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Dr. Duane Pontius, Physics prof.

Whether you're studying subatomic particles or superclusters of galaxies, physics provides the foundation for the natural sciences. At BSC, we actively engage the physical world as we pursue insights about how it works. The tools you'll develop studying an electrical circuit or understanding the links between space and time can be applied to the human nervous system or the aurora borealis. Along with graduate studies in physics, many of our majors go on to careers in medicine and dentistry, engineering, or education.

Studying physics at BSC starts with an introductory two-course sequence that introduces students to some of the major concepts and classical topics in physics while teaching them powerful and flexible analytical tools and ways to frame problems that you can use in many fields. But studying physics at BSC goes well beyond the basics:
  • Through intense collaboration with professors and classmates, you'll learn powerful techniques to solve complex problems, think critically, write coherently, and explain your ideas to others. And your professors will be some of the very best, including a CASE/Carnegie professor of the year.
  • Use our unique January Exploration Term to dig deep into your interests, whether it's through independent research or taking a class that focuses just on Einstein's theory of relativity or microelectronics. Or branch out instead: Explore a subject you've never thought about or travel abroad without getting off-track. You can even spend three weeks sailing a tall ship through the Caribbean under the guidance of a physics professor, learning celestial navigation and so much more.
  • During our senior capstone, you'll conduct an in-depth research project and present your results during an on-campus conference. Recent students have analyzed spectroscopic observations of Jupiter and designed computational simulations of ionized gases flowing around one of Saturn's moons.
  • You'll study in the state-of-the-art Elton B. Stephens Science Center nd get access to equipment that undergraduates at most schools never see. You'll also have opportunities to participate in research at major laboratories around the world.


    Learning outcomes

    Upon completion of the physics major, students will be able to 

    • Develop mature intuitions regarding the motions and interactions of physical bodies, including macroscopic objects, particles, and fields
    • Apply fundamental physical principles that accurately describe and predict the outcome of experiments and other observed phenomena
    • Demonstrate competency using mathematical methods commonly used to solve physicsproblems 
    • Engage in an extended research project and present results to an appropriate audience 

    For more information about specific courses required, consult the College Catalog.


    Success Stories

    BSC phsyics majors find success in a wide range of careers. Some continue on to graduate school, while others explore a different path. Our graduates have gone on to:

    University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Dentistry 
    University of Alabama at Huntsville, Masters in Aerospace Engineering 
    Teach for America 
    American University, School of Law 
    Emory University, School of Law 
    Georgia Institute of Technology, Graduate Program in Physics 
    University of South Alabama, College of Medicine 
    University of Alabama at Birmingham, Masters in Civil Engineering 
    Duke University, Ph.D. in Physics 
    Intelligence analyst, Washington D.C. 
    Wake Forest University, Ph.D. in Physics 
    Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Research Fellow 
    Auburn University, Graduate Program in Physics

    "The education I received from Birmingham-Southern helped me land a great job right out of college. BSC prepared me for the physics work, and for everything else that came at me, including writing papers and presenting briefings. The reputation and prestige of a BSC degree also helped me. The key to success as a Birmingham-Southern student is simple: take advantage of the unique opportunities because they will make you a much better person for it!" 
    JENNIFER SCHEURICH ‘11 / Physics 
    Missile Defense Analyst, Sentar, Inc., Huntsville, Alabama