May 07, 2021  
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]


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Department of Physics
College of Arts and Sciences

Kettler Hall 126B ~ 260-481-6306

Mark Masters, Chair and Professor
Timothy Grove, Lead Advisor, Physics

Ray Gildner, Lead Advisor, Geology
Melissa Froderman, Secretary

People are unaware of what physics is and physicists do.  They believe that physicists can only be teachers or professors; that physics is impractical; that physicists are “thinkers” not “doers”; that physics is all “theory”.  However, physics is much more than that.  Most physicists are experimental scientists.  Much of today’s technology, including our medical technology, originated in the physics laboratory.  Most physicists work in industry and are often titled “engineer”.  Physicists have many employment opportunities because of the skills developed through physics.  Learning physics teaches you many important skills such as problem solving, experimentation, and communication. 

The Department of Physics provides an excellent educational opportunity to our students.  Our award winning program is one of the most rigorous physics degrees.  It is designed to help students understand physics and develop the skills to be a scientist.  Every class emphasizes experimental work, computational work and communication.  Our program is designed to help create a sense of community in our students in order to help them succeed. Finally, every one of our students is involved in doing cutting edge research by the time they graduate. 

Physics Bachelor’s Degree:

Within the Physics program, there are a number of concentrations; most are interdisciplinary.   


  • Biomedical Physics.  The Biomedical Physics concentration combines Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics.  It is designed to help the student understand physical mechanisms in biology and can be used as preparation for medical school or graduate study in medical physics or biophysics.  There are three separate tracks available to students in the Biomedical Physics concentration. 
    • Biophysics: combines courses in biology with physics providing a strong physics background with which to examine biology. 
    • Medical Physics: this track has the core requirements to pursue graduate school in medical physics (medical physics is a wonderful career!).
    • Pre-med: preprofessional program for medical school. 
  • Computational Physics.  The Computational/Mathematical concentration adds a number of either computer science or mathematics courses to the physics program and is a good background for modeling and for further study of mathematical or computational physics in the future. 

    • Computational Physics: Adds additional advanced Computer Science courses in exchange for some of the advanced laboratory course work in physics. 
    • Mathematical Physics:  Adds additional advanced Mathematics courses in exchange for some of the advanced laboratory course work in physics. 
  • Engineering Physics.  The Engineering Physics concentration adds courses from different engineering programs (Electrical, Mechanical, and Civil) so that you can learn basic engineering skills and build on these skills with the scientific skills developed in physics.  There are three separate tracks in the Engineering Physics Concentration.

    • Civil Engineering: Adds Civil and Environmental courses replacing some of the intermediate physics courses. 
    • Electrical Engineering: Adds Electrical Engineering courses in place of some intermediate physics courses. 
    • Mechanical Engineering: Adds some mechanical engineering courses in place of some intermediate physics courses. 
  • Optoelectronics and Photonics.  Optoelectronics and Photonics is the study of light and the production of light, and the electronics used in detection of light. This concentration expands upon the physics program by adding courses in laser physics, coherent optics and electronic instrumentation.   

For details on pursuing a second major in secondary education to teach Physics in middle school/high school, see the School of Education Secondary Education  section in this catalog.


In addition to the minor in Physics, a minor in astronomy is available in which you learn about stars, the galaxy, and the universe.  The department offers a number of opportunities for students including educational events held at the  “Undergraduate Fun Observatory”.

Research Certificate:

A research certificate in Physics is also available.

For details on the various programs, see the Program Descriptions  section in this Catalog.





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