The University offers a bachelor of arts (B.A.) and a bachelor of science (B.S.) in physics that prepares
students for careers in science, computing, engineering, teaching, and research.
Students who have a passion for understanding how things work and enjoy scientific experiments and
mathematics should consider studying physics. Physics seeks to better human knowledge of matter and energy in the universe, from atomic nuclei to
galaxy clusters, and to apply this knowledge in the development of new technologies.
Coursework in the major includes a core curriculum that provides a strong foundation in physical science and problem-solving skills.
After completing the core, students may choose one of three fields of concentration:
Chemical Physics: This concentration focuses on areas where the techniques of chemistry and
physics are brought together for the study of atoms and molecules; their interactions in gases, liquids, and solids;
and the detailed structure and dynamics of material changes. Chemical physicists are employed by a wide range
of businesses, particularly the pharmaceutical, photographic and microelectronic industries.
Engineering Physics: This concentration focuses on applying the principles of physics to develop new technologies and solve interdisciplinary engineering problems. Graduates may pursue an advanced degree in applied physics or engineering, or function as productive engineering professionals.
Professional Physics: This concentration is built around the physics core curriculum to
supply the background and experience needed to enter graduate school or become a research physicist.
A central feature of the program is the opportunity to work closely with faculty to build a strong
foundation in scientific principles and techniques. Each student's experience includes opportunities for
research in modern laboratories in a supportive, encouraging, and challenging environment with accessible
faculty members and personal mentoring.
The program offers an innovative sophomore sequence in modern physics. Students are introduced to topics
such as special relativity, quantum mechanics, lasers, superconductors, nuclear physics, and
atomic physics during their second year. The laboratory component provides hands-on experience with
the instruments and software used in industrial and academic research facilities.
Results of student research projects are published in journals and featured at scientific conferences.
This practical research experience is essential preparation for professional or advanced academic work.
Students may receive course credits or be employed as research assistants. Summer fellowships are also
A number of activities and organizations are available that enable students to interact with other students
and professionals in the industry, including the University's chapter of the Society of Physics Students—and
Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society.
Our graduates are prepared for careers in engineering, computer science, research, teaching, government,
and more. The employment rate among physicists has been consistently above the national average, and one
of the highest among science majors. In the United States, the employment rate six months after
graduation for physics degree recipients is currently at 98 percent.
Science and technology industries recognize that global competitiveness depends on an educated work force.
A physics education develops problem-solving skills and provides the ability to apply and adapt scientific
knowledge within the workplace. Because of this training, physicists excel in solving complex problems,
which allows them to seek employment in a wide range of academic, government, and industrial settings
well beyond the traditional boundaries of physics.
Students have many sources of financial support for their studies, including financial aid, work-study programs, veterans' benefits, and special scholarships for entering freshmen and transfer students.
In addition, the Department of Chemistry and Physics offers renewable scholarships through the Donald and Mary Jo
Stanley Endowment. These scholarships are available for incoming freshman and continuing students
majoring in physics. For information on these scholarships, contact the department.
The Catalog of Indiana State University is the document of
authority for all students. The requirements given in the catalog supersede information issued by any
academic department, program, college, or school. The University reserves the right to change the
requirements at any time.