Physics Major, B.S.
The fundamental principles of physics drive new technologies, from computers to telecommunications devices to space travel. Physicists around the world are motivated by the opportunity to use and help direct this knowledge and these applications.
As an MSU Denver Physics major, you will have the choice of three tracks: Applied Physics, Astrophysics and Fundamentals of Physics. Your studies into the nature of how things work will help you develop critical-thinking skills, ingenuity and the ability to address unforeseen problems. Plus, you’ll gain strong applied and advanced mathematical skills as well as valuable experience with computer programming, modeling and simulations. Working in state-of-the-art laboratories with sophisticated equipment, you’ll improve your mechanical aptitude and your capacity to grasp new technologies quickly.
Graduates with a bachelor of science degree in Physics typically pursue an advanced degree.
The Physics curriculum is taught jointly by the faculties of MSU Denver and the University of Colorado at Denver, so you will receive instruction from the faculty of both institutions.
The Physics Department is also collaborating with the Aviation and Aerospace Science Department on a pilot bachelor of science program in Aerospace Physics through MSU Denver's Center for Individualized Learning.
Benefits of Earning Your Degree at MSU Denver
As a physics major at MSU Denver, you’ll have the chance to intern at a variety of locations including the National Renewal Energy Laboratory (NREL) through a unique collaboration MSU Denver has with the lab.
The required Physics Senior Seminar offers the invaluable experience of completing and reporting on an individual project to your peers and professors.
You can also join the award-winning Society of Physics Students, which works to transform students into contributing members of the professional community through scholarly presentations at professional meetings, journal submissions and outreach services to the campus and local communities.
Career Opportunities for Our Graduates
Physicists hold a variety of positions, some of which require an advanced degree:
- Ballistics expert
- Cryogenic specialist
- Laboratory technician
- Photo-optics technician
- Aerospace engineer
Among the industries and companies that employ physicists are:
- Atomic/nuclear labs
- Engineering firms
- Government agencies
- Manufacturing/processing firms
- Nuclear plants
- Patent law firms
- Petroleum companies
- Professional journals
- Research firms
- Technical journals
- Technical libraries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, in 2016 physicists holding a Ph.D. or professional degree had a median annual salary of $114,870.
“I found that MSU Denver’s small class size and access to advanced courses and topical seminars afforded me the opportunity to be exposed to far more than my peers attending larger schools.”
Jason Byrd, Ph.D., MSU Denver ’07, is junior staff scientist on the Quantum Theory Project at the University of Florida.
“Physics not only trains you to think outside of the box – it shows you how the box works.”
Michael Roos, MSU Denver ’17, is a Ph.D. student in Physics at the University of Denver who completed an internship at NREL during his senior year. Read more about his internship.
MSU Denver ’90
Nuclear fusion researcher.
Alumni at Work
Among the technology companies that have hired graduates of MSU Denver’s Physics Program are Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, Schlumberger, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and others.
MSU Denver Physics alumni have been accepted for postgraduate study at institutions such as: University of Indiana, University of Connecticut, University of Florida, University of Denver, University of California ‒ Los Angeles and California Institute of Technology.
The Physics program offers three tracks: Applied Physics, Astrophysics and Fundamentals of Physics. The Physics Department also offers courses in general interest astronomy.
Here are examples of the required courses for all Physics majors:
Facilities and Resources
Located on the Auraria Campus in downtown Denver, the MSU Denver Physics Department is housed in Science Building with state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment for your use.