Physics - From Classroom to Career Senior Year
Capstone Courses / Independent Study
Use the Capstone Course to integrate what you have learned and reflect upon how you have grown at Fairfield and where your path will lead you next. The course also is usually a chance to also sharpen research skills, strengthen any Portfolio, and make fresh connections among courses and experiences.
Working with Professors
Talk to a favorite professor about possible graduate school work in Physics. Talk to favorite professors about possible research projects you might do with them. Most of the physics graduates continue to Grad school for Masters and PhD, in schools such as Yale, Brown University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, New York University, Stony Brook. Degrees sought span from PhD or Masters in high energy physics, meteorology, material sciences.
Also remember GRE prep. Students who plan on continuing on to grad school should consider when to take the GRE exam. The GREs are offered in Oct., Nov., and April. It then takes about six weeks to have the test scored and the results sent out to universities. Grad school deadlines begin as early as November, so it's important to take the test in October of the senior year. This means prep should begin in the junior year. Good grad schools expect students to have taken both the general and Physics GRE. There are prep books and online material available. If multiple students plan to take the GREs they would be wise to form a study group.
Attend the annual Sigma Xi poster session, held in Bannow every spring. Post your own work, or see the work of other Physics majors. Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, was founded in 1886 as an honor society for scientists and engineers. Contact: Dr. Jim Biardi, advisor, (203) 254-4000 ext. 3465; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use the meetings to talk about internships, careers, advanced study. Line up references to use in future endeavors
Students can become Teaching Assistants in upper division labs. Talk to the Department Chair for details.
Start to narrow your interests and look for ways to use classwork, internships, summer work and potential independent studies to further your interest.
It has been a great experience to have the unique opportunity as an undergraduate here at Fairfield to do research in cancer detection. I know that I am helping to make a difference in the world. - Bianca De Angelo '12, Physics major and a double-minor in mathematics and mechanical engineering; aspires to a career within space exploration as either an astrophysicist or an aerospace engineer.
Use your final internship(s) to try out careers, sharpen your resume and cover letter, develop a portfolio, make contacts, and take classroom skills and apply to real world.
Physics - Life After Fairfield
Upon graduation with the B.S. in Physics, students have available to them a number of career options including graduate studies leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in any subfield of physics, industrial careers in research and development, and professional careers where a physics background, or more generally, a science background is an asset. Examples of this latter category include Medicine, Biophysics, Astronomy, Computer science and Science education
Many recent graduates are pursuing graduate degrees at major institutions across the country. Others have secured employment at major industrial organizations. Whatever their occupation, their degree in physics signifies a true intellectual achievement and is the basis for a financially and creatively productive life.
Physics majors at Fairfield are broadly educated in a liberal arts context and they follow diverse career paths. Graduates of the last several years have chosen:
- Medical school
- Environmental education
- Secondary school teaching
- Work in regulatory affairs for a medical instrument manufacturer
- Computer engineering
A substantial portion of our graduates have gone on to advanced study in physics at schools like Georgetown, Columbia, SUNY - Stony Brook, Colorado State, Tufts and Yale.
How do I get there? Follow the tips in the Classroom To Career guide. Learn more about how Career Planning Office can support your post-graduate goals, and how Fairfield's tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.
Engineering's Senior Design Projects
The Senior Design Projects course is a transformative experience for engineering students, says Dr. Evangelos Hadjimichael, professor of physics in the School of Engineering. It assists in transitioning them from students to professional engineers, and acclimates them to the requirements and constraints of good engineering design as practiced by professionals in industry. For this reason, the Senior Design Project course is a crucial aspect of engineering curricula.
Line Up References
Finalize 3+ professors FROM Physics and elsewhere who might serve as professional references for you. Discuss your future plans with them and ask for guidance.
Some majors tutor younger students, independent of the University.
I listed myself on a couple private tutoring websites and found Fairfield Prep and other high school students to tutor. I charged $35/hour as opposed to ... (what I) would have gotten from the University. I think this also looks good on job/grad school apps. - John Stupak III; Physics
BASE Camp (Broadening Access to Science Education)
BASE Camp projects offer students an informative and fun week-long experience with actual scientific research, across all scientific disciplines at Fairfield. Projects change every year, allowing students to choose from a variety of topics including biomedical science, medicinal chemistry, forensics, developmental biology, evolutionary biology, marine ecology, software engineering, behavioral psychology, neuroscience, and biophysics, and applied mathematics.
The Association of American Medical Colleges has a terrific set of tip sheets available for students interested in this career path.
In pursuing advanced study in any of the Health Professions, your applications should be in and you will be watching the mail. You may have secondary applications to fill out but your real concern should be interviews. See Dr. Church for lists of commonly asked interview questions, or to schedule a mock interview to help you prepare for the BIG day! If you have finished all core and major requirements you may take whatever classes interest you. This is a great opportunity to learn something special! Remember to keep your GPA up! As a rule, medical students should have at least a 3.5. If your GPA drops below 3.0 it is unlikely that you will be accepted into any American medical schools. Other programs have somewhat lower GPA requirements, but whatever your aspirations you should strive to stay above 3.0.
That's just the start. Take a look at this career information from other University offices that we think is also valuable to Physics majors.