Physics, B.S.

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. The B.S. in Physics offers a more robust academic experience, providing you with the foundation you need to excel in graduate school or any number of careers that need experts in physics.

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 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.

Orange and purple sunset in San Diego is framed by the iconic Greek Amphitheater on PLNU's campus

Student Profile

Elinor Irish

PLNU alumna Dr. Elinor (Twyeffort) Irish is a research fellow in physics at the University of St. Andrews in the U.K. While her title is straightforward, what she researches is quite complex.

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Connecting the Dots … from Here to Mars

Space pioneer and PLNU alumna, Trisha Jansma, explores the face of Mars — thanks largely to a PLNU chapel talk years ago.

Course List

For information about the courses required for the Physics, B.S. 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

PLNU’s Physics B.S. will guide you in your journey to become a leading professional in the STEM field. A degree in physics will provide you with the foundation you need to excel in an additional advanced degree or any number of careers that need experts in this field. 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 physicist to an engineer, the tools you learn in the physics program will prepare you to make your mark as an innovator, educator, or any other vocation you choose to pursue. 

At PLNU, our Physics B.S. 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).

Jerry Goodwin Headshot

Student Profile

Jerry Goodwin

For Jerry Goodwin's career in engineering, having a background in physics and math taught him to solve complex problems, and use that skill set to solve technical business problems.

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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 the workforce through 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 

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

2020 Median annual salary: $84,810 

Network and computer systems administrators maintain and monitor the operation of computer networks. A large part of the job includes organizing, installing, and supporting their organization’s local area networks (LANs) and wide-area networks (WANs). They may also operate in the realm of IT support. 

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Recognition and understanding of network system needs and hardware
  • Knowledge of how to make upgrades and repairs
  • Maintain network and computer system security
  • Evaluate and optimize network or system performance
  • Communication to train users 
  • Creativity to solve problems when a user or an automated monitoring system isn’t working

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

The Physics B.S. 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 you gained on PLNU’s campus. 

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