Lawrence University’s physics department offers one of the premier undergraduate physics programs in the country, featuring breadth and depth in physics programs not often seen at the undergraduate level.
You will learn the practice of physics through a program that features an interplay between classes and co-curricular activities, all within a collaborative environment that focuses on student success. You will reach success through our signature programs connected to areas of faculty expertise, combined with research training that begins in the curriculum and reaches maturation in research fellowships and Senior Experience projects.
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Understanding the laws that govern the universe: from gigantic stars to subatomic particles
Conducting scientific research and exploring the physical world
Following in the footsteps of the great scientists in the world, such as Marie Curie or Albert Einstein
Work in influential industries, such as energy, air, and space
Lawrentians sometimes pair physics with
Life After Lawrence
Lawrentians can enjoy careers in
Research, engineering, physics, teaching, data analytics, software engineering, geology and geophysics, medical physics, product engineering, physics education, robotics
Recent employers include
Argonne National Lab, Boeing, Epic Systems Corporation, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Los Alamos National Lab, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Space Telescope Institute, Tyco Electronics, U.S. Department of Energy, University of Wisconsin
Lawrentians can earn advanced degrees in
Physics, astronomy, engineering (aerospace, civil, mechanical, biomedical, etc.), medical physics, biophysics, optical sciences, physical chemistry, medicine, law, business (MBA)
Recent schools include
Brandeis, University of California (Berkeley, Irvine, Riverside), University of Colorado, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Drexel University, Johns Hopkins University, MIT, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, Northwestern University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin
Physics – Lawrence University’s physics department offers one of the premier undergraduate physics programs in the country, featuring breadth and depth in physics programs not often seen at the undergraduate level and is recognized by the National Science Foundation as one of the Colleges that Produce the most Ph.D. in Science and Engineering
Lawrence undergrads have built wind tunnels to test disc golf discs (tunnels that they have also used in a rocket science course). They’ve measured hyperfine transitions using optical beating between precision-locked diode lasers. And they’ve developed algorithms for simulating quantum computing, benchmarking with IBM’s quantum computer. What will you do?
Eart two degrees in 5 years (3-2 or 4-1 program)
Complete 3 years at Lawrence, then 2 years at Columbia University (NY) or Washington University in St. Louis, and you will earn a BA in physics and a BS in engineering (biomedical, civil, electrical, mechanical, etc.) Or complete 4 years at Lawrence, then one year at the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics, and earn a BA in physics and an MS in optical sciences.
Lawrence Physics Workshop
Each February, the Department of Physics at Lawrence University hosts a weekend workshop for high school seniors to showcase our physics program to prospective physics students, so you can prepare for a career in research, teaching, engineering, and other technical fields. Recent LPW activities include:
analyzing astronomical data to detect planets around other stars
trapping electron plasmas in a toroidal magnetic field
observing atoms on the surface of crystalline graphite
measuring the spacing between atoms in aluminum using X-rays techniques
measuring the speed of light using a pulsed nitrogen laser
Components of the Major
Principles of Classical, Relativistic, and Quantum Mechanics
Principles of Classical Physics
Principles of Modern Physics
Calculus I, II, and III
Electricity and Magnetism
Two additional upper-level physics electives
Senior Experience in physics
The following program is typical:
Freshman: PHYS 151, 160; MATH 140, 150, 160
Sophomore: PHYS 220, 225, 230; MATH 210
Junior: PHYS 310, 320, 330; physics electives
Senior: PHYS 699: Independent Study in Physics, PHYS 650: Senior Seminar in Physics; physics electives
Get to know current Lawrence students
If you would like to talk directly to a current student about their experiences, we have international student interns available to talk or keep in touch over social media. Read about our students below and contact us with your questions or to find a time to talk with them.
Studying Government, East Asian Studies, History
Involved in: President of Chinese Students Association (CSA); Mentor of International Student Services (ISS); Assistant in LU Government (GOVT) Department; Assistant in Innovation-Entrepreneurship (I-E) Department; Secretary of Food Recovery Network (FRN); Involved in Build Inter-generation Relations (BIR) volunteering activities
Ask me about: Social sciences or humanities, or study abroad in London!
College search advice: Lawrence on Instagram (@lawrenceuni) or LU YouTube Channel would be your good friend! Also, please talk to us, the enthusiastic and friendly group of current students in the International Admission who will love to share Lawrence stories with you!
Involved in: Community Advisor
Favorite spot to study: My signature spot in the library! It is a single desk on the second floor, by the window, and behind all bookshelves. I love this spot since it is perfect for me: quiet, peaceful, light, and it has a stunning view to the main grass-land during the fall!
College search advice: I highly recommend following Lawrence on Instagram (@lawrenceuni) since it is usually updated about life and events on campus and has interactive Q&A sessions for prospective students.
Studying Economics, Psychology
Involved in: Lawrence International, JCEC - Japanese Culture Exchange Club.
Favorite Spot on Campus: The green in front of Main Hall is absolutely the best place to wind down and relax. You can set up a hammock and read a book under the shade or take a nap. I personally prefer the latter.
Ask me about: The best routes for running or anything about snowboarding.
College search advice: LU instagram page (@lawrenceuni) has "Student Take over" stories that would definitely help you get to know the college better from a student's viewpoint.
Studying Psychology, English and Educational Studies
Involved in: News writer in The Lawrentians Student Newspaper, VITAL Tutoring program, Lawrence International, and the Chinese Student Association (CSA). I'm also interested in Psychology, lifting, badminton, and deep thoughts!
Ask me about: I always enjoy playing basketball in the morning and start off my morning with a tasty sausage-egg-and-cheese sandwich and a cup of raspberry ice tea (at the Cafe)!
College search advice: Start the application early so you will have enough time to struggle through things such as Recommendation Letters and Essays. Remember to consider your choice in terms of financial aid, school size, surrounding area, school culture, specific programs, etc.