The universe is vast and mysterious, but it makes more sense when you understand physics.

If you have a propensity for working with numbers, a curious mind, creativity to think outside the box, and the tenacity it takes to work through problems until you discover a solution, then you're just the kind of person who could do well in the world of physics. Though physics is a complex field, it's a worthwhile one, and it influences a multitude of industries worldwide. By pursuing a bachelor's degree in physics at University of the Cumberlands, you will develop cognitive skills in critical thinking and problem solving, gain a wealth of mathematical knowledge, and explore the professional and ethical responsibilities physicists have toward society.

Anchor: Stats

By the Numbers


Average Salary


Industry Growth

1 in 5

Students Make the Dean's List


Receive Financial Aid
Anchor: Programs & Requirements
Programs & Requirements

Programs & Requirements

* The credit hours listed on this page only reference the specific program requirements and is not reflective of the total hours necessary to receive your degree. Cumberlands requires all students obtain a minimum of 60 hours for an associate’s degree and a total of 120 hours for a bachelor’s degree. Transfer and prior learning credits may be counted toward those totals.

To learn more about our General Education Requirements, please visit the page referenced below or explore our Academic Catalog

General Education Requirements

Bachelor of Science in Physics

Through a Bachelor of Science in Physics, you will cultivate critical-thinking skills, apply physical principles, develop skills in experimental physics, and extend your math knowledge. As you develop these cognitive skills, you’ll also explore professional and ethical responsibilities to society. Upon graduation, you'll be prepared for entry level positions in a variety of fields, from astronomy, to engineering, to education, and more.

Course Requirements

PHYS 241  Physics I 

PHYS 242  Physics II 

PHYS 335  Quantum Physics 

PHYS 340  Classical Physics 

PHYS 410  Ethics in Science 

PHYS 419  Physics Capstone

PHYS 430 Classical Mechanics 

PHYS 431 Electromagnetism   

PHYS 436  Lasers 

PHYS 439  Applications of Nuclear Physics 

PHYS 490  Selected Topics in Physics  

PHYS 312  Experimental Design and Analysis 

PHYS 332  Experimental Physics I 

PHYS 432  Experimental Physics II

MATH 140  Calculus I 

MATH 240  Calculus II 

MATH 241  Calculus III 

MATH 430  Differential Equations  

ITSS 131  Introduction to Object Oriented Programming

A Bachelor of Arts degree requires completing the same courses as a Bachelor of Science with the addition of completing one foreign language sequence through the intermediate level.

FREN 131        Elementary French I

FREN 132        Elementary French II

FREN 231        Intermediate French I

FREN 232        Intermediate French II


SPAN 131        Elementary Spanish I

SPAN 132        Elementary Spanish II

SPAN 231        Intermediate Spanish I

SPAN 232        Intermediate Spanish II

Minor in Physics

The physics minor is for students to complement their major field of study. Students in mathematics and chemistry will find that physics will strengthen and broaden their understanding of these disciplines and will bolster their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

Course Requirements

PHYS 241   Physics I 

PHYS 242   Physics II 

PHYS 335   Quantum Physics 

PHYS 340   Classical Physics 

PHYS 410   Ethics in Science 

PHYS 332   Experimental Physics I 

PHYS 430   Classical Mechanics 

PHYS 431   Electromagnetism 

PHYS 436   Lasers 

PHYS 439   Applications of Nuclear Physics 

PHYS 490   Selected Topics in Physics 

MATH 140  Calculus I 

MATH 240  Calculus II 

MATH 241  Calculus III 

3+2 Pre-Engineering Partnership with UK

Cumberlands students have the option to pursue the dual-degree (3+2) engineering option, which leads to two bachelor’s degrees through a formal agreement between University of the Cumberlands and the University of Kentucky (UK). Other ABET-accredited engineering schools may be acceptable on a case-by-case basis. Different engineering schools and individual branches of engineering may require different core courses; you, as the student, are responsible for being familiar with these specific requirements and tailoring your class schedule at Cumberlands (and potentially your engineering school of choice during summer semesters) as best you can to meet your goals. 

If you want to pursue a dual-degree program, you should announce your Cumberlands major as “Applied Physics,” as that is the degree program which includes the courses that will lay the groundwork best for engineering school.

The 3+2, dual-degree program’s curriculum nominally requires three years at UC followed by two years at UK; however, a variety of situations may affect this timeframe. UC recommends that students complete introductory engineering courses during the summer between UC and UK. Many pre-engineering students are able to complete a bachelor’s degree from Cumberlands and engineering degree from UK in 5 years. Some engineering branches, however, require additional (and maybe extensive) background in programming, chemistry, or biology that are beyond the required curriculum, thus requiring more than five years of schooling to complete the desired engineering degree.  

General Education Requirements: For students transferring to University of Kentucky through our 3+2 program, the entire UC general education curriculum should be completed in order to become UK Gen Ed Certified. Students who intend to transfer without completing all of UC’s general education can still be accepted into UK but will have to complete some general education requirements at UK in order to graduate.

Anchor: Mission & Goals

Program Mission

The mission of the physics degree program at Cumberlands is to provide a solid foundation for students to pursue successful careers in physics, engineering, mathematics, secondary education, and other related fields.

Cultivate critical-thinking skills

Apply physical principles

Develop skills in experimental physics

Expand knowledge in mathematics

Recognize your professional and ethical responsibilities

Anchor: Career Outcomes

Physics Careers & Outcomes

All stats from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Physicist or Astronomer: $147,450

Physicist or Astronomer: $147,450

Physicists and astronomers study the interactions of matter and energy.

Physics Professor: $86,550

Physics Professor: $86,550

Teach courses pertaining to the laws of matter and energy. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

Mechanical Engineer: $95,330

Mechanical Engineer: $95,330

Mechanical engineers design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and devices.

Nuclear Engineer: $120,380

Nuclear Engineer: $120,380

Nuclear engineers research and develop projects or address problems concerning the release, control, and use of nuclear energy and nuclear waste disposal.

High School Teacher: $61,820

High School Teacher: $61,820

High school teachers teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market.

Radiologist: $170,060

Radiologist: $170,060

Diagnose and treat diseases and injuries using medical imaging techniques, such as x rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine, and ultrasounds. May perform minimally invasive medical procedures and tests.

Anchor: FAQs

Common Questions

Physicists are problem-solvers, and this goes well beyond a capacity for solving “word problems” in a textbook. As a physics degree holder, you have the ability to pursue a variety of exciting and rewarding careers that don’t necessarily have “physics” in the job title. From education to medicine to industry, whether you get a BS in physics or BA in physics, the variety of physics degree jobs open up to you as a physics major can include:

  • Biophysics Scientist
  • Physicist
  • Research Scientist
  • Physics Teacher
  • Science Teacher
  • Physics Professor
  • Laboratory Manager
  • Natural Sciences Manager
  • Environmental Program Manager
  • Health Sciences Manager
  • Physicist
  • Postsecondary Physics Teacher
  • Secondary School Physics Teacher (with appropriate certification)
  • Analyst

We’re in your corner; we want you to succeed. Each physics college course is taught by faculty committed to giving you the solid foundation necessary to achieve your professional and personal goals. Our department provides access to high-quality equipment for problem-solving, computation, and data acquisition, a mathematics tutoring laboratory, and physics laboratories equipped to help students learn at both an introductory and advanced level. Additionally, Cumberlands provides free tutoring resources through The Learning Commons, located in the campus library.

As an undergraduate physics student, you’ll perform experiments ranging from the traditional “inclined plane” to sophisticated computer data acquisition systems.

Your options are practically limitless if you've earned a physics degree. There are a vast array of career options available to you. You could work in a laboratory, classroom, office, or even outdoors. You may work with a regular team of coworkers, or you may do more independent research. By understanding math and physics – and especially by regularly practicing problem solving and critical thinking during your degree program – you will have the skills that many employers are looking for.

All programs at University of the Cumberlands are offered at some of the lowest rates in the nation – and we even include free textbooks through our One Price Promise! For more information on how affordable this program would be for you, visit our Financial Aid page.

Anchor: Faculty

Faculty Experts in Physics

Learn more about your future physics professors!

Amy Bowman

Amy Bowman

Adjunct Professor

Amy Bowman

Contact Information

amy.bowman [at]
Debbie Pierce

Debbie Pierce

Adjunct Professor

Debbie Pierce

Contact Information

debbie.pierce [at]
Kenny Siler

Kenny Siler

Associate Professor

Kenny Siler

Contact Information

kenneth.siler [at]
Available by appointment only

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Still need some more information about our physics program or about Cumberlands in general? Ask away!