X-ray diffractometer
  • Wind tunnel
  • One of the nations fastest supercomputers [for simulations in aeronautical engineering]

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 physics program, you will:

  • Conduct research, tackle a real-world complex issue, 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 in collaboration with Christian faculty members who care about your growth academically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Work alongside your professors as their offices are located right next to student offices. Spend your afternoons working with them at the office chalkboards as you discuss research problems and encourage one another.
  • Publish and present your research at national conferences.

Physics vs. Applied Physics


  • Explore about 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, biophysics.
  • Prepare 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.
  • Prepare for a broad spectrum of technical careers.
  • 40% of our Applied Physics graduates have gone on to engineering graduate programs in mechanical, aerospace and other engineering disciplines.

Develop Skills that Employers Want

Impress future employers with your deep understanding of the projects you’ve worked, experience with high-tech equipment, and ability to tackle new, complicated challenges.

Learn from Realistic Labs

Houghton’s small size allows realistic labs to be integrated right into lecture courses, rather than needing to wait a week to carry them out in a separate lab section.

Prepare for Lifelong Success

You will join the 100% of Houghton physics graduates who are employed or attending graduate school within one year of graduation.

Experiential Learning

Each summer you and a group of other physics students have the opportunity to conduct research with faculty in Houghton College’s Summer Research Institute. You work closely in conjunction with faculty mentors on research projects for a period of five weeks before you present your findings.

Research projects have been carried out in collaboration with:

  • Cornell University Center for Materials Research
  • SUNY Geneseo
  • Laboratory for Laser Energetics
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Ohio University Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics

Program Outcomes

With a physics degree from Houghton College, you will be prepared to continue your education in graduate school or your career as a:

  • Researcher in national labs or universities
  • Researcher and development in private corporations
  • Teacher in universities or high schools
  • Engineer
  • Programmer
  • Developer
  • Accelerator Operator

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 College is right for you.