Advising FAQ Physics

Advising FAQ Physics


How do I declare my major in physics?  How do I get an advisor?

For questions about changing a major, finding an advisor and making an appointment with an advisor, click here.

What is the difference between a BS and a BA in Physics?

The BS is a more thorough course regiment designed to prepare students for graduate studies in Physics.  The BA allows for added flexibility for those students wanting to work on another major while studying Physics.  Students pursuing pre-engineering or secondary education often work towards the BA.  The BS requires PHY 301 Advanced Laboratory, PHY 410 Electromagnetic Theory and PHY 460 Quantum Mechanics whereas the BA does not.  Please see our Physics Degree Requirements page under programs for more details.

What careers are available after graduating from NKU's physics program?

Persons with bachelor's degrees in physics are often hired for their problem solving skills and find careers in industry, government and education.  Recent NKU physics graduates have worked for companies in telecommunication, manufacturing, engineering and product research. About a third of NKU physics graduates continue their education after leaving NKU to become research physicists in specialized areas such as astrophysics, elementary particles & fields, nuclear physics, atomic, molecular & optical physics, plasma physics, biophysics, chemical physics, condensed matter physics, low temperature physics and others.  Research physicists are working on controlled thermonuclear fusion, properties of subatomic particles, nanotechnology, dark matter/energy in the universe, etc.  Physicists who study the properties of matter in solid or liquid phases developed semiconductor and liquid crystal display devices that are common today.  Some physics graduates have chosen to further their education by pursing advanced degree programs in other related areas, including engineering, medicine, mathematics and computer science.  Physicists with the appropriate terminal degree can teach at the secondary level or college.  For more information about what happens to physics graduates once they leave NKU click here.  

Good resources for getting an idea of post graduation opportunities are the American Institute of Physics AIP and Physics Today.  They have job listings for careers in physics as well as statistics on the various directions physics graduates have taken.  AIP has a very useful page titled Who's Hiring Physics Bachelor's that lists companies by state that have hired physics graduates in the past.  Keep in mind, Physics majors are not limited to just Physics after they graduate.  The problem solving skills and mathematical proficiency gained in a Physics program is valuable for any career path a student may pursue.