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THE PHYSICS MAJOR

The Department of Physics offers a flexible course of study that prepares you for success in a wide range of technically related fields. Opportunities after graduation include graduate study, industrial research and development, engineering, teaching, technical management and software development. We’ll give you an excellent education in the fundamentals of physics, with special emphasis on strong mathematical skills, advanced laboratory training and collaborative student-faculty research.
You can choose from among three major tracks of study:

  • General physics, in preparation for graduate study in physics or for work in industry
  • Optical physics, in preparation for a career in industrial research and development or engineering, or for graduate study in physics/optics
  • Secondary education certification in physics, in preparation for certification by the state of Pennsylvania as a high school physics teacher

Physics majors interested in graduate programs are encouraged to take courses beyond the basic requirements. Since requirements for graduate programs vary, you are encouraged to seek advice from faculty members in the department. Students interested in pursuing teacher certification in physics must consult the chair of the Department of Education regarding specific requirements for the program.

 

Requirements for the General Physics track:

First Year:
• MAT 131, 132
• Students with strong high school preparation may take PHY 201, 202

Second Year:
• PHY 201, 202
• MAT 233, 334
• IDS 255

Third Year:
• PHY 203, 251, 340

Fourth Year:
• PHY 262, 351, 431, 441, 490

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Requirements for the Optical Physics track:

First Year:
• MAT 131, 132
• Students with strong high school preparation may take PHY 201, 202
• OPT 101 (optional)

Second Year:
• PHY 201, 202
• MAT 233, 334
• IDS 255

Third Year:
• PHY 203
• OPT 241, 261

Fourth Year:
• OPT 324, 431
• One from OPT 101, 362, 400, 442, PHY 262
• PHY 351, 441, 490

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Teacher Certification Requirements

The Physics Education program provides a sound foundation in physics combined with secondary education courses. Graduates of the program are certified for secondary teaching in physics, meeting all Pennsylvania state requirements for certification. Students interested in teacher certification in physics should consult Education Department faculty for specific requirements to meet both college and state guidelines.

Requirements:

• PHY 201, 202, 203
• PHY 251, 262
• PHY 340, 351
• PHY/OPT 431, PHY 441, 490
• IDS 255
• MAT 131, 132, 233, 334
• ENG 102, 135
• PSY 100, 230
• EDU 202, 214, 230, 314, 345, 346, 347, 350, 440, 403, 407, and 408
• SPE 340, 341

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Co-Major in Physics

Requirements

  • PHY 201, 202, 203
  • PHY 340, 351
  • PHY 441
  • MAT 131, 132, 233
  • IDS 255

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Co-Majors in Optical Physics

Requirements

• PHY 201, 202
• OPT 241, 261
• OPT 431
• Two from OPT 324, 362, 400, 442, PHY 351, 441

A student may combine optics with any other major. However, the high level of computational background required for most optics courses favors combining with mathematics.

The mathematics courses required are:

• MAT 131, 132
• MAT 233
• MAT 250, 334, 435, 438
• MAT 491

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