Physics (PHYS), Astronomy (ASTR) and Engineering Science (ENGR) Undergraduate Programs
324 ROBERT H. WICK SCIENCE BUILDING/(320) 308-2011
Also see College of Science and Engineering description and requirements.
Programs at a Glance
- BS – Physics; tracks in
- Professional Physics
- Engineering Science
- Mathematical Physics
- Self Selection
- BS – Science Teaching, Physics
- BES – Physics
- Minor – Optics
Program admission and performance requirements
Admission – Department
- completion of at least 16 credits
- completion of PHYS 235
- 2.50 GPA or higher in all PHYS, ASTR, and ENGR courses
- 2.50 GPA or higher overall
Admission – Teacher Education
- grades of “C” or better in ENGL 191 and CMST 192
- 2.50 GPA or higher overall
- completion of a minimum of 36 semester hours, with at least 12 semester hours in residence at SCSU
- submission of scores on the Pre-Professional Skills Test
Graduation – Teacher Education
- 2.50 GPA or higher overall
- more information in sections on Teacher Education and School of Education
University minimum requirements for bachelor’s degrees
- 120 credits
- 40 credits in Liberal Education
- 45 credits in upper-division (300-400) courses
- 30 credits in residence at SCSU
- 2.00 GPA overall, in major, and in minor (departments may set higher standards)
(See this section and the section on the College of Science and Engineering for more information.)
Chairperson: Kevin L. Haglin
Faculty: Dalton, Haglin, Harlander, S. Kalia, Lee, Liu, Ratliff, Womack
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.
Bachelor of Science
Physics Core Courses (69-70)
PHYS 234(5), 235(5), 328(3), 329(3), 333(3), 338(4), 346(3), 430(2), 431(3), 432(2), 440(4), ENGR 332(3), 334(3) MATH 221(5), 222(4), 312(4), 321(4), 325(3), CHEM 210(4); CSCI 260(2) or ECE 102(3)
Physics Comprehensive Major (78-79)
Students may complete the 78-79 credit major by taking all of the core courses above, plus at least 9 credits from one of the tracks listed below, but no more than 3 credits of PHYS 415.
Professional Physics Track: PHYS 415, 450-455; ENGR 335; MATH
Astrophysics Track: PHYS 415, ASTR 311, 312, 323, 427; ENGR 447, MATH 427; AHS 429, 435. At least 6 credits must be ASTR.
Engineering Science Track: PHYS 415; ENGR 241, 335, 341, 425; ECE 201.
Mathematical Physics Track: PHYS 415, 450-455; MATH 423, 427, 461.
Electro-optics Track: PHYS 445 and at least six credits from the following: PHYS 415, 435, 436; ENGR 425, 447.
Self Selection Track: At least 9 credits selected under the supervision of the physics major adviser. Courses must be selected from departments within the College of Science and Engineering.
PHYS 430 will satisfy the Upper Division Writing Requirement.
Physics Minor (34)
PHYS 234, 235, 328, 329, 430; ENGR 332; MATH 221, 222;
PHYS, ASTR or ENGR electives at 300 level or higher (4)
Optics Minor (34-35)
Required courses: MATH 221, 222; PHYS 234, 235, 333; ENGR 332 or ECE 312. Three elective courses chosen from the following list: ECE 391 or PHYS 338; PHYS 435, 436, 445; ENGR 425, 447. Not available to physics majors.
Bachelor of Science - Science Teaching, Physics/General Science Education, Grades 5-12 (66)
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. The courses in this major result in a waiver of 9 credits in Area B (Natural Sciences) of the General Education distribution requirement. Students considering this major are encouraged to contact the science education adviser in the Department of Physics at the earliest opportunity. In addition to your science courses, all teaching license candidates must complete additional education courses offered through the School of Education. Please contact your adviser for a complete listing of all required courses.
ASTR 205, BIOL 151, 152, CHEM 210, 211, AHS 205, PHYS 234, 235, SCI 420, 430, 440
ENGR 332, MATH 221, 222, PHYS 328, 329, 430 or 415 (2 cr.)
Any one of the following: ASTR 311, 312, 323, 427, ENGR 334, PHYS 333, 346
Bachelor of Science - Physics Education, Grades 9-12 (64)
This program provides the background required by State of Minnesota science-content and science-education licensure standards for science teachers for physics teachers grades 9-12. The courses in this major result in a waiver of 9 credits in Area B (Natural Sciences) of the General Education distribution requirement. Students considering this major are encouraged to contact the science education adviser in the Department of Physics at the earliest opportunity. In addition to your science courses, all teaching license candidates must complete additional education courses offered through the School of Education. Please contact your adviser for a complete listing of all required courses.
CHEM 210, 211, MATH 221, 222
ENGR 332, PHYS 234, 235, 328, 329, 430 or 415 (2 Cr.)
SCI 420, 430, 440
Approved Physics Electives from the listing below (15 Cr.):
ASTR 311, 312, 323, 427, ENGR 334, 425, 447, PHYS 304, 333, 338, 346, 431, 435, 436, 440, 445
Bachelor of Elective Studies
PHYS 234, 235, 328, 329, 430; MATH 221, 222, 312; CHEM 210. One additional 3 Cr. course at the 300 level or higher from PHYS, ASTR, or ENGR; 18 additional elective credits, selected under the supervision of a physics major adviser from courses at the 200 level or above in the College of Science and Engineering.