A Physics degree can be obtained once you complete a 4-year undergraduate course in Physics. Among the sciences, physics is perhaps the oldest of the disciplines and also one of the most celebrated. Physics helps us understand how the world—and even the universe—works. You study matter, and how it moves through space and time. Your study can range from examining the various forces found among the stars, to understanding how an atom can provide so much energy. Classical physics focused on normal observable forms of matter and energy. Modern physics, on the other hand, now sets its sights mainly on how matter and energy reacts on a very tiny scale or under extreme conditions.
To study physics in college, you need to excel at mathematics as well. Physics uses mathematics as its main language, in order to derive formulas, solutions and predictions. Sir Isaac Newton himself was one of the cofounders of Calculus.
What Can You Do with a Physics Degree?
Physicists are generally regarded as the smartest people in the world. Albert Einstein, Galileo, and Isaac Newton were physicists. Carl Sagan was a physicist, and so is Stephen Hawking. With a Physics degree, you have actual proof that you are smart, you are analytical and mathematically literate, and you also have the dedication and determination to succeed. These are traits that just about every employer wants, so a Physics degree opens doors to just about every industry you can think of. In case you don’t know, Brian May of Queen was educated as an astrophysicist, and Jimmy Carter and Angela Merkel of Germany both have Physics degrees. A lot of astronauts are physicists too.
Many businesses today hire physics graduates due to their high proficiency in mathematics. But with your specialist knowledge of physics, you can enter fields such as medicine and medical technology, aerospace engineering, and even software development.
If you wish to continue your research however, a Physics degree will simply serve as a foundation. You’ll need to continue your studies until you get your PhD. You can also get additional training while working in government or private research.
You can also go into teaching, as well as into journalism and media communications specializing in science topics.
What Are the Best Schools to get a Physics Degree?
No matter what you may hear about how the United States is falling behind the rest of the world when it comes to the hard sciences, our universities can still match and even outshine what other universities have to offer. Here are the top 10 US universities in Physics, with their corresponding world ranking in parenthesis:
1. (1) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
2. (2) Harvard University
3. (4) Stanford University
4. (5) University of California, Berkeley
5. (7) Princeton University
6. (8) California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
7. (12) University of Chicago
8. (14) Columbia University
9. (17) Yale University
10. (18) University of California, Santa Barbara
UCLA just missed getting on this list, but it’s also #20 in the world.