/ Physics Department

Research and Special Opportunities

As a physics student, you’ll find yourself outside of the classroom — experimenting in labs, conducting research with faculty and exploring opportunities with other students — early and often.

Our coursework is only part of your time spent at Hope. You’ll find yourself taking part in student/faculty collaborative research, the national physics honor society and national groups for physics students, as well as getting the chance to attend conferences to present your work.

Research Opportunities

Research Groups

Student/faculty collaborative research is an important part of our curriculum. Because our department is small, you get the opportunity to become coauthors on research publications with your mentors. And our research is focused on adding new information to the field, allowing you to learn something and help expand the field. Our faculty and student research groups are actively engaged in the following fields of physics research:

  • Astrophysics
  • Nuclear
  • Plasma
  • Semiconductor materials and devices
  • Superconductivity

View our blog to learn more about the work our students have done.

Summer Hope Academic Research Program (SHARP)

Hope College provides an excellent summer program, SHARP, for students interested in pursuing research opportunities. The physics program allows you the chance to work closely with a faculty member on a range of externally funded research, including astrophysics, catalytic nanostructured materials, interdisciplinary nuclear science, nanoscale materials for energy storage, nuclear physics, plasma spectroscopy in microplasmas and superconductivity.

Students selected for the 10-week program will receive a competitive stipend. Housing assistance is also provided at 50% if the student lives on campus.

Launch Into Physics
Are you interested in participating in physics research before ever setting foot in the college classroom? The Launch Into Physics program offers an opportunity for incoming students to engage with physics research before the start of their first year! If you are committed to coming to Hope College and are interested in this opportunity, please contact our summer research program coordinator at williamsz@hope.edu.

Conference Opportunities

Doing research and generating new knowledge for our field is important, but it is also meaningless if we don’t share that information with the broader community.  Our students have many opportunities to attend regional and national conferences and present research throughout the year.

Additional Opportunities 

Society of Physics Students (SPS)
Our student-run Society of Physics Students is the local chapter for the national SPS and advised by Zachary Williams. We’re dedicated to learning new ideas in physics and promoting them in interesting ways across campus. View our blog for information on campus events, research opportunities and more.
Sigma Pi Sigma Honors Society
Hope hosts a chapter of the National Honor Society for Physics, Sigma Pi Sigma, an organization of the American Institute of Physics and founded in 1921. The Hope chapter was initiated in 1982 and has over 150 members! Induction to the honor society is lifelong and places you among more than 900,000 members historically.
Department Awards
  • Freshman Book award:  Presented to a first-year physics student who, in the estimation of the faculty, has demonstrated outstanding performance.
  • 𝝨𝝥𝝨: “Sigma Pi Sigma exists to honor outstanding scholarship in physics, to encourage interest in physics among students at all levels, to promote an attitude of service and to provide a fellowship of persons who have excelled in physics. Election is a lifelong membership.”
  • Outstanding Learning Assistant: The American Association of Physics Teachers sponsors this award recognizing one undergraduate learning assistant at an institution who is nominated by their faculty mentor for the outstanding efforts in facilitating learning by students in physics courses.
  • Outstanding Teaching Assistant: The American Association of Physics Teachers sponsors this award recognizing one undergraduate teaching assistant at an institution who is nominated by their faculty mentor for the outstanding efforts in facilitating learning by students in physics laboratories.
  • Yntema Prize: A cash award to the senior student who has been chosen the outstanding student in physics. This prize is announced at Honors Convocation.

ExploreHope Academic Outreach provides the opportunity to work with K–12 students in outreach programs, providing schools with innovative, experience-based learning.

Physics students can volunteer for a summer science camp, scout programs, school visits or with the teacher lending program. In exchange, you’ll get the chance to enhance your skills in teamwork, project management, curriculum development and instructional skills.

Off-Campus Study

Physics students are encouraged to take advantage of Hope's many off-campus study opportunities. Talk to an advisor at the Fried Center for Global Engagement for help choosing an opportunity right for you.

View our off-campus study opportunities  

Internships and off-campus research opportunities