Physics, B.A.

Program Overview

Are you fascinated by the science behind how the world works? Are you excited about applying your knowledge to solve real problems in the physical world? If so, you should consider a major in physics. PLNU physics majors develop an understanding of the fundamental principles of physics while learning to apply physical principles, mathematical reasoning, and computational techniques to solve real-world problems.

As a physics major, you will design and conduct experiments, analyze and interpret data, and learn how to communicate complicated technical information, all within a collaborative environment rooted in ethical scientific practice.

PLNU offers both B.S. and B.A. degrees in physics. If you are interested in more flexibility, the B.A. in Physics provides more space in your schedule for a dual major, which opens the door to careers in industries such as teaching, computer science, and medicine.

Physics is an organized way of conversing with nature. Physicists ask questions, and nature responds. For many questions, the answers are predictable, but for really interesting questions, the answers can be unexpected and lead to new insights into the way that the world works. These are the moments physicists live for. The fundamental ideas of physics underlie all basic science, including astronomy, biology, chemistry, and geology. The animated conversation between physicists and nature is constant and it shows no sign of ending.

PLNU professor Michelle Chen tosses up a colorful ball while posing for a headshot


Michelle Chen, Ph.D.

To explain her field of study, Dr. Michelle Chen, PLNU associate professor of physics, refers to a ball on her desk. It is hand-sized and made up of hexagons, like a soccer ball you can see all the way through.

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Course List

For information about the courses required for the Physics, B.A. program, view the PLNU Catalog. 

Course Information

Major Map

Start Application

Are you ready to take the next step to begin your PLNU journey? Whether you’re a high school senior, college transfer student, or international student, find out what we’re looking for in our applicants and how you can apply.

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Student Support

For most students, the transition into college life is one full of adjustments. There is the excitement of newfound freedoms, but also some uncertainty as you begin to make choices and take responsibility for your own future. 

At PLNU, we’re committed to supporting you — academically, professionally, spiritually, personally — so that you may be successful both in your time as a student and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Student Support

Career Opportunities

Physics is at the root of understanding nature and the world around us. With a physics degree from PLNU, you’ll be ready to explore and take on a variety of positions in the science, academic, and research world. From becoming a teacher to an engineer, the tools you learn in the physics program will prepare you to make your mark as an educator or innovator in the STEM industry. 

At PLNU, our Physics B.A. program focuses on two goals:

  • Developing an understanding of the fundamental principles of physics
  • Learning to apply physical principles, mathematical reasoning, and computational techniques

With these skills, you’ll have the flexibility to pursue a dual major, which can give you additional building blocks to solve real-world problems in a variety of industries.

Job outlook for physics careers

Employment in careers related to a degree in physics is projected to increase. For clinical scientists, (one of the careers pursued by graduates of the PLNU physics programs), employment is projected to grow 10% from 2019 to 2029 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

PLNU Science Building at nightfall

Student Profile

Trisha Jansma

PLNU alum Trisha Jansma joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory immediately after her graduation. She has worked on a variety of major initiatives, including serving on the project systems engineering team of the NASA Mars 2020 Project.

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What can you do with a physics degree?

Many graduates of the PLNU physics program have gone on to work at nationally renowned medical and research companies such as Johnson & Johnson and BD, while others have found success in engineering positions at ViaSat and SPAWAR, just to name a few. All graduates are equipped to work in many different and interesting places — in industrial and government labs, on college campuses, and even in the astronaut corps. 

Some of the positions PLNU graduates currently hold:

Clinical Scientist

2020 Median annual salary: $97,865

A clinical scientist conducts experiments, collects data, and uses high-tech equipment while screening and monitoring medical conditions in individuals. They may work in many settings such as hospitals, clinics, or pharmaceutical companies.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Creativity to design and conduct studies that investigate human diseases
  • Knowledge to prepare and analyze medical samples and data
  • Inventiveness to produce and head programs that improve health outcomes
  • Teamwork and partnership with health departments, industry personnel, and physicians
  • Strong writing for research grant proposals and applying for funding from government agencies 
  • Bachelor's degree and a practicing license from an occupational board 
  • Thorough understanding of procedures to maintain safety

Industrial Engineer

2020 Median annual salary: $88,950

Industrial engineers create and brainstorm systems that coordinate employees, resources, machines, and energy to produce a product or generate a service. Their goal is to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. Industrial engineers utilize their knowledge in many different industries, from manufacturing to healthcare systems to business administration. 

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Planning and coordination for production schedules, engineering specifications, process flow
  • Problem-solving for resolving production problems or minimize costs
  • Leadership and delegation for management of control systems and personnel
  • Diligence and work ethic to ensure products meet quality standards
  • Communication with clients about product specifications 

Biochemists and Biophysicists

2020 Median annual salary: $94,270 

Biochemists and biophysicists study and research the properties and principles of living things and our biological processes. They usually work in laboratories to conduct experiments, collect data, and analyze the results. They may also work in offices depending on the company or organization they work for. 

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Care and intentionality with high-tech, powerful lasers, and other medical equipment 
  • Leadership and delegation to manage laboratory teams 
  • Knowledge of isolating, analyzing, and synthesizing molecules
  • Inquisitive and curious about research into hormones, nutrients, and biological processes
  • Efficient in analysis and reading to go over the findings and research of other conferences and contributors
  • Strong speaker and communicator to present findings to colleagues
  • Strong writing for research grant proposals, technical reports, and applying for funding from government agencies 

High School Teacher

2020 Median annual salary: $62,870

High school teachers instruct students in a variety of academic subjects. Specifically, physics teachers must be well-versed and fluent in the principles and curriculum in order to effectively support students as they learn. Teachers plan courses and curriculum based on the area of study they’re teaching. Additionally, they assess students’ progress by grading assignments, papers, exams, and other work.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Engaging conversationalist and speaker
  • Ability to evaluate papers and projects
  • Thorough expertise and knowledge of specified department and subject
  • One to two years of teaching experience
  • Potentially pursue a master’s or doctoral degree
  • Time management skills

Question and explore the unknown of biological processes and science with a degree in physics

The Physics B.A. from PLNU prepares you with experience and knowledge to be an innovator in the science or medical industries. Whether you pursue teaching, research, or engineering, you’ll be ready with the insight gained at PLNU. 

Apply to PLNU today or get connected with one of our counselors for additional support and to answer any questions you may have.

Department Faculty