Physics and Astronomy

Engaged Physics and Astronomy

Engaged Physics and Astronomy takes what you’re learning in your courses and puts it into practice through internships, research, study away, winter term, career exploration, and beyond.

Here’s a sampling of recent projects, field experiences, and post-graduate destinations for physics majors.

RISE at Oberlin
Research. Internships. Study Away. Experiential Learning.

Ways Physics Majors Rise


  • 80% of physics majors participate in research with faculty at some point in their Oberlin career.
  • Research projects range from the small scale of magnetic nanoparticles to the large scale of pulsars and galaxies; from computation of building energy efficiency to tests of general relativity; from experiments with precision atomic spectroscopy to the pursuit of gas storage materials and the theoretical exploration of the fundamentals of quantum mechanics.
  • Faculty-student research is supported by grants from the Research Corporation and National Science Foundation (Divisions of Astronomical Sciences, Chemistry, Materials Research, and Physics).
  • Our majors often present at national research conferences, including those of the American Acoustical Society, American Astronomical Society, American Chemical Society, and American Physical Society.
  • Our majors are coauthors on research articles in journals such as the American Journal of Physics, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Astrophysical Journal, Journal of Chemical Physics, Physical Review A, Physical Review B, Physical Review Letters, and Scientific Reports.


  • Recent majors have interned at Akustiks, Google, Oracle, and Sperry Product Innovation.
  • Physics & astronomy majors have conducted experiments at:
    • Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico
    • National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC) and Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) in China
    • National Institute of Standards and Technology Center for Neutron Research in Gaithersburg, Md.
  • Our majors have participated in Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates at many places, including Caltech, Northwestern, U.C.-Santa Barbara, University of Illinois, and Yale.

Study Away

  • University of Edinburgh, Scotland
  • National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
  • Institute for Study Abroad-Butler University, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

First Destinations of Recent Physics Majors

  • The majority of our majors pursue further study in physics or other scientific fields (such as engineering or biophysics), with recent graduates in PhD programs at Cambridge, Caltech, Cornell, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, University of Arizona, University of Connecticut, University of Maryland, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Wisconsin, among others.
  • Other common career paths for our majors include high school science teaching, data science, science journalism, and entrepreneurship.
  • Recent majors have won fellowships from the National Science Foundation and Woodrow Wilson Foundation.