This page contains information about some of the many opportunities available to graduates receiving a bachelor's degree in physics or engineering physics. Keep in mind that these are only some of the many possibilities that exist. The critical thinking skills that you develop in these programs can prepare you for a career in almost anything.
Because the two degree programs are very similar in nature, many of the post-graduate opportunities are the same. However, in some instances one major may provide a more optimal path to your goal. As a result, we may present our recommendation for the undergraduate course of study we feel most appropriate. Students should not feel limited by these recommendations and should pursue the degree path they feel most comfortable with and are most interested in. Also, keep in mind that the first two years of both the physics and engineering physics program are very similar. Around the beginning of their junior year, students should talk to their advisor about potential career goals and interests to appropriately customize their degree program.
- A STEM Career in the Workforce
- Physics Graduate School
- Engineering Graduate School
- Business Administration
- Law School
- Biophysics or Medical Physics Graduate Studies
- Medical School
- Dental School
- Secondary Education
A STEM Career in the Workforce
Immediately after obtaining their Bachelor of Science degree in physics or engineering physics, some graduates may wish to enter the workforce in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) position. According to the AIP Statistical Research Center’s Initial Employment Surveys from 2006-2008, the following employers in Mississippi and the three neighboring states hired graduates with Bachelor of Science degrees in physics: Energy Services Inc., NASA Stennis Space Center, the National Center for Physical Acoustics, Northrop Grumman, Albemarle Corporation, Halliburton Energy Services, ICF Consulting, John Deere, Schlumberger, Analytical Services Inc., DSM Design Group LLC, Dynetics Inc., Envirochem Inc., Advanced Composites Inc., Buchart-Horn Inc., ICx Radiation, and St. Jude Medical Center. Other employers who have specifically hired MC College graduates in the past include GM/Delphi, EDS Corporation, Motorola, Entergy, the U.S. Navy, The National Institute of Standards and Testing, Aspect Communications, the U.S. Army Missile Engineering Center, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Nationwide, other potential employers include Apple, Applied Research Laboratories, Boeing, Brookhaven National Lab, Corning Inc., Digital Semiconductor, General Electric, Hewlett- Packard, IBM, Intel, ITT Industries, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, the Naval Research Lab, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Raytheon, and the U.S. Air Force. As the engineering physics degree is an applied physics degree, the same employers who hire physics graduates should also be considered by engineering physics graduates.
Physics Graduate School
Another option for graduates of either the physics or engineering physics program is to further their studies in graduate school and obtain a M.S. and possibly a Ph.D. in the field of physics. Some of the most common fields in physics to specialize in include astrophysics, atmospheric physics, gravitational theory, high energy physics, physical acoustics, and solid state physics. Students interested in pursuing this option should take PHY 313 (Optics), PHY 315 (Thermodynamics), and ESC 305 (Electrical Circuits) as part of their physics elective courses. Engineering physics majors choosing this route should take PHY 308 (Classical Mechanics) and PHY 401 (Quantum Physics) as elective courses.
Engineering Graduate School
Both the Physics and Engineering Physics Graduate Programs at MC can prepare students for graduate school in an engineering discipline, although an undergraduate degree in engineering physics would probably provide the more optimal route to this goal. Based on the current structure of MC's engineering physics program, a graduate degree in either mechanical or electrical engineering would result in the smoothest transition from the bachelor’s program. Different schools have different prerequisite requirements for these graduate programs, but we estimate that students obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering physics from Mississippi College would need about one extra semester of course work at the graduate institution of their choice before being formally admitted to their program. Students majoring in engineering physics at MC who are interested in obtaining an Master of Science or Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering should take ESC 306 (Digital Circuits) as an elective course. Those interested in obtaining a Master of Science or Ph.D. in mechanical engineering should take PHY 308 (Classical Mechanics) and ESC 340 (Heat Transfer) as elective courses.
