Selected Educational Outcomes

The program leading to the Bachelor of Science degree with a major in physics is designed to prepare students to enter graduate programs in physics or in astronomy, or to embark upon careers in government, industry, or education. Examples of these outcomes include the following:

  1. students will demonstrate knowledge in the fundamental branches of physics: mechanics, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics;
  2. students will demonstrate knowledge in several elective areas within the field of physics, including (but not limited to) thermodynamics, electronics, optics, and computational physics;
  3. students will apply the techniques of mathematical analysis (algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus) to physical problems;
  4. students will effectively use computers and calculators for scientific calculation, programming, and word processing.

Examples of Outcome Assessments

Assessment of the education outcomes for the physics major is primarily the responsibility of the departmental Physics Area Committee, comprised of faculty with expertise in physics and cognate disciplines. The Committee assesses the extent to which the program requirements create the desired outcomes by using a variety of techniques. Examples of these assessments include the following:

  1. All student majors must make oral presentations of their research results to the departmental faculty and submit written copies of their research papers to the departmental office as part of the required Capstone Seminar (PHYS 4501).
  2. Students must submit a departmental copy of their portfolios of undergraduate coursework, research projects, and professional activity at the end of their last semester of residence.
  3. At the time of major coursework completion, students must complete an exit questionnaire to determine the students’ perception of achievement of the major’s educational outcomes.
  4. Periodic surveys of alumni who have completed the physics program will be conducted to evaluate the relevancy of the major program to graduates’ present employment, their perception of success, and their personal satisfaction with the program. The surveys will also solicit suggestions for improvement of the physics major program.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Science Degree with a Major in Physics

Core Curriculum 60
Core Curriculum Areas A-E (See VSU Core Curriculum)42
Physics majors are required to take MATH 1113 in Area A and MATH 2261 in Area D2. They are advised to take PHYS 2211K, PHYS 2212K in Area D2.
Core Curriculum Area F
Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (1 hour left over from Area D)
Analytic Geometry and Calculus II
and Analytic Geometry and Calculus III
Modern Physics
Principles of Physics I
and Principles of Physics II (if not taken in Area D2)
Lab Sciences, if PHYS 2211K, PHYS 2212K are taken in Area D2
Senior College Curriculum60
Upper-Level Courses in Physics
PHYS 3810Mathematical Methods of Physics3
PHYS 3820Computational Physics I4
PHYS 4111
PHYS 4112
Theoretical Mechanics I
and Theoretical Mechanics II
PHYS 4211
PHYS 4212
Electromagnetism I
and Electromagnetism II
PHYS 4310Thermodynamics3
PHYS 4411
PHYS 4412
Quantum Mechanics I
and Quantum Mechanics II
MATH 3340Ordinary Differential Equations3
or PHYS 3800 Differential Equations in Physical Systems
Select two courses from the following:8
Experimental Physics
Other Supporting Courses6-9
MATH 2150Introduction to Linear Algebra3
Language Requirement (Students may choose to take CS 1301 and CS 1302 to satisfy the language requirement. The additional 2 hours from CS 1301 and CS 1302 can count as part of the guided electives) 3-6
Guided Electives (must include at least one MATH course) 112-15
Total hours required for the degree120