North Central College - Naperville, IL

Program and Degree Options

Physics majors at North Central can choose from several different degree tracks: physics, physics teaching, and engineering. It's also possible to earn a minor in physics.

Physics (B.S. and B.A. tracks)

B.S. degree

This is our "professional track" in physics. To earn a B.S. you must complete 41.75 credit hours of physics courses, including specific courses at the 300 and 400 level. Support courses in chemistry, computer science, and mathematics are also required. See the catalog for specific requirements.   

 B.A. degree

To earn a B.A. in physics you must complete a minimum of 28.75 credit hours of physics courses; at least 19 of these credit hours must be at the 200-level or above. Support courses in calculus and differential equations are also required, and CHM 141 and CSC 161 are recommended. See the catalog for specific requirements. 

Employment and graduate study in the field of physics often requires interdisciplinary knowledge and skills, so proficiency in other fields is highly advantageous. You should consult with your advisor to plan a program of study that includes additional courses in related fields. If you plan to seek employment after graduation, you should complete additional courses in computer science. If you plan to attend graduate school in physics, you should take additional courses in mathematics and computer science. An internship or research experience is strongly recommended for all majors.

If you're interested in preparing for graduate study (M.S. or Ph.D.) in medical physics you'll need to take several courses in biology and chemistry in addition to your physics major. Follow this link to see a list of required and recommended courses for medical physics.

Physics teaching (B.S. - teaching track)
Our "teaching track" B.S. combines a major in physics with a minor in education and leads to certification as a middle school or high school science teacher.

Science teaching is a challenging and rewarding career. Certified physics teachers are in extremely high demand, and students in our physics teaching track typically receive one or more job offers before graduation. North Central's Physics Teaching track is designed to help you achieve certification for secondary school teaching (grades 6-12). To become a certified physics teacher, you must complete the following requirements:

  • Major in physics with a minimum of 32.75 credit hours of physics courses
  • Complete required courses in mathematics, biology, and chemistry
  • Complete general education courses for secondary education
  • Complete professional education requirements (secondary education minor) 

For the most current and detailed list of requirements, refer to the Education Department's Handbook. You should work closely with your academic advisor to plan your course schedule so that you can complete all the requirements in four years.

Download Four-Year Course Plans for the Physics Teaching Track

Engineering
B.A. in physics plus B.S. in engineering

We maintain a separate web page for this popular track.

A minor in physics

A minor in physics requires the completion of at least 21.75 credit hours of physics courses, including 12 or more credit hours at the 200-level or higher. Support courses in mathematics are also required. See the catalog for specific requirements.

I smash.

Dr. Herman White, particle physicist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and adjunct professor of physics

Muons and gluons and quarks, oh my!  You’ll never take lasers and superconductors for granted after you’ve talked to Herman White. “None of it would have been possible without particle research and quantum physics.” White is a senior scientist at the highest energy particle accelerator in the world, where atoms are smashed to reveal more about nature’s fundamental building blocks. North Central students can take classes from this world-class researcher, talented teacher and College trustee in a program that links students with professionals from the Illinois Research & Development Corridor.