Observatory hero

Your Path: Our Purpose

An education in analysis and awe.

The Valparaiso University Department of Physics and Astronomy offers four majors, three concentrations, and two minors — and the chance to expand your understanding of the universe. You can find your path here.

Rigorous Approach

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

  • the conceptual core of physical phenomena, and the mathematical and computational analyses to understand them and put them to use in problem solving;
  • experimental testing of theoretical predictions through sophisticated data acquisition and analysis techniques;
  • the development of research skills as a member of a team;
  • and communication of scientific results through written and spoken means.

Experiential Emphasis

Measure the speed of light and the lifetime of a cosmic-ray muon. Observe waves forming in plasma, gamma rays from positron-electron annihilation, and distant spiral galaxies. And top that (and much more) off with a senior project that you design, execute, analyze, and communicate (with help, of course!). Our lab explorations give you the experiential science training you need to understand science and to get prepared for your next steps after Valpo.

You also get to experience cutting-edged, current research in physics and astronomy when you work with our faculty, helping them with experiments, solving mysteries, and pushing our knowledge forward. We hire around 10 students each summer to work with us on projects involving

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

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