North Central College - Naperville, IL


Why choose physics at North Central College?

Physicists study the tiny particles that can help solve the biggest mysteries of the universe. At North Central, you’ll join those scientists. Full-time professors teach all of our science courses—no teaching assistants here—so, from day one you’ll work side by side with the experts, both in the lab and in the classroom. You’ll gain the research and academic experience you’ll need to pursue graduate studies, a career in the physics industry or a teaching position.

You may also:

  • Select a degree track in physics, physics teaching or engineering.
  • Obtain laboratory training in electrical and optical measurements, analog and digital electronics, and advanced experimental physics.
  • Present your research findings at local, state and national conferences.
  • Gain valuable work experience through an internship at a nearby corporate or government research laboratory, such as Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia or Argonne National Laboratory near Lemont.
  • Tap into the professional networks of our professors and alumni.


Kirsten Coffman ’12
Research into lung function during exercise is focus of doctoral thesis of Mayo grad student Kirsten Coffman ’12, attracting predoctoral fellowship from NIH.
Allie Pales ’18, Dean Edson ’19
North Central College physics department conducting research with X-ray powder diffractometer, thanks to the generosity and expertise of Dr. Jim Kaduk.
Caitlyn Lee ’17, Dru Rozewicki ’17, Kara Majich ’17
North Central College science majors land three of only six openings for radiation therapy program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.



  • Argonne National Laboratory, near Lemont, IL

Graduate Schools

Recent graduates in physics have been accepted at:

  • University of Minnesota
  • University of New Mexico
  • Vanderbilt University
  • University of Tennessee
  • University of Illinois-Chicago


Recent graduates in physics include:

  • Scientist, Computer Sciences Corporation
  • Physicist, Argonne National Lab
  • Physicist, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)
  • Physics teacher, Hinsdale Central High School
  • Physics teacher, Cretin-Derham High School, St. Paul, MN
Physics major

Kirsten Coffman chose to study at North Central College because of the winning cross country and track team legacies and because the College is close to her home. When she came to North Central, however, she was undecided about her academic major. She soon learned the College offered a pre-engineering program that incorporates her physics, math and chemistry interests.

The summer between her sophomore and junior years, Kirsten conducted research on particle physics under the direction of Paul Bloom, assistant professor of physics. As an upperclassman, Kirsten has taken on a leadership position by helping in different sections of physics courses.

When she completes her studies at North Central,...


With the help of her professors, Alyssa is ready for a career in physics.

“Like me, the professors here are dedicated and passionate about physics,” she says. “They want students to succeed, and I’ve gained the knowledge I need through their intriguing and stimulating courses.”

Alyssa’s education reached beyond the classroom. She participated in a summer research project with visiting assistant professor of physics Stuart Wick. Together, they conducted theoretical research about subatomic particles in space, which Alyssa will present during the annual Rall Symposium for Undergraduate Research.

Alyssa plans to pursue a career in physics, either working in a laboratory or attending graduate...

Physics major

North Central College’s 2008 Outstanding Major in Physics, Eugenia was one of just 10 students selected for a program in medical physics at Vanderbilt University, where she’s getting her doctorate. She reports that North Central prepared her well for her rigorous clinical residency and research project. “A small program can be a big plus,” she says. “It was always nice to see my advisor’s door open and just stop by and chat a little. Plus, North Central’s location means students can find research and internship opportunities at national laboratories like Fermilab and Argonne.”

Eugenia came to the United States from Belarus at age 14. While at North Central, she studied abroad in China and Japan. When...

Physics major

Obaid appreciates that North Central College’s science curriculum includes more than quantitative data and figures. It’s allowed the aspiring researcher to better himself as a person while he expands his knowledge and capabilities as a scientist.

“The broad liberal arts education prepares you to be proficient not just technically, but socially as well. This is something that almost every scientific profession looks for nowadays,” he says. “North Central has the potential to shape you into a great student and effective professional.”

Obaid was drawn to North Central for a variety of reasons.

“I noticed the low student-to-faculty ratio and the high standard the professors are held to....

Physics major

From a young age, physics has fascinated Ryan. “I was amazed at how this one subject could explain so much around me.”

North Central’s reputation and location attracted him, but he quickly learned other pluses, like the College’s summer research program and proximity to two national labs—Argonne and Fermi.

“The opportunities here are abundant. The summer research program lets me interact with North Central professors one-on-one and work on projects on a daily basis. And I have the option to work with scientists at one of the national labs, exploring and solving current problems in physics.”

Ryan says serving as a lab assistant for some science courses helped him connect and collaborate with...