A popular choice with college graduates of various disciplines is to further their studies by obtaining a master’s degree in business administration (M.B.A.). The M.B.A. program at Mississippi College requires undergraduate prerequisites of ACC 201 and 202 (Accounting), ECO 232 (Economics), MIS 327 (Introduction to Management Information Systems), FIN 341 (Finance), MGT 371 (Management), MKT 381 (Marketing), and GBU 351 (Business Statistics). Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in physics can easily integrate these prerequisite courses into their physics curriculum. Those pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering physics have room in their curriculum to take any 3 of these prerequisites, but may have to consider summer school to obtain credit in the remaining 4 courses by the end of their four year undergraduate program.
Graduates of the physics or engineering physics programs are well prepared for law school with opportunities in a wide array of concentrations. Graduates in both programs should consider taking as elective courses PLS/HIS 407 and 408 (American Constitutional Development I and II), and the University core curriculum courses HIS 211 and 212 (United States History). The Mississippi College School of Law gives complete details of their program and admission requirements.
Biophysics or Medical Physics Graduate Studies
Two popular applied physics graduate degrees are in the fields of biophysics and medical physics. According to the Biophysical Society, biophysics “explains biological functions in terms of molecular mechanisms: precise physical descriptions of how individual molecules work together like tiny machines to produce specific biological functions”. The American Association of Physicists in Medicine defines the role of a medical physicist as one who is involved with clinical service and consultation (for example, the planning of radiation treatments for cancer patients); research and development in areas such as cancer, heart disease, and mental illness; and teaching, where they help train future medical physicists, resident physicians, medical students, and technologists who operate the various types of equipment used to perform diagnosis and treatment. A student at Mississippi College pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in physics who is also interested in either of these applied physics fields is encouraged to minor in biology. Additionally, depending on the requirements of the specific biophysics or medical physics graduate program, we may also recommend certain courses in organic chemistry, anatomy, biochemistry, and physical chemistry.
Graduates receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in physics or engineering physics are also well prepared to pursue medical school. The University of Mississippi Medical School requires 1 academic year in each of the following disciplines: English, mathematics, biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics and 1 academic year in an upper level science/mathematics courses, e.g., biology, chemistry, physics or mathematics. All of the above, with the exception of the 1 academic year of biology and organic chemistry are required of all physics and engineering physics majors, and these requirements can be satisfied for physics majors with elective hours. As engineering physics majors have fewer available elective hours than physics majors, these students will need to take either the biology or organic chemistry cycle in summer school.
Graduates receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in physics or engineering physics may also be interested in applying to dental school. The University of Mississippi School of Dentistry requires 1 academic year each in English, inorganic chemistry, physics, and mathematics, all of which are satisfied in the physics and engineering physics curriculum. Additionally, 1 academic year in organic chemistry, biology, and advanced biology or chemistry, and 1 course in statistics are required.
Upon receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in physics or engineering physics, graduates may be interested in teaching at the high school level. Mississippi College does not specifically offer a physics education undergraduate program, but Mississippi licensure in physics can be obtained by taking one of the several alternate route programs offered by the Mississippi Department of Education.
Students with an interest in writing science fiction or non-fiction works may want to consider pursuing either a Bachelor of Science degree in physics with a minor in writing, or a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, writing concentration with a minor in physics. The former would require taking the following courses in addition to the degree requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree in physics : ENG 371 (Analysis of Discourse), six hours of 300-400 level elective courses in writing, and three hours of 300-400 level elective courses in either literature or writing.
As was the case for the writing option, students interested in journalism may want to consider a major or minor in physics, with a corresponding major or minor in journalism. To obtain a minor in journalism outside the degree requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree in physics, students must take 18 hours of journalism classes made up of the following courses: JOU 101, 201, and 301 (Journalism Lab I, II, and III), JOU 333 (Journalism I), JOU 334 (Photojournalism), JOU 434 (Journalism II), JOU 454 (Professional Writing), and JOU 454 (Public Relations Writing).