Toggle Menu
Courtney Jonsson '14

Student Scotlights:
Courtney Jonsson '14

Upon graduating from Monmouth College with degrees in both history and theatre, Courtney Jonsson was offered a position at West Virginia Public Theatre as a props designer... more

GO TO...


Physics is the study of the fundamental laws and forces that govern how the universe works. The Department of Physics at Monmouth College offers lectures and laboratory courses designed to give students a strong foundation in the various branches of physics.

Students will learn both the process of discovery that physicists use and the fundamental laws of the physical universe. Monmouth College offers courses in introductory physics, digital and analog electronics, electricity and magnetism, classical mechanics, statistical dynamics and thermodynamics, and modern physics and quantum mechanics. Specialized classes such as solid-state physics, optics, computational methods in physics, and nuclear physics are also offered.

Physics students work closely with a faculty member on a senior project that is either experimental or theoretical in nature. Recent graduates have participated in a wide range of research projects with faculty members. Some of the latest projects include computing the properties of neutron stars, investigating the collapse of earthen levees, and modeling financial options.

Department Facilities and Equipment

The Physics Department has computing facilities that are not often found at a small college due to the new $42 million Center for Science and Business. The Nuclear Lab has 30-inch walls to protect the cobalt source, and features a neutron generator and high-purity germanium detector.

The Physics program incorporates spacious teaching laboratories, smaller laboratories for individual projects, and a small shop. The department has a Schmidt-Cassegrain, computer-driven telescope for use in the introductory astronomy course and a digital SLR camera.

A grid computer allows high-performance scientific computing for a range of projects in both Physics and Engineering. In addition to the grid computer, we have a wide array of computers for students to use, including new dual iMacs that can run a variety of operating systems in virtualization and are able to run ArcView (a sophisticated mapping program), SGI workstations, and Sun Sparc stations.

Off-Campus Programs

Students are strongly encouraged to participate in one or more off-campus programs during the summer and/or the semester. Summer programs include “Research Experiences for Undergraduates” (REU) programs that run at universities, national laboratories, and colleges across the U.S. These programs are paid internships that last approximately 10 weeks and give students an excellent opportunity to learn and do science a different way.

Recently, Monmouth College Physics students have participated in REU programs at Argonne National Lab, the University of Notre Dame, Texas A & M, the University of Oregon, and Ohio Wesleyan University. Some students have been able to travel to conferences and present their work after these research experiences.

Students may also participate in the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) — GLCA Oak Ridge Science Semester. This program offers an intensive trial immersion in physics research.

Graduate School Opportunities

Physicists have applied both their understanding of the laws of nature and the techniques that they have developed to many fields, including Engineering, Finance, Biology and Medicine. Many of the technologies used every day came from the hard work of physicists. Physics-educated individuals are involved in all walks of life and in all professions, because an education in Physics is excellent preparation for problem-solving, critical thinking, and communicating.

For a graduate holding a Physics degree, entry-level positions are available in engineering, environmental science, finance, as well as research and development departments of a wide variety of industries.

Career Opportunities

  • Aerodynamicist
  • Industrial Hygienist
  • Solar Energy Physicist
  • Photo-optics Technician
  • Agronomist
  • Information Scientist
  • Photogrammetric Engineer
  • Airplane Dispatcher

Recent Physics Graduates

Rodney Clayton ‘11
Boardwalk Pipeline Partners

Donald Johnson ’06
Software Developer
Donlen A Hertz Company

Quinton Guerrero ’12
Research Assistant: Medical Ultrasound Physics
University of Wisconsin-Madison