Why study physics?

Students who study physics will join in the academic and research experiences needed to pursue graduate degrees, engineering and a variety of careers.

  • The department values students’ intellectual growth and service surrounding this branch of science, which deals with matter, energy and the ways they interact.
  • Physics students immerse themselves in forefront research and rigorous coursework with professors in small settings.
  • Physics at Augustana provides expert scientific and technical instruction as well as undergraduate research opportunities.
Physics at AU

Physics at AU

Course Descriptions

Major Map


Related Programs of Study




Latest News

The university is excited to announce that the Augustana Physics Department has secured more than $595,000 in grant renewals from the Mathematics and Physical Science Division of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) for undergraduate research. The funding will help sustain excellence, facilitate growth and cultivate innovative and impactful teaching, learning and research.

Augustana University is excited to announce a new STEM Scholars Program made possible through a more than $30,000 Project Innovation Grant (PIG) from the South Dakota Space Grant Consortium (SDSGC).

Augustana University is proud to announce that Eleanor Weckwerth ‘23, of Dassel, Minnesota, has been named a 2022 Goldwater Scholar.


Physics at AU


Most Augustana physics students go on to graduate school, professional school or the dual-degree engineering program. The remainder find occupations in a wide variety of settings, spanning education, finance, programming and entrepreneurship among other fields. Augustana physics alumni have found employment with many companies, both large and small.

Outside of science and engineering, physicists secure careers in medicine, law, finance, journalism, education and public policy.

Hands-On Learning

Undergraduate research is an essential part of a physics education. Augustana excels at providing these experiences for its students through Augustana-based research and finding internship and research experiences off-campus.

Courses & Organizations

Following four semesters of introductory courses, students may select from the following electives:

  • Analytical Mechanics
  • Biological Physics
  • Electromagnetic Theory
  • Electronics
  • Optics
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Statistical and Thermal Physics

The regular course rotation includes all topics necessary for graduate school preparation in physics or a related field. Special topics are taught occasionally upon demand.

The physics department is also the primary contributor to the energy emphasis within the environmental studies program.

Physics students often participate in:

  • Society of Physics Students
  • Sigma Pi Sigma - The Physics and Astronomy Honor Society | Sigma Pi Sigma chapters are restricted to colleges and universities of recognized standing that offer a strong physics major. Students elected to membership must attain high standards of general scholarship and outstanding achievement in physics. Undergraduate candidates must be in the upper one-third of their class in general scholarship. The Augustana chapter was founded with an inaugural class in 2011.