At a glance

From its central role in international astronomy projects to the extraordinary research opportunities afforded to its students, Carthage offers a rigorous and exciting environment in which to study the mysteries of the universe.

Major

  • Bachelor of Arts in Physics
  • Bachelor of Science in Physics
  • Optional concentration: Astrophysics

Minor

  • Physics

View Degree Requirements

Special Programs

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Earn your physics degree at Carthage

The physics program at Carthage ranks among the nation’s best in preparing students for STEM careers, according to the American Institute of Physics.

Introducing students to fundamental physical principles underlying the natural world, the Carthage physics major provides a strong foundation for careers in engineering, medical physics, teaching, finance, data analytics, and other fields. Given the department’s deep involvement in space science research, the physics major often appeals to those interested in aerospace careers.

  • <div class="lw_widget lw_widget_type_blockquote"><blockquote class="blockquote"><div class="blockquote__image"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,26,738,764/36412_4902_163701665847155.rev.1668994992.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,26,738,764/36412_4902_163701665847155.rev.1668994992.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,26,738,764/36412_4902_163701665847155.rev.1668994992.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,26,738,764/36412_4902_163701665847155.rev.1668994992.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,26,738,764/36412_4902_163701665847155.rev.1668994992.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,26,738,764/36412_4902_163701665847155.rev.1668994992.jpg" alt="Logan Dales" width="183" height="183" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,26,738,764/36412_4902_163701665847155.rev.1668994992.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,26,738,764/36412_4902_163701665847155.rev.1668994992.jpg 3x" data-max-w="738" data-max-h="738" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </div><div class="blockquote__content"><div class="blockquote__quote"><svg aria-hidden="true" class="icon icon-round-left-quote" width="48" height="33"><use xlink:href="#icon-round-left-quote"/></svg><p> “The physics program here is amazing, with connections across the country that I’d hope would make for a great education and possibly help me find a job post-graduation.”</p></div><footer class="blockquote__footer"><span class="blockquote__author"><a href="/live/profiles/2177-logan-dales">Logan Dales</a> ’25</span></footer></div></blockquote></div>
  • <div class="lw_widget lw_widget_type_blockquote"><blockquote class="blockquote"><div class="blockquote__image"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,720,720/37816_8345_163701665847155.rev.1684810867.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,720,720/37816_8345_163701665847155.rev.1684810867.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,720,720/37816_8345_163701665847155.rev.1684810867.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,720,720/37816_8345_163701665847155.rev.1684810867.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,720,720/37816_8345_163701665847155.rev.1684810867.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,720,720/37816_8345_163701665847155.rev.1684810867.jpg" alt="Kassia Schraufnagel" width="183" height="183" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,720,720/37816_8345_163701665847155.rev.1684810867.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,720,720/37816_8345_163701665847155.rev.1684810867.jpg 3x" data-max-w="720" data-max-h="720" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </div><div class="blockquote__content"><div class="blockquote__quote"><svg aria-hidden="true" class="icon icon-round-left-quote" width="48" height="33"><use xlink:href="#icon-round-left-quote"/></svg><p> “The advice I would give to other physics majors is to challenge yourself and to use every opportunity to your advantage.”</p></div><footer class="blockquote__footer"><span class="blockquote__author"><a href="/live/profiles/2441-kassia-schraufnagel">Kassia Schraufnagel</a> ’24</span></footer></div></blockquote></div>
  • <div class="lw_widget lw_widget_type_blockquote"><blockquote class="blockquote"><div class="blockquote__image"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/84/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,300,400/36370_Clayton-Markech-24.rev.1668538149.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/84/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,300,400/36370_Clayton-Markech-24.rev.1668538149.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/84/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,300,400/36370_Clayton-Markech-24.rev.1668538149.jpg" alt="Clayton Markech ?24" width="183" height="183" data-max-w="300" data-max-h="400" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </div><div class="blockquote__content"><div class="blockquote__quote"><svg aria-hidden="true" class="icon icon-round-left-quote" width="48" height="33"><use xlink:href="#icon-round-left-quote"/></svg><p> “I chose Carthage because I had the opportunity to get large-school experiences at a small school where the professors can get to know me personally.”</p></div><footer class="blockquote__footer"><span class="blockquote__author"><a href="/live/profiles/2159-">Clayton Markech</a> ’24</span></footer></div></blockquote></div>
  • <div class="lw_widget lw_widget_type_blockquote"><blockquote class="blockquote"><div class="blockquote__image"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1498,1499/36057_Julia_Radtke_24.rev.1666275263.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1498,1499/36057_Julia_Radtke_24.rev.1666275263.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1498,1499/36057_Julia_Radtke_24.rev.1666275263.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1498,1499/36057_Julia_Radtke_24.rev.1666275263.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1498,1499/36057_Julia_Radtke_24.rev.1666275263.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1498,1499/36057_Julia_Radtke_24.rev.1666275263.jpg" alt="Julia Radtke?s Student Profile Image" width="183" height="183" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1498,1499/36057_Julia_Radtke_24.rev.1666275263.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1498,1499/36057_Julia_Radtke_24.rev.1666275263.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1498" data-max-h="1499" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </div><div class="blockquote__content"><div class="blockquote__quote"><svg aria-hidden="true" class="icon icon-round-left-quote" width="48" height="33"><use xlink:href="#icon-round-left-quote"/></svg><p> “I liked the small class size and science programs offered at Carthage. When I was touring the school, I got to sit in on a physics class, and I liked it.”</p></div><footer class="blockquote__footer"><span class="blockquote__author"><a href="/live/profiles/2110-julia-radtke">Julia Radtke</a> ’24</span></footer></div></blockquote></div>
  • <div class="lw_widget lw_widget_type_blockquote"><blockquote class="blockquote"><div class="blockquote__image"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,865,1022/37819_8322_163701665847155.rev.1684858027.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,865,1022/37819_8322_163701665847155.rev.1684858027.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,865,1022/37819_8322_163701665847155.rev.1684858027.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,865,1022/37819_8322_163701665847155.rev.1684858027.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,865,1022/37819_8322_163701665847155.rev.1684858027.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,865,1022/37819_8322_163701665847155.rev.1684858027.jpg" alt="Skylar Farr" width="183" height="183" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,865,1022/37819_8322_163701665847155.rev.1684858027.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,865,1022/37819_8322_163701665847155.rev.1684858027.jpg 3x" data-max-w="865" data-max-h="1022" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </div><div class="blockquote__content"><div class="blockquote__quote"><svg aria-hidden="true" class="icon icon-round-left-quote" width="48" height="33"><use xlink:href="#icon-round-left-quote"/></svg><p> “You become part of a community, and the professors are always willing to help if you reach out.”</p></div><footer class="blockquote__footer"><span class="blockquote__author"><a href="/live/profiles/2451-skylar-farr">Skylar Farr</a> ’26</span></footer></div></blockquote></div>
  • <div class="lw_widget lw_widget_type_blockquote"><blockquote class="blockquote"><div class="blockquote__image"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,934,2000/38127_8894_163701665847155.rev.1689014202.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,934,2000/38127_8894_163701665847155.rev.1689014202.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,934,2000/38127_8894_163701665847155.rev.1689014202.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,934,2000/38127_8894_163701665847155.rev.1689014202.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,934,2000/38127_8894_163701665847155.rev.1689014202.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,934,2000/38127_8894_163701665847155.rev.1689014202.jpg" alt="Héctor Rauda" width="183" height="183" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,934,2000/38127_8894_163701665847155.rev.1689014202.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/99/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,934,2000/38127_8894_163701665847155.rev.1689014202.jpg 3x" data-max-w="934" data-max-h="2000" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </div><div class="blockquote__content"><div class="blockquote__quote"><svg aria-hidden="true" class="icon icon-round-left-quote" width="48" height="33"><use xlink:href="#icon-round-left-quote"/></svg><p> “Carthage faculty are impressive. Developing a good relationship with faculty members has opened my eyes to new opportunities, such as internships and research programs.”</p></div><footer class="blockquote__footer"><span class="blockquote__author"><a href="/live/profiles/2481-hector-rauda">Héctor Rauda</a> ’25</span></footer></div></blockquote></div>

special academic options for physics Majors

Astrophysics: This optional concentration for physics majors emphasizes courses that prepare them for graduate study in astrophysics or the space sciences. See the requirements for the astrophysics concentration

Engineering: Carthage offers an engineering major, as well as dual degree partnerships with engineering programs at two major universities. Learn more about engineering at Carthage

Opportunities for Physics Majors

Conduct research with NASA

Physics major students on a zero-g flight. The space sciences program at Carthage is a nationally recognized undergraduate program that provides students with hands-on opportunities in technology development and atmospheric sciences through partnerships with NASA and academic researchers worldwide. Carthage students and faculty regularly conduct research aboard NASA’s zero-gravity aircraft as part of ongoing experiments and technology development for space hardware. Students also participate in NASA’s RockSat and CubeSat programs, with students designing and building experiments to be flown on NASA spacecraft. This work makes Carthage an excellent choice for students interested in aeronautical and space sciences. Many Physics Department alumni are now pursuing advanced degrees in aeronautical engineering or working in the industry. 

space sciences at Carthage

Home to the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium

Carthage is the home institution for the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium (WSGC). With more than 40 affiliate members across academic institutions, government agencies, the aerospace industry, and nonprofit organizations, the WSGC provides Carthage physics majors with unique opportunities to work on NASA and commercial projects. The WSGC’s mission is to support STEM research at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, aerospace workforce development, and K-12 STEM education and outreach at our affiliate institutions.

The Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium


Access to Top Facilities

Students are involved in forefront research activities with faculty, including atmospheric physics research, gravitational wave research, and work on propulsion systems at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The department’s dynamic faculty is actively involved in many different research areas. For example, physics students working with Professor Jean Quashnock are studying gravitational waves emitted by merging black holes, using data collected by the LIGO/Virgo/KAGRA scientific collaboration. They are modeling the merger events and measuring key properties of these black holes — including their mass and spin — seeking to test our current scientific understanding of these fascinating objects.


Active Physics Community

The Carthage Society of Physics Students (SPS) chapter is active and award-winning. The chapter has earned distinction as a national Outstanding Chapter for several consecutive years. SPS is a student-led organization that runs education outreach to local schools. Strong scholars may be elected to the physics honor society Sigma Pi Sigma.

Student Organizations for physics students

RECOGNIZED FOR EXCELLENCE IN STEM CAREERS

Carthage is among the best in the country, according to the American Institute of Physics (AIP), when preparing undergraduate physics students for careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The AIP selected the Carthage Physics Department for its new study on effective undergraduate physics programs. According to the AIP, Carthage was selected because of its strong record in preparing students with bachelor’s degrees in physics and immediately placing them into STEM careers.

CAREERS IN PHYSICS

See videos of Carthage physics graduates


Scholarships for Physics majors

Prospective physics majors can enter the annual Math/Science Scholarship competition. Two full-tuition scholarships are awarded each year. Additionally, many physics majors are awarded scholarships from the NASA Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium.

Math/Science Scholarships