- Offered as:
- Specialization track in Physics and Astronomy
Optics and electronics, an option within the physics major, focuses on optical communications, one of the fastest growing high technology fields. Communicating messages via light and optical fiber has wide ranging applications in telecommunication, medicine, and manufacturing. This option is strongly connected to physical science and electrical engineering. 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, with 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.
- Requirements and core courses
Bachelor of science in physics degree
In addition to the core and option classes listed below, students must complete general education, college, and department requirements as well as approved science and degree electives as outlined in the General Catalog in order to graduate. Students should consult the catalog and their advisor for course planning.
PHYSICS CORE COURSES (First and second year)
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
EE 214--Design of Logic Circuits
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
OPTICS AND ELECTRONICS OPTION
EE 261 & 262-Electrical Circuits I & Lab
Approved Math courses
Phys 304-Modern Physics II Phys 320-Mechanics
Phys 341 & 342-Electricity and Magnetism I & II
EE 351-Distributed Parameter Systems
EE 314-Microprocessor Systems
EE 496-Introduction to Semiconductor Device Theory Phys 443-Optics
Phys 450-Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
EE 431-UHF and Microwave Circuits
EE 499-Special Problems Phys 412-Modern Optics Laboratory
Phys 463-Introduction to Solid State Physics
- Scholarships and financial aid
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.)
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 need-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
- Facilities and technology
The research and teaching facilities at WSU include a wide variety of lasers, that produce nanosecond to femtosecond pulses at a variety of wavelengths. Ultrahigh vacuum systems equipped with mass spectrometers, particle detectors, and spectrometers are available for the study of surfaces. Gas guns are employed to study shock waves in liquids and solids. Many atomic-scale surface structures are probed with scanning tunneling microscopes. Nanometer scale structures are produced and studied with scanning force microscopes. Available elsewhere on campus are Auger and photoelectron spectrometers, ESR and NMR spectrometers, transmission and scanning electron microscopes, and a nuclear reactor. The physics department operates the Jewett Observatory, with the largest refracting telescope in the state of Washington, and the WSU planetarium. A computer laboratory with a wide variety of computers and terminals is available to all physics majors.
- Career options
Careers open to those with the optics and electronics option include design engineer, test engineer, and technician in companies that design and manufacture displays, communication equipment, digital cameras, electronics for the entertainment industry, and computer input/output devices. The increasing use of laser in medicine and manufacturing presents another set of opportunities for majors in the optics and electronics option.