The Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography provides quality programs leading to B.S. and B.A. degrees in physics, with options of General Physics, Environmental Physics, Physical Oceanography, or 3+2 Physics/Electrical Engineering Degrees. (PDF) We provide courses that stimulate intellectual curiosity, imagination, rational thinking, and thoughtful expression, and we have a strong commitment to providing research opportunities for students in our department. The Department also provides service courses in the natural sciences that acquaint beginning students with the laws of nature and develop their abilities to reason and think critically.
Ours is a small department and our graduates are glad they choose to major in physics. Students with a bachelors degree in physics often receive some of the top starting salaries after graduating from college. The most marketable skills that physics majors have are their analytical and problem solving skills.
If you are planning to take the calculus sequence, MAT 161-162, you should also take PHY 201-202 sometime in your first two years at UNCW. This prepares you in time for a major, or a double major, makes you more marketable, and can help you do better in other science courses.
We would like you to feel free to wander our website. Here you will find that our department has an active faculty which excels in teaching, research, and service. In particular you can read past newsletters under News and Events, or explore our faculty pages under Faculty and Staff. We have numerous program offerings and you can find these under Degree Requirements.
If you want to know... how images are stored on a compact disk, how a laser works, the composition of the DNA molecule, or whether the universe has a beginning or an end, then you want to study physics. Physics is the basic science that underlies astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, geology, and all the other applied sciences.
How About Physical Oceanography?
The UNCW Physics B.S. degree option in Physical Oceanography is rivaled only by a similar program at the University of Rhode Island; there are no others in North America. The strength of UNCW's marine programs results from a common emphasis on marine science within traditional science departments, along with shared cooperative interdisciplinary activities. The Physics option in physical oceanography combines a sound grasp of physics fundamentals (classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, experimental physics, thermodynamics, and quantum physics) with a working knowledge of the oceanographic domain. This enables students graduating with a major in physics to significantly improve their career potential in the environmental regime. Students graduating in this option can also go on to do graduate work in physical oceanography, such as continuing at UNCW to obtain a Master of Science in Marine Science
Consider Adding a Physics Degree
We encourage you to take physics classes early and to become aware of the benefits of graduating with a degree in physics. You do not have to go for one degree. Consider double majoring in physics and mathematics, chemistry, biology, geology, environmental science, ... We have even had double majors in philosophy, psychology, or languages. We have even seen triple majors! If you are not sure, try doing a minor in physics first.
Just consider some of the benefits of majoring in physics:
- Physics graduates often receive some of the top starting salaries after graduating from college ;
- Physics majors score amongst the best on entrance exams to medical and law schools;
- There is a critical need for physical oceanographers; and,
- You can take physics courses as early as freshman year.
- If you are planning to take the calculus sequence, MAT 161-162, you should consider taking PHY 201-202
Physics graduates don't always do physics.
In fact, the majority go to other fields. The most marketable skills that physics majors have are their analytical and problem solving skills. This allows them to go on enter careers such as engineering, business, management, finance, law, and computer science. Knowledge of the fundamentals of physics also allows one to go into fields such as medicine, bio-physics, or patent law.