From sub-atomic particles to the origin and structure of the universe, physics uses the language of mathematics to discover, describe, and apply the fundamental laws of nature.

Our physics curriculum provides study in mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermal physics, optics, modern and quantum physics, digital electronics and computer interfacing, and experimental physics.

The Physics Program enhances students’ capacity for analysis, synthesis, and inductive and deductive reasoning. Physics students learn to plan and conduct scientific experiments and to communicate the concepts of physics in oral, written, and mathematical form. A majority of physics majors participate in collaborative research with a faculty member. Our physics degree has also been particularly popular among students interested in engineering. Our students have gone on to study mechanical engineering, operations research, and systems engineering

Your Major Took You Where?*

Tech Systems Columbia University (M.S., operations systems)
Edelweiss Resort and Lodge University of Louisville (Ph.D., electrical engineering)
University of Rochester (Ph.D., physics & astronomy)
University of Kentucky (B.S., mechanical engineering)
*A Sampling of Recent Centre Graduates

“Physics professors at Centre College encourage students to pursue their passion outside of the classroom and beyond campus. Studying physics is diffcult, but my professors and my peers make it worthwhile.”

Centre Class of 2018 • Physics Major


The Curriculum

Centre’s introductory physics courses include classroom demos, lab exercises, and out-of-class discussions between students and faculty. Your first two years will include intro physics courses plus classes in calculus and differential equations. Our upper-level courses include advanced mechanics, electronics, magnetism and electricity, optics, quantum mechanics, thermal physics, and modern physics (a two-term course that includes relativity, quantum theory, nuclear physics, and solid-state physics).


Physics majors can take advantage of internships, which are guaranteed under the terms of the Centre Commitment, to gain experience in the field. Recently, students have interned with Toyota, RoboTerra in Shanghai, EnableJapan, and a small technology startup in Lexington, Ky.


Centre’s physics program is designed to prepare you for graduate study in physics or a related science and for jobs in fields such as teaching, industrial research, medicine, and engineering. Recent graduates have gone on to study physics and chemistry in Ph.D. programs at the University of California-Riverside, the University of Colorado, University of Kansas, the University of Kentucky, the University of Oregon, the University of Rochester, and Vanderbilt University.