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College of Arts & Sciences

Office of Dean - College of Arts & Sciences
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg PA 17257
(717) 477-1151

Department of Physics

Franklin Science Center 215B
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA
(717) 477-1570
Department Web Site 

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Office of the Provost
OM 308
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1371

The School of Graduate Studies
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
Phone: (717) 477-1148
Fax: (717) 477-4016

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Training in physics emphasizes practical mathematical skills, problem-solving techniques, and abstract analytical thinking.

Physics at Ship

Physics is used in the design and construction of everything from toasters to super computers, from bridges to particle accelerators, from umbrellas to medical imaging devices. No process, natural or man-made, can violate the basic laws of nature. An understanding of these laws therefore is crucial to both scientists and engineers. Physicists working in pure research try to discover new laws of nature or better understand the known laws. They might be interested in answering questions like “How did the universe begin?” Those involved in applied research try to apply the known laws to new situations. “What are the limits on how much information can be packed in computer memory?” is a question that might concern an applied physicist.

Ship graduates have a wide variety of career choices with the 3 separate programs offered in the Department of Physics. In addition, the university offers a comfortable atmosphere where the emphasis is on quality teaching and student-faculty interaction. Small class sizes (maximum size of any physics lecture is 40 students while most are under 20, maximum laboratory size is 18 students) and a dedicated faculty ensure quality. Students get solid training in physics at Ship. They are treated as individuals and faculty have time for face-to-face interaction.

The Department of Physics also has a combined library/computer laboratory and a dedicated study lounge for physics students. We encourage all our undergraduate students to become fully involved in joint student-faculty research projects, a privilege most universities reserve for graduate students.

Admission and Degree Requirements

Physics is a science that is highly mathematical. An aptitude and enjoyment of mathematics is required for any physicist. Students should also like solving puzzles, be interested in science, and enjoy working with computers.

Typically, students who plan to study physics in college take 4 years of math in high school: one year each of algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus. If possible, a high school calculus course and/or physics course is beneficial. Communication skills, both oral and written, are essential in any field and especially in the sciences, where you are required to explain phenomena clearly.

The physics department at Shippensburg University offers 3 options:

Shippensburg University offers a minor in physics, which includes 41 credits of math and physics courses. Mathematics, computer science, and chemistry majors will find the physics minor especially helpful. More and more employers in these fields seek out applicants with a physics background.

Careers in Physics

Many physicists work in research laboratories in industry, universities, and government, but that is only the beginning. Training in physics emphasizes practical mathematical skills, problem-solving techniques, and abstract analytical thinking. These skills are highly valued in today’s fast-paced, technology-based world. A degree in physics is a very good background for law school, medical school, and business school and for graduate work in biophysics and medical technology. Engineering, patent law, consulting, management and teaching are just a few of the career options available to the physics graduate.

Get Involved

The physics department has a chapter of the Society of Physics Students, which is affiliated with the American Institute of Physics. Our active chapter organizes many interesting events each year. Trips to national laboratories, tours of engineering departments, and social events are just a few. New students are welcome and encouraged to become contributing members. Our top students may also be elected to membership in Sigma Pi Sigma, the national Physics Honor Society.