Delve into the Secrets of the Universe with Physics
A degree in physics can help you understand the inner workings of the natural world. The discipline has changed dramatically over the centuries and has led to many of the most important technological breakthroughs in human history. Physicists work to unlock the secrets of mechanics and motion, from the tiniest subatomic particles to the celestial bodies of the universe.
As a dynamic and heavily researched field, skilled physicists are always in demand. Before deciding to major in physics, it’s good to survey the field and identify the sub-disciplines that interest you. While not all physics programs will emphasize these branches, you can pursue them in later graduate or professional study. Some popular branches of physics include:
- Mechanics: Mechanics refers to the study of motion. While mechanics dominated the field of physics in the early modern period, it still remains a popular subject in the field.
- Astrophysics: This branch of physics takes knowledge from astronomy to study the nature and movement of celestial bodies and the entities in the broader universe. Astrophysicists push the boundaries on our existing knowledge of space, time and matter.
- Electromagnetism: This field concerns the study of magnetism and the activity of electricity.
- Quantum Mechanics: Since the discovery of atomic particles, physicists have sought to understand the nature of matter’s smallest forms. Quantum mechanics regards the study of atomic and subatomic particles, understanding how they work, move and what they consist of.
Careers in Physics
- Data Analyst: Success in a physics program requires a fundamental knowledge of mathematics and statistics. This knowledge easily translates to a career in data analysis, especially in any scientific context.
- Teacher/Instructor: Physics teachers are always necessary in both high schools and universities. Depending on your level of education, pursuing a career in either high school or post-secondary education can help you share your knowledge of physics with others.
- Lab Technician: As one of the chief natural sciences, a degree in physics will make you intimately familiar with the scientific method and the process of scientific research. You can use this experience to become a lab technician. Professional lab technicians work in research or clinical laboratories, collecting data and writing reports as part of a larger research or medical project. Careers for clinical lab technicians are expected to grow over the next decade, growing at a rate 3% faster than most other professions.
- Research Associate: These professionals work on the cutting edge of physics research. Many research associates have Ph.D.’s, so aspiring researchers should be mindful of their graduate school prospects. Over time, research associates can acquire established positions at research universities, teaching, researching and supervising associates of your own.
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How to Prepare for Success
All physicists need to have some basic, foundational understanding of chemistry, math and statistics.
UNCF Schools to Consider
Nine UNCF-member schools offer programs for students wishing to work in the field of physics, including:
- Clark Atlanta University
- Dillard University
- Fisk University
- Lane College
- Morehouse College
- Spelman College
- Tougaloo College
- Tuskegee University
- Virginia Union University
There are thousands of organizations in various fields of physics that offer more insight into working in those fields. A sample list includes:
- American Association of Physics Teachers
- American Institute of Physics
- American Physical Society
- National Society of Black Physicists
Several scholarships are available through UNCF. The UNCF General Scholarship Awards are an excellent opportunity for any student going to a UNCF-member college, regardless of their major. The UNCF/Koch Scholars Program offers scholarships, mentorship, academic support and networking opportunities to undergraduate African American students. The Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Program awards a $10,000 scholarship to one exceptional HBCU senior each year who has demonstrated high academic achievement, strong leadership skills, commitment to community service and unmet financial need.
Keep an eye on the UNCF website for current scholarship opportunities. There you can find programs like the Joyce Manning Scholarship, which gives up to $2,500 to eligible students.
Students should also check with each college or university to see if there are scholarships available to study physics.
Reach out for guidance by submitting a major interest form if you are interested in a career in physics. Submit the form on our website to get started. And follow us on UNCF social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!