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The physics major emphasizes the study of natural science on both a fundamental and a practical level. Courses provide students hands-on skills essential for academic or industrial work in the physical sciences, while advancing student experience in lab techniques, data analysis, scientific documentation, and apparatus design, construction, and operation.

  • Physics coursework is designed to provide the student with a framework by which to understand the nature of creation, and with which to solve a broad range of practical and theoretical problems. Students enrolled in the general physics courses at the college engage in a study of the foundational texts written by the very scientists who advanced the discipline.

    Although physics is one of the traditional liberal arts, it also provides students with skills necessary for industrial or academic work. Courses provide hands-on skills that are essential for academic or industrial work in the physical sciences.

    What Makes the Program Distinctive?

    Wisconsin Lutheran College offers students a unique and challenging physics curriculum of the natural and mathematical sciences, which is based on the reading, analysis, and discussion of foundational texts in physics and astronomy. For example, when learning about projectile motion, students study Galileo’s Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences. And when learning about the measurement of astronomical distances, they study Henrietta Leavitt’s seminal publication on the relationship between luminosity and variability in Cepheids found in the Magellanic clouds.

    Through the study of foundational texts, coupled with experiential learning in labs and undergraduate research, students learn how to analyze and construct ideas, objects, and arguments. They also learn how to solve problems and how to communicate their solutions with grace and precision.


    Student Research

    WLC's physics students benefit from the opportunity to engage in undergraduate research projects with faculty. Physics students may assist with the design, construction, and assembly of scientific equipment, computer instrumentation and programming, image processing, and data analysis. Students learn to think clearly and accurately about science and technology and their impact on society. Lab experiences may include hands-on learning with computer programming, computer controlled milling machines, analog and digital electronics, and instrumental techniques including spectroscopic, chromatographic, electrochemical, and other physical methods for the analysis of materials.

    State-of-the-Art Facilities

    The physics department is located in Generac Hall. This 81,700-square-foot facility allows undergrads to experience state-of-the-art equipment and techniques that students at many other institutions would not have access to until graduate school.


    Field Study

    WLC physics students have an opportunity to conduct studies and research both in the lab and in the field. For example, students recently visited Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, and enjoyed a private tour of the 1897 facility, as well as observed the moons of Jupiter, the earth's moon, and the Orion nebula.

    Undergraduate Research Assistants

    Undergraduate research assistants work with faculty in the design, construction, and assembly of scientific equipment, computer instrumentation and programming, image processing, and data analysis. Previous physics research at WLC has been funded by generous grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the NASA Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium.


    Graduate School

    Many WLC physics majors elect to attend graduate school for continued development of knowledge, skills, and research. In the past, students have attended such school as Georgia Institute of Technology, Medical College of Wisconsin, The College of William and Mary, University of Colorado-Boulder, University of Iowa, and University of North Carolina.


    Upon graduation, WLC physics majors can use their knowledge and skills in a variety of potential careers, including:

    • Politics
    • Law
    • Science
    • Medicine
    • Writing
    • Science Journalism
    • Electricity, Magnetism and Light
    • Atoms, Nuclei and Matter
    • Gasses
    • Solids
    • Liquids
    • Electronics
    • Computational Methods
    • Instrumental Analysis
    • Business
    • Management
    • Engineering
    • Computer Software
    • Education
    • Energy Exploration