Department of Physics

Welcome to Physics!

Welcome to UNI Physics! The Physics Department offers students the attention and encouragement typical of a small liberal arts college, yet the department also provides the resources found in much larger research universities. Physics offers students an individual path to an exciting professional career in math and science. The beginning salaries of our graduates are quite high, ranging from $45,000 to $62,000 over the last six years.

About 40% of our students are in the “3-2” dual-degree program, which allows them to earn a BS in Applied Physics from UNI and a BS in Engineering from Iowa State or Iowa in 5-6 years. Over the last ten years, 100% of our “3-2” students have successfully completed the program, and now have two degrees, making them more employable than other newly minted engineers. Most are employed in Iowa at companies like John Deere and in engineering firms.

Students who wish to teach high school physics and physical science will learn "best practices" in our physics teaching program. Our physics teaching graduates regularly receive multiple job offers from school districts in Iowa and across the nation.

About half of our graduates each year continue on to earn Master’s degrees and/or PhDs. Recent graduates have continued on at major research universities like Maryland, Ohio State, Nebraska and Georgia Tech, to name a few. Their success in pursuing graduate degrees is due in part to the department's long and proud tradition of involving undergraduates in research with faculty members. Typically, ten students are awarded undergraduate research scholarships each summer. These students usually continue their research in the following academic year.

I invite you to look through the UNI Physics website, and find out more about physics student activities and scholarships that are offered for incoming students. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Paul Shand, PhD
Professor and Acting Head of Physics

Department Highlights

Nanoscale Research
Ben Beck has been performing research in Dr. Kidd's group on nanoscale systems since August 2011. For his first project, Ben was analyzing ring-like structures composed of bundled nanowires. Nanowires are fiber-like structures that are hundreds of times...

Prospective Students
Learn about robotics as a Physics or Applied Physics Major. You can begin building and programming robots as early as the second semester of your first year as a physics major.  "Projects in Basic Robotics and Sensors" is a one-credit course that...