- Offered as:
- Graduate program
Physics is the most basic natural science and considers physical systems ranging in size from nuclei, to atoms, to the cosmos. It is an extremely broad field and has many sub-fields. Understanding the forces and laws that underpin the interactions of matter and energy form a major part of the discipline. Applying this understanding to other sciences and technology offers numerous opportunities for the well-trained physicist.
Specialization tracks available
Options offered within physics include:
- Computational Physics
- Continuum Physics
- Environmental Physics
- Instrumentation Physics
- Materials Physics
- Mathematical Physics
- Optics and Electronics
- Standard Physics
- Physics Education
Bachelor of Science in Physics Degree
In addition to the classes listed below for the core and each option, students must complete general education, college, and department requirements as well as approved science and degree electives.
Note: See the WSU Catalog (http://www.catalog.wsu.edu/Pullman) for degree requirements and talk with your academic advisor about planning and scheduling your courses. All students must meet requirements as outlined in the catalog in order to graduate.
PHYSICS CORE COURSES
Math 171, 172 & 273—Calculus I & II & III
Phys 201 & 202—Physics for Scientists and Engineers I & II
or 205 & 206—Honors Physics
Chem 105 & 106—Principles of Chemistry I & II
or 115 & 116—Honors Chemistry
Math 220—Introductory Linear Algebra
Phys 303—Modern Physics I
Biological Science courses
Cpt S 121—Program Design and Development
Math 315—Differential Equations
Phys 330—Thermal Physics
Engl 402—Technical/Professional Writing
For the physics education option, the following courses must be taken in addition to the physics core courses listed above. Students must also complete general education, college, and department requirements as well as approved science and degree electives. EdPsy 402-Classroom Assessment Secondary Psych 105-Introductory Psychology ComSt 102-Public Speaking: Theory, Models, and Practice T & L 302-Secondary School Curriculum and Content Literacy Development Math 303-Higher Geometry Phys 304-Modern Physics II Phys 320-Mechanics Phys 341 & 342-Electricity and Magnetism I & II Math 360-Probability and Statistics Phys 415-Quantum Physics Laboratory T & L 302-Secondary School Curriculum and Content Literacy Development T & L 303-Secondary School Instruction & Content Literacy Methods T & L 400-Advanced Field Experience T & L 445-Methods of Educational Technology T & L 478-Family, School, and Community Collaborations Ph S 430-Methods of Teaching Physical Science Phys 410-Electronics Phys 450-Introduction to Quantum Mechanics Phys 490-Undergraduate Thesis T & L 317-Secondary Practicum T & L 328-Classroom Management Ed Psy 402-Classroom Assessment, Secondary Phys 463-Introduction to Solid State Physics Phys 465-Introductory Nuclear Physics Phys 499-Special Problems T & L 404-Social Foundations of Curriculum T & L 415-Directed Teaching - Fifth Year
For students in physics
Physics scholarships include the Paul and Dian Bender Freshman Physics Scholarship, the Claire May Band Freshman Physics Scholarship (for women), the Physics Transfer Student Scholarship, the Paul Anderson Award for Excellence in Physics, the Edward E. Donaldson Surface Science Scholarship, the George Duvall Scholarship in Shock Compression Science, and the Physics Textbook Scholarship. (For information contact the physics department at 509-335-1698.)
For all students
A variety of state, federal, and university-sponsored programs are available to help students with educational costs. Washington State University awards millions of dollars in financial aid and scholarships to students every year based on financial need, academic merit, or a combination of the two.
Students should complete the Washington State University general scholarship application and the FAFSA to ensure their eligibility for the widest range of scholarships and needed-based financial aid.
For information or to apply for financial aid and scholarships from WSU, see the Scholarships and Finances section of the WSU website.
The extensive facilities of the WSU physics department include numerous lasers, spectrometers for measuring energy of particles and light waves, ultra high-vacuum equipment, mass spectrometers, computers, high-speed data acquisition instruments, and gas guns. The atomic-scale structures of solids and surfaces are studied using scanning tunneling microscopy and nuclear probe techniques. Nanometer studies of surfaces are carried out using atomic force microscopy. Other equipment includes mass spectrometers, Auger and Photoelectron Spectrometers, electron spin-resonance and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers, x-ray spectrometers, transmission and scanning electron microscopes, and a nuclear reactor elsewhere on campus. A computer laboratory with a wide variety of computers and terminals is open to all physics majors.
The Physics Club brings students together to watch films, visit laboratories, and do experiments.
• Good performance in high school physics course.
• High school mathematics through pre-calculus or trigonometry (one year of high school calculus is highly recommended).
As a foundation for other physical sciences and engineering, physics can lead to a career in any of the sciences or technology. About half of physics majors go to graduate school, but there are many good jobs available with a bachelor's degree. Current high demand areas include the electronics industry, optoelectronics, high density memory storage devices, and microchip growth and development. Research and development in medical technology areas such as diagnostic instrumentation (MRI, PET, CAT, and ultrasound), therapeutic equipment (radiation devices) and surgical tools (medical lasers) are also attractive fields. Other positions available to physics majors include acoustic physicist, aerospace physicist, astronomer, biophysicist, civil engineer, ceramic engineer, computer programmer, electrical engineer, environmental physicist, geodesist, geophysicist, health physicist, lab technician, laser physicist, lawyer, librarian, materials scientist, mechanical engineer, medical physicist, meteorologist, metallurgist, nuclear physicist, oceanographer, patent examiner, plasma scientist, radiation physicist, safety physicist, salesperson of scientific apparatus, systems analyst, teacher, and technical writer.