Energy and matter. Time and Space. Fields, particles and wavefunctions. Learn about the fundamental nature of the universe.

Department of Physics

We offer B.A. and B.S. degrees in physics and minors in physics, as well as related degrees associated with professional fields. Students work in a rigorous but supportive environment, getting immediate access to professors and research opportunities to prepare them for future graduate or technical careers.

Why Study Physics at Otterbein?

Our department is small and welcoming. Our class sizes have less than a dozen students, and you get direct, personal instruction with our highly-trained faculty. Don’t want to get lost in a huge crowd at a big school? Study with us!

At the same time, we can offer the same depth and challenge to rival anyone. Our program of theoretical and experimental physics offerings prepares students for the most demanding graduate degrees or professional careers.

Even more importantly, students at Otterbein have research opportunities. Students are encouraged to participate in research projects during the academic year or in the summers. Many of these research projects are conducted as Honors or Distinction projects. Faculty have active research programs in experimental and theoretical particle physics, and experimental atomic, molecular and optical (AMO) physics. Experimental research is carried out in the Otterbein AMO Lab and at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

Professors at Otterbein love teaching, and are active innovators in teaching practices. One recent innovation is to ensure that all physics students receive training in computational methods to ensure technological as well as mathematical literacy.

Why Study Engineering Physics at Otterbein?

Do you love the idea of studying physics, but want a job designing and building? Do both!

We offer multiple paths to careers in engineering, physics and technology:

  • Get a degree in applied physics with our Engineering Physics degree at Otterbein, which combines courses from the physics and systems engineering programs to create a personalized degree option. This major, like the regular physics major, provides a rigorous grounding in fundamental physics, critical thinking and creative problem solving, and provides broad practical training in science and technology. The addition of systems engineering courses gives students practical experience with the processes of design, development, and deployment that are used in real-world applications.
  • Get a B.S. in Physics in three years at Otterbein, then a B.S. in Engineering in two years at either Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland or Washington University in St. Louis, in our 3+2 Cooperative Physics/Engineering program. This gives all the advantages of the small-school learning experience in physics with the advantages of the big-school specialized study in engineering.

Why Study to be a Physics Teacher at Otterbein?

The world needs good physics teachers in high schools, and good science teachers in K-12. We team up with our Otterbein Department of Education to give degrees in Physics with a Secondary Teaching Licensure. Courses taught within the Department of Physics use best-practices in teaching, so you will get first-hand experience in learning physics with evidence-based pedagogical practices.

Work-study and supplemental-instruction opportunities abound for those who want to start practicing teaching skills within the department.

Are you curious about the physical universe? Want to know about subatomic particles or how atoms behave when cooled down almost to absolute zero? Then come study with us!