Lawrence University’s physics department offers one of the premier undergraduate physics programs in the country, featuring breadth and depth in physics programs not often seen at the undergraduate level.

You will learn the practice of physics through a program that features an interplay between classes and co-curricular activities, all within a collaborative environment that focuses on student success. You will reach success through our signature programs connected to areas of faculty expertise, combined with research training that begins in the curriculum and reaches maturation in research fellowships and Senior Experience projects.

Life After Lawrence

Lawrentians can enjoy careers in...

Research, engineering, physics, teaching, data analytics, software engineering, geology and geophysics, medical physics, product engineering, physics education, robotics

Recent employers include...

Argonne National Lab, Boeing, Epic Systems Corporation, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Los Alamos National Lab, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Space Telescope Institute, Tyco Electronics, U.S. Department of Energy, University of Wisconsin

Lawrentians can earn advanced degrees in...

Physics, astronomy, engineering (aerospace, civil, mechanical, biomedical, etc.), medical physics, biophysics, optical sciences, physical chemistry, medicine, law, business (MBA)

Recent schools include...

Brandeis, University of California (Berkeley, Irvine, Riverside), University of Colorado, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Drexel University, Johns Hopkins University, MIT, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, Northwestern University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin

Do physics.

Lawrence undergrads have built wind tunnels to test disc golf discs (tunnels that they have also used in a rocket science course). They’ve measured hyperfine transitions using optical beating between precision-locked diode lasers. And they’ve developed algorithms for simulating quantum computing, benchmarking with IBM’s quantum computer. What will you do?

Solve real problems at the US Energy Department’s largest science and energy lab.

Through the ACM at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, you can spend a term doing research with scientists and engineers who are accelerating solutions for clean energy and security.

Make the leap to the next level.

Lawrence physics undergraduates often continue their work at the Ph.D. levels in physics, building on the work they have done with their professors here in modern optics, computational physics, quantum computing, surface physics, condensed matter physics, optics, biological physics, astrophysics and plasma physics.

Earn two degrees in 5 years (3-2 or 4-1 program).

Complete 3 years at Lawrence, then 2 years at Columbia University (NY) or Washington University in St. Louis, and you will earn a BA in physics and a BS in engineering (biomedical, civil, electrical, mechanical, etc.) Or complete 4 years at Lawrence, then one year at the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics, and earn a BA in physics and an MS in optical sciences.

Lawrence Physics Workshop

Faculty with students

Each February, the Department of Physics at Lawrence University hosts a weekend workshop for high school seniors to showcase our physics program to prospective physics students, so you can prepare for a career in research, teaching, engineering, and other technical fields. Recent LPW activities include:

• analyzing astronomical data to detect planets around other stars
• trapping electron plasmas in a toroidal magnetic field
• observing atoms on the surface of crystalline graphite
• measuring the spacing between atoms in aluminum using X-rays techniques
• measuring the speed of light using a pulsed nitrogen laser

Learn more about the Lawrence Physics Workshop


Components of the Major


  • Principles of Classical, Relativistic, and Quantum Mechanics
  • Principles of Classical Physics
  • Principles of Modern Physics
  • Calculus I, II, and III
  • Physical Electronics
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Thermal Physics
  • Advanced Laboratory
  • Two additional upper-level physics electives
  • Senior Experience in physics
  • The following program is typical:
  • Freshman: PHYS 151, 160; MATH 140, 150, 160
  •  Sophomore: PHYS 220, 225, 230; MATH 210
  •  Junior: PHYS 310, 320, 330; physics electives
  • Senior: PHYS 699: Independent Study in Physics, PHYS 650: Senior Seminar in Physics; physics electives

The Chandler Senior Experience

The Senior Experience in the Department of Physics consists of an independent investigation tailored to the your goals in physics. You’ll make a formal project proposal to the department followed by one or two independent study courses with a faculty supervisor, culminating in a capstone thesis paper and an oral presentation of your work.

Recent Senior Experiences include:


The Plausibility of Detecting the Casimir Force in an Undergraduate Laboratory

Polymer Field Theory: The Physics of Lines

Blade Design: The Efficacy of Vortex Generators

Revitalizing Raman: The Reintroduction of Raman Spectroscopy to the Advanced Laboratory Course

Variable Star Observation

Micromagnetic Simulations

Planetesimal-Driven Versus Gas-Driven Planetary Migration in Circumstellar Disks

Symmetry and Quantum Mechanics