Observatory hero


An education in analysis and awe.

The Valparaiso University Department of Physics and Astronomy offers four majors, five concentrations, and three minors — and the chance to expand students’ understanding of the universe.

Rigorous Approach

The physics and astronomy faculty prepare students for a wide variety of career paths by emphasizing:

  • rigorous mathematical analysis and conceptual understanding of physical phenomena.
  • experimental testing of theoretical predictions by sophisticated data acquisition and analysis.
  • the development of research skills as a member of a team.
  • communication of scientific results both orally and in written form.

Experiential Emphasis

Every scientific experiment starts by identifying a mystery. Physics and astronomy majors learn this when they conduct research under the supervision of the department’s faculty. Current research opportunities for students include projects focusing on:

  • observational astronomy
  • atmospheric physics
  • computational condensed matter
  • nuclear and particle physics
  • and nanoscience

In addition, every physics and astronomy major must complete a senior research project, including a written and oral report of their findings. The department also awards research scholarships to several incoming students, funding their participation in paid research experiences during the summer after their freshman year.

With these experiences, Valpo physics and astronomy majors graduate with the lived experience of scientific discovery and a solid foundation for any career they may pursue.