Department of Physics
McPheeters-Dennis Hall, Room 102
The Department of Physics offers students an understanding of the principles governing the behavior of the physical universe and helps students develop an appreciation of the scientific method and its application to current technological and environmental problems. Courses emphasize the elements of scientific thinking and techniques as well as scientific knowledge. The curriculum for physics majors prepares students for graduate work, teaching, and research in the fields of fundamental and applied physics, and practice in branches of engineering.
Programs of Study
The Department provides instruction and practice leading to the following degrees: Bachelor of Science in physics, Bachelor of Science with a dual major in physics and engineering in cooperation with the Department of Engineering, and an accelerated program which awards both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree in physics in five (5) years. Specific requirements for each of these programs are listed below. Because of a variety of offerings in the field of engineering that may demand varied course requirements, students seeking the dual physics/engineering degrees must be advised by the Department at the beginning of their matriculation in order to match their course work to their career goals.
Curricular flexibility allows students to prepare for careers in biophysics, health physics, atmospheric science, space physics, technology-related workforce, and for teaching in science and mathematics. Individual projects provide ample opportunity for the development of initiative and skill, and through proper selection of elective courses, students may direct their training to fit their particular fields of interest.
B.S. Degree Program
Students who wish to receive a Bachelor of Science in physics must fulfill a minimum of forty-five (45) hours in physics and cognate courses in mathematics and chemistry. Physics majors must complete the required courses, in addition to the University General Education requirements. A minimum of 125 total hours of course work with a grade of "C" or better is required to receive a B.S. degree.
Accelerated B.S./M.S. Degree Program
The Department of Physics offers students with superior records entrance to the five-year B.S./M.S. program. Students may be chosen based on their academic achievement in secondary school or college. To be eligible for selection, beginning undergraduate students must have a minimum cumulative high school grade point average of 3.25 and a minimum composite Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) score of 900 on reading and math sections or a minimum ACT score of 22. Participants are selected from eligible applicants through an extensive screening process conducted by departmental faculty.
Students selected to participate must satisfy all University General Education requirements for undergraduates, the requisite major and cognate courses for the bachelor's degree and at least 24 semester hours of graduate course work in the major field. Students pursue advanced course work and research during their fourth year of enrollment. Summer research opportunities are provided and may be required depending on the nature of the student's research project.
Academic progress is monitored continuously. Students must maintain a cumulative "B" or better average. After successful completion of the third year, students are admitted to the graduate program. Graduate admissions are based upon the recommendation of the department chairperson and approval of the School Dean.
During the fourth year, students may begin taking graduate course work while completing undergraduate degree requirements. The maximum credit hour load for undergraduate study shall obtain through the fourth year of study. Students will be engaged in graduate study exclusively during the fifth year, at which time the maximum credit hour load for graduate study shall obtain. During the fifth year students satisfy the graduate residence requirement.
In order to receive the B.S. and M.S. degrees in physics, the student must complete at least fifty-four (54) semester hours of course work in physics, at least twenty-four (24) of which must be at the graduate level. A student must complete an acceptable thesis. Students must apply for candidacy for each degree at the times specified in the University Catalogues. Upon completion of the prescribed course of study, a student will receive two (2) degrees: the Bachelor of Science and the Master of Science.
At any point during the student's participation in this program, he/she may elect or be required, because of academic performance, to pursue the traditional four-year bachelor's degree program. In such cases the bachelor's degree may be awarded once the undergraduate degree requirements are satisfied.