Undergraduate Education

The goal of a program of study in physics is to provide students with an understanding of the basic laws of physics and to develop skills that will enable students to further explore physical phenomena and solve related problems. Students should have a sense of curiosity about their surroundings and a strong desire, not only to find solutions to problems that are encountered, but also to develop a deeper understanding of the basic principles involved. Students will be expected to develop a high level of mathematical skills and to become proficient in oral and written communications. Laboratory skills are also emphasized.

Bachelor of Science in Physics

At the bachelor of science level, students will not be expected to specialize in any branch of physics. However, the curriculum does have room for electives, providing an opportunity to develop a minor in other fields of science or in an engineering discipline. It provides a background in applications of physics for students seeking employment in industry and a solid foundation for graduate study in physics or other fields such as geophysics, meteorology, metallurgy, computer science, mathematics, materials science, and many branches of engineering.

Because physics is the basis of most engineering disciplines, understanding basic principles of physics can help one become a better engineer. An increasing number of students are choosing a double major, consisting of physics plus some field of engineering. Students going this route often end up in industrial research and development. In a rapidly-changing economy where one field of engineering may be in a slump while others are not, understanding physics can assist students in moving across disciplines. For these reasons, students are encouraged to consider double majors.

Minor in Physics

A minor in physics requires a minimum of 18 hours of courses in physics, which must include PHYS 213, and at least 15 hours of physics courses numbered higher than PHYS 213. All minors in physics must be approved by the department and conform to the institutional policies and guidelines for minors.