Student Work Opportunities

Four students work in a physics lab while a TA looks on

Employment as a Lab Teaching Assistant (TA)

Duties for Lab Assistants include attending weekly training meetings, running lab sessions under faculty supervision, grading lab reports. Students are paid an hourly rate based on experience with the department.

Being a Lab Assistant is very valuable experience for future employment and graduate school. Students often find that they have a much deeper understanding of physics after teaching other students. In addition, having the responsibility and communication skills required to be a good Lab Assistant is attractive to employers and graduate schools. 

Successful completion of the Physics/Astronomy core, PHYS 161, 162, and 163, is required for becoming a Lab Assistant. One time applications can be submitted anytime in the year, while schedules for the upcoming quarter are submitted during phase I registration time.

A student explains his research as another student looks intently at his poster

Research with Faculty

Faculty in the Physics & Astronomy Department actively involve students in their research, which is a unique opportunity for undergraduates. Students who are taking or have completed PHYS 161 or PHYS 162 and would like to learn more about research opportunities in the department should take PHYS 190 Exploring Physics and Astronomy offered winter quarter. Students are also welcome and encouraged to approach faculty individually and inquire about research opportunities.

Many opportunities also exist outside of Western for undergraduates to get involved in summer research, including the NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program and the NASA Undergraduate Student Research Program.