Schmid College Student wearing goggles creating a mini Tesla coil

Schmid College of Science and Technology

» Bachelor of Science in Physics

Physics is the branch of science that studies how the universe works. Chapman’s physics program emphasizes the broad applicability of a physics degree for careers in science and technology, and reveals deep connections between physics and mathematics, computer science, engineering, chemistry, biology, and other scientific disciplines.

Students will be well prepared to continue with graduate studies in physics or dive into a wide array of exciting technical fields with confidence in their mathematical modeling, numerical computation, and data processing abilities. The internationally recognized physics faculty has a strong and diverse research program, allowing undergraduate students unusual access to high-caliber research.

+ - Where can this degree take you?

Myth: Physics majors become either physicists or physics teachers.
Fact: A physics degree opens the door to a wide variety of rewarding career options in fields like:

  • Technology development
  • Renewable energy
  • Armed Forces and Defense Solutions
  • Software Engineering
  • Software Security
  • Data Science
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Business Analysis
  • Quantitative Economics
  • Physics … and Science more broadly

Looking for more information on physics career paths? Visit the American Physical Society’s careers resource

Combine Your Passions

Many of our students double-major (or even triple-major!) to pursue multiple passions. For example, many of our past students have combined a physics major with mathematics, computer science, music performance, music composition, and foreign languages.

If a full second major is too challenging to schedule, there is also a strong incentive to combining majors and minors. Even a minor in physics has a significant impact on your attractiveness to employers; similarly, augmenting your physics major with an additional minor shows breadth in interest to employers. The curriculum is designed to maximize overlap between several majors, to facilitate adding major-minor combinations easily.

If graduate school in data science is an attractive future option, a physics major also enables streamlined access to Chapman’s own Computational and Data Sciences (CADS) program via a 4+1 Integrated Undergraduate degree.

+ - Internship and Research Opportunities

Chapman physics faculty connect their students with amazing internship and research opportunities that give them real-world experience employers want. For example:

  • Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF): students may visit laboratories and research groups of colleagues around the country for a summer to gain research experience
  • Summer internships with the Advanced Physics Laboratory (APL) in Maryland, affiliated with Chapman, which studies room-temperature superconductivity
  • Conference presentations of original research: Faculty attend many conferences throughout the year, and can arrange students to show their work to professional colleagues to gain exposure
  • Visitor Collaborations: Chapman hosts many visiting researchers in physics, many of whom are affiliated with the Institute for Quantum Studies at Chapman, giving students exposure to collaborations with external researchers
  • Internships at local companies and defense contractors

Faculty-led Research

Students are encouraged to work with Chapman professors toward completion of research projects, posters and talks presenting their work, and publication of their scholarly work. Some examples of research groups open to ambitious undergraduate students are:

Inter-Institutional Opportunities

Research Resources

+ - Physics Student Community at Chapman

Chapman is home to a thriving, dynamic physics community that includes activities like:

  • Society of Physics Students (SPS, coming soon): meetings of the local chapter of the American Institute of Physics (AIP).
  • Demos & Outreach: engage other students, nearby high schools, and the general public with dazzling physics, such as the recent Tesla Coil Band.
  • Phyzza- Physics and Pizza!: bi-weekly events discussing interesting developments in physics over free pizza.
  • Math, Physics, and Computation (MPC) Seminars: regular research seminars, complete with tea, cookies and coffee.
  • Quantum Group Meetings: regular research meetings affiliated with the Institute for Quantum Studies.

+ - Women in Science and Technology Student Organization

Women in Science and Technology (WIST) is an academic club on campus geared towards empowering women interested in STEM careers at Chapman.

They do this by providing a platform for professional development support, such as resume and interview workshops, speaker presentations, and by helping to identify research and internship opportunities on campus. WIST also conducts social activities, where members get a chance to meet other students in their own and related fields.

+ - Faculty

Many of our internationally recognized faculty share joint affiliations with the Schmid College of Science and Technology, and the Institute for Quantum Studies at Chapman University.

Chapman University emphasizes a “scholar-teacher” model, where such distinguished researchers still regularly engage students in the classroom. This allows our undergraduates to share in the unique perspectives of the faculty, which often go beyond what can be found simply in standard undergraduate textbooks.

View our list of Physics, Math and Computation core faculty

+ - Videos


Prof. Justin Dressel talks about his work in the foundations of quantum mechanics, why it matters and how he involves undergraduate students in his research. "For undergraduates here at Chapman, these research collaborations are very exciting opportunities because it's rare that an undergraduate gets the opportunity to meet, much less discuss physics, with researchers of this caliber."

 

This episode of "Scientists in Golf Carts Talking Science" features physics major Amy Lam interviewing Dr. Kater Murch, a physicist and research collaborator with Prof. Dressel. The two ride around Chapman's bustling campus talking about studying physics and career paths after college.

+ - Advising for Current Students

Need to talk to your program advisor? Looking for a MAP (Major Academic Plan)?

Visit the Academic Advising portal. There you’ll find contact information for all Schmid College program advisors, as well as links to MAPs for each program.

Institute of Quantum Studies

The Institute for Quantum Studies (IQS) was founded by Prof. Yakir Aharonov to clarify lingering foundational issues in the quantum theory.
Learn more

Advanced Physics Laboratory

The Advanced Physics Laboratory (APL), located in Maryland, experimentally investigates potential room temperature superconductors.
Learn more

Contact Us

Kaitlyn A. Gutierrez
Administrative Assistant (Temporary)
(714) 628-7230
kagutier@chapman.edu