If you have a passion for challenging course work, practical applications, and problem solving, a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics may be great option.

You will discover a strong interrelationship among mathematics, computer science, and physics, reflecting the faculty’s longstanding focus on helping student find the right program for their skills and interests. The department merges course work with laboratory activities, practical internships, and opportunities for teaching and leadership. Courses emphasize in-depth group activities, enabling you to tackle challenging projects while developing your interpersonal communication skills. These experiences will provide a solid foundation for future employment or graduate study.

Wartburg supports and encourages undergraduate research and design projects utilizing innovative technology, including virtual reality displays and 3-D visualization software.

Program Fast Facts

The physics program provides in-depth instruction for physics majors with special emphasis in physics education and preparation for graduate school. Small class size encourages informal interaction between faculty and students. The physics program provides laboratory and research equipment that includes microcomputers, electromagnets, oscilloscopes, lasers, vacuum pumps, multichannel fast Fourier trans-form analyzer, and telescopes.

Students will know models for thinking about mechanical, electromagnetic, atomic/quantum, and relativistic systems.

Students will be able individually and in teams to use numerical, computational, mathematical, and visual tools to analyze and solve problems.

• Students will demonstrate ability to work collaboratively to articulate, design, conduct, and communicate results of experiments.


The Science Center is designed to encourage student interaction with faculty members and other students.

Close research with a faculty mentor. WORTH IT.


Alumni Outcomes

Wartburg graduates find satisfying jobs and are admitted into top graduate and professional schools. Wartburg alumni can be found in all 50 U.S. states and over 70 foreign countries. Below is only a sample of the types of positions Wartburg graduates from the Mathematics, Computer Science, and Physics Department have had in the past.

Sample of Alumni Positions from the Past Five Years:

  • Computer Store Manager, University of Minnesota Bookstore, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • IT Analyst, Credit Suisse, New York, N.Y.
  • Mathematics Teacher, Charles City Community School District, Charles City
  • Web Developer, Emerson Process Management, Marshalltown
  • Product Engineer, John Deere, Waterloo
  • Graduate Student – Physics

Sample of Stand-out Alumni Positions:

  • Chairman and CEO, Tanner Research, Inc., Monrovia, Calif.
  • Co-Founder/Owner, Fresk, LLC, Des Moines
  • Chief of Research and Development, Airport Authority of Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Professor of Mathematics, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa.
  • Chief Operating Officer, Atomic Data Center, Minneapolis, Minn.

Sample of Alumni Positions from the Past 15 Years:

  • Guidance, Navigation, and Controls Aerospace Engineer for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid return mission, Denver, Colo.
  • Computer Programmer-Software, Management Computer Services, La Cross, Wis.
  • Environmental and Technical Services Lead, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
  • Operating Systems Engineer, Wells Fargo Financial, Des Moines
  • Senior Software Engineer, Rockwell Collins, Cedar Rapids
  • Mathematics Teacher, Kasson-Mantorville High School, Kasson, Minn.
  • Manager, IT Applications Development, Nationwide Insurance, Des Moines


Cristian Allen

Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Joy Becker

Associate Professor of Mathematics

Brian Birgen

Professor of Mathematics

Mariah Birgen

Professor of Mathematics

Benjamin Bousquet

Associate Professor of Physics

Charles Figura

Professor of Physics / Director, Platte Observatory

Terry Letsche

Associate Professor of Computer Science

John Zelle

Professor of Computer Science

Part-time Faculty

Prof. Barbara Koble 
Lecturer in Mathematics
Office: Science Center 359
Phone: 319-352-8567

Dr. Dean Meier 
Lecturer in Mathematics
Office: Science Center 359
Phone: 319-352-8567

Prof. Janell Wright 
Lecturer in Liberal Studies
Office: Science Center 359
Phone: 319-352-8567

Prof. Mitchell Roose 
Lecturer in Mathematics
Office: Science Center 359
Phone: 319-352-8567