Undergraduate research, public outreach, summer internships, publications, and R&D projects…there’s a lot going on in the Department of Physics at High Point University. We invite you to browse our website, blog, course materials, and photo galleries. But if you really want to know what we are about, we encourage you to come to campus and spend time with our faculty, our physics majors, and our alumni. We love to talk physics and astronomy, and we love to show you our results. So check out our annual reports.
2013-2014 Annual Report (79 MB, long download)
2014-2016 Annual Report (272 MB, long download)
|PSR J1930-1852: a Pulsar in the Widest Known Orbit around Another Neutron Star , In The Astrophysical Journal, volume 805, 2015. [doi]|
|Highly responsive core-shell microactuator arrays for use in viscous and viscoelastic fluids , In Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, volume 25, 2015. [doi]|
|Matter and Interactions, Fourth Edition Student Solutions Manual , Wiley, 2015.|
What can I do with this major?
With strong problem solving skills and theoretical understanding, experience in designing and carrying out experiments, and extensive application of computational modeling and computer programming, our graduates are prepared for a variety of careers and graduate programs in science that is as diverse as our students themselves.
Traditional areas: physics, engineering, atmospheric science, nanotechnology, microelectronics, computer programming and technology, instrumentation, materials science, astrophysics, biophysics and medical physics.
Non-traditional areas: teaching, medicine, finance or law.
Opportunities for experiential learning
In their first or second year, majors take a year-long, one credit course in undergraduate research where they complete an independent research project with a faculty member.
Every physics course includes at least two of the following experiential learning components in order for students to apply what they are learning, develop critical thinking skills, and demonstrate problem solving:
- Experimental physics (laboratory)
- Computational modeling
- A culminating project that is theoretical, experimental, or computational.
Physics majors become proficient in using the programming language Python for computational modeling and numerical problem solving. Python and computational modeling are first taught using Matter & Interactions in our introductory, calculus-based physics course, typically taken by physics majors in the freshman year.
In early 2015, NASA challenged university teams across the country to design, construct, and test a new type of device that astronauts could use to collect samples from the surface of an asteroid. A team of HPU students in the Department of Physics submitted a novel design called the Chip ‘n’ Ship, and, in response to their proposal, NASA officials invited the team to participate in the first ever Micro-G NeXT program and test their device at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Over the summer, they worked tirelessly with HPU alumni Eric Scarlett and Jeremy Allen, along with HPU faculty Dr. Brad Barlow and Dr. Aaron Titus, to build a device that met all mission criteria. The Chip ‘n’ Ship was well-received during testing in Houston, and NASA divers were able to successfully chip off samples from an asteroid simulant surface during testing in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab.
Dual-degree program in engineering
HPU offers a dual-degree program in engineering in collaboration with Vanderbilt University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). Students interested in a career in engineering complete three years at HPU. During their second year, students apply to the engineering program at Vanderbilt or Virginia Tech. With the recommendation of HPU and the successful completion of the three-year course of study and approved GPA, students will be assured admission to one of the two schools. The completion of the coursework at Vanderbilt or Virginia Tech will normally require two years. Students will receive a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. For more information, contact Dr. Martin DeWitt, Pre-Engineering Advisor: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are grads doing with this major?
Upon graduation you will be well-prepared for a wide variety of pursuits. If you choose graduate school, an undergraduate degree in physics is excellent preparation for graduate studies in a number of fields including astronomy, earth and atmospheric science, biophysics, mathematics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and nuclear engineering, to name just a few.
If you are looking to enter the workforce right after graduation, your degree will open up a range of possibilities. Physics graduates work in such diverse fields as engineering, computer or information systems, medical technology, technical writing, finance, and education.
Depending on your interests, you may want to consider double-majoring while at HPU. For example, if you want to go into biophysics, you should take courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and general biology, for example. If you want to go into high-performance computing or do computational physics, consider double-majoring in computer science. If theory is your thing, then double major in mathematics.