Jun 24, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog - SCCC & Day Students 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog - SCCC & Day Students

Physics Major

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Physics is a vast discipline which studies the entire realm of nature from the utmost minute particles, distances and times imaginable to the most massive stars and the outer limits of the universe.  From a more applied perspective, physics is used to solve practical problems, often to advance technology to positively impact humanity. Physicists observe the phenomena of nature and try to find patterns that relate these phenomena.  Physics is particularly concerned with those aspects of nature which can be formulated in terms of principles and laws reduced to their essence and expressed in an elegant and concise mathematical form. 

The department mission is to support a thriving and engaged community of students and faculty who are using physics to solve applied and fundamental problems relevant to society, industry, and the military.  We provide a comprehensive curriculum for students pursuing a BS major in Physics, Minor in Applied Physics, and Minor in Aerospace Science.

Whom the Major Would Interest or Appeal To

The major in physics might appeal to students that want to really understand how things work from a fundamental perspective.  They often get excited about being a part of scientific discovery, enjoy learning about the tangible and the very abstract, and like to use math to understand the world.  They don’t mind getting their hands dirty in the lab.  Physics students also often enjoy a challenge and are interested at being at the forefront of technology.  

Post-Graduation Pathways and Career Options

Because of their skills in problem-solving, mathematical modeling, data analysis, and experimentation, graduates from our department have a broad array of career options.  For example, recent graduates work as engineers in industry, are in graduate school in physics and related fields, and enter the military.  For those that enter the military, two common interests are the nuclear Navy and careers as pilots. 

Lab Facilities

The department, housed in Grimsley Hall, has several laboratories, including the Photonics Research and Teaching Lab, the Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics Lab, the Flight Simulator Lab, the Electronics and Sensor Systems Lab, the Prototyping Tools Workspace, and the Senior Physics Capstone Project Space.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students completing the BS in Physics will be able to

  1. Identify, formulate, and solve broadly defined technical or scientific problems by applying knowledge of mathematics and science and/or technical topics to areas relevant to the discipline.
  2. Formulate or design a system, process, procedure or program to meet desired needs.
  3. Develop and conduct experiments or test hypotheses, analyze and interpret data and use scientific judgment to draw conclusions.
  4. Communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
  5. Understand ethical and professional responsibilities and the impact of technical and/or scientific solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts.
  6. Function effectively on teams that establish goals, plan tasks, meet deadlines, and analyze risk and uncertainty.
  7. Demonstrate instrumentation competency, including the ability to build, operate, troubleshoot and establish interfaces between apparatus and computers.
  8. Demonstrate software competency, including the ability to use computational, design, analysis, and simulation software.

Major Academic Map

Click here to view the Academic Map for this major, which shows the courses and sequence.

Freshman Year

Freshman Fall

Sophomore Year

Junior Year

Junior Fall

Junior Spring

Senior Year

Senior Fall

Senior Spring


  • Approved Electives: One must be in PHYS, one from BIO, CHEM, PHYS, MATH, CSCI or Engineering classes 301 or above, otherwise by permission of the Physics Department Head.
  • Students must complete four strand courses, which may be completed in any order: English (ENGS 30X ), History (HISS 30X ), Social Science (SCSS 30X ), and Science (NTSS 30X ).
  • CHEM 151 /CHEM 161  or BIOL 130 /BIOL 131  satisfy the Science Strand requirement.

ROTC Course Requirements:

ROTC course requirements apply to members of the SCCC only:

  • Cadets contracted or pursuing a contract should take 8 semesters of ROTC.
  • Cadets not contracted or pursuing a contract should take 4 semesters of ROTC Basic and 4 semesters of ROTC fulfilment courses. Available ROTC fulfillment courses are published online annually by the department of Leadership Studies.
  • ROTC courses typically carry 1 to 3 hours of credit, depending on the level. ROTC fulfillment courses typically carry 3 hours of credit. See the course descriptions for specific information.

Required For Graduation:

123 credit hours plus successful completion of all RPED, ROTC, and LDRS graduation requirements. ROTC hours (credits, lectures, and labs) vary each semester by military department.

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