Degree Page Generic Banner Image

Physics Degree

What is Physics?

Physicists explore the nature of physical reality at its most fundamental level, from the icy depths of the South Pole to the hunt for the dark matter which is an important part of the universe. Physicists ask the fundamental questions - How did the universe begin? What is it made of? How can we exploit properties of matter?

What does a physicist do?

As a physics student at South Dakota Mines, you will explore the properties and laws that govern space, time, energy, and matter.

With physics at South Dakota Mines, you will learn to undertake duties a physicist might do, including:
• Planning and conducting scientific experiments to test theories
• Developing scientific theories and models that attempt to explain the properties of the natural world, such as the force of gravity or the interaction of sub-atomic particles
• Writing scientific papers
• Presenting research findings
• Exploring fundamental properties of materials
• Using complex math to analyze data
• Designing scientific equipment
• Developing computer software to analyze and model data

Courses for this Degree

• Vibrations, Waves, and Optics
• Experimental Physics Design
• Thermodynamics
• Quantum Mechanics
• Nuclear and Elementary Particle Physics
• Condensed Matter Physics
• Relativity
• Observational Astronomy
• Electromagnetism

Course Curriculum

Catalog Links: Physics

Internships and Co-ops

At South Dakota Mines, 73% of students gain real-world experience through internships, co-ops, and research at such places as Soudan Underground Laboratory and Sanford Underground Research Facility located in Lead, just an hour from campus. Our students earn an average salary of $22.62/hour on these internships and co-ops.

Career Outlook

The five-year average starting salary for a physics graduate from Mines is $76,457. The five-year job placement rate is 92%.


With a physics degree from South Dakota Mines, you can work in a wide range of career fields, including:
• Research
• Industrial development
• Environmental science
• Astrophysics
• Nuclear technology
• Medicine
• Transportation
• Music, television, and gaming
• Law and finance


South Dakota Mines physics graduates go on to work for such businesses as:

• Sanford Underground Research Facility
• American Electronics
• Los Alamos National Lab
• US Navy Nuclear Officer Program
• Raytheon
• Bechtel
• Bluestem Brands
• Collins Aerospace
• Microsoft
• Wipro
• Bridger Photonics

Physics Research

Physics at Mines offers remarkable opportunities for undergraduates, as well as master's students and PhD candidates, to take part in world-leading research. Due to our proximity to the Sanford Underground Research Facility, our physics students can participate in premier astrophysics and particle physics experiments including the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment and the LZ dark matter experiment.

Other fields of physics research at Mines include:

• Dark matter
• Condensed matter
• Neutrino physics
• Nuclear astrophysics
• Data analysis from world’s largest neutrino observatory, IceCube.
• Spintronics and quantum computing
• Materials with electric-dipole and magnetic-dipole types of polarization
• The study of dynamics of severe thunderstorms and other mesoscale phenomena

Program Offerings

Bachelor of Science in Physics, BS
• Master of science degree in Physics, MS
• Doctor of philosophy degree in Physics, PhD
• Minor: Physics




South Dakota Mines is the
#1 Engineering School
in the country for return on investment!

Sign up to get an info packet!

*Required Fields
Mailing Address

Student Type