Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics

The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Physics degree prepares the student for direct entry into the job market or entry into graduate school in Physics or Engineering. It emphasizes a broad, yet rigorous, education in Physics, preparing the student for a variety of technical careers.

The BS program is run by the Physics Department of Shippensburg University which means that your academic advisor is a physics department faculty member and many of the required courses are offered by the physics department.

We offer several tracks and one concentration of study which emphasize different routes for acquiring an undergraduate Physics degree – depending on the student’s goals.

General Physics Track

This is the most flexible of the tracks. It provides a substantial number of general electives for students interested in obtaining concentrations or minors in other fields.

Advanced Physics Track

This track is designed for students planning to go on to graduate school in Physics or Engineering. The track provides a solid and rigorous grounding in physics and will prepare the students well for the advanced Physics GRE and graduate-school studies.

Computational Science Track

This track offers a solid grounding in Physics through the Physics 'core' of studies, and develops computational skills applicable to all scientific fields. These skills are developed through a computational-physics course and courses in Computer Science. Students following this track can also complete a minor in Computer Science by taking one additional CS course (CSC 211). This track prepares the student for entering the job market immediately after graduation, or to go on to graduate degrees in computational physics or related fields.

Nanofabrication Concentration

The nanofabrication concentration offers students the technical expertise and theoretical understanding to manipulate matter at the nanometer length scale. Nanofabrication has applications in many fields including Physics, Biology, Material Science and Engineering.

The concentration requires the completion of one semester at the Penn State Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization; since this requirement is satisfied during the summer, enrolling in the concentration should not delay graduation.

How should you prepare for a Physics major?

Physics is a highly mathematical discipline. Typically, students who plan on a career in Physics take four years of mathematics in high school: One year each of Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus. If possible, courses in Physics and Calculus are beneficial. Communications skills, both oral and written, are essential for any successful career.

Why enroll in the Physics Program at Shippensburg University?

Our programs provide students with a solid core of knowledge in Physics as well as a broader background in the liberal arts, thus preparing them for a successful career.

Science classes are small at Shippensburg University, usually having twelve to sixteen students per laboratory section. Lectures and labs are taught by seasoned professors; not by graduate students.

An Internship Program expands your possibilities, as does the opportunity for upper division students to work with department faculty on research projects.

The degree requirements in Physics depend on the track one wishes to pursue. All tracks require the following Physics Core of study:

Physics Core

Courses  Credits per course Combined credits
I. Physics core courses     
 PHY 105 Freshman Seminar Physics 2 2
 PHY 221 Fundamentals of Physics I 5 5
 PHY 222 Fundamentals of Physics II 5 5
 PHY 301 Math. and Numerical Techniques 4 4
 PHY 311 Quantum I 4 4
 PHY 321 Electricity and Magnetism I 4 4
 PHY 331 Mechanics I 4 4
 PHY 341 Classical and Statistical Thermodynamics 4 4
Physics Credits    32
     
II. Allied-Field core courses:     
MAT 211 Calculus I 4 4
MAT 212 Calculus II 4 4
MAT 213 Calculus III  4 4
MAT 322 Differential Equations 3 3
CHM 121 Chemical Bonding I 3  
CHM 125 Lab IB  1 4
CSC 110 Computer Science I 4 4
Allied Credits    23
     
Physics Core Credits    55
     

BS General Physics Track

Courses  Credits per course Combined credits
     
Physics Core  - 55
PHY 4XX  (Physics electives: 3 courses at the 400 level) 3 9
     
General electives:     
(at least 12 hours of which are at or above the 300 level) 3-4 20
     
Additional general education requirements  - 36
     
Total credits    120
     
     

BS Advanced Physics Track

Courses  Credits per course Combined credits
     
Physics Core  - 55
I. Additional Physics courses:     
PHY 411 Quantum II 3 3
PHY 421 Electricity and Magnetism II 3 3
PHY 431 Mechanics II 3 3
PHY 3/4XX (Physics electives: 4 courses at or above the 300 level) 3-4 13
PHY 498 Research Project 3 3
Additional Physics credits:    25
     
II. Additional Allied-field courses     
CHM 122 Chemical Dynamics 3 3
CHM 126 Chemical Dynamics LabIIB  1 1
Additional Allied-field credits    4
     
Additional general education requirements  - 36
     
Total credits    120

BS Computational Science Track

Courses  Credits per course Combined credits
     
Physics Core  - 55
I. Additional Physics courses:     
PHY 471 Computational Physics 4 4
PHY 4XX (Physics electives: 2 courses at or above the 400 level)  3 6
PHY 498/399 Research or Internship 3 3
Additional Physics credits:    13
     
II. Additional Allied-field courses     
MAT 318 Linear Algebra 3 3
MAT 410 Numerical Analysis 3 3
CSC 111 4  
CSC 220 4  
CSC 321 4 12
Additional Allied-field credits    18
     
Additional general education requirements  - 36
     
Total credits    122

BS Nanofabrication Concentration

Courses  Credits per course Combined credits
     
Physics Core  - 55
I. Additional Physics courses:     
PHY 325 Semi-Conductor Devices 4 4
PHY 450 Quantum Materials 4 4
Additional Physics credits:    13
     
II. Additional Allied-field courses     
CHM 122 Chemical Dynamics 3 3
CHM 126 Chemical Dynamics LabIIB  1 1
Penn State-NSF NMT summer courses   - 18
Additional Allied-field credits    22
     
Total concentration requirements  - 35