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Physics at St. Thomas: increase your appreciation for physics by learning how to communicate technical concepts.

What are recent graduates doing now?

Zach Simmons, a double major in physics and electrical engineering, did an excellent job of balancing the demands of rigorous course work and keeping an active group of friends. Zach is currently a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin - Madison working towards a Ph.D. in physics. Before he jumped into graduate school, Zach spent two years working for Teach for America as a 9th grade science teacher in Mission, South Dakota. We look forward to seeing where Zach’s path will take him as finds new ways to apply his education and his passion for life.

Study Abroad Opportunities

About half of our students study abroad for a semester or two. Sometimes it takes a bit of work to find the physics courses that they need, but the effort is always worth it. Recent majors have spent time in Australia, England and Italy. They return invigorated with a much broader view on life and a zest for adventure. 

Faculty Involvement

Student research is a vital part of the Physics Department. Opportunities are available to participate in research projects during the school year and the summer. We encourage involvement in all aspects of research: from designing apparatus, to running experiments, to writing programs and data analysis and interpretation. Much of the instrumentation used in physics research is not available off the shelf and needs to be built from scratch. Current research projects include biological applications of optical polarimetry, modeling quantum dots, quantifying chaos, investigating sonoluminescence and astronomical data analysis. Support for the research comes from a variety of sources including NSF, NASA and local industry.

Internship Opportunities

In addition to working in our laboratories on collaborative research projects, physics majors have often worked as interns at local high-tech firms such as 3M and Honeywell. The majority of our majors spend a summer working on a research project at a national laboratory, large research institution or in an industrial setting. This really helps to prepare them for industry work and graduate school.

Recent St. Thomas physics graduates are enrolled in a variety of graduate schools including Cal Tech, Stanford, University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Chicago, University of Minnesota, and the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Other recent graduates are working in engineering firms, high-tech industry and teaching. During their time here, our students have earned numerous awards, including prestigious Goldwater Fellowships, DOE and NSF Fellowships for graduate school, CUR research awards and a variety of scholarships.

It is our goal to produce students that are ready to take on complex and exciting problems. If you are looking for a challenging and rewarding experience in physics, come join us at St. Thomas!

What jobs are possible with a Physics major?

  • Physicist
  • Acoustics
  • Astrophysics
  • Atomic/Molecular
  • Biophysics
  • Chemical
  • Computational
  • Condensed matter
  • Fluid
  • Nuclear
  • Optics
  • Particles and fields
  • Polymer
  • Plasma
  • Systems analyst
  • Applications programmer
  • Systems support representative
  • Physics/Engineering related fields
  • Acoustical
  • Aeronautical
  • Biomedical
  • Computer
  • Electrical
  • Environmental
  • Industrial
  • Mechanical
  • Nuclear
  • Biomedical technician
  • Biophysicist
  • Health physicist
  • Medical Physicist
  • Physician
  • Congressional researcher
  • Educational television producer
  • High school teacher
  • Instrument technician
  • Laser technician
  • Law
  • Mathematician
  • Operations manager
  • Research technician
  • Sales representative-technical products
  • Science journalist
  • University professor


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