Undergraduate Physics

Physicists study the natural world. We help you to develop tools to understand how the world works at the most fundamental level. As a student in this discipline, you’ll learn to build mathematical models that predict and explain our observations of the natural world, to design and conduct experiments to explore physical systems, and to think critically about data and evidence in order to construct new understandings of how the world works.

Program Highlights

  • Our new Fab Lab opened in Spring 2019 and provides students access to equipment such as 3-D printers, milling machines, and laser cutters. The facility will provide ample opportunities for student directed projects, as well as new courses, including Introduction to Engineering and Engineering Modeling and Design. The Fab Lab will be open to students from across campus, not just physics majors.  

  • All of your introductory physics courses are taught using a project-based approach, where students actively engage with the material on a daily basis in an integrated lecture/lab format.  

  • Each unit is structured around a real-world problem and culminates in a project that applies physics knowledge to solve that problem.  

  • Class sizes are small, with no more than 20 students in introductory courses, and typically between 8 and 10 students in upper-level courses.  

  •  Faculty advisors help students to tailor their physics education by choosing courses and finding summer research or internship opportunities that are aligned with your career goals.

Career Outcomes

As a professional physicist you may work in research in an academic or laboratory setting. Also, strong analytical and mathematical problem solving skills, developed as part of the Physics major, are valued in many professions. Physics majors often find careers in engineering, education, finance and business, information technology, or other STEM related fields. 

Collaborative Programs

Edgewood College and Madison College have a partnership that allows students to easily transfer coursework between the two institutions. New concentrations in Renewable Energy and Electrical Engineering allow you to gain technical skills, in addition to your theoretical training, by completing coursework at Madison College. These technical skills will be useful for students who hope to work in STEM professions after graduation, including students who plan on attending graduate school. Students who complete an Associate’s Degree at Madison College can complete a Physics major at Edgewood College in as little as two years. 

Our Collaborative Program with the University of Wisconsin-Madison allows you to take one course per semester at UW and transfer it back to Edgewood College. This provides students to explore specialized coursework in science and engineering that is not available here at Edgewood College, and the credits count towards the elective credits for your Physics major. Tuition is covered by your Edgewood College tuition, so scholarships still apply. In addition, you may wish to take advantage of resources at UW-Madison, including library access and internship/research opportunities. 


If you are interested in a career in engineering, you can start your academic career at Edgewood College with a strong foundation in math and science. Students at Edgewood College have the option of choosing a Physics, Chemistry, or Mathematics major with a Pre-Engineering Concentration. These three majors share a common set of core courses, and upper level courses are chosen from physics, chemistry, and/or mathematics based on your major and your engineering interest. You should choose a major that helps you prepare for whichever field of engineering you are most interested in. 

Students who wish to become licensed engineers will need to complete additional training. Candidates with liberal arts are strong candidates for engineering graduate school, and bring a different set of skills than students who receive training solely in engineering. This is an advantage for you. Many institutions offer accelerated (typically one calendar year) Master’s degree programs in engineering for students with undergraduate degrees in science or mathematics. Work with your advisor to ensure that you have the pre-requisite courses needed for graduate school in engineering. You can supplement your Edgewood College coursework by taking engineering classes at UW-Madison through the Collaborative Program. Students interested in graduate programs should plan to do either research or an internship in the summer months. 

If graduate school isn’t for you, we have partnerships with Madison College so that you can gain additional technical training in Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Renewable Energy. Coursework in these areas can be taken while you are a student at Edgewood College and will count towards your Edgewood College degree. 

  • Zachary-Greenwood-Schaeferty
    My time as a Physics student at Edgewood College has taught me so much more than the math behind our everyday lives; it taught me to be curious and observant of the world around us. My degree in Physics encouraged me to think creatively, problem solve, and most importantly, never take technology and everyday processes for face value. There is always something new and challenging to improve both yourself and the world we live in. That’s what my degree means to me.
    Zachary Greenwood-Schaftary ’17

Faculty Spotlight

  • Rachel Lancor

    Associate Professor of Physics

  • Brian Lancor