Since physics is generally regarded as the most basic science of all, a B.S. degree in physics is a solid foundation from which to launch any career. This may include graduate study or immediate employment in fields such as engineering, computer science, statistics, biomedical sciences, chemistry, environmental sciences, astronomy, and, of course, the many areas of physics itself. There is also an increasing need for qualified high-school physics teachers. As well as teaching you the basic laws of nature, studying physics develops the critical thinking skills that will allow you to understand and contribute to new scientific and technological developments. These critical thinking skills are also in demand in many other areas of employment, including the business community. For this reason, TTU physics graduates have always been very successful in obtaining either suitable employment or financial assistance for graduate study.
In 1987 one of our graduates was selected as one of five finalists for the prestigious Apker Award, the only national award for outstanding research achievement in physics by an undergraduate student. No other Tennessee institution, public or private, has produced an Apker Award finalist. In 1997, one of our majors was awarded a Barry Goldwater Scholarship after a highly competitive, nationwide evaluation. In 2002 another major spent his junior year engaged in study and research at Oxford University in England. Further, our graduates have been accepted for admission into some of the finest physics graduate programs in the country (Duke, Caltech, Carnegie Mellon, Yale, SUNY-Stony Brook, University of California at Berkeley) while others have been employed by high-tech corporations such as IBM and Texas Instruments. Still others have gone to graduate schools in other fields, such as engineering, business, statistics, computer science, and biomedical science. In 1997 one of our alumni flew as a NASA payload specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia, while in 2006 another alumnus was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award.