at a glance

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As a physics major you engage in scientific inquiry based on the beauty and rationality of the material world. Here at Ave Maria University, your studies and lab work will bring you into contact with universal truths, so you will understand the world around you in a unique way. All while you discover the path for your future career!

Careers: Engineering, statistics, military, industrial laboratory, instructor

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Physics majors are prepared to embark on a wide variety of post-baccalaureate careers. But your vocation in physics involves more than just science. Your studies and research at AMU, grounded in a Catholic liberal arts education, will prepare you to use science and technology to serve the common good.

light bulbFast Fact: Past physics majors have done competitive research for undergraduate programs and internships.

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Skills you will gain with

A Physics DEGREE

  1. Critical thinking and problem solving. Sharpen your scientific mind as you immerse yourself in rigorous courses and laboratories. The AMU faculty gives you individual attention every step of the way.
  2. Research. Surrounded by expert faculty active in scholarship and research, you’ll develop the style for professional scientific writing so you can contribute your own work someday.
  3. Data analysis. A highly sought-after skill. After running an experiment, translate complex sets of data into a clear, thorough report.
student writing equations skills you will gain


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A look into the

Physics Department

In conjunction with the University’s Core curriculum, we strive to provide a first-rate education in the sciences and humanities in an environment that is authentically Catholic. In particular, we believe that the physical sciences are not simply technological disciplines, but are truly liberal arts in which we seek to know truth for its own sake.

Physics was born from the contemplation of the rationality of the material world. The Physics major provides students the opportunity to read the book of nature and to know the beauty of its composer.

“Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.”
– Albert Einstein

“Our imagination is stretched to the utmost, not… to imagine things which are not really there, but just to comprehend those things which are.”
– Richard Feynman

“The creation of Physics is the shared heritage of all mankind.”
– Abdus Salam

Tony Barbosa, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Tony BarbosaEducation: B.S., Chemistry, Providence College; M.S., Organic Chemistry, University of Rochester; Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, University of Rochester
Office: Henkels 3050
Phone: (239) 280-1584

Ronald Freeze, Ph.D.

Adjunct Instructor of Chemistry

Ronald FreezeEducation: B.A., Chemistry Education, University of Northern Iowa; Ph.D., Analytical Chemistry, Iowa State University
Office: Henkels 3032
Phone: (239) 304-7027

Daniel Sadasivan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Physics

Daniel SadasivanEducation: B.A., Mathematics, Ave Maria University; M.Ph., Physics, George Washington University; Ph.D., Physics, George Washington University
Office: Henkels 3047A
Phone: (239) 348-4705

Stephen Thong, Ph.D.

Chair of the Chemistry and Physics Department, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Stephen ThongEducation: B.Sc., Chemistry, Bowling Green State University; M.Sc., Chemistry, Northwestern University; Ph.D., Chemistry, Northwestern University
Office: AB 3048
Phone: (239) 304-7940



Alex TsaiEducation: B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Puerto Rico; M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Tufts University; Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, West Virginia University
Office: AB 3038
Phone: (239) 280-1607

The physics major program at AMU has four points of emphasis:

  1. Acquisition of the subject material: We offer a challenging introduction to the scientific discipline of physics through rigorous sequences of courses and associated laboratories. We provide individual attention to our students, which goes well beyond merely imparting information, and allows us to assist them in developing complex problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
  2. Experiment: The laboratory components of the physics major program introduce the essentials of scientific experimentation. The program culminates in the Advanced Laboratory capstone.
  3. Research: Program faculty members are active in scholarship and research. We are committed to fostering an appreciation for research among physics students. We also encourage interested and capable undergraduates to participate in faculty-led research activities.
  4. Vocational variety: Physics majors are prepared to embark on a wide variety of post-baccalaureate careers. AMU physics students have gone on to enter graduate programs in physics, chemical engineering, software engineering, and statistics; to serve in the military; to work in a high-tech industrial laboratory setting; to write actuarial exams; and to teach K-12 science.

In addition to the core curriculum, physics majors take the following courses

  • CHEM 125 General Chemistry I
  • MATH 151 Calculus I
  • MATH 250 Calculus II
  • MATH 251 Vector Calculus
  • MATH 252 Ordinary Differential Equations
  • MATH 270 Scientific Programming
  • PHYS 221 University Physics: Mechanics
  • PHYS 222 University Physics: Materials
  • PHYS 223 University Physics: Electricity and Magnetism
  • PHYS 321 Modern Physics
  • PHYS 490 Advanced Laboratory

Elective Courses (Choose at least four)

  • PHYS 197 Undergraduate Research
  • PHYS 226 Mathematical Methods for Introductory Physics I
  • PHYS 297 Undergraduate Research
  • PHYS 330 Intermediate Mechanics
  • PHYS 341 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
  • PHYS 350 Intermediate Electromagnetism
  • PHYS 355 Electric Circuits with laboratory
  • PHYS 361 Quantum Mechanics I
  • PHYS 362 Quantum Mechanics II
  • PHYS 386 Simulations in Physics
  • PHYS 397 Undergraduate Research
  • PHYS 415 Special Topics
  • PHYS 497 Undergraduate Research
Click the button to view our typical 4-year plan.

What engineering possibilities exist at Ave Maria?

At this time, Ave Maria University offers a major and minor in computer science, but does not offer programs of study in engineering. Students interested in engineering may find that studying Physics or Mathematics is a satisfying alternative. Training in physics and mathematics, especially in a strong liberal arts context, provides a solid foundation upon which a variety of careers may be built. Furthermore, the physics, mathematics, and other courses offered at Ave Maria University satisfy many requirements for pre-engineering and computer science programs nationwide. Physics majors have enjoyed post-baccalaureate success and achievement in diverse fields.

The American Physical Society (APS),, has data and distilled wisdom/advice pertinent to career arcs of physics majors. See especially:

Past physics majors have participated in (external, competitive) Research Experience for Undergraduates programs and internships.

Required Courses

MATH 151 Calculus I
MATH 250 Calculus II
PHYS 221 University Physics I: Mechanics with Lab
PHYS 222 University Physics II: Materials with Lab
PHYS 223 University Physics III: Electricity and Magnetism with Lab
PHYS 321 Modern Physics
2 Physics Electives level 330 and higher

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Catholic Culture

The spiritual life on campus is the beating heart of Ave. Whether it’s attending Mass, receiving the sacraments, participating in retreats or getting spiritual direction, you’ll find the spiritual support you need from the priests and staff of Campus Ministry.

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With AMU’s core curriculum, you’ll not only achieve breadth of knowledge, but also depth of knowledge. You’ll encounter the truth about God and His creation more completely through the dynamic interplay of all of the liberal arts, including theology and natural science.

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Sunny skies, warm temperatures, a beautiful campus. What more could you want? How about a community-like atmosphere, quality instructors who care about your success, a wealth of spiritual activities, expert career guidance… and that’s only the beginning. Imagine your future at AMU. It all starts by filling out our free application today.


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