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Physics & Astronomy

Overview

Physics is the study of the laws that govern the universe, from the biggest galaxies in the cosmos to the smallest subatomic particles in the body.

If you use a cell phone, a microwave, a laser pointer, drive a car, travel by airplane or have had a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam, you’ve used machinery made possible by physics discoveries.

While many physics majors end up in research labs, studying physics is a great fit for a wide range of careers and academic paths, including teaching, law, medicine, engineering or computer and information systems.

Job prospects for physics majors with a bachelor's degree are very positive. In the New York region, graduates with a bachelor's degree in physics earned an average annual salary of $81,400, and job growth for this major is projected to increase 14.1 percent by 2026, according to New York area labor market data retrieved in July 2018 by Burning Glass Technologies.

Studying physics at Hofstra means you’ll have lots of opportunities as early as your first year to engage in long-term research projects with your professors and work in technologically advanced facilities, including our low temperature condensed matter physics laboratory, biophysics laboratory and rooftop observatory with advanced CCD imaging. These labs investigate such practical applications as high temperature superconductivity and advanced imaging of cell membranes. Our research groups in theoretical physics and astrophysics study phenomena ranging from supernova explosions to the exotic states of topological superconductors that may be the platform for future quantum computers.

Hofstra is deeply committed to fostering a welcoming environment where men and women from all backgrounds and cultures receive the kind of support and mentorship they need to become leaders in their field.

We keep our class sizes small. Our average class size is 20 students which encourages teamwork and the formation of close mentoring relationships with our faculty.

Our students have gone on to work at high-profile government research laboratories, and to pursue graduate study in engineering and computer science. They’ve been finalists for the Rhodes Scholarship, and have worked with faculty on groundbreaking research that could advance the understanding of quantum computing, black holes and supernovas. And they’ve had opportunities to present their research at national conferences, observe at world class telescopes in Chile and Hawaii, and publish their work in peer-reviewed prestigious journals.

Curriculum

You will explore the foundations of physics, the roles of hypotheses, measurement and analysis, and the development of scientific theory through small classes and laboratories. Intermediate level courses in modern physics, mechanics, optics, and electricity and magnetism will further prepare you for senior-level courses in quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics.

Hofstra offers three degree options in the Physics Department, as well as a minor in astronomy.

The BA in Physics is best for students who are interesting in teaching at the middle or high school level, or are interested in technical careers that don't require graduate degrees. This degree gives students the freedom to take courses in the liberal arts and pursue other minors. The BA also makes sense for students who will be pursuing careers in law, business or medicine.

The BS in Physics is better suited for students who are planning careers as research scientists or in technology fields that require advanced degrees in physics or engineering.

The BS in Applied Physics allows students to combine the BS in Physics with a concentration in biochemistry, computer science or engineering.

Hofstra also offers a graduate program in Medical Physics.

Up-to-date information about required classes and more is available in the Hofstra Bulletin.

BA in Physics Requirements BS in Physics Requirements BS in Applied Physics Requirements

Recent Alumni Outcomes

The range of careers available to physics majors is varied, and the paths of our recent alumni prove it.

Our graduates have found employment with Brookhaven National Laboratory, Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Lab, EC Infosystems, Hampden Wilbraham Regional School District, Health Leads, Levittown School District, Northwell Health, Success Academy Charter School.

Our recent alumni also have gone on to advanced studies at prestigious institutions including: Princeton University, Cornell University, Penn State University, the University of Notre Dame, New York University, Columbia University and the University of Arizona.

100% are employed, grad school or both
92% accept a position within six months
$42K median salary
Get More Info on Program Outcomes

Internships/Experiential Learning

Internships and fellowships provide real-world experience and help focus an undergraduate’s professional goals. Approximately 66 percent of physics majors have made these kinds of opportunities part of their academic experience at Hofstra. Most have completed more than one.

Recent internships and fellowships for physics majors have included:

  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • Cradle of Aviation Museum
  • CUNY Advanced Science Research Center Summer Fellowship
  • Frequency Electronics, Inc.
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowship
  • New York Atlantic Railway
  • Samsung Techwin

Hofstra students have also been accepted to participate in REUs (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) at Cornell University, the University of Oklahoma, and Texas A&M. Funded by the National Science Foundation, REUs are competitive programs hosted by domestic and international universities.

Lasting friendships are formed in the program's study groups and chapters of Sigma Pi Sigma Honor Society and Society of Physics Students (SPS), which has helped cultivate a tight-knit atmosphere among students and faculty.

Meet JOE BURG

 
 

A physics and math major, Joe Burg was also a star pitcher on the Hofstra Pride baseball team. As a senior, he was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship. He went on to earn his master's and doctorate in Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University.