Santa Clara University

Physics department

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why should I major in physics?
A: Physics teaches you to be an expert problem solver, which will benefit you no matter what you do in life. Majoring in physics will give you an appreciation for many of nature's most interesting phenomona. And finally, the Department of Physics is just a great place to be at Santa Clara University.

Q: What can I do with a Physics or Engineering Physics Degree?
A: You can do almost anything with a physics or engineering physics degree. Employers know that it takes hard work, intelligence, and creativity to successfully complete a major in physics. Santa Clara Graduates who enter the job market have found employment in a wide range of places including high-tech, business, and education.  Those who have chosen to continue their education have gone on to graduate programs in Physics, Engineering and other technical fields, as well as Medical and Law School.

Q: What are the internship and research possibilities in physics?
A: The physics department doesn't have a formal internship program, but we have a good relationship with a number of companies and have found internships for almost every student that wanted one. Furthermore the physics faculty are quite eager to work with students in their own research. In fact, a large number of students that have worked with professors in the physics department have presented research at conferences and co-authored papers that were published.

Q: What are the math requirements for the physics major?
A: The required courses are MATH 11, 12, 13, 14, and 22.  Math courses beyond these can only help you, so students are encouraged to take as many as possible. 

Q: What are the typical class sizes in the physics department?
A: The introductory courses tend to be larger, having about 50 students in a class. But after that, the class sizes are much smaller, with typically 10 students in a class. This allows for personal attention that you're not likely to get in larger departments.

Q: What are the requirements for a minor in physics?
A: Physics 31, 32, 33, 34, and your choice of any four upper division courses.

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