Physics & Astronomy Physics - Department of Chemistry & Physics

Undergraduate Programs

Physics is a human activity dedicated to observing nature and to organizing these observations into fundamental concepts. Such concepts form not only the basis of physics but also provide the foundation upon which the important principles of the other sciences and engineering fields are based. Consequently, appropriate familiarity with physics is required in many pre-professional programs and other science and engineering programs. Physics successfully describes the fundamental properties and interactions of all forms of matter through four fundamental forces.

Students majoring in physics are trained very broadly as problem solvers and are therefore immediately employable in a variety of industrial and technically sophisticated research and development settings. A sizable fraction of the students majoring in this department go to graduate programs in physics, astronomy or related fields. In addition to providing graduate and professional preparation, this department also supports a program to prepare secondary school teachers.

While a variety of specialized directions are possible within the department (see below for detailed information on specialized fields), the areas of specific emphasis in the department are optics and astronomy where students have opportunity to undertake several upper-division specialized courses directly related to current developments in those fields. Majoring in physics and astronomy at SCSU is not only about learning the core concepts and gaining tools for future projects and applications, but is also about using those tools in advanced courses and research along the way.

High school algebra and trigonometry (MATH 072 and 113) are prerequisites for students majoring or minoring in physics. Admission to any of the physics majors or minors requires a 2.5 grade point average in all PHYS, ASTR, and ENGR courses (with the exception of general education courses), completion of PHYS 235, and a 2.5 overall grade point average.

The Upper Division Writing Requirement for programs leading to degrees in Bachelor of Science Physics, Bachelor of Science-Science Teaching, Physics Emphasis, and Bachelor of Elective Studies Physics, is fulfilled by successfully completing PHYS 430.

Undergraduate Courses

Undergraduate Bulletin

Graduation/Program Requirements

  • B.S. Physics
  • B.S. Physics (Teaching)
    This program provides the background required by State of Minnesota science-content and science-education licensure standards for science teachers in grades 5-8 and physics teachers grades 9-12.  All students interested in science teaching must complete both the 5-8 science teaching core and a 9-12 science content emphasis.  To efficiently navigate the Liberal Education requirements within this program it is essential that students choose courses that count in multiple goal areas whenever possible.   Students considering this major are encouraged to contact a science education adviser in the Physics Unit at the earliest opportunity.  In addition to science (content) courses, all teaching license candidates must complete additional education courses offered through the School of Education.
  • B.S. Physics (Minor)
  • B.S. Optics (Minor)
  • Pre-Engineering

Degree Maps

The following degree maps are available as downloadable PDF files.

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