Why Physics?


Because physics emphasizes practical applications as well as problem solving and abstract thinking, and graduates are highly sought-after for careers in medicine, engineering, chemistry, ecology and the military. They work in laboratories, orbit the Earth, explore ocean depths and develop instruments to diagnose and treat disease. Physicists were instrumental in scores of pivotal discoveries and inventions: X-rays; DNA’s double helix structure; the electron microscope; wireless communications; cleaner and more efficient fuels, lasers; PET, MRI and CT scans; and the World Wide Web.

Degree Opportunities

We offer a B.S. degree in physics with an emphasis in professional physics, applied physics or physics secondary education (teacher licensure). You will experience traditional classroom instruction as well as laboratory courses. All undergraduate physics majors also complete a capstone research project as part of their degree.

Research and Engaged Learning

Since NIU is located near Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab, most faculty and a large number of undergraduate and graduate students are involved in research at these two national laboratories. Our faculty also have research programs affiliated with CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. We have active research programs in many areas — including condensed matter physics, particle-beam physics and particle accelerators technology and high-energy physics — nearly all of which involve our students. The department is home to the Northern Illinois Center for Accelerator and Detector Development (NICADD), which provides research and development opportunities nationally and internationally as well as graduate fellowships.

Distinguished Faculty

You will learn from high-quality, student-focused faculty, who have earned national and international recognition for their teaching and research. Seven of our 20 full-time faculty members have joint appointments with Fermilab or Argonne National laboratories.

Career Opportunities

According to the American Institute of Physics, graduates with bachelor's degrees often find careers in education, engineering, medical, military and science fields or enroll in graduate programs. While more than half of our students go onto graduate programs, our students have secured positions in a variety of sectors.

Graduate Schools


Yale, UIUC, University of Michigan


Rensselaer (Acoustical Engineering)
MSU (Materials Science and Engineering)
UCLA (Oceanography)
University of Nebraska (Architectural Engineering)
Clemson University (Astronomy)
Florida State University (Astronomy)
University of Pennsylvania (Medical School)
University of Michigan (Medical Physics)
UIC (Mechanical Engineering)


Media Relations for NASA
Research Scientist for Argonne National Laboratory
Optical Engineer for NASA/JPL

Software Development

Software Engineer for Wolfram Research
Product Development for Matlab Inc.
C++ Developer for Sterling Trader Inc.
Software Engineer for Ameritrade


Intelligence Officer for Department of Defense
Navy Officer for U.S. Navy
Program Manager for DARPA


Medical Physicist at the University of Michigan
Medical Physicist at the Mayo Clinic


Geophysicist for PGS Geophysical
Laboratory Technician for Arthur Daniels Midland
Energy Specialist for Loeb Electric
Acoustical Consultant for JE Acoustics
Actuarial Analyst for American Modern Insurance
Director for Quad City Manufacturing Lab

Contact Us

Department of Physics
La Tourette Hall, Room 202