Why Study Physics?

“You learn a lot about the physical world through physics classes at Pacific. And it’s fun things, like shooting potatoes out of hand-made potato guns or actually breaking a board with your bare hands. It's a lot of work figuring it all out, but you really learn about physics.”

Are you the sort of student who has many interests? Not sure what you want to do when you “grown up”? Curious about the natural world? Then a physics degree may be for you. A physics degree gives you a broad foundation of knowledge and problem-solving skills that you can apply to a host of areas. This broad training provides you with many options and makes many future paths possible.

We’d like to encourage you to pursue a major or minor in physics when you arrive on campus. We have an exciting and dynamic program that prepares you for a wide range of career paths, including graduate school in physics or engineering, direct entry into engineering-related and high-tech industries, teaching, and even various health professions such as optometry, medicine or medical physics.

Think You’re Interested in Engineering?

A physics degree is an excellent way to pursue a career in engineering. You will develop the numerical and analytical skills necessary to be a great problem-solver. This together with your strong grasp of physical principles will provide you with an excellent foundation for further training in engineering. There are many paths you can take towards an engineering degree, including 3-2 programs and post-graduate masters programs. We’d be happy to talk with you to discuss all your options. If you’re not sure what field of engineering interests you, the physics department runs a speaker series in which we invite outside speakers, often alumni, to discuss their jobs. This exposure to a wide range of engineering fields can help you narrow your interests.

What if I Want to Major in Something Else?

A major or minor in physics is an excellent complement to many majors, including math, computer science, chemistry and biology. A physics degree gives you a broad foundation of fundamental knowledge and problem-solving skills that you can apply to a host of areas. In your physics courses you will see concepts from your math courses being applied to concrete problems. In addition to providing applications for the sometimes-abstract mathematical concepts, many students find their understanding of math concepts deepened by their physics coursework. The broader education provided by combining physics with another major makes students more competitive in the job market and opens up a wider range of career options.

A Place For Excellent Teaching

The physics department is on the cutting edge for teaching physics. We’ve adopted a number of nationally tested innovations that make learning fun and effective. Students come away with a deep understanding of the fundamental concepts and practical ways to apply them. Much of our program is hands-on and project-based, giving you the opportunity to do science early on. In addition, all our graduates participate in research as part of their senior capstone project.