College of Letters & Sciences
Physics students studying


Contact Information

Robert Benjamin
Department Chair & Professor
Phone: (262) 472-5114
Location: Upham Hall 156
Patricia Filipiak
Department Associate
Phone: 262-472-1067
Location: Upham Hall 151

Why Study Physics?

As the career poster below shows, the discipline of physics teaches skills and ways of thinking that are valuable in many professions, including, but not limited to, traditional physics. In a technologically complex and rapidly changing world, it is especially important to have the kind of broad, flexible education that a physics major or minor provides. In addition, physics is an interesting field! Physics deals with questions ranging from the formation of galaxies to the mechanical properties of DNA. As part of their education, physics students learn to:

  • Develop analytical and quantitative reasoning skills, and apply mathematical techniques to a wide range of problems
  • Use computers for calculation, graphing, modeling, designing, and problem solving
  • Design experiments and use many different types of instruments, including electronic and computer-controlled instruments, to gather data
  • Interpret and analyze complex experimental data
  • Work with, and help to develop, new technologies
  • Evaluate answers before trusting them
  • Develop and strengthen communication skills


Wheel of possible careers with a Physics Degree

Career Paths

Physics graduates from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater have achieved success in many fields.  Many of our graduates work in industry in both technical and management positions.  Teaching continues to be a good career choice, with a stable demand for physics teachers. Military service, including the Navy's nuclear program, is another possible career option. A physics degree is also excellent preparation for further study in many areas.  Recent UW-Whitewater graduates are pursuing graduate study in physics as well as in related areas such as astronomy, engineering, computer science, and medicine. Other UW-W graduates are conducting research in diverse fields, including oceanography at the Naval Oceanographic Office, aerostructural test engineering at NASA-Johnson Space Center in Houston, and the Human Genome Project at UW-Madison. Recent UW-Whitewater physics graduates' employers range from large corporations such as Johnson Controls, Wisconsin Energy, and Motorola, to smaller high-technology companies such as Bell Industries and Fedco Electronics.  Many recent graduates are also teaching in middle and high schools.  Essentially all of our graduates who seek employment in a technical field are able to find it.  Starting salaries for physics graduates are good; according to a recent survey by the American Institute of Physicsthe median salary of 2020 physics degree recipients was about $50,000 to $70,000.

For Further Information:

The department has a set of SLOAN Career Cornerstone Series CDs on career information for engineering and sciences. These are available to view and access in the department office. In addition check out Cornell's Physics Career Resources page. It has a comprehensive list of Physics career options. Other sites to look at are: