Welcome to the Department of Physics and Astronomy. We are pleased you have chosen (or are considering) Okanagan College. If you have questions about your Physics or Astronomy courses do not hesitate to contact either your professor or the Chair of the Department (rransom@okanagan.bc.ca)


Introduction to Careers in Physics


Physicists are driven by a keen interest in finding out how things work, from the interior of atoms to entire galaxies. With an aptitude in mathematics, they enjoy synthesizing information and have an analytical approach to problem solving. Physicists build and use sophisticated instruments to perform precise tasks and often team with scientists in other fields such as engineering, biology, chemistry, geology, mathematics, and computer science.


What can you do with a degree major in Physics?


First year physics is a requirement for many professional programs and is often a prerequisite for professions such as pharmacy and medicine. Physics is a major requirement in career opportunities such as engineering, architecture, and computer-related positions.


Education: A current shortage of teachers trained in the physical sciences is likely to continue. Science educators enjoy and encourage new learning in both secondary and post-secondary levels. Physics is a teachable major.


Research and Development: Professional scientists strive to understand fundamental processes and develop applications. They utilize experiments and mathematical models to test and search for new theories. Industries that seek students with physics degrees include electronics, communications, power generation and distribution, aerodynamics, optics and lasers, remote sensing, oil and gas exploration, and medicine and health.


Technology and Instrumentation: Design sophisticated computer simulations (computational physics) and support industry in programming (e.g. aircraft design). The practical knowledge of physics contributes to the design and development of new scientific instruments for industry.


Many physicists specialize in particular areas such as: Astronomy and astrophysics (study of stars, galaxies, and planets), Biophysics (how living organisms work) or Medical Physics, and Geophysics (earth and land matter, including seismology, glaciology, climatology, and meteorology).