“What can be done with a physics major?,” you might ask. The answer might be surprising, for physics majors can be found wherever there are problems to solve. About one-third of physics majors find meaningful work as engineers. Another third of majors receive graduate training (and get paid to do it) in diverse fields such as biomedical and data science, oceanography, and astronomy. The final third can be found in a myriad of disciplines where problems also abound- law, emergency response, classroom teaching, and information technology. “Where do you want to solve a problem?” is the most appropriate answer to the original question. At the University of Mary Washington, our alumni are working to ameliorate the spread of COVID, to answer mysteries about the world’s oceans, and even to produce great-tasting cider to local residents.
On your way to these diverse next steps, the UMW physics program allows for opportunities to explore and supplement your interests. With both traditional and applied physics majors, you have a wealth of coursework to support your classroom learning, all within a newly-renovated facility. But the classroom is only the beginning of your education. Our majors engage collaboratively with their peers and faculty to produce and present meaningful research, to provide support for public science literacy, and to grow in their liberal arts understanding. Our faculty support student-collaborated activity ranging from the smallest constituents (laser atomics) to the broadest scales (astronomical observations), as well as human scales in between (green energy). Physics majors at UMW also travel to other places to carry out meaningful internships and research experiences, and they bring that expertise back to share with their cohort. We believe that physics is an on-going and shared exploration, filled with a lifetime of curiosity and learning. Find your journey in the Physics program at the University of Mary Washington